Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Cargo Shorts Banned from Cycling

Tammy, Mazie and I went on a bike ride today. Tammy is prone to comment about how great it is to just “ride your bike”. What she means by this is to disregard the crazy gear of cycling — special shorts, shoes, shirt, socks and everything else — and just ride your bike. Street clothes. Normal shoes. You know, like “normal” people do. We were riding to Yum for lunch, about 17 miles round-trip with a long lunch in the middle. So I went with normal shorts like a normal person.


I have no option to not wear my cycling shoes since all of my bikes have clipless pedals (a must!). But I decided to go ahead and just wear my normal shorts and spare the world me in lycra. This was horrible. It’s not just that the cycling shorts have padding that make the saddle more comfortable. It’s that regular shorts are hot. They are baggy and restrict leg movement in odd ways. They bunch up all over. It was absolutely horrible.

I’ll never ride my bike over 2 miles without cycling shorts again. I’ve learned my lesson.


  1. You should check out a pair of hybrid shorts. I have an older model of these: They are great, they are cargo on the outside and bike shorts on the inside. Fashion meets function. :-)

  2. A couple of comments…

    If you own multiple bikes, why not try putting pedals that don’t require special shoes on one of them? One good option, if you’re an SPD user, is one of the pedals that has a standard “platform” on one side and an SPD fixture on the other, like Shimano’s M324 pedal. I have those on a couple of my bikes, and it’s really nice to be able to choose either a pair of cycling shoes (or in my case, cycling sandals) or regular sneakers or Tevas or anything else you want. I find the flexibility to be wonderful.

    Also, while I agree cargo shorts aren’t ideal for riding, there are other shorts that don’t make you look like a bike geek that are comfortable for riding. I like the Jackson and Gibbens touring shorts, myself, but there are other options out there as another reader suggests. Or buy a pair of padded “liner shorts” like Andiamos, and wear them under non-biking shorts. Again, I find it nice to have more options, and to be able to go out on my bike into the world and not have to look like a bike geek. It’s possible to do that and be comfortable, it just takes a little imagination.

  3. My vote… Wear the lycra shorts and throw a pair of, “normal” shorts in the kid carrier. When you reach your destination throw on the normal shorts over the lycra.

    I have a pair of the moutain wanna be lycra ok shorts. They ride the bottom of my cycling gear drawer a lot. The problem I found is there is usually an inside liner that fits perfectly. Usually they are chamois ready which is nice to have that little padding (Your saddle as I recall has essentially none). The outside looks cool and for the bigger guys like me look much better than lycra. However, the outside when you are spinning tend to ride up on you. Ok, no problem you think I will stand up and readjust. Yea, that seems to only make things worse when you go to sit back down they stick to your thighs. Leave moutain shorts for moutain biking.

    Once you go clipless you never go back. Do make it sound like it’s some kind of handy cap.

  4. I agree w/others. You can have a lot of regular-looking (and cool-looking) shorts that aren’t lycra. I bike
    every day of the year and am usually in longer shorts that aren’t lycra. They are cool (temparature) and
    have pockets. I don’t think you should rule out other option so quickly! But whatever works, do it. I’m
    glad you are biking a lot!

    I also am a fan of the Shimano 324 pedal. One side is normal one side is for cleats. Now I need to get back
    to my first mission, which was to try to find a good route to take my sister on a ride…she’s in Chanhassen and
    lives by Lotus Lake…

Comments are closed.

© 2016 thingelstad

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