Author Topic: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?  (Read 1312 times)

Dee_

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I've got a 4 mile round trip commute, and pretty much all my pants have failed at the crotch seam. I've repaired them a few times but they're more patch than fabric at this point, and they're going to split wide open one of these days.

Anybody got suggestions, or are pants simply the tradeoff we make for leaving the cars at home?

reeshau

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 02:29:46 AM »
Every person who I have known, who has commuted regularly by bike, changes into biker shorts to do it.  Even for relatively short distances.  When my former company built a new HQ in Dublin, they included a locker room as part of supporting their biker commuters. It's also a matter of subjecting your work clothes to the weather.  (A large concern in famously-rainy Ireland)  And, of course, proper safety equipment needs to be stowed, too.

That doesn't help if you are following MMM and biking through snow, but that is what I have observed.

cool7hand

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 08:45:50 AM »
Every person who I have known, who has commuted regularly by bike, changes into biker shorts to do it.  Even for relatively short distances.  When my former company built a new HQ in Dublin, they included a locker room as part of supporting their biker commuters. It's also a matter of subjecting your work clothes to the weather.  (A large concern in famously-rainy Ireland)  And, of course, proper safety equipment needs to be stowed, too.

That doesn't help if you are following MMM and biking through snow, but that is what I have observed.

+1

caleb

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 09:36:39 AM »
You need something with stretch.  Most companies that are athletic-adjacent fit the bill.

For me, it's Prana in the summer (both pants and shorts), and Swrve softshells in the winter.  All of mine are 3-5 years old at this point, so the high initial price amortizes well.

Edit: Here's what I wear in the winter (below freezing): https://swrve.us/collections/trousers/products/softshell-trousers 

And here's what I wear in the summer, if I'm not wearing shorts: https://www.prana.com/p/brion-pant/M4BN99312.html?dwvar_M4BN99312_color=Nomad&pos=2
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 09:42:10 AM by caleb »

windytrail

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 09:42:22 AM »
I wear my Levi's jeans on the commute to work (currently 5 miles each way). Our office building is extremely autocentric with no access to a locker room or shower unless you also pay monthly to use their gym.

All my jeans will fail at the crotch. You can prolong it for six months by adding a denim patch. I don't change into cycling clothes unless it's for a recreational/exercise ride.

I once bought a pair of Levi "commuter" jeans, expecting that they would have a reinforced crotch area for the extra $40-50 they cost. Nope.

Malcat

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2021, 09:45:44 AM »
I don't know anyone who bike commutes who doesn't change their clothes.

Tester

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2021, 10:36:13 AM »
I was just wearing normal pants.
5 mile each way, with showers I was using, still did not get to buy cycling clothes.
One year I got to 1200 miles of commuting on the bike, on normal clothes.

Now that I don't commute I also don't use the bike...

BlueMR2

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2021, 10:40:08 AM »
I don't commute daily for work, but bike to the stores a couple times a week.  Pre-COVID was also doing weekly group rides.  I've been wearing the newer Levi's stretch 505s and not seeing extra wear so far.  My older non-stretch ones did tend to wear out like that though.

I'm that guy that not only commutes around town, but also shows up at the 30+ mile group rides wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and wearing a backpack of bike repair tools.  A lifetime of biking and I've never owned any cycling clothing.  :-)

draco44

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2021, 10:43:04 AM »
I know some people who don't change into special clothes to bike commute, but if for whatever reason that's not working for you and your pants, I'd add that changing clothes doesn't always have to be top-to-bottom thing. One of my workplaces had a fancy showering and changing area dedicated for bike commuters, with a small subscription fee to pay for cleaning (much less than the gym membership fee). However, occasional riders traveling shorter distances would often just wear their work top on the ride with bike shorts, then switch bottoms in the toilet. If you have a gentle coast-type ride into work in mild temperatures, you might be able to get away with that.

On the other hand, if a bathroom quick change doesn't meet your needs, maybe you can suggest your workplace add a changing and/or shower area to benefit all employees? That won't be an immediate fix, but nothing will change if the bosses don't know there's demand.

I like Pearl Izumi's Escape Quest bike shorts.

Dee_

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2021, 01:42:45 PM »
Thanks for the replies all. After reflecting on this question for bit and looking at your replies, it occurs to me that this might be exacerbated by the design of women's pants - tight fitting, and high elastic content.

Plina

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2021, 01:57:18 PM »


On the other hand, if a bathroom quick change doesn't meet your needs, maybe you can suggest your workplace add a changing and/or shower area to benefit all employees? That won't be an immediate fix, but nothing will change if the bosses don't know there's demand.

I like Pearl Izumi's Escape Quest bike shorts.

