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Not seen this discussed anywhere else so purely in the interests of scientific enquiry I thought I'd raise the subject here. If you commute in Lycra how often do you change/wash your shorts in a week? My colleague Dave has been strangely reluctant to join me in the search for the optimum commuter short wearing time, so I'm asking you.

I'm guessing if your daily commute is an epic the answer will be every day, but what if - like my new commute it just strays in to the realm where Lycra is slightly the better option?

Up until recently I've worn Lycra for longer weekend rides only, a day in he saddle, and my daily commute has been done in more or less normal clothing. However a few months ago I changed jobs and so now do a slightly longer, hillier commute… It's still only half an hour each way but it's a harder ride and just slightly too sweaty for civvies.

However, two 30 min rides a day divided by eight hours drying time doesn't seem to justify bunging them in the wash every night, or changing for a clean pair. Nasal tests confirm they still seem fresh, even against a control of some clean unridden shorts, my colleague Dave balked at confirming my findings (Pah! calls himself a scientist - they still smell better than his lab coat!).

But joking aside how long would you use the same pair of shorts for, and would your measure be one of time or distance ridden?

55 comments

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cat1commuter [1418 posts] 4 years ago
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Mine seem OK for a week (5 days) of commuting, which is 200 km (125 miles), 7.5 h in the saddle. I do use chamois cream though, which seems to prevent minor saddle sore issues I occasionally suffered from when first committing to doing this commute every day. I never leave my lycra in a plastic bag though - they are always hung over a chair back by their bib straps to air when not in use.

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openbath [4 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm going to be the first to bravely step up and answer. My commute is roughly similar to yours from the sounds of it and I tend to do it 4 or 5 days a week.

I have to admit I go for the once a week wash, but I don't let any of my colleagues near me, especially at the end of the week.

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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Yeah I get about a week out of mine and like cat1 i always hang 'em up to dry. Now the weather is getting better though, I'll probably mix it up a bit with a pair of baggier shorts & we've got some Craft padded pant type things for wearing under normal shorts on your bike - that then raises the issue of whether I keep 'em on all day or change them when I get in… Hmm, thanks Denzil!

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elbooch [24 posts] 4 years ago
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13 miles each way. Clean shorts every day.

(Do people really not put clean shorts on each day? I'm amused to find I'm genuinely shocked)

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Stofish [61 posts] 4 years ago
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I find the "sniff test" is always a good indicator. It may seem a little unsavory but it accounts for weather conditions, how energetically I ride and how long-ago my last shower was when I put them on. Turnover ranges from daily to up to 6 riding days.

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Chuffy [201 posts] 4 years ago
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Yup, I get a week out of mine (16 miles round trip) on the grounds that I wouldn't stop half a dozen times on a 200k audax to change, so why would I change after just 16 miles? Especially as they only do 8 miles at a time and have a nice airing in between.

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bigant [43 posts] 4 years ago
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Usually best to wash them if a skid mark appears on the chamois .....

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cat1commuter [1418 posts] 4 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

... we've got some Craft padded pant type things for wearing under normal shorts on your bike

Oh, those are good. I have a couple of pairs.

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dave atkinson [6139 posts] 4 years ago
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once a week for me too, disgusting oik that i am. sometimes twice if i've gone the long way home and gone after it a bit... total mileage is only about 55 miles.

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chain_link [10 posts] 4 years ago
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 31
Clean shorts everyday. Please.

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David cycling t... [64 posts] 4 years ago
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hmmm, commuting alone, i only do 150miles per week.
yet, i change my kit everyday! i have 4 team kits that i change between everyday.
it shocks me to find someone that does over 100mile/week, only changing their kit every 4 or 5 days!!!

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step-hent [718 posts] 4 years ago
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The argument I've heard for only wearing the shorts on one day is that, after sweating in to them, the bacteria from your sweat/skin start to multiply, and that hey continue to do so whilst your shorts sit, not being worn. So when you change them should be overall time based, not distance or riding time based. I therefore change my shorts or padded tights each day - I'd rather do some extra washing than get painful saddle sores.

