Cyclists often become the butt of jokes and put downs over their Lycra jerseys and shorts. Like any other sport there is specialist equipment and clothing, but the difference is road cycling takes place on the public roads. A football uniform complete with shoulder pads would also look peculiar off the playing field, or a scuba diving wet suit and flippers would turn heads if someone dressed like that showed up at your local coffee shop.
So do you need a special outfit to ride a bike? The answer is, no of course not. However, if you start riding 50 miles or more, at the kind of speeds road cyclist do, a tee shirt will flap around in the wind, which becomes distracting and very annoying. A wet tee shirt, soaked with sweat, and flapping around the body is extremely uncomfortable.
Regular shorts or jeans bind and restrict movement of the cyclist’s legs when pedaling at a fast speed, and the seams inside these regular street clothes will rub the cyclists butt and inside of the legs raw.
The materials prevent the build-up of moisture and bacteria in a place you don’t need more moisture and bacteria. Air flows through the synthetic fibers easily.
Different panels of the cycling shorts are made of different materials. Some panels will stretch in all directions, some panels ‘breathe’ better than others, and some panels can squeeze the thighs like compression socks squeeze the calves.
For a male it holds the luggage up very much like an athletic supporter. That would be as in “jock strap” and not “booster club member”.
The best part of the cyclist’s shorts is the chamois! This is like a smooth, slick diaper to add some special padding to protect several tender spots on men and women.
Neanderthal man had only wool cycling shorts with a leather chamois. You could go for a bike ride with snug fitting wool shorts that might itch you crazy, but you’re coming back with loose fitting wool Bermuda shorts that look pretty silly.
So nowadays the cycling short is scientifically designed- butt tested!
The cycling short is padded, cleaner, lighter, dryer, and cooler.