A mountain biker’s liberation from Lycra | AspenTimes.com

A mountain biker’s liberation from Lycra


There’s nothing worse than taking a break on a bicycle ride and bellying up to a bar while clad in skintight Lycra.Sure, other cyclists aren’t phased (assuming you don’t have unsightly bulges), but to the rest of the world, you’re a freak.

I usually don’t go bar-hopping on my bike, but I’ve been known to stop at a watering hole in Carbondale or Basalt to celebrate a good ride. I’ve never really gotten used to mingling in bike shorts. Even at a gym, walking around in tight Lycra after a spinning class somehow seems wrong.Fortunately, a company called Novara has liberated me from Lycra, at least partially. They make shorts that have a built-in bicycle short, with thick, cushy padding to protect all the right places. The bike short is then sewn into a regular pair of shorts.The Novara Exposure II Mountain Bike Double Shorts aren’t a revelation – similar products have been around for years. I just didn’t give them a whirl until this season.They are great for the gym. They are functional for spinning class, yet fashionable enough to wear while working out with weights (and without feeling like you’re letting everything hang out). The nylon outer short takes abuse without ripping or scuffing; the inner short has moisture-wicking polyester.

The Novara also passed an important test on my first bona fide mountain-bike ride of the year in Fruita recently. I was particularly pleased that they didn’t slide on the seat when bracing on a steep downhill.My only beef was that, at times, as I was pedaling harder for longer periods, I felt like I had too much damn material. It wasn’t exactly the feel of a wedgy, where your underwear migrates to unwelcome locales. It felt more like I had plumber’s butt; I found myself wanting to pull up the inner bike short part of the system. But, hey, I got used to it.The Novaras seem to be taboo on a road-bike ride, however. Roadies seem stuck with Lycra, I guess, and who am I to buck a function and fashion trend? Perhaps roadies are afraid the extra material would flap in the wind and slow them down.So I guess when I’m on my road bike, which is the majority of my riding time at this point in the season, I’ll have to avoid bars and other public places or wear my Lycra and be comfortable with who I am.

The Novara Exposure II Mountain Bike Double Shorts and similar products are available at fine cycling shops and sporting goods stores throughout the valley. The Novaras retail for $55.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com

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