The Chainlink

Embracing your inner roadie on the commute - or, saying goodbye to baggy shorts

Okay, so ever since I started cycling seriously over 25 years ago I've always been a bike shorts and jersey kinda guy whether it was riding my road bike or bombing some singletrack on my mountain bike. Last year when I got heavier into commuting to work, I wanted quicker access to my keys and cell phone so I started wearing baggy shorts with attached liners or some with detachable liners, mainly for the benefit of the side cargo pockets. Another benefit was being able to walk into a store without showing off my junk to everyone as is pretty much the case when you're wearing bike shorts. My wife claims I have really nice legs so she was dismayed to see the baggy shorts phase of my cycling career. Now, after having biked with baggies for nearly 10 months, I'm ready to throw in the towel... err baggies. I have yet to find a pair of baggy shorts that are truly comfortable and where anything put in the pockets doesn't cause some occasional discomfort or distraction. I'm going back to my beloved 8 panel spandex/lycra shorts, and my colorful jerseys. In short, I shall embrace my inner roadie! So, anyone else wander this same convoluted path in selecting their best cycle-commute attire? For the record, I can always carry a pair of baggy shorts in a pannier if I'm going to be lounging around off the bike in polite non-cycling society for any length of time.

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I actually prefer baggies, but I still have the same problem. I hate stuff in my pockets.I go old-school and have a triangle shaped zipper pouch that holds wallet, keys and phone and detaches easily. I have a friend that rigs a large waterbottle for the same purpose.

Trek 2100 road bike here with selle italia..  crashed with another rider, came out of it OK, but my seat was damaged and I had to walk barefoot for considerable distance.  I have now found an excellent shoe with recessed cleats.

My commute is 15 miles one way door to door, mostly lakefront path

I had a great pair of Nema's years ago that I wore until they disintegrated.  Alas, On the Route stopped carrying them and they don't seem to be carried in Chicago shops at all any more.

The Commuter jeans do have a gusseted crotch but they also, unnecessarily, have a seam running through the middle of the gusseted area. Still comfy but NEVER dry them in a dryer, they will look like jeggings after! I find Swrve to be more comfortable but the dye is not as durable as the Commuter jeans. The seat of Swrve jeans shows wear from the saddle but the Commuters do not.

Swrve's WWR pants are the most comfortable pants I've worn while riding, summer or winter. (No, I am not an employee or invested in the company :) )

Jim S said:

I have yet to try on the levi commuter jeans, but the fact that there is no mention of a seamless, gusseted crotch keeps me away. Every so often I'll commute my almost 10 mile ride home wearing jeans. Usually by mile 7 or so, I hate myself and wonder why I often make such bad decisions.

I dried my commuter jeans in the dryer once, and they look fine. Not sure what you mean.

Eric Roach said:

The Commuter jeans do have a gusseted crotch but they also, unnecessarily, have a seam running through the middle of the gusseted area. Still comfy but NEVER dry them in a dryer, they will look like jeggings after! I find Swrve to be more comfortable but the dye is not as durable as the Commuter jeans. The seat of Swrve jeans shows wear from the saddle but the Commuters do not.

Swrve's WWR pants are the most comfortable pants I've worn while riding, summer or winter. (No, I am not an employee or invested in the company :) )

Jim S said:

I have yet to try on the levi commuter jeans, but the fact that there is no mention of a seamless, gusseted crotch keeps me away. Every so often I'll commute my almost 10 mile ride home wearing jeans. Usually by mile 7 or so, I hate myself and wonder why I often make such bad decisions.

After the first and only timed I dried them they shrunk more than I had hoped, I'm talking jeggings tight. (edit: I should add that I am an average 5'9" 165lbs.)They were still comfortable just noticeably tighter after they were dried. Tighter around the thighs and calves, that is. Now I just hang dry them after the occasional wash, which occurred last night on my way home. :) I for one welcome the fall rain showers!


Adam Herstein said:
I dried my commuter jeans in the dryer once, and they look fine. Not sure what you mean.

Eric Roach said:

The Commuter jeans do have a gusseted crotch but they also, unnecessarily, have a seam running through the middle of the gusseted area. Still comfy but NEVER dry them in a dryer, they will look like jeggings after! I find Swrve to be more comfortable but the dye is not as durable as the Commuter jeans. The seat of Swrve jeans shows wear from the saddle but the Commuters do not.

Swrve's WWR pants are the most comfortable pants I've worn while riding, summer or winter. (No, I am not an employee or invested in the company :) )

Jim S said:

I have yet to try on the levi commuter jeans, but the fact that there is no mention of a seamless, gusseted crotch keeps me away. Every so often I'll commute my almost 10 mile ride home wearing jeans. Usually by mile 7 or so, I hate myself and wonder why I often make such bad decisions.

Might as well have started out with cycling shorts. :D

Eric Roach said:

After the first and only timed I dried them they shrunk more than I had hoped, I'm talking jeggings tight.

I find the bike shorts and jersey are much more comfortable, but I often carry a pair of cargo shorts that I pull over them.  Somehow being in a group all geared up at the coffee shop is okay.  When your the only dude there sipping an espresso and reading the paper in bike gear, it seems weird.

Cycling jorts! Quick, somebody trademark this for The Chainlink!

Skip Montanaro said:

Might as well have started out with cycling shorts. :D

Eric Roach said:

After the first and only timed I dried them they shrunk more than I had hoped, I'm talking jeggings tight.

Outlier 4season OGs

Gotcha. Mine didn't seem like they shrunk, but I will certainly now take precautions in the future. The care tag does say to wash as infrequently as possible.

Eric Roach said:
After the first and only timed I dried them they shrunk more than I had hoped, I'm talking jeggings tight. (edit: I should add that I am an average 5'9" 165lbs.)They were still comfortable just noticeably tighter after they were dried. Tighter around the thighs and calves, that is. Now I just hang dry them after the occasional wash, which occurred last night on my way home. :) I for one welcome the fall rain showers!


Adam Herstein said:
I dried my commuter jeans in the dryer once, and they look fine. Not sure what you mean.

Eric Roach said:

The Commuter jeans do have a gusseted crotch but they also, unnecessarily, have a seam running through the middle of the gusseted area. Still comfy but NEVER dry them in a dryer, they will look like jeggings after! I find Swrve to be more comfortable but the dye is not as durable as the Commuter jeans. The seat of Swrve jeans shows wear from the saddle but the Commuters do not.

Swrve's WWR pants are the most comfortable pants I've worn while riding, summer or winter. (No, I am not an employee or invested in the company :) )

Jim S said:

I have yet to try on the levi commuter jeans, but the fact that there is no mention of a seamless, gusseted crotch keeps me away. Every so often I'll commute my almost 10 mile ride home wearing jeans. Usually by mile 7 or so, I hate myself and wonder why I often make such bad decisions.

Before you make the definite switch back...check out the shorts from Kuhl. They're available at REI. Not all of them are nice for distances. I've got a pair of the Renegade Shorts, and they're great. They're a spandex/nylon blend so they're lightweight and dry quick. They don't have true cargo pockets on them...but there are pockets that zip similar to where cargo pockets are(not easy to describe). Those pockets also make good vents when you aren't using them.

http://www.kuhl.com/products/men/shorts/

+1 To Eric Roach about the the swrve WWR pants/knickers/shorts. The swrve WWR are a great fabric too. Those aren't cargo though. Some do have a side cell pocket. I saw them last @ Cycle Smithy.

http://swrve.myshopify.com/collections/knickers-shorts/

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