I have a pair of bib-shorts, really quite expensive ones, they're jolly nice, excellent fit with thigh flattering highlighted stitching. And I never wear them.
Bought some years back they were worn a few times on short rides just to get acquainted and check they'd be okay for bigger things, and then as they were the newest and poshest and smartest shorts I did a long old ride in them. I won't go into details but it was one of those rides started in the full knowledge that it was going to be hard, hard but also fun. And so it should have been but for a gentle snowballing of seemingly insignificant events that conspired together to form a bitter ugly mess and the ride ended up climbing into the back of the car well short of it's intended goal and about five minutes after I felt my soul leave my body.
I haven't been able to wear those shorts since.
The shorts absorbed so much misery on that ride that as soon as I pull them on again and lycra touches flesh a small residual memento of pain seeps out of the chamois and into my arse cheeks, the horror returns and they actually physically and alarmingly painfully hurt, instantly feeling like I've already spent 8 tortuous hours in the saddle without even getting out the bedroom. I slide the shorts off and put some other bibs on. Once or twice a Summer I feel guilty about not using this perfectly decent pair of pricey shorts and slip them on, and every time the same sudden feeling of bum soreness returns with upsetting emotional flashbacks.
And so for years the shorts would be stumbled upon in the pre-ride clothing rummage and instantly discarded for something further down and less traumatic in the pile. Now that shorts season is back upon us it was time to gingerly try them again, just to see. Because. Teasing lycra up to taint there was the usual trepidation, fleeting hope to be soured with predictable disappointment, but this time there was........ nothing. Could the chamonster of that ride have been finally slain? Padding on cheek felt slightly awkward but not uncomfortable, certainly not kissing, but definitely no punching, and with bib-straps pulled up and things held in tight there was no need to desperately rip the shorts off again in tearful anguish, even after the little shuffle to settle things into the correct place. A warm wave of nervous anxiety washed over my crotch as I kept the shorts on and went to see how things would cope from being pounded from the other side by a saddle.
It's time to use these shorts again, and soil them with happy memories.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.