Showing posts with label spandex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spandex. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spandex Is Great, Thanks.

I have written about spandex / lycra before on this blog, noting how crabby people some seem to get about it. Spandex just seems to be a magnet for comment and unless you are super fit and good looking, some measure of derision.
This, combined with a desire to look more normal off the bike (like at a restaurant or something) led to my purchase of baggy cycling shorts offering chamois liners. The best of both worlds, right? In most cases so far, yes. Most cases. The ones that don't involve crazy stupid mental hot weather like that being experienced by many right now.
In this kind of weather the chance of me "layering" below the waist is zero. Spandex/lycra cycling shorts allow the breeze to cool you as you ride, unlike just about any other garment I can think of other than a Speedo! Take that visual and put it in your special mind vault now, before it burns, and put spandex cycling shorts in its place. They're not so bad now, are they?
Thank God for my good old spandex shorts. They are making the commute bearable rather than just plain psycho.
Yer Pal,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baggy (MTB) Bike Shorts Review - Pearl Izumi Canyon vs. Zoic Black Market

Opening note: I bought these shorts with my own money; they were not provided to me by their makers nor do I have any financial arrangements with them, so rest assured this is an unbiased review.
Over the past year or so I've developed a desire to look a little more normal (less spandexy) both on the bike and when I stop somewhere like a bar patio or a grocery store. The click-clack of bike shoes is bad enough without showing off my awesome butt, y'know? I don't have lots of spare cash sloshing around, despite what my highborn-grey pallor may have led you to believe, so I went on Amazon and started looking for reasonably priced baggy bike shorts that still offered me the comfort of a chamois liner.
The two shorts I decided to try were the "Pearl Izumi Canyon" and the "Zoic Black Market with RPL liner", largely because they weren't expensive compared to many others. When I bought them, the Zoic was $54 and the Pearl Izumis were $47. I see that right now the prices (at least on Amazon) aren't as good. I got lucky, I guess...


Pearl Izumi Canyon      Zoic Black Market

The Amazon links above have better pictures of the features of these shorts.  I also happened to buy them in the same colours.

A note on sizing: I am 5'10" (11 on a tall day), over 200 lbs and have a 36" waist. Based on what other purchasers had written, I bought in size L for the Izumis and XL in the Zoics. Both pairs fit me well. I had better not gain any weight if I want keep wearing the Izumis, but that is cool with me; it's not really my plan to gain any more.
Both of these shorts included an outer pair of "normal" looking shorts and a liner with chamois that attached to them with loops and "snap straps"; short bits of fabric with snaps on the end that attached to elastic loops sewn onto the liners. With both pairs, these attaching bits were way more trouble than they were worth. I stopped trying to use them right away, opting to just wear the liners unattached to the shorts.
In both cases the shorts were cut for cycling, with a little stretchiness and a shortish inseam than kept them from getting snagged on the nose of the bike saddle and stuff like that. On the bike, the Pearl Izumis and the Zoic both sat nicely on my legs and didn't balloon out catching wind or anything like that. The Zoics were shorter and rode a little higher, threatening to but never revealing the edge of the liner, while the Izumis were a little longer and hugged my legs a little more, without ever threatening to reveal my chamois little secret.

The Baggy Parts:
Both pairs of shorts featured a smallish pocket behind the right knee. When I first used that pocket for a set of keys or a cell phone, it felt totally annoying while standing and I wondered what the hell the makers were thinking. On the bike however, I figured out that the little pocket was perfect, tucking a little something under your leg in the least annoying spot for pedaling.
The Zoic shorts closed at the waist with a velcro tab and included a snazzy black belt that closed with a plastic snap buckle. Although I thought the belt kind of lame at first, it did end up helping control things at my waistline, since the shorts had an elasticized back. Around the waist, the Zoic shorts felt a little sloppier than the Izumis, which had a snap at the waist and adjusters inside the waistband like you might find in children's clothes, which seemed pretty smart to me.
The Zoic shorts felt heavier and warmer, mostly because they had both zippered and regular pockets all over the place, which was great when off the bike but added layers of fabric. The Izumis, however, had just one small pocket, behind the knee as mentioned previously, and felt more natural/purpose built while riding. Trouble was, once off the bike there weren't any useful pockets for carrying your stuff!

The Chamois/Liner Parts:

I am a little reluctant to review any chamois, since I can't imagine a more personal kind of choice; what one person likes another may hate. That said, I should really say something, so here goes:

The liners for both pairs of shorts were not like "real" compression style bike shorts, but like slightly snug stretchy boxers with a chamois sewn in. The "RPL liner" provided by the Zoic shorts let me down in the chamois department. The chamois was almost too substantial and didn't conform to my body very well, seeming to want to keep its own shape rather than be flexible. This made it feel kind of diaper-ish and like the back edge of the chamois was visible under the outer shorts (and it was, a little) when standing around off the bike.

The Izumi liner, on the other hand, was really good and felt comfortable both on and off the bike. I've never really liked sitting around in bike shorts for too long, but if it was required I would want to do it with this chamois. My only problem with the Pearl Izsumi chamois is that they market it as a "3D" chamois and have "3D" texture-printed (is that a thing?) on it. I have gone on rants about 3D and marketing before. This chamois is definitely less flat with clearly defined zones or pads or whatever with deepish channels between them, making it more "3D" than many others, so I can almost see the rationale. HOWEVER: The expression "3D" and anything crotchally related should just not happen. That is all. Let's move on.

