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To bib or not to bib?

Hey cycling girlfriends! Let's chat.

I have been told many times, "once you try bibs, you will never go back to spandex cycling shorts again." The idea is that bibs don't have an elastic waist that cuts in to your middle when you are riding your bike, which makes you feel more comfortable and free to move on and off the saddle.

Based on the encouragement of other girls on bikes to try bibs, I bought a pair a few years ago... and while yes, they don't cut into the waist like traditional spandex shorts do, I was absolutely miserable wearing them and vowed never to wear them again. Why??? Because usually I have to "relieve myself" before, during and after a ride. I remember 10 minutes before the start of my first mountain bike race, I ran to the port-a-potty for one last pre-race nervous tinkle and about fell out of the outhouse attempting to take off my jersey which also housed my phone and race nutrition (thank goodness neither fell into the depths of the toilet), strip down the bibs, balance while holding on to the jersey and attempting to not touch anything for fear of what might have been in said port-a-potty, and go... then get redressed and make sure everything was back in its proper place before exiting and heading to the start line. I was exhausted and the race had not even started yet!

Anyone who has ever biked with me knows my 'need to find a tree' rituals. Perhaps it is because I drink a lot of water during the day, starting with a full glass right as I get out of bed in the morning, or maybe because my pint-sized body houses an even smaller bladder... or, as all of my active mom friends can relate, the body changes with childbirth. If you think jumping on the trampoline is tough after having kiddos (mommas, you know what I'm talking about!), try sitting on a bike seat for a few hours. As soon as I get off the bike, I have to go! Y'all may laugh, but there is physiological truth backing this need to pee.

While we want to be equals to our male counterparts (trust me, I love racing the guys... and even love it more when I am able to "chick" some of them in a race), we are indeed built differently. PEARL IZUMI has recognized this for years and designed their cycling shorts specific to a women's frame and how we sit on a bike seat. The cushioning in their padded chamois are designed based on where we center our pressure and contact points to avoid chaffing, stay close to the body and feel comfortable during and after sitting in the saddle for hours during a ride.

Fast forward to 2018... ladies, PEARL IZUMI heard our cry. They created the Women's P.R.O. Escape Bib Shorts that are not only designed for women, but have an incredibly amazing feature called the drop tail. The what??? The drop tail design gives the wearer the ability to slip the back of the shorts down when she squats without having to take of layers of upper body clothing to do her business, then slide the shorts back up again when she stands.

How does this work? It looks quite simple really but took years to develop and now PEARL IZUMI even has a patent on the shorts... or at least the key part that makes the magic happen. The bib straps, which flow seamlessly into the shorts, criss cross slightly in a "V" at the back by the waist. When a rider needs to use the toilet (or squat behind a tree, rock or bush -I've tried them all and they work great for camoflauge... and are oftentimes a cleaner option than an outhouse), she hooks her thumbs around the inner edges of the overlap at the waist. Then, as she begins to squat, she pulls down and outward on the straps. The shorts slide down but the straps stay in place thanks to the brilliant, innovative little connector bridge at the upper middle back that holds the straps in place. There is also a little clip in the front that can be used for added stability of the straps.

These shorts are designed with PEARL IZUMI's P.R.O. transfer fabric, making them soft, comfortable, and moisture wicking. They also have minimal seams to decrease any rubbing or friction that can occur while wearing.

While the shorts are a bit pricey ($170 msrp), they honestly will be your go-to shorts for all type of riding. You won't regret the investment and will want to do laundry often so you can wear them ride after ride... and you may not want to take them off after!


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