What’s with the Funny Shorts?

Why do bikers wear ugly jerseys? from Roadie by Jamie Smith and Jef Mallett

Enjoy this brief excerpt from ROADIE: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer by veteran road race announcer, Jamie Smith, and nationally syndicated Frazz illustrator, Jef Mallett

Why do bikers wear ugly jerseys? from Roadie by Jamie Smith and Jef MallettWhen I first started riding a bike beyond my neighborhood, I wore cutoff blue jeans.

That was a big mistake. I get emotional just thinking about it. You see, blue jeans have a bead of cloth about the size of a marble located in the crotch area where four seams come together. Also found in that general location are body parts I want to protect. Nothing good can come from contact between those parties. After ten miles of those seams wriggling against my crotch, I felt as if . . . oh never mind. It was painful. Let’s just leave it at that.

I wasn’t ready for black Lycra, fearing the ridicule that would surely come with it, so I tried nylon running shorts. But after my first long ride wearing running shorts, I had severe chafing, and my bum hurt for several weeks afterward. There was nothing pleasant about that experience. Quite simply, comfort is the reason for those silly-looking shorts.

Some Roadies might mention the wind resistance factor; you don’t want fabric whipping around like a flag. But the main thing is comfort. Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. A serious rider wants comfort at the three points of contact between him and the bike: feet, hands, and rump. Cycling shorts have a soft chamois pad in the butt. That’s the main point of contact. Many casual bike riders fail to take care of that single contact point and therefore never get past the pain in the arse. As a result, they never fully enjoy riding, and their bike is then banished to a hook in the garage as if it’s the bike’s fault. When people see how tiny a racing saddle actually is, they immediately understand why Roadies put pads in their pants.

Roadie: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer is a light-hearted exploration of the world of road cycling, bike racing, and the people who love it. Good for belly laughs from veteran roadies and perfect for those puzzled by their road cyclist friends, Roadie explains all the curiosities of the sport of cycling so you don’t have to! From shaved legs to Lycra kits to how stage races work, author Jamie Smith and nationally syndicated Frazz illustrator Jef Mallett celebrate cycling and poke fun in equal measure.