Summary: The Zoic Black Market shorts are more useful off the bike with many more pockets. The liner, however, was disappointing compared to the Pearl Izumi's. I often wear the shorts now with the Izumi liner or a pair of good old spandex bike shorts underneath. The Pearl Izumi Canyon shorts really perform well on the bike, being a little longer and little cooler and also feature really good liner and chamois. However, the lack of any usable off-bike pockets makes them less flexible on those rides where you're stopping someplace for a while.

Verdict: I like both pairs and wear them both all the time. The proof is in the choosing, though. If both these pairs are clean I reach for the Pearl Izumi Canyon shorts  9 times out of 10, preferring on-bike performance over off-bike practicality.

These are the first and only pairs of baggy cycling shorts I have ever owned. Despite being slightly warmer in hot weather, I am pleased to have made the change from sporting the full-on tight spandex because I feel more comfortable with my day-to-day appearance. Have any of you got a recommend for a pair of baggies that have been really great? Let me know in the comments and I'll post links to 'em! 
Yer Less Spandexy Pal,

PS - Steve A commented that he likes the REI ones except that he finds the front pockets a little small compared to real cargo shorts. Here are some links: 

Velocodger commented too and seems to really like his Dakine shorts and liners (I think the shorts include a liner with chamois, but linked to both):

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spandex / Lycra Cycling Apparel - Bring On the Hate

"why all the hate. At least the dude is going green. The funny thing is after many trips to Europe you see tons of bicycle commuters but none of them wear faggoty spandex."

- SuperSexyBoiGod , commenting on the Spandex Commuter vs. Electric Bike video (comment on that I used in an episode of Encounters With Rantwick.

I didn't respond to that one. I was too hurt deep inside to do so, having learned that I had been hateful without knowing it and was also "faggoty". I just crawled under the blankets and wept for a while.

"You are slow despite your best efforts to squeeze your plump body into spandex. This is something no one of your build or stature should ever try to do. The tight clothes aren't going to reduce drag...they're only displaying things to the world that no man, or woman should ever display... Clothing is comfortable but don't go out looking like Lance Armstrong unless you can pull it off."

- Dave, commenting on my How's My Driving sign.

These comments I did respond to, because that was the point of the sign. Click the link to see the whole conversation.

Thanks to comments like these aimed at me and many others on the Internet, I have come to realize that for many people, it isn't the cyclist that brings forth their ire, but rather the spandex he or she is wearing. They seem to hate it even more if you're wearing that stuff and you're not in tip-top shape, and god help you if you are (gasp) overweight. Apparently overweight people like myself have no right to wear it. I know that that most people commute in something other than the tight stuff. For myself, I find a pair of real cycling shorts with a chamois and everything the most comfortable, so that's what I wear. Here is a picture of my faggoty butt:

The thing is, many people also seem to find this pretentious somehow. Out come the "Lance wannabe" slurs and all that stuff without any provocation. I'm riding a bike with fenders and panniers, but apparently I am a Lance wannabe... I can't imagine how often roadies in full racing kit must hear (or read) that expression.

I guess that is one of many nice things about cycling in colder weather. My cold weather cycling pants are snug, but not in the same way as cycling shorts. Besides, in the cold and snow people are less likely to see me and think "look at this fatass Lance wannabe ****ole", they think instead, "look at this insane freak!" Much better.

Are we still tight? I hope so. Yer Pal,


PS - Before I decided to just use my own butt in this post, I tried to google up an image of a fat behind in spandex. I came across many of those images that say "FAIL" on them. I really dislike this whole "FAIL" thing. I mean, who do these people think they are, sitting in judgement "Failing" people they don't know in situations they know nothing about? Who's the bigger failure, people who get caught doing something foolish or looking silly, or people who sit around being nasty to strangers (or worse, "friends") on the Internet for fun?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spandex, Singing Fruit, Loaded, Leather, Moonroof

I discovered (or remembered) some stuff on youtube that I wanted to share. It all started with my last post. The youtube video for that one was entitled Spandex Commuter VS Electric Bike. Well, you know how youtube links to "related" videos you can look at after the one you chose to see? Well thanks to "Spandex" being in my title, I looked at "Mr Scruff - Spandex Man" after playing my video:

OK, not a lot to that one, I know. But after playing it, there was a link to this other "Mr Scruff" related item that I liked very much:

There were tons of "Mr Scruff" videos, from all kinds of different "authors". Turns out Mr Scruff is a prolific British DJ and artist. The singing fruit Mr Scruff video made me think about youtube and how much I like music at the same time, which resulted in my looking for some video of Don Ross, a mind-blowing guitarist that I had the great pleasure of seeing live about 5 months ago. The following will hold almost no interest for some of my readers. For those who play the guitar, however, it has the same kind of effect on them as that Danny MacAskill video has on cyclists.

It is insane that the only guitar you are hearing in that piece is his. Just one. Gah. Don Ross doesn't look like that any more, by the way. Most of that hair is gone. On stage he said young youtube commenters were telling him he looked like Hagrid from Harry Potter, so he thought it was time for a new look.

Anyway, I thought I would share, because this blog is at least in part a method of sharing stuff that most of my everyday local friends may not find interesting. There's always a like-minded freak who'll agree with me on the good old Internet. Not that you are a freak. I mean all the other freaks that come here. Not that everybody who comes here is a freak... I love that people come here to read my stuff. Even those freaks, the ones that aren't you.

Keep it Freaky,


PS - In the interest of full disclosure, yes, I did watch that other spandex video of the woman in the green jump suit, and the one with the bobsledder splitting her spandex pants. Sometimes youtube is like a car crash... I know I shouldn't look, but I cannot tear my eyes away. We shall not speak of these things again.