Don’t Be An Ass: Just Say No To Bad Lycra

Imagine this, but with white bibs or worn-out Lycra. Not good.

I didn’t think this article would ever need to become reality. I thought we could safely file this one in the “Obviously Not Allowed, Fucktards” bin alongside the Rules for reflectors, kickstands, and recumbents.

But I stand corrected.

I’ve been playing around with clever, subtle ways of phrasing this, looking for the right touch to send the message across. Then, after longer than I care to admit, I came to the realization that we’re talking about not showing your crack to the riders behind you in the pace line. There’s not a lot of room for subtlety in this message.

So here your have it: Don’t wear see-through Lycra. No whites down below, especially on Rule #9 days. A general rule is the darker, the better, and it may not be worn out in any way. Especially not in the butt area. Which is where it wears out first, by the way. Also note that it should be freshly laundered (by hand, if you have any sense at all), because no one wants to spend their time drafting you doing their best not to breathe. That more or less defeats the purpose, you see. And it should all match and look nice. And don’t mix colors distastefully.

There is a story I feel compelled to relate, as a matter of example, for any of you cheap tightwads who don’t want to invest in a new pair of bibs. (They are way better now than they were when you bought those old ones, incidentally, so take the plunge, you won’t regret it. The chamois aren’t even chamois anymore.)

During my tenure racing with the St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club (SPBRC), despite being a habitual solo-trainer, I was pretty good about joining the twice-weekly group rides, which were also always open to the public. On one particular day, a rider clad in primarily neon and fluorescent colors and Oakley Blades toed up to the group and we chatted a bit. Ex-racer, he had been really active in the early 90’s before Life took over and he fell out of the sport. But he was back, getting in shape, and looked to be pretty fit.

Already a Velominatus, I immediately took note of his TVT-built LeMond frame. In fact, it could have been a replica of LeMond’s 1990 Tour-winning machine, were it not for the classic-bend bars (instead of Scott Drop-Ins) and lower-end Campy kit, complete with the Campy-only gleam of the polished aluminum bits.

As we rolled out, it became immediately obvious he had modeled himself completely after LeMan; his back was stretched flat across a long top tube and stem, his black Regal saddle was crammed way back on its rails, and he only shifted if his cadence dropped below 60 rpm.

But he was obviously very skilled – and having a blast feeling the energy in the ride. I imagine it felt great being back in the bunch. Everything about him oozed “experienced racer”; he was always attentive, always getting out of the saddle as he glass-pedaled on his way back from the front of the pace line, looking for the gap in the line where he would fall back in.

There were some issues, however. He was a little too eager to jump in, taking gaps that were really just training-ride-lazy bike lengths for race-day opportunities to fill the line. I was on a lazy day, letting gaps open that I shouldn’t have, but which weren’t invitations to jump in.

Nonetheless, he read the group like he did, and he kept jumping in right in front of me. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if his bib shorts hadn’t been worn out completely right across the area that doctors call the “crackal region”. It was tolerable as long as we were riding on flats or climbing where I could look at his rear wheel or past his shoulder. The worst was when he would get into his tuck on the descents, where I had the choice between risking my life by not staring at his redeye or…staring at his redeye.

If it were possible to poke out my mind’s eye, I would. But I can’t. So, I implore you, please, please, wear only freshly laundered kit when riding in a group, and never, ever, wear see-through Lycra.

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87 Replies to “Don’t Be An Ass: Just Say No To Bad Lycra”

  1. …and how. in a crit race this past sunday, i was in line behind some dood who didn’t wear bib shorts, but just tight shorts, thus exhibiting an excessively inappropriate sliver of skin between his butt and lower back. yuck. i know we’re all human, but i don’t want to see that shit while i’m racing. gah.

  2. Colored bibs make it that much weirder.

    Thank you, Frank, for bringing ass-crack to my lunch table. I’m not very hungry anymore.

