Archive | Clothing

SMP4Bike Women’s Special Wear Cycling Bib

smp

 I always thought women had smaller bladders than men.  Not so, says Dr. Oz. The walls of a woman’s bladder are only slightly thinner.  However the placement of the bladder in a woman’s body cavity is significantly different from men– especially after childbirth, straining and menopause.

I don’t know about you, but  I drink a lot of fluid before a ride and can’t tell you the number of times I have to use the can before I leave the house.   My constant need to pee has made me shy away from any desire to own a pair of bib shorts.

By their very nature, bib shorts confuse me.  I don’t know why men swear by them.  I can’t seem to figure out how to wear one (like wearing tights and a leotard–which goes first?).  Do I wear a bra underneath the bib when I don’t usually wear a bra at all?  If I have to strip down to take a piss on the side of the road (even if it’s behind a tree), then I’d better show a little modesty, or risk getting arrested, right?

And, what if I’m using a porta-potty? I don’t want to have to take off my jersey and hold it in my hand while I’m taking care of business in such cramped quarters.  Better to take the cycling jersey off, while outside the can, and and put it back on afterward.  A bra can help in this case as well.

But with all these bib-related problems, why even bother?

If your body is not young, buff and perfect, and you don’t want your soft sides hanging over the edge of your shorts or the waistband digging into your waist, then a pair of  bib shorts offers a terrific option for both comfort as well as slim looking lines.

I wouldn’t be even be writing about bib shorts if it weren’t for a particularly ingenious design by the folks who invented the remarkably comfortable Avant saddle.  The two go hand in hand.  If you really want to buy one of these great bibs I’m about to tell you about, then you must also commit to one of their saddles.

What is SMP’s marvelous solution?

A zipper.

Yes, a zipper hidden in the thick chamois.  It’s a zipper an inch and a half shorter on each end than the length of the chamois from front to rear.

A zipper you ask?  Isn’t that uncomfortable?

Not if you have an SMP saddle.  That’s the point.  In my saddle review,  I said the model for the saddle  must have been  a well-endowed man.  Here’s how Selle SMP describes their innovation:

You can finally satisfy your physiological needs without the stress caused by undressing.  The central channel of the Smp4bike saddle range allowed us to develop an innovative pair of shorts with a zip in the lower part.  The zip neither rubs on the saddle nor constricts your private parts: you only realize it’s there in the moment of need.

Brilliant.

That’s right.  You can unzip, take a step sideways, squat, and pee behind a tree just like the guys.  No shivering.  No over exposure to the elements.  No wishing you were wearing a bra.  You simply squat and go.

Are there any drawbacks to the design?  Mostly no.   But if your breasts are sensitive and the straps don’t lay flat against your anatomy in just the right place, you might find them a little annoying and prefer the additional protection a bra offers.  Or, if you try and wear these bib shorts on a bike without an SMP saddle, you will be very uncomfortable and probably very sore.

I will warn you, if you need to do more than pee,  I would suggest pulling down the bib just like any other pair of shorts.  There is no easy way.  Without going into details, my experience suggests that the zipper on these shorts was designed to make it easy to take a leak.  So, drink up and enjoy this incredible design.  The fear of not being able to find a bathroom should no longer worry you.

But I do have one other question for you, Dr. Oz. Why does the urge to pee sometimes seem just as strong for two teaspoons as it does for two cups?

Specialized Leg and Arm Warmers

Someone at Specialized has a sense of humor. I mean putting on a pair of leg warmers is a little like wearing a pair of thigh highs… isn’t it? So to give us gals a giggle, they’ve added black lace and a Specialized red bow to the ankles and wrists of their leg and arm warmers.

In all practicality, I thank Specialized for this little touch, as these visual aids help us in identifying our gear from the rest of the laundry load.

Left and right sides are conveniently labeled as the designs on both leg and arm warmers are side-specific. All panels are made of Specialized’s unique (fleece-like) Therminal™ fabric for additional warmth.

Leg warmers have slightly angled zippers for easier on/off, (although I don’t notice a difference since  I alway struggle trying to take leg warmers off –with my shoes still on).  Zippers are equipped with a reflective trim for extra visibility. A wide 1.5 inch “plush” elastic band at the thigh uses the Specialized logo in a silicone treatment as grippers to minimize inevitable bulges.

Arm warmers have encased elastic in the upper arms to avoid chafing and irritation to this notoriously sensitive area of skin, while still holding them in place.

Nice touch Specialized. Your Therminal™ fabric  doesn’t seem as flimsy as the competition!

BG Specialized RBX Cycling Shorts

The Specialized RBX Cycling Shorts were designed for long distance performance which is why Specialized recommended them for my first century(s) — the 2011 Seattle to Portland ride (100 miles/day for two days).

The RBX chamois is larger than those in most other shorts I’ve tested, reaching far enough to offer protection to the upper inner and posterior thigh, with high density foam positioned under the sit bones for pressure relief and maximum comfort. The chamois is seamless and stretchable, its edges taper off in thickness and are reinforced with minimum stitching to avoid chafing.

I love Specialized’s “VaporRize” fabric, which has the required wicking ability for fast evaporation, but also stretches in all directions, providing comfort hour after hour. The panel construction is unique, making the seams less noticeable and less likely to cause irritation.

Even though I love BG products, I have to say that these shorts just weren’t cut for my body type.  The 2 inch wide waistband is designed to be non-binding, but with my extremely short waistline there’s enough elastic to folds over itself having the opposite effect. In addition, the almost 1 1/2″ wide bottom leg gripper elastic is a little loose on my legs even though I was wearing their size small.   I was able to increase the bulk around the elastic by folding it up once, and this adjustment made all the difference.   By doing so, I reduced the 9″ inseam  slightly so that it was more proportioned to my size.

Long-waisted women (petite and otherwise), would do well to try these shorts, especially for rides exceeding 70 miles.

Nalini Pangma Long Sleeve Zippered Jacket

I’m still not sure whether this offering from Nalini is intended to be a long sleeve jersey, or a jacket.  But, I wore it on the coldest morning, of the longest, hardest day on Cycle Oregon in 2011,  and the first thing my best friend said to me was,

“Wow, that’s a great jacket…it looks really good on you.”

I wore it over a short sleeve jersey.  So that day, it was a jacket.

A nice fitting, black jacket with bright red accents across the top of the back and over the front of the shoulders.  It has a long zipper and three back pockets, the smaller, middle one for a cellphone.  Note:  The cellphone pocket is substantially larger than the one on Nalini’s short sleeve jersey and I have no problem slipping my iPhone (with silicon case) in and out of it. The jacket has a half inch encased elastic on the sleeves and a quarter inch elastic on the bottom of the jacket.

The “fleece-lined” fabric is comfortable and warm.  it’s rated as a medium weight for temperatures from  54- 64 degrees and is waterproof and windproof.

There were several points during the day’s ride when I was tempted to remove the jacket because I thought I was overheating.  But I wasn’t, and by lowering the zipper I was able to keep my body temperature comfortable even during a strenuous climb. Before I began my descent, I zipped up and was comfortable through the entire downhill.

Check out Albabici’s website for a list of local and online retailers.