Making the switch to bibs from regular shorts can be a big decision, especially for women cyclists who are faced with the 'what will I do when nature calls' dilemma. No one wants to shed layers of clothing in the middle of a ride just to relieve themselves, and the prospect of removing a jersey and other layers such as a jacket or vest in what might turn out to be a neglected, roadside porta-potty would make anyone shudder.
Thankfully, there is an option that makes everything easier: THE HALTER BIB SHORT.
Before we get into the mechanics of how a Halter Bib works, let's recap why bib shorts offer a far superior experience and are worn by so many people.
Bib shorts are not just regular shorts with suspenders added. That is, however, how they got their start. Racers would yank out the drawstrings and use old-fashioned clip-on suspenders to hold their shorts in place instead. Today, the suspenders are integrated into the short, are not removable, and are designed using Lycra or mesh to be lightweight, breathable and easy on your shoulders.
Since there’s no waistband with bib shorts, there’s also no drawstring or itchy, uncomfortable elastic cutting into your abdomen. This means you'll be less likely to feel as if your blood flow and oxygen intake is being restricted in your riding position. Instead, you’ll feel more productive in the saddle, especially over long distances and steep climbs. Another drawback to the traditional waistband is they collect and retain moisture, which increases the potential for chafing, rashes and the potential for lasting discomfort.
Traditional cycling shorts will slip down over time, and that means the chamois, or pad, will shift as well. Keeping the chamois in place will ensure there is less potential for chafing or saddle sores in those areas where no one wants those things. Bib shorts are designed to guarantees the chamois stays perfectly in place.
While one might assume the straps would become uncomfortable or annoying as the miles tick by, that fact of the matter is because of their construction with lightweight, breathable mesh or stretchy Lycra, the straps virtually disappear. They comfortably hold the bib and chamois in place without creating pressure or binding points anywhere on the body.
We've all been on a ride where the person in front of you inadvertently ends up showing off a little too much skin; their jersey has ridden up, and their shorts have slid down. Because of the additional fabric that comfortably encases the torso, there is no way you'll end up with the dreaded “plumber’s crack.”
Stopping when you have to take a nature break is always going to be much more problematic for female cyclists, which is admittedly made far more challenging when wearing bib shorts. Getting down to business would mean removing an outer layer (if worn), followed by removing the jersey just to get at the straps so one can pull their shorts down.
However, with the Halter Bib, there's one single neck strap. All one needs to do to get their shorts down is unzip the jersey and slip the halter strap over the head. There's no need whatsoever to remove any clothing.
Hopefully, now that we've removed the obstacle of the bathroom challenge, you'll give bib shorts a try. I'm sure you'll love how truly comfortable they are, even for short rides.
Tony Kelsey has over 20 years marketing experience, previously serving as global vice president of creative for an international, $1B IT solutions consultancy. Although a self-proclaimed “mediocre” racer in high school, his intense passion for cycling and bicycles in general has never waned. Today he is VP of marketing at Pactimo and frequently writes about cycling as a sport and hobby. @tonykelsey
Pactimo is a Colorado company known for quality, reliability and unsurpassed customer service. Since 2003, we’ve shipped 2 million+ garments to Olympians, national champions, teams, clubs and individual cyclists around the globe. We hope you feel the inspiration of Colorado and our passion for cycling in everything we do.
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