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Do You Really Need Padded Bike Shorts For Mountain Biking?

Do You Really Need Padded Bike Shorts For Mountain Biking?


That number? That's the number of nerve endings in your most precious lady part...

... twice as many as men, FYI.

And if you've ever ridden a bike (which you probably have if you're here) you know from experience, a vulva in a saddle can equal extreme pain.

Long rides can hurt. Hell, short rides can hurt! You know it. I know it.

Queue the padded bike shorts (aka chamois)

Padded bike short are a total game-changer for mountain biking.

If you're a road biker you probably wear them on their own to avoid any wind drag. And if you're a mountain biker you most likely throw a pair of baggy bike shorts on top to protect your skin should you bail, and to fit in with the culture.

But, here's the thing...

As much as I wish I could advocate for the chamois to be the savior of your vulva on all your bike rides, I simply can't.

The truth is, wearing padded bike shorts alone won't fix a painful ride.

To prove this point, I sacrificed my own comfort to test this theory. I wanted to find some answers on the validity of wearing a chamois versus not, so I hit the local Squamish trails with and without padded bike shorts on rides of varying lengths and difficulty.

And what did I learn?

Well, I discovered a chamois is a wonderful addition on any ride, and I highly recommend wearing one. But wearing padded bike shorts alone isn't enough.

I found the combo of a comfortable bike seat -- at the right angle -- and a chamois is the BEST way to not feel like your lady bits have been exposed to the pear of anguish (do NOT look this up, you'll never be the same again) on my longer rides that also included a fair bit of climbing.


If you purchase a high-quality chamois and you're still experiencing pain, I recommend you turn to your saddle. Through all of this, I ended up purchasing a new saddle and playing with the angles.

Try adjusting the angle so it's tilted down towards the front ever-so-slightly (of course, test it to see how much of tilt works for you) and if that STILL doesn't help, it might be time to replace it. I use the Chromag Juniper saddle and love it.

Not all padded bike shorts are the same

Be warned... chamois are NOT all created equal. Just like I love my yoga wear, for yoga, I love my bike clothes for biking.

When it comes to biking, I trust my vajay to actual mountain and road bikers who've been testing and refining product for years. While those padded bike shorts on Wish might look cute, be forewarned they may end up doing more damage in a place you don't want damaged.

OWN MORE THAN ONE PAIR OF women-specific chamois

I used to be a one chamois kinda gal. But then I got a second pair and discovered how freaking convenient it is! I recommend stocking a few pairs of chamois if you ride often -- less laundry, yay! -- and different padding to accommodate different ride lengths. And, less temptation to wear them dirty. Ewww.

Oh, and ladies... leave the underwear in your underwear drawer.

Padded bike shorts are meant to be worn sans undies. The less in there to potentially bunch up and pinch, the better. Plus, chamois are designed to breathe and create air flow. The last thing you want is to develop a yeast infection or bladder infection because of your underwear/shorts combo, or from poor quality shorts.

Enjoy longer rides and skip the post ride whydoesitburnwhenipee ugly cry.

Don't trust your most valued asset to just anyone. Below you'll find a few of my favorite chamois.

These shorts are cut well to avoid the bulk (no one wants to look or feel like they're wearing a wet diaper) and are made with super high-quality material that doesn't pinch, breathes (hello, airflow) and won't compress after just a handful of rides.

Padded Bike Shorts On Dirty Jane

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