My current office has a shower area that I use as it is a bit far for me to bike without needing a shower so I wear exercise clothing. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting some new offices. The one I ended up choosing is very central and they have their own bike room for storage as well as showers. That was one of the things she mentioned. The office is actually close enough for walking. The other place didn’t have one and she sounded surprised about the question. It was actually a bit surprising because they were advertising themselves as a hip coworking place with all the fancy stuff. So I think it is important to ask to promote biking.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 12:42:36 AM by Plina »

Zikoris

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2021, 02:41:25 PM »
I've never bought bike-specific clothing, but when I used to commute by bike I just wore tights and changed at work. It kept everything clean since my city tends to be very rainy/muddy, and was waaaay more comfortable to ride in than "normal" pants.

Jorey

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2021, 07:49:39 AM »
Thanks for the replies all. After reflecting on this question for bit and looking at your replies, it occurs to me that this might be exacerbated by the design of women's pants - tight fitting, and high elastic content.
That's it. Anything with spandex is going to go faster.

A friend of mine recommended Duluth dry on the fly pants to me recently in a search for hiking pants that would absorb the abuse of hiking in S Utah(lots of....butt scooting on abrasive rocks). The crotch is reinforced and he has had them for many seasons of hiking there  I believe there are a women's version. Might be worth a go. They were on sale recently, I picked up two pair for $50.

Then again, if you're going to change, might as well use bike clothes at that point.

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KCM5

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2021, 08:08:27 AM »
Thanks for the replies all. After reflecting on this question for bit and looking at your replies, it occurs to me that this might be exacerbated by the design of women's pants - tight fitting, and high elastic content.

Yes, I think this is it. I buy my pants at the thrift shop, so their only $5 rather than $50. But seriously, this is an issue. I just buy lots of pants.

I mean, I could change, but I don’t really get sweaty on my ride in (it’s mostly downhill and I just don’t push that hard). And I’m lazy. So new pants every 6 months it is!

Imma

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2021, 09:08:23 AM »
I usually wear dresses, not pants, so they don't wear out as quickly, but they do. In my country bike commuting is the norm and hardly anyone changes clothes for it - only the people who commute like 25 km or something. Not people who have a gentle 20-30 minute ride. If you have a fancy changing room at work, with showers and lockers, changing clothes makes sense, but that's not common here. Of course you can change in the toilets too, but I imagine my work clothes would be very wrinkled after being stuffed in my already full work bag. If you can leave your work clothes in a locker then that's not an issue. When it rains I just wear rain gear over my regular clothes.

Geographer

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2021, 12:09:58 PM »
When my bike commute was ~18 miles round trip I always wore athletic clothes and changed at work.

Now, with a 5 mile round trip it's not worth it. I go in early enough to not get sweaty and it's only a 10-15 minute ride each way so I exert almost no effort. Never had issues with pants seam, but I wear "athletic khaki" or "chino" style pants. Dressy looking but have a little flex in them... more like golfer attire.

blikeafox

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2021, 02:22:50 PM »
I usually wear dresses, not pants, so they don't wear out as quickly, but they do. In my country bike commuting is the norm and hardly anyone changes clothes for it - only the people who commute like 25 km or something. Not people who have a gentle 20-30 minute ride. If you have a fancy changing room at work, with showers and lockers, changing clothes makes sense, but that's not common here. Of course you can change in the toilets too, but I imagine my work clothes would be very wrinkled after being stuffed in my already full work bag. If you can leave your work clothes in a locker then that's not an issue. When it rains I just wear rain gear over my regular clothes.

I also wear mostly dresses and skirts and haven't noticed extra wear and tear from commuting. I do buy clothes I know will work for biking and save pencil skirts for rainy days when I wear rain pants and change at work.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2021, 03:26:33 PM »
I have no idea how people commute to work in regular clothes and not get sweaty? Are you all mutants? I wore gym clothes and still sweated. If I work work clothes they’d be soaked and I’d be self-conscious all day. Fortunately we had showers at work. Oh, if you’re not sweating cause you have an ebike, get a scooter/moped instead, cheap and quick and you never sweat.

Malcat

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2021, 04:06:28 PM »
I have no idea how people commute to work in regular clothes and not get sweaty? Are you all mutants? I wore gym clothes and still sweated. If I work work clothes they’d be soaked and I’d be self-conscious all day. Fortunately we had showers at work. Oh, if you’re not sweating cause you have an ebike, get a scooter/moped instead, cheap and quick and you never sweat.

It depends on how sweaty the person is naturally, I really don't sweat easily, it takes a lot, so for me it depends on the weather. It gets VERY hot and humid here, like the air is basically soup, so yeah, even I would sometimes arrive at work way too sweaty to get away with biking in my work clothes.

innkeeper77

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2021, 04:50:48 PM »
Perhaps something with more cotton and less synthetics could help... but it probably makes more sense to change or just use more pants!

