Cycling Clothes for the Lycra-Averse, in which I explained my inability to wear synthetic fabrics (including lycra) and described my alternatives for sporty rides. These included leggings, gauzy tops and breezy mini-dresses made of natural fabrics. Those outfits worked for the gently paced and mostly flat 20 mile rides I did at the time. But this year, as my rides grew longer and more intense, these outfits soon became unsuitable. At this point I feel that I need proper cycling clothes, and here is why:
1. Seams: The "normal" cotton leggings I love so much have seams at the crotch. The seams are fine when cycling upright, or semi-upright, or even partly leaned over. But once I adopt a more aggressive cycling posture and travel that way for over 40 miles... let's just say the seams are not a friend to a lady's anatomy. Not at all. I do not necessarily need padded shorts, but I do need something with a generous placket down there that will re-route the seams away from the sensitive areas.
2. Fluttering: Breezy tops are great for letting air circulate. But at speeds over 16mph or so, they begin to flutter against my skin in a way that feels like Chinese water torture and drives me nuts. I want something that is tighter around my body and will not flutter.
3. Stuff getting caught on/in the bike: I know that there are ladies out there who wear cute little dresses and "skorts" on diamond-frame roadbikes. Bravo to you, I mean that! I, however, seem to have a talent for getting the hems of skirts, the tails of long shirts, and even the bottoms of loose shorts, stuck in various bicycle components and on the nose of the saddle when I mount or dismount a diamond frame roadbike. Therefore I have been moving towards wearing tighter clothing when doing this kind of cycling.
4. The "wet rag" effect: If I wear tighter cotton clothing to prevent the fluttering and the catching issues, I am faced with another problem. Cotton dries very slowly once it is wet, which means that if the clothing is snug and you sweat on a long and intense ride, it will plaster itself all over you like a heavy wet rag. This becomes extremely uncomfortable, especially when there are temperature variations. Just imagine cycling wrapped in a wet washcloth!
This iteration of my "lycra-averse" outfit has been working on rides of up to 50 miles at a time so far, but I suspect that I will need something even more serious for longer rides. So there will probably be a Cycling Clothes for the Lycra-Averse, Take 3 when I finally get real cycling shorts and jersey in wool.