Part of being a dedicated cyclist is putting together kit that works for you. For years, I’ve ridden with Assos bibs–the old ones with the orange insert, and jerseys from various companies, including Rapha, Giordana, and others. I’m especially fond of the “Body Paint” jerseys from Castelli. I won’t wear Assos jerseys because (ready for some TMI?) they chafe my nipples horribly.
There, I said it.
Plus, I’m officially boycotting Assos since I went online to buy my annual two pairs of my favorite sock.
They used to be $28. Ridiculous, I know. But two pair a year isn’t going to break the budget. Now? $61. Combined with their ridiculous marketing I’m done with Assos.
Once you put together something that works for you, it’s tough to deviate from the tried and true. I mean, who wants to put on a new pair of bib shorts for the first time before a 50- or 100-mile ride?
I’ve had a pair of Giordana Exo bib shorts in hanging in my “bike closet” for a few years, but I’ve never gotten around to wearing them. On Saturday, I ran out of clean bib shorts–tough to do since my 8-year collection now consists of about 10 pairs. I had to choose between some ancient Assos half-shorts and the Giordanas. I put on the half shorts and couldn’t deal with the lack of shoulder straps. So I put on the GIordanas. I’ll spare you a picture of my magnificence in bibs, this’ll have to do:
I set off on a 50-mile ride, expecting serious pain, especially since the pad on the Giordanas is paper-thin. That turned out to not be the case. In fact, they worked beautifully. Not even a trace of an ass-ache, even after 15 miles of bumpy gravel and tree roots on a road bike. The grippers gripped and the shoulder straps held everything nicely in place (unlike the newer Assos bibs with the blue pad. One word: wedgie). I should note that they are considerably longer in the leg than most bib shorts; if you’re vain and place a high value your razor-sharp farmer’s tan (ahem, I mean cyclist’s tan), this may be an issue.
The lesson to be learned here is more padding does not necessarily equal greater comfort. My old Assos orange pad and newer Rapha bib shorts all have thick diaper-like pads, and they are somehow less comfortable than the Giordanas.
Off for a few days of meetings. I’ll have another route written up for you shortly by Sunday, though!