Bib shorts are so comfy on long rides but for women, they can make loo-breaks a little complicated. Here are our three favourite ways to simplify things when nature calls.
Disclaimer: If you don't have a vested interest in making cycling pee-stops for women easier, please look away now.
Bib shorts are great, aren’t they? If you’re a fan, you’ll be familiar with the comfort of having your shorts held in place by comfy straps rather than an annoying waist-band.
We love bib shorts.
That is, until nature calls.
For female cyclists, a mid-ride pee stop can be a logistical nightmare. The pros may be well-versed in the art of the discreet tinkle, but for the majority, any attempt to copy the likes of Marijn de Vries is likely to result in an embarrassing mess.
Whilst our male companions are happy to find a likely looking tree at the roadside, we require a little more privacy, on account of our anatomy and the necessity of removing multiple layers in order to pull down our shorts.
Where ‘natural breaks’ are concerned, women have historically been at a disadvantage.
For many cycling brands, the perfect ‘practical’ bib short for women has become something of a holy grail. Innovative design combined with modern fabrics means we now have a choice of options available.
Which solution is right for you?
Here’s our pick.
The stretchy straps
When nature calls all you need to do is pull the shorts down and it’s as easy as if you were wearing waist shorts. What’s not to like! But the thing we’re impressed with is the magic fabric used for the strap – it stretches far enough for you to get the shorts down then snaps back into place wear after wear!
On the Alé Women's R-EV1 Future Plus Bib Shorts the standard over-the-shoulder straps are replaced with a super-stretchy elastic halter neck strap.
Endura's Pro SL Bib Shorts have a base-layer-style body section and wide cross-over straps at the back for a comfy and secure fit.
A cleverly placed zip means that you can easily open the back of the shorts. At Wiggle, we’ve tested two different approaches and found both to be just as effective.
The Gore Wear Women's Force Cycling Bib Short features two side zips to separate the body from the legs, creating a ‘drop-seat.’ The zips are at either side making them easy to reach, no contortion required.
The old-fashioned way
If you really just want to stick with what you know, without worrying about clasps or zips, it’s still possible to wear traditional-style bibs and maintain some dignity. All you need to add is a base layer.
Pull the straps over your base layer. Then, when you need to remove your jersey at a loo stop, you’ll be in no danger of flashing your bra at everyone. During the winter there’s the added bonus that it will also stop you from losing too much heat.