That said, (a) I'm no scientist - the explanation seemed sensible to me but I'm not sure whether it is true and whether the bacterial build up, even if correct, would be a problem; and (b) the problem may be eradicated/minimised by anti-bacterial inserts in shorts. Anti-bacterial chamois cream would also make the shorts last longer between washes, if the theory is correct.

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dave atkinson [6139 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

after sweating in to them, the bacteria from your sweat/skin start to multiply, and that they continue to do so whilst your shorts sit, not being worn.

maybe i need to go at them with the dettol spray every night  4

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 4 years ago
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Due to middle age spread, I've abandoned lycra and commute about 120 miles/week in jeans. My girlfriend makes me change my underwear daily.

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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@mr-andrew and how often does she make you change your jeans?

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 4 years ago
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I probably get 2 or 3 non-consecutive days out of them. I'm not going as far as spraying them with dettol tho...

tony_farrelly wrote:

@mr-andrew and how often does she make you change your jeans?

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Coleman [331 posts] 4 years ago
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I'm glad I got to Lidl yesterday. Otherwise I don't think I could afford to wear clean shorts everyday. A regular change of shorts is like a regular change of bed linen - not strictly necessary but I think girls really appreciate it.

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simonmb [353 posts] 4 years ago
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mr-andrew wrote:

My girlfriend makes me change my underwear daily.

EVERY day? And you do it? Wow. You must really love her!

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Stofish [61 posts] 4 years ago
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I suspect most of those who change their shorts daily don't do their own washing.

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slow-cyclo [72 posts] 4 years ago
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cat1commuter wrote:

I never leave my lycra in a plastic bag though - they are always hung over a chair back by their bib straps to air when not in use.

Blimey, in my old office I'd never have got away with leaving them hung over the back of my chair. I used to have to fashion a bizarre washing line apparatus involving the IT cable run, my upturned bin and a pannier to suspend my towel whilst the shorts festered in the pannier having been hurriedly dried on a radiator whilst i showered.

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bikingscot [47 posts] 4 years ago
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My commute is only about 15 mins each way, so no way would I wash them every day. Even if it was longer, as long as they weren't soaked through, I'd just dry them and spray them with antibacterial Fabreeze every night and get a good week out of them

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handlebarcam [543 posts] 4 years ago
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My workplace has changing rooms, but they are tiny. That means drying out cycling clothes is a running battle with the lunchtime-runners. If I leave my kit hanging on a hook it is often scrunched up in a ball on the floor by the time I am ready to go home. Still the London Marathon is only a month away, and the situation usually improves after that.

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armstrong7 [26 posts] 4 years ago
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You can see why there are so many lone cyclists, I wash my shorts after every ride.

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Stofish [61 posts] 4 years ago
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No need to wash your shorts just get yourself in the Schwag Grab and win a can of helmet cleaner!
http://road.cc/content/news/32390-schwag-grab-charge-bag-full-goodies-ro...

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0liver [90 posts] 4 years ago
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Typically two days per pair. About 15 miles each way, probably only 4 times a week. Hung up to dry on my nice warm computer as they aren't supposed to be left lying around the office hanging on chairs or radiators.

As for bacteria, they need warmth and moisture to breed so if the shorts are taken off then they will breed less well. So the relationship between time and distance is not simple...

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downfader [203 posts] 4 years ago
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 31

Sniff tester here too (or I could just be a pervert). I smell the braces too as the pad has silver impregnation anyway, and that tends to stop odours.

I ride a minimum of 6 miles, sometimes up to 20 in just the morning. Typically the lycra lasts me 3 days during winter and 2 during summer. I'm a sweaty blighter though.  19

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Marky Mark [12 posts] 4 years ago
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Everyday for me and I do my own washing  1

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pward [88 posts] 4 years ago
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2 x 15 miles is enough for my derriere - wouldn't dream of recycling any kit from innermost two layers after that, eurrrgh!
 9

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viveLaPants [94 posts] 4 years ago
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i can go 2 weeks. mind you I do have three pairs I rotate.

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 4 years ago
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Jeez, how sweaty must some of you lot get to be washing your shorts every day?

Once a week (if necessary  3 ).

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