Cycling shorts

So, I desperately need a new pair of cycling shorts. I learned this inconvenient fact during the 200km Moonlight Wander on Saturday night. I bought both my current pairs in August 2011 and, while they are not yet see-through, they are no longer providing much in the way of padding.

Now, usually, buying cycling shorts is probably a simple process. You go online (yes, sorry, I am an online shopper), read some reviews, select a male or female pair according to your gender and order a pair in your size.

However, as a transgender man who’s chosen not to have certain surgeries, I don’t know whether male cycling shorts are going to be my best option. The two pairs I currently have are male shorts. I am starting to wonder whether the padding is less suited to my body than to that of a biological man. Now, I’ve not bought women’s wear since I transitioned back in 1998 so buying women’s cycling shorts just doesn’t feel right somehow. But if I’m going to survive these 200+km rides (I want to do a 600km Audax ride later in the year), I am going to need correctly fitted shorts.

So I’m after some advice from those who cycle:

  1. What cycling shorts do you wear? And would they hold up to 10-20 hours in the saddle on an Audax road cycle?
  2. Do you think men’s and women’s cycling shorts will have different padding?
  3. Would you put your comfort before vanity and buy a pair of women’s cycling shorts if you were a transgender man?
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5 responses to “Cycling shorts

  1. Andrew, as a bio-woman, I sometimes am faced with wearing mens cycling shorts (team kit, etc) and I am here to say that they are different. The shape of the padding is different. But the weird thing is, I don’t find it to be as big of a deal as the texture of the fabric that touches my skin. At the end of the day, even for really long rides, I find I like tri shorts, with no padding and a soft chamois over everything else. Mostly I wanted to say that vanity is a poor criteria for choosing sporting gear (unless your bits are hanging out, then it’s a social issue ;)). Who cares what sex you are? I prefer some of my “mens” cycling shorts to my “women’s” but I’ll wear the women’s gear if it suits the ride (I have a pair of bib shorts with a flap that I like to wear for long rides because it makes going potty sooooo much easier). But the dude shorts work better sometimes too, so…I guess the way I look at it is less the sex of the intended wearer, and more, my needs. And after being able to go potty, my needs, at this point in my life, are mostly about comfort. Let us know what you decide. Great post and question, hope you find an answer for you…

    • Thanks for the feedback. Yes, comfort has to come before vanity. Perhaps that wasn’t the correct word for me to use; it’s more psychological having to buy women’s clothes when I already feel some anxiety about not having bits and knowing women’s knicks will make it more obvious *blushes at what is obviously actually vanity 😉 *.

      I definitely need padding. I don’t think the shorts I have at the moment have the padding in the right spots for my body so am pleased to hear that there is a difference in shape because then there’s hope for me yet if I try women’s shorts. Still gathering intel from the lovely blog readers 🙂

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I’m a bit fernickety about cycling shorts. I used to think more padding was better. Then I had so much trouble finding a saddle to suit. Now I am realising that sometimes it wasn’t my saddle that was the issue, but the shorts (even some really expensive ones!). Lots of padding scrunching up in the wrong places causing problems. And that was with women’s specific shorts.

    Like saddles, probably it is just about finding the right ones for you. Since most are plain black, will it be obvious when you’re wearing them whether they’re male or female?

    For what it’s worth, these are my favourites (I also use the 3/4 lengths for our cooler climes 🙂 ). The pad is not too thick, and it is made of a really soft material that is not at all synthetic.
    http://www.corinnedennis.co.uk/shorts/ladies-cotton-lycra-cycle-shorts.html
    And the men’s
    http://www.corinnedennis.co.uk/shorts/mens-cotton-lycra-cycling-shorts.html
    And they also do versions with extra padding, which wouldn’t suit me.
    (they do do overseas delivery).

    I use with a cutaway saddle.

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