Cycling shorts and sausage legs!
Cycling kit is designed to look sleek and chic so how do women feel when slipping into their lycra to take a pre-ride selfie to look down and see the dreaded sausage leg starting back at them? There is no pussy footing around it, the struggle is real and it seems a large percentage of women feel this way.
We all get ‘the look’ from normal dressed folk in coffee shops when we stop for a well-earned rest. Glowing slightly, possibly a little bit sweaty from grinding out those climbs, and maybe drooling slightly because we are too eager to see the cake options – once these ‘non-cyclists’ see us inhale a wedge of lemon drizzle and they see the sausage legs in our ill-fitting cycling shorts, the eyes roll and they assume that x (cake) + y (inhaled) = you can’t wear skin tight clothing and eat like that my dear! Generally, cakes don’t give cyclists sausage legs; bad lycra and tight leg grippers do!
Tips for choosing shorts and bib-shorts for women.
We think it is fair to say that there are not that man woman out there who wants to reveal their lumps and bumps to the world and be on show. So when lost in the minefield that is choosing the best cycling shorts for our body shapes and sizes it seems that most women are left with opting for pad comfort over looks. We are not discounting the importance of having a great chamois pad in your cycling shorts because we know full well that if you are not comfortable in the saddle then your whole ride will probably be ruined. But who says we can’t have it all?
When I set about designing my ideal summer cycling wardrobe for women, the first thing that I focused on were the cycling shorts. A comfortable and great looking kit is nothing without great shorts, or bib shorts, and while cycling shorts look a simple garment to design, they are in fact quite a complex piece of kit. I wanted to create shorts and bib shorts that could meet the performance requirements needed while also solving the dreaded sausage leg issue. The cut, the fabric choice, the stitching, the leg length and leg cuff were all as important as the pad.
Back in my earlier days of prototyping, Pure Velo shorts were taken ‘off template’ and had the traditional silicone leg gripper. Whilst I found these comfortable for a quick ride or indoor cycling, I was still staring down at my podgy thighs being grabbed by the dreaded gripper band. Disheartened, I was left feeling disappointed and wondered is this it, do I have to live with these unflattering thighs in lycra forever more? I knew there had to be a better way.
Casting the sausage shorts aside I went back to the drawing board. Speaking to many women cyclists and noting their experiences with cycling shorts along with my own, I set out to create the most flattering yet comfortable shorts I could. I wanted Pure Velo to be different and to become known to be reliable for performance, comfort and design (and customer service, after sales support etc, etc, the list goes on….) and so the standard needed to be a lot higher.
Female specific cycling shorts and bib-shorts
Taking time to create my own female specific cut template. Researching pad manufacturers and trying many different pads. FYI - there are chamois pads for different ride disciplines and distances, and of course there are pads specifically for women. Searching for the highest quality performance fabrics and looking for those added extras to create the feminine touches that Pure Velo is all about, took quite some time.
All the research and prototyping lead me to choosing a premium women’s specific chamois from Elastic interface - a pad that was designed for longer rides, but still feels great on shorter adventures, and that guarantees adequate support for on and off road cycling. I had made the leg length ever so slightly shorter to reduce those summer cycling tan lines - allowing you to still look good in your summer dress of an evening - whilst opting for a luxury Italian performance fabric that offers breathability, muscle control, excellent coverage and is resistant to sun tan lotion. Finally adding a softer and more forgiving leg cuff to help alleviate the unwanted sausage leg. The tight rubber leg gripper was thrown in the recycling bin!
Elastic Interface chamois in all Pure Velo cycling shorts and bib-shorts.
The pads used in all Pure Velo shorts and bibs are made by Elastic Interface, who are an industry leading cycling pad manufacturing company. The testing of the pads took me on a journey riding the entire length of a country to make sure that they were comfortable enough – you can read about The Pad Pickle here.
Handing my designs and tech pack over to the factory that we use in Italy, I knew my designs were in safe hands working alongside women who themselves understood the plight of the inner thigh bulge. Would a man have understood the same sausage leg issue? Do men struggle with sausage legs? Does asking a man if your legs look like sausages in lycra get the same results as asking “does my bum look big I this?” (no emojis in this blog but head in hands here). Anyway, moving on, after a long road of testing, Pure Velo shorts and bibs were born! Lovingly designed by a woman in the UK and made by skilled female machinists in Italy.
I can now happily pedal off for a comfortable day of sunny cycling and a pleasant coffee and cake stop with sausage free thighs.