One of the most common first purchases for anyone new to cycling is a pair of padded lycra cycling shorts. Modern fabrics wick sweat away and the padding built in provides added comfort on longer rides. Once you get into cycling, you won't want to leave the house for a ride without a pair on!
There are a few types of lycra shorts being, un-padded, padded and bib. The latter have material that goes around the shoulder to prevent the shorts riding down and these are widely recommended as the most comfortable to wear as there is no waist band. Most pro cyclists will wear padded lycra bib shorts for training and competing.
Lycra shorts are still worn by many and start at around £10 in the supermarkets and can go as high as £200 for top end models. The value is in the comfort and the materials. The £10 garment will be made of one piece of lycra so will stretch nicely around some contours of your body but not others. The pad is simply just a pad sewn in. At the higher end The short is made out of many panels of lycra so the fit is comfortable and skin tight all around you. The pad or chamois (not leather for hygiene) is contoured so it doesn't crease, the edges are feathered and materials such as coolmax are used to wick moisture and control heat.
If you don't wish to wear lycra padded shorts, padded baggy shorts are now available and most have the added benefit of useful pockets. Brands like Altura have short shorts and ¾ length shorts in their range for both men and women. The baggy short itself is manufactured in such a way that you don't sit on any stitching or seams whilst in the saddle.
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