INFrequrently Asked Questions: Things you feel silly asking about or don't even know you should be asking!
One of the biggest barriers to entry into the cycling world -- as with many other subcultures -- has to do with vocabulary. When you make the step from occasionally riding around a bike you inherited or picked up at a garage sale into getting a new bike, buying the cycling wardrobe, and paying attention to your bike's general functionality, there is a veritable dictionary full of new terms to learn. Problem is, many veteran cyclists don't remember what it's like not to know any of that. And forget to explain.
Beyond that, there are many other little things veterans do that are just habit that you would never think about -- or might sit in your house scratching your head wondering about -- when you're getting started. Then there's the whole problem that there are some questions that a lady realllllly doesn't feel like asking the dude at the bike shop about. Catch my drift?
So, we bring you a new blog feature. Meet Gerta Gearhead.
Ann Landers-style, you can submit questions to Gerta. They will be answered under the cloak of anonymity.
I'll get you started...
I'll get you started...
Dear Gerta Gearhead,
I just got my first pair of padded cycling shorts. My friends have told me they make all the difference for long rides, and I'll admit my tush had been getting kind of sore. Once I got over the terrible rubbery leg openings that made my thighs feel like sausages, I left the house and went for a ride. My problem, Gerta, is that when I got home, my panties were all bunched up and sweaty in the most uncomfortable way. Worse yet, I think I may be getting a blister "down there." The horror! Why are my friends so crazy about these shorts? Are they all masochists?
-Chafing in Chadron
Oh dear! Let's start from the top. Padded cycling shorts, also called "shammies," which is slang referring to the chamois pad (which, in the old days, was in fact made from a leather chamois), are meant to be worn directly against your skin. Leave those skivvies at home when you go for a ride. Even though it might seem strange at first, your lady parts will thank you for it! The chamois will wick the sweat away from your body, and if the shorts fit you properly, they will eliminate spots where the fabric might bunch -- those bunches are a great place to get blisters.
Another note: make sure you get out of that shammy as soon as you can after your ride. If you hang out in your sweaty shammy, you run the risk of developing saddle sores, which can form when you let the bacteria flourish instead of hopping in the shower. And honey, you don't want to experience those.
As for your friends, they may, in fact, be masochists. They are cyclists, after all.