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 road-side, 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.
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!
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 Endura Women's FS260 Pro DS features a zip that goes straight across the back, creating a ‘drop-seat.’ We’ll admit this took a leap of faith to road-test but hundreds of miles later we can confirm the zip hasn’t failed yet! It's set far down the leg and curved at the back in line with the body to minimize any force that might pull the zip apart.
Gore’s design features a patented two-zip system, seen on the C5 Bib Shorts. Zips are placed at either side, just above the hips, and there’s a gap in the shorts construction at the back. This makes it easy to unzip and drop the shorts, 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 at flashing your bra at everyone. During the winter there’s the added bonus that it will also stop you from losing too much heat.