Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New cycling shorts - Yay!

A couple of days ago I stopped in to Fit to be Tri'd, a multisport store in the heart of downtown Northfield that opened several months ago. Tom Bisel, the owner and a seasoned Triathlete, carries a wide variety of clothing, shoes and gear for triathletes plus offers a lot of support for athletes in the community. He has a great selection of clothing for cyclists and also carries a lot of stuff for women. Since I've been biking every day and only have one pair of cycling shorts, I went in to the shop with the hope of finding another pair of shorts.


Inside of Fit to be Tri'd - Northfield, MN

I have tried on a lot of cycling shorts in the last nine months. The pair I currently wear is the Pearl Izumi Attack Short. I like the shorts, they fit well, have a thick chamois (the padding inside) so my butt doesn't get sore on long rides and I feel like I look decent in them.  I know, who's going to care how I look when I ride? Well, I do. Because if I feel like I look awful I'm actually going to feel awful and who wants to work hard and feel awful at the same time? I mean, you start out way behind that way.


So my Attack Shorts have been serving me well but since I've been riding every day I found I was washing my shorts all the time so I wanted another pair. I have tried on a few other pairs in the last few weeks but haven't found a pair that I really liked. So I stopped in to Fit to be Tri'd to see what they had there. I knew Tom carried Skirt Sports, a brand of fitness wear made by women for women. Curious, I wanted to try some on and see how they fit.


When I first heard of Skirt Sports I was a little taken aback. Skirts and sports? Sounded kind of anti-feminist or something. But I remembered that my friend, Roxy, a cyclist and runner who has done the Iron Girl duathlon twice now (2m run, 22 m bike, 2 m run), said that many women like to wear running and cycling skirts. Some like them for modesty's sake because biking shorts are skin tight so the extra coverage is more comfortable. Some just like they way they look.


Still, Skirt Sports? What's up with that? I went to the Skirt Sports website and surfed around a bit and found that the company doesn't seem anti-feminist, more women-empowering with a bit of sassiness thrown in. Founded in 2004 by a triathlete, Skirt Sports' goal, according to their website, "is to add some extra inspiration, style and fun to your daily workouts and lives through the products we create." I can deal with that. 

So, back in Fit to be Tri'd, I tried on two different brands of cycling shorts a cycling skirt. I found that my favorite of the bunch was the pair of Skirt Sports Hollaback Shorts. They have a wide waistband, cover most of the thigh, have a streamlined pocket on each side, a snazzy hot pink panel in the back and are very comfortable. Plus, my flabby inner thigh bits don't look very bad in them like they do in many other cycling shorts. I was sold on the fit - still the true test of how good they are would come with a ride.

Hollaback Shorts by Skirt Sports. Note handy side pocket. Also note - picture taken from Skirt Sports website and shorts don't quite look like this on me because I am short and don't have an unbelievably flat stomach

Later that same day, I suited up in my new shorts and a jersey and got ready to ride. Carrying a cell phone when I ride is an issue. I like to have my phone with me just in case of emergency but am not about to stick it in a back jersey pocket for fear it will fall out. I also am not that excited about stashing my phone in my bike bag which rides under my seat. I decided to put my iPhone in one of the pockets. I didn't think it would stay in there, my phone stuck out about a half inch, but I took off on my ride anyway and decided to see if it would stay. 

I went on a fairly short ride, about 4 miles, and the shorts fit well. They didn't shift on my waist and the legs stayed in place thanks to the "dotted silicone gripper at leg openings." The chamois is fairly thin (very nice to walk in compared to my Attack Shorts) but I wondered how my butt will feel after a long ride with so little padding. Still, after a four mile ride (and a 5 mile ride in the shorts today) I didn't feel sore at all. I'll have to wear them on a longer ride and see how I feel.

And for my cell phone in the side pocket?  I kept looking down to see if my phone was still in the there and  I tried to push it deeper in the pocket a few times but discovered that it hadn't actually moved. I was surprised it stayed in there but it appears that I can ride with the phone in the pocket. Funny thing is, long after my ride I couldn't find my iPhone. It was still in my pocket. It's comfortable enough in there and stays well enough that I forgot I even had my phone!

And guess what? I got home from my ride two hours ago and am still wearing my Hollaback Shorts. I like them so much I may just wear them downtown to my writing class tomorrow. Well, maybe not.


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