  3. Seriously, this. You spent HOW much on your fancy-pants carbon frame? Do everyone a favor and spend 1/20 of that on a pair or two of new bibs every season. Rotate them and they’ll last longer…

  4. Nice! I like this one, Frank.

    And, best of all, I follow these Rules. No white bibs, I launder all mine by hand (no washing machine – no choice!), and while I do have some blue bibs, they are Assos, so blue in front and black in the rear. Not see through at all, and most importantly, black in the back.

    ^Right on, mcsqueak. I always scratch my head at people who will spend a ton on some stuff, like the bike, but then skimp on something like nice bibs or shoes. Makes no sense to me. And hell yeah to rotation. I have three of the same bibs with the same chamois and just rotate through them.

  5. Ron:
    I always scratch my head at people who will spend a ton on some stuff, like the bike, but then skimp on something like nice bibs or shoes. Makes no sense to me.

    I was talking to a guy the other week who had a nicer ride than me (can’t remember the brand now, but it was pretty decent) but still ran platform pedals (sans toestraps, even) because he was afraid of switching to clipless and “falling over”.

    That was a real head-scratcher for me. If he was afraid of falling while clipped to some pedals, he must be mortified of falling while going down a hill, near cars, etc.

  6. I use my worn out shorts (yes, only recent switch to bibs) as an underlayer for commuting. I hate being on a bike sans some sort of lycra, so I just wear them under whatever commute clothes I happen to be wearing. One pair of shorts is going strong after 14 years!

    How far from peaking do you have to be, though, to have your ass hanging out of your shorts if you choose to wear them?

  7. Rollers/windtrainer for the old bibs, or solo rides at night. Thankfully (I may be wrong) the fashion for white kit seems to be passing, there are fewer punters on the bike in white shorts/championship tops. The Velominatus is seeping into the mainstream

  8. First outdoor ride in two months on Tuesday and my less-than-one-year-old Sugoi bibs ripped along the chamois stitching, essentially creating a Laugh-In style cock trapdoor, allowing my junk to burst out and tell a joke.

    It shed new and unsettling light on Rule V (and my scrotum.)

    The worst part?

    My balls do a wicked Lily Tomlin impression.

  9. A-Merckx. Somewhere on the inter webs there is a very disturbing photo of a team with red bibs on a podium, leaving very little to the imagination. Even if I could find it I am too technologically illiterate to post it. Which is probably A Good Thing.

  10. @Drew
    And dat’s duh twuth. Plplplplplplplth!

    Can you get a warranty replacement from Sugoi? Your story makes a helluva letter to go in the box with the soiled bibs. C.O.D., of course.

  11. @Drew
    I had one pair of Sugoi shorts and they were terrible. They lasted maybe three rides before stiching on the inside of the thigh (why why why?) exploded on a ride. Result: the equivalent of inner thigh road rash, bad bad. Avoid Sugoi, just not good.

  12. I have a charity on facebook called Kits for Kids. I accept unwanted kits and send them to cyclists in need domestically and around the world. This is the time the discarding begins when you hate to be seen in last years’ team kit. I accept only cycling clothes in good or better quality. No one cares about your personal Smithsonian. If you send me your crappy, worn out, busted-zipper shit, you then just spent a lot of money to go in my trash bucket.
    Kits 4 Kids is my charity. It’s not some formal non profit gov’t ruled entity. It’s all mine so don’t expect a tax recp’t for your discarded kits.
    HTFU and if you are really interested write me at peanut1955@juno.com

  13. You just need to keep one of these…

    …full of Campagnolo Crack Spackle in you middle jersey pocket and trowel a little in there as the offender rotates back in the paceline.

  14. Cyclops :

    Drew:
    My balls do a wicked Lily Tomlin impression.

    I just blew snot out of my nose.
    My nutsack looks like Walter Matthau.

    I liked it better when we limited personal disclosures to weight and height.

  15. Before we all start getting too many mental images of each other’s junk, can we stop the “my nut sack looks like……”

    though I can do a pretty good impression of a pelican, complete with fish in gullet, with my bits, side profile of course

  16. WTF is going on around here? I leave you guys alone for a while, and it deteriorates into a giggling mess of weight watching and ball-sack origami. And I’m blaming you Frank; we all know the plumber’s crack is an abomination, but really, do we need to be devoting so much time and thought processes to it? Some things are better left unsaid (and definitely untouched).

