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Home » Cycling » Cycling and What Noobs Really Wanna Know: The Bib Shorts Conundrum…  How To Go Without Making a Mess of It.

Cycling and What Noobs Really Wanna Know: The Bib Shorts Conundrum…  How To Go Without Making a Mess of It.


April 2015

Our club recently had a new kit made up…

Life is cruel and unfair.  Bib shorts:  Ask almost anyone who wears them, they are vastly more comfortable and absolutely more visually flattering, than cycling shorts.  With the shoulder straps, tight waistbands aren’t necessary and the mesh holds in the love handles in a lot better.  Male or female, the consensus is, for comfort, bib shorts are where it’s at.

Unfortunately, with all of the vast technology available to us in 2015, they haven’t yet been able to design a pair of bibs with a breakaway strap (or two for the ladies) so they can be lowered to a point where relieving oneself becomes simple and easy (or maybe such an invention does exist, I just haven’t found it yet).

Now, if you’re squeamish, don’t click the “More” button to read the rest of this post.  If you don’t see the “More” button to click, you landed directly on this post…  Know this gets a little crazy, but pretty much stays PG to PG 13…  Read on at your own risk..  I don’t want to read any whining in the comments section – you were fairly warned: 

First, it’s not all that bad, especially for or men.  I’ve heard of one dear friend, who shall remain unnamed, who used to wear the straps outside of his jersey simply because it was easier to deal with the call of nature (now he goes strictly with shorts).  DON’T.  Don’t ever wear the straps of your bibs on the outside of your jersey.  I don’t care, you deserve to be heckled, cajoled, and possibly even cyber-bullied for such an egregious fashion faux pas.  Besides, relieving oneself in bibs is easier than you might think, and certainly easy enough that it beats looking goofy.  Simply grasp the bottom of your short leg (preferably the side you dress), fold it up once, then twice, stretch the leg of the shorts to the inside, and you’re good to go.  Simple as that.

For women?  Well it’s a lot trickier, but I have it on authority, the benefits still outweigh the logistical problems.  If you’re gonna pee, the jersey is comin’ off or it’s gonna get messy.  For this reason, ONLY go with a full-zip jersey with the bib shorts and you might want to consider a sports bra with that jersey.  Now, we’re not quite done yet…  Some women are known to be “straight-line peeers”…  If this is you, read on.  If you spray, don’t play.  The roll up the short leg method is used by many women straight-liner’s – it just requires a lot of concentration.  There are a few more methods, for the adventurous, here.  The truth is, ladies, I only delved into the feminine side of this equation because I bought my wife the same club kit…and we’ll just leave it at she was sweatin’ bullets over the bibs.  I do cycle with women other than my wife from time to time, but when they have to use a tree I travel well up the road and wait there to allow for some semblance of privacy.  My rule is to respect my wife first, be a gentleman second and let the rest work out in the wash.  This is really one of those tricky topics that I’d much prefer not even talk about.  On the other hand, if we don’t share these simple little tips, we often feed the ignorance, such as in my case.

Whatever the case, I agree with the linked article above – the only time letting go in the saddle, whilst moving, is acceptable is when you’re in a triathlon working towards a personal best.  Personally, I would go further and say it’s never okay.  The last thing I want after a long, tough day in the saddle is to walk around smelling as if I peed my shorts because I did.  Not to mention, there’s no way smelling like that through the run leg of a tri would be worth not taking a few seconds to pull over and take care of business properly.
Finally, and this is important:  Know where you go.  I would never knowingly offer advice to anyone which would break any law, anywhere, because I’m a lawful guy.  However, when you gotta go, you gotta go…  If you’re in a city, find a restroom.  Laws are often very strict about public urination and include penalties which include being put on sexual offenders registry.  Seriously.  Do not break the law.  In addition to that, nobody wants to see you whizzing.  Seek some shelter and be a little modest would you?  This isn’t the gym locker room where you parade your naked ass around because you can.
Well ladies, it turns out there are quite a few options out there for you.  For Specialized’s and Giro’s answer to the conundrum, click here.  For a couple of other solutions, try here.


  1. adarling575 says:

    In the UK now you can buy bib shorts for ladies which have zips at the back so you simply unzip & squat without removing your jersey – they’re awesome!

  2. bribikes says:

    You are a brave man, Jim! Seriously, though, there is some great info here.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks… I hate writing about stuff like this, but even I didn’t know how to get around the issue when I found out that we were getting bibs, not shorts. If I have issues of ignorance, as much research as I’ve put into cycling, it’s a topic that I need to write about… Still, finding that right balance of information and the glorification of too much information is always tricky – because there’s nothing I hate more than people who take it too far for the sake of a click.

  3. I thought runners had bathroom issues!! Haha I have no useful comment to add to this post, as I don’t ride much anymore or wear bibs. But, my dad rides a lot and will wear his bibs all day long after riding with no shirt on. Gross! He probably would be upset with me putting that on the internet 🙂 And since he wears them all day, I’m guessing he does the relieve himself out of the bottom of the shorts method. I’m definitely not going to ask, though!

  4. For those who don’t want to interrupt the joy of a ride for nature’s call, just hook a catheter up to a hydration pack….

  5. Ummm… ‘Affable Hammers’? With a name like that you should have Geritol as a sponsor….

  6. OmniRunner says:

    A buddy of mine is a triathlete. He had to relieve himself in the dunes during one sea-side race. Well, he is visually impaired and did not realize his exposure and how close a few spectators were.
    No arrests were made, but his guide got one hell of a laugh out of it.

  7. Different brands of bib shorts are all cut slightly different. My summer pair are much lower at the front for better cooling, but this also makes it much easier to pull the front section down when nature calls. It’s actually no dramas. Some of my other pairs make it nigh on impossible!

  8. bibs all the way! They are vastly superior to shorts, Giro makes a halter cycling bib for woman that have been getting great reviews

  9. Deserve to be cyberbullied…hilarious.
    During triathlons I wear a tri-kit, which is basically bike bibs with longer sleeves, and yes, if you have to stop and relieve yourself it’s like incurring a 5 minute penalty just to get your kit down. I’d have to be this close to qualifying for Kona before I peed in my kit.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Yeah, that’s way too gnarly to contemplate… Try the roll-up method… Works great.

      • You know, I don’t know why I never thought of that. Makes much more sense. I was once in a port-a-john before a race and had everything peeled down below my waiste taking a leak when a girl opened the door and stared straight at my, um, valve stem. Not sure why the door wasn’t locked, but it wasn’t. I’d certainly feel less exposed with the roll up method.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Yup… My God, that must have been something! If one of my posts can help one brother avoid that, I can die a happy man. 😄


  10. EpicGran says:

    As long as you have a full zip cycling jersey then you are good to go because it is no fun having to hide behind a bush and take your shirt over you head, which gets stuck on your helmet while you desperately need to go! LOL

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