Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Man, my butt hurts!  Sometimes, this can be a good thing, like if you’ve done a massive amount of squats or lunges, and you’re feeling that oh-so-desirable burn.  You know, the one that tells you that you’re tonin’ that tush.  This is a different kind of hurt–the kind that comes from biking longish distances without the proper apparel.  All I can say is this: if you haven’t experienced this pain, don’t.  I even have a fair amount of natural padding down there, but it’s not enough to get me through a 17.65-mile bike ride.  Oof.

Yesterday, I went down to Paragon Sports in the hopes of finding at least one pair of shorts that would help get me through these bike rides.  I stopped off first in the running apparel section, where I noticed they had Danskin triathlon stuff.  The prices on their bike triathlon shorts were reasonable, so I picked up two pairs and tried them on.  The first pair seemed inadequately padded.  Now, it’s not as though I hopped on a bike and pedaled a while to figure this out, it just felt that way.  The material also felt strange.  Overall, the shorts felt a little bit loose, although I don’t think I should have gone one size down.  The compression material didn’t feel like it was compressing much of anything.  I have running shorts that are tighter than this, and that feel better.  Except in the bum, of course.  I thought maybe it was just the shorts, so I tried on the second pair, which were more expensive (and therefore, I figured, of a higher quality).  This is where things got to be a bit Goldilocks-esque.  Where the first pair seemed barely padded, these shorts felt like someone had sown a thick pillow into the crotch.  Sorry for the graphic image, but I just feel like that’s the most accurate description I can give.  In the back, the padding sort of stuck out beyond my body.  I’m not sure how to describe it–kind of like I was trying to concel something.  Like a small tail.  The material of these shorts was similar to that of the other pair, which made me feel like there was a huge disequilibrium between the padding and the barely-there (in a bad way) feeling I had on the rest of my lower-half.  In the end, I put both pairs back on their hangers and headed up to the cycling section of the store.  Here, I was overwhelmed by both the selection and the prices.  Hello, sticker shock!  Needless to say, I left the store empty-handed, which is why I am writing today while sitting on a sore bum.

I think maybe the main problem here is that I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for in a pair of shorts.  I would like thicker material, but maybe the thickness of the ones I tried on was standard?  And maybe there’s a difference in material for bike shorts and triathlon shorts?  The shorts I tried on both seemed to be usable for the swim portion of the tri, so maybe that’s why I felt a bit naked?  I’m not sure.  As far as the padding goes, though, I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to stick out like that, and although my observations here are far from scientific, it doesn’t look like it does on the model on the Danskin website.

Any bikers or triathletes out there who care to advise?  I feel a little lost.  Ultimately, I guess the search continues.  Hopefully by the next ride I will either have a new pair of shorts or a healed backside!



  1. I don’t know anything about biking gear but wasn’t there anyone at the store that could help you? I’m surprised that they weren’t all over you, checking to make sure that you were finding the right gear, etc. I mean, isn’t that what they are there for?

  2. Oh man, see . . . this is why I don’t think I can get into triathlons. I can’t even get a handle on running shorts, let alone add in biking and swimming gear! Also, I seriously can’t stop laughing about the “small tail” comment. HA! Okay, this comment has been unproductive and unhelpful enough, so I should probably go ahead and cut it off now. I hope some of our smart triathlon friends have some answers for you!

  3. Oh yes, Irish Cream says it right. Your “small tail” comment and other remarks were hilarious! I still think the staff at the store lost a sale big time!

  4. that 2nd pair of shorts sounds like a winner… i’d love to waddle with a pillow in my crotch!

    i’ve heard good reviews about sugoi’s bike/tri shorts and the “chamois” in them. i’m not much of a biker/tri-er though so no personal experience in that dept.

  5. Tri shorts usually have less padding than bike shorts. Mainly because the padding can be annoying during the swim and run portion of the race. The downside to this is that they are not as comfortable as bike shorts for the bike portion.

    However there are other reasons that can cause the burn. The first thins is that your bike might not be properly fitted. Try adjusting it properly, maybe you have to move your seat forward, or back, or make it higher… Bike fit is a lot more complex than what we usually think. You can try taking your bike to a bike shop and ask for one, however, they are supposed to be expensive. There are also good online resources to do it yourself, but it takes time (I spent 3 hours in front of a mirror doing changes to the bike until it was really comfortable). You shouldn’t feel uncorfotable at all on the bike, and bike fits are supposed to fix all of this. The other reason that can be causing the burn is that your saddle is not right for you. Sorry if this comment comes a bit late, feel free to email me anytime if you think I can help you with some advice.

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