Sunday, April 01, 2007

You get what you pay for - now and again.

My old cycling knicks started to fall apart so I was forced to go out and buy some new ones or face the certainty of indecent exposure charges. So I paid a visit to my least-favourite big city cycling store, because it's close to work and because I enjoy indifferent customer service.

They had two different types of bib knicks in sizes suited to the larger man. The first type I didn't even try one because they had a mesh panel at the base of the spine. Or right at top of the arse crack if you prefer. The salesman described them as a vent. Full points for trying, but I'd describe them as a window. I am not wearing shorts with a crack window. The photo to the right shows the approximate location, if not the actual panel.

I can't for the life of me see why a see-through mesh panel is called for at that particular spot, unless a lot more fruity exhibitionists have taken up cycling than I was aware of. And what marketing genius came up with the idea? In maybe 20 years of cycling I've never thought: "Gee, I wish there was some way of letting some of the high-pressure steam out the back of my shorts." They're lyra for christ's sake, they're 0.0001mm thick, they breathe pretty well.

Anyway, the other pair were nice, and fitted well and despite having lots of writing on them (which I hate), they seemed quite comfortable. The only drawback was the price tag - $180. People who know me can attest that my entire wardrobe isn't worth $180. For that sort of money I'm going to expect a pair of shorts that washes and dries themselves. But given that I had a long ride on this weekend, no shorts and no time to shop around, so the $180 shorts it was.

With high expectations I threw my leg over the bike this morning and cranked out a hilly 130km. And how do the $180 shorts feel? Let me put it this way: it's like spending the day perched in the gentle embrace of Gwyneth Paltrow's cupped hands, after she's used mosturiser (I have no idea whether she's into that sort of thing, but one can only hope.). I rode all day without the slightest hint of chafing, rubbing or pain. Now I'm wondering what the $499 pair of knicks would feel like. Could anything be 2.77 times as good as this?

2,085km so far this year.


kimbofo said...

Very funny post!

A crack window ... or a crackED window? Hehe.

Sounds like the ones you got are pretty darn comfy. Sometimes you do get what you pay for.

I am yet to invest in any kind of padded lycra short, but this post has almost convinced me to change my ways!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the $500 niks have been hand sewn by Tibetan MTN virgins.

The chamois a high tech version of a veal cow - microfibres and foam soaked in the most buttery nano fluids ever devised, then gently applied to the hand stitched lycra using a process involving magnetic forces.

A lycra I might add that was invented in zero gravity by some of NASA's best scientists.

I'll never understand why commuting cyclists don't see the error of their ways and embrace the lycra. It really is better.

Great post Surly!

Yokota Fritz said...

My most comfortable shorts are my Sugoi Evolution shorts but they seem a little sheer for me.

Then on a group ride I was behind a guy wearing the same shorts. I could literally see the hairs in his crack through the shorts. It was somewhat disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't Gwyneth Paltrow's hands be a little bony and uncomfortable?

David Killick said...

Oh Fritz, that sounds awful. I'd read about these shorts somewhere and remembers how some poor person had suffered the same way. I'd just not decent.Crack hair. Dear lord - never in public.

Phil, sometimes blogging drives a man to madness. I'm tempted to buy the $500 shorts, just for the sake of the easy post, but it's a lot of money. One day, perhaps. I just have to know.

Lelak, as for Gwynny's hands, allegedly bony hands, all I can say is this: if she's willing, then so am I. For the sake of science, or course.