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Riding fixed gear bikes is typically more casual than the people that ride road bikes. Many fixed gear riders wear street clothes when they ride because they use their bike as a commuter. However, even if you want to look more casual, it may be worth wearing either a cycling bib or cycling shorts underneath your street clothes.
The seats on a bike can get pretty uncomfortable on long rides and you can start to develop calluses in areas that aren’t very comfortable.
Now, I know not every person riding a fixie wants to suit up in full spandex, but there’s a reason why cyclists wear those spandex suits or at least a set of spandex pants. The pants have padding that is positioned with the placement of the seat in mind.
So, having these spandex pants saves your butt from unwanted discomfort. Having these padded pants will allow you to ride longer distances with limited or no discomfort depending on how good the cycling clothes and your seat are.
Cycling is an expensive hobby and it’s one of those hobbies where typically the more you pay the better quality you’re getting. This isn’t the case with some sports. Some sports prices are just higher because of the brand recognition but from the cycling clothes, items, and accessories I’ve tried, the more I paid the better the quality of the product I received.
Cheap Cycling Pants vs Nice Cycling Bibs
For example, when I first got into cycling, I bought a $20 pair of padded cycling shorts and a $30 pair thinking that paying more than a $100 for a nice pair from a leading brand wouldn’t make a difference. Since I was new and didn’t know what good cycling pants felt like, I thought they were fine. I still had discomfort on my rides but I figured you had to have some discomfort from how the seats were shaped.
As I got more into cycling I decided to fork over the money for a nice cycling bib, these can cost up to a few hundred dollars and I hate to say it, but they were worth every penny. Before I was going on 20-mile rides with discomfort for most of the ride, just not as bad as without them. With the new cycling bib that I got, I had pretty much no discomfort on 50+ mile rides.
The padding that was in the cycling bib was 10x better than the ones that I got for cheap off of Amazon. After that, I started looking more into what the best cycling products were to make my rides as comfortable as possible. When I just had the cycling shorts, I wore street clothes over them. Now, I’m that guy that wears full spandex. I know not everyone wants to go in full spandex, but you should at least invest in a nice cycling bib to wear under your clothes so you can have a comfortable ride.
We talked about the pants/the cycling bib, which is the overalls or singlet-looking thing that cyclists wear, but what about the shirts that cyclists wear.
Most people know that the first reason cyclists wear the bib and jersey is because having tight-fitting clothes cuts down on wind resistance but the part that I didn’t know that kind of got me to start wearing the cycling kits is that the jerseys have pockets on the back that won’t drop anything while you’re riding.
When I first started riding, I would carry a bag or backpack, after a while I realized this was hurting my back. So, I transitioned into wearing a fanny pack. The fanny pack was a great option and I was actually pretty happy with the comfort level.
When I tried riding with a cycling jersey and keeping the necessities in the back pocket, I fell in love, it was so much better than carrying a fanny pack or a backpack. So, that’s the main reason I transitioned into riding in a cycling kit.
If you look at the picture below, you can see the 3 pockets near the bottom of the back of the jersey. These pockets are positioned so they won’t get in your way and nothing will fall out while you’re riding, they’re great.
It’s definitely not necessary for you to get dressed in all spandex for your rides, but there are reasons why cyclists wear what they wear. You definitely want to at least have padded cycling pants if not a cycling bib for long rides.
Overall, it will make your ride 10x more comfortable and painless. I personally never thought I’d be riding in a full cycling outfit when I started riding but as you get more into the cycling community, doing group rides, doing Strava challenges, and just doing longer rides, you realize that there’s a reason cyclists wear those outfits even if they aren’t trying to race the Tour De France.