Hey, what’s with the cargo shorts on the road bike?

A Seattle blog post that I’d read just a few days earlier must have been on my mind. Maybe that explains my inexplicable behavior on a Madison cycling weekend with friends and family.

Serious cycling legs

Image by richardmasoner via Flickr

In that post, Josh Cohen said most cycling magazines “are dedicated to racing and the latest, greatest equipment—perpetuating the false notion that you need a race bike, cycling shoes, and a full-spandex kit every time you ride.”

Not having read most cycling magazines, I can’t say if he’s accurate about that or not, but he raised some good points about cycling “culture.”

I didn’t make a conscious decision to wear a T-shirt and plain old shorts on a couple of rides last week, and on my road bike of all things. I really didn’t think much about it at all until one of my friends asked me why I was dressed that way.

I shrugged and said something like, “Seemed like the thing to do.”

She was concerned enough about my odd behavior to ask Mrs. Smith about it again later.

Not to make too much of this, but I was a little bit amused. Yes, on most previous rides I’ve worn the “spandex” because the specialized cycling stuff is especially comfortable for spending a couple of hours or more in the saddle.

If “cyclist” somehow has come to mean, however, that you wear “full-spandex kit” and so on every time you ride, maybe we should work on redefining the term. To me, it doesn’t really matter what you wear, especially if you are simply a person who rides a bicycle.

What I really like about the cargo shorts, by the way, is having all those pockets for stuff I carry around. You can even wear them over those padded cycling shorts, too.

This is not all that complicated. Just get out and ride.

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3 Responses to “Hey, what’s with the cargo shorts on the road bike?”


  1. 1 martinsj2 June 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Great post. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. 2 sprawlgeek September 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I agree as well. I think that the challenge is cost and understanding. As a newbie, I rode for the better part of the first six months without a chamois (riding an hour a day). Then I picked up a pair of baggy biking shorts. Then this spring, I kicked out for a top line pair of Pearl iZUMi pro cycling shorts. What a difference! I had no idea, I am very addicted to them now. . If I am just going out biking with my kids its loose shorts and pockets, if it is just me and the wind, I gotta have some good cycling shorts. It is hard at times, to sort out the “culture” from what works.


  1. 1 Jill and Eric Penne » Blog Archive » Hey, what’s with the cargo shorts on the road bike? Trackback on June 6, 2010 at 11:21 am
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