  17. I’m starting to get the idea we should privatize this site, or at least this thread, in order to preserve whatever shred of public credibility and dignity we had. I remember a time when teams like Garmin were linking us on their site. I don’t see that happening now.

    BTW, nothing gets me a belly-laughin’ like a good ol batwing. But Lilly Tomlin, Walter Mathau, The Pelican, that’s just wrong.

  18. @Brett, @Marko
    I don’t know why you’re blaming me, it’s all these twisted fucks who are talking about their balls.

    Just as a sidenote, in case either of you are confused on the subject, if you want to write an article that raises the bar, the editor still works the same way it did back in the 70’s when you last wrote one, you lazy sods!

    By the way, @sgt and others were citing Latin and Roman greats over here.

  19. I hate the Bibs that have the little hole in the back just where the crack starts (This is the design of the bibs and I don’t have a photo of them). Have seen a few of those around. Why oh why for Merckx sake would you purposely put a hole in the back of the bibs with a little bit of fly screen so that people could see the start of your Plumbers’).

  20. @Marcus
    Whatever, that was just a simple FYI on how to keep your leggs silky smoove. Has nothing to do with these last two threads we’ve had going here!

    Besides, I think you bought some, didn’t you? You must be enjoying it twice daily – which I assume is how often you shave, like me.

  21. frank:
    @Brett, @Marko
    Just as a sidenote, in case either of you are confused on the subject, if you want to write an article that raises the bar, the editor still works the same way it did back in the 70″²s when you last wrote one, you lazy sods!

    Guffaw! A hit! A palpable hit!

  22. @all

    been loitering around for a while and thought I would add my humble 2c worth. First post here but I thnk it is a timely article written by frank., i.e. it needed to be raised at some stage. If you are serious at all about cycling, or just give a shit about your appearance – try to keep a certain dress standard whilst on the bike.

    I had a similar experience myself just a couple of weeks ago whilst out on the road. Bloke beside me had a nice new carbone Scott, complete with Super Record (compact mind you!?) and all the bells and whistles you would want to go with it.
    At first it was the unshaved legs that caught my eye, but hey, he was willing to take his turn on the front so we’ll excuse that (just!) for the moment. The trouble was that turn on the front became a bit of an eyesore for the rest of the bunch sitting directly behind him. Lacey would be the word to describe the area around aforementioned crack area. Tradesmen’s crack is bad enough but at least I can turn away. The choice isn’t always there when your sitting in a bunch ride.

    As frank pointed out, if you’re gonna spend the $$ on all that carbone, what’s another couple of quid to get a decent kit?

    BTW, I think a few of the boys may have got a bit carried away with their analogies but no harm was meant. Perhaps a litle light hearted relief was the intention.

  23. @frank
    ok back to cycling – the Look 595 had its first race last night. Snagged a second place – $40 prize money. Less the $10 entry fee that is $30 pure profit baby. I only have to do that another 199 times to recoup the $6k I paid for the bike.

  24. il ciclista medio:Bloke beside me had a nice new Carbone Scott, complete with Super Record (compact mind you!?) and all the bells and whistles you would want to go with it.

    Super Record + compact = getting flowers for your mama, and tracking dogshit all across the floor.

  25. I suppose passing him was not an option? Wheel sucker or staring, neither are good accusations ;-)

  26. @Steampunk
    May have to have a listen then.

    I believe the kids nowadays still refer to them as records. I think that it’s even cooler to be buying vinyl for the youngsters then downloading everything. A lot of indie bands are releasing limited edition 7″ records, pressing 300 or so copies. Not cycling related but a bit of trivia.

  27. @il ciclista medio

    BTW, I think a few of the boys may have got a bit carried away with their analogies but no harm was meant

    Respectfully, I disagree. There was plenty of harm meant. Disturbed–the lot of them. Drew, Cyclops, Mightyninja, Marko, and Frank (with his amazing Baxter) gave me a hernia from laughing. Fuckers. Now I have to go to the hospital.

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