Potentially unrelated as I have male anatomy and it's an anecdote, I had a 34 mile commute (round trip) for over a year, and just wore jeans.. (it was on a pedal assist ebike.. I'm not that badass!) and had almost zero issues. I did orient the bike to have an upright "dutch" riding posture, and I changed the saddle for one that was wider at the back so more pressure sat down on it from the butt  rather than most of the pressure coming from the inseam area. I found it more comfortable, and have a feeling that it probably reduced inseam pants wear as well. However, the jeans I was wearing were 100% cotton, and moderately heavy duty.

SomethingFishy

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2021, 06:14:11 PM »
I cycle in spandex “bike shorts” and a tank top with built in bra. Not the padded bike shorts that I wear for long rides, but the stretchy ones that are common at exercise classes. When I get to work, I throw my work clothes on over them in the large stall of the bathroom. I leave my work shoes at work change into them when I get to my desk. Clothes get wrinkled in my bag, but don’t get damaged from riding.

charis

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2021, 07:26:33 PM »
I wear a knee length or shorter dress when I bike commute to work and throw a pair of running tights or shorts underneath. I just remove them when I get to the office. It's only two miles (in the northeast) so I don't sweat much, but I keep deodorant at work, if necessary. I think most people overestimate this issue unless they have legitimate sweating issues.

jeninco

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2021, 08:44:30 PM »
Thanks for the replies all. After reflecting on this question for bit and looking at your replies, it occurs to me that this might be exacerbated by the design of women's pants - tight fitting, and high elastic content.
That's it. Anything with spandex is going to go faster.

A friend of mine recommended Duluth dry on the fly pants to me recently in a search for hiking pants that would absorb the abuse of hiking in S Utah(lots of....butt scooting on abrasive rocks). The crotch is reinforced and he has had them for many seasons of hiking there  I believe there are a women's version. Might be worth a go. They were on sale recently, I picked up two pair for $50.

Then again, if you're going to change, might as well use bike clothes at that point.

Sent from my Pixel 4a using Tapatalk

On a side note, welcome! We haven't been hiking in Eastern Utah for about 18 months, but we're trying to figure out how to get back ASAP!

To the OP, I also buy thrift store pants and replace. Jeans and other less-stretchy pants hold up surprisingly well, though.

Plina

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2021, 12:23:00 AM »
I have no idea how people commute to work in regular clothes and not get sweaty? Are you all mutants? I wore gym clothes and still sweated. If I work work clothes they’d be soaked and I’d be self-conscious all day. Fortunately we had showers at work. Oh, if you’re not sweating cause you have an ebike, get a scooter/moped instead, cheap and quick and you never sweat.

For me it is a question of distance to work. If it 15 min bikeride, I bike a lot slower than of it is a 30 min bikeride.

It is also a reflection of topography. The city were I lived previously was flat, while here there is a hill in every direction. So if you don’t want to sweat, you have to get an ebike.

Imma

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2021, 03:28:45 AM »
I have no idea how people commute to work in regular clothes and not get sweaty? Are you all mutants? I wore gym clothes and still sweated. If I work work clothes they’d be soaked and I’d be self-conscious all day. Fortunately we had showers at work. Oh, if you’re not sweating cause you have an ebike, get a scooter/moped instead, cheap and quick and you never sweat.

I ride a regular bike, but riding a bike at regular speed doesn't make me sweat, just like I don't sweat from walking to work but I would sweat if I ran. My heartrate doesn't go up a lot from riding at a leisurly pace. When the weather is hot and humid i just ride slower. I am Dutch so I'm riding a Dutch bike (upright). I live in a relatively flat area but my ride to work is a bit uphill. My parent lives in the hills, right on top of the hill, and I sweat when I ride a bike there, but they don't. Their legs are strong, they are used to it.

I only wear pencil skirts when I walk to work. There's no visible wear on my skirts but the fabric of my dresses/skirts does veel softer in the places where it touches the saddle so I guess that counts as wear. But they don't wear out like jeans do.

honeybbq

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Re: Cycling is great and all, but what do you do about your pants?
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2021, 02:59:03 PM »
I have no idea how people commute to work in regular clothes and not get sweaty? Are you all mutants? I wore gym clothes and still sweated. If I work work clothes they’d be soaked and I’d be self-conscious all day. Fortunately we had showers at work. Oh, if you’re not sweating cause you have an ebike, get a scooter/moped instead, cheap and quick and you never sweat.

This. I still shower at work and change when I bike commute. I am sweaty and gross and need 100% change including undies (it is a hilly commute for me).