When I was a kid, my favourite comic was, without a doubt, Commando. Sixty eight pages of beautifully cartooned war action where the ‘righteous’ always won the day! And the Commando Knife in the logo and on the back, I desperately wanted one of them!
There was something special about the Commandos that got my imagination going and there was no doubt in my mind, when I grew up I was going to be one.
Well, life intervened and I never did.
So why am I taking this misty-eyed trip back in time? What has that got to do with cycling? The term ‘Going Commando’ has suddenly made an entrance in to my life. Yes, of course I knew what it was (no underwear) but to be honest it was never a pastime that I actively indulged in to any great extent. And on the odd occasion when necessity warranted it, I felt that everybody around me had X-Ray Vision and knew exactly what was going on. Ingrained in to most of us by our Mammies was, always make sure your underwear is clean and if you are going any distance carry a spare pair in case you get run over! Well, cycling dictates the opposite! NEVER wear underwear under your Lycra. Apparently it is the number one crime committed by cycling newbies!
So, no undies!! What is going to protect you from the Commando Knife like saddle that most modern road bikes have. Well it is a strange thing called a ‘Chamois’! Now when I heard about it first and looked it up I was informed it was a goat-antelope species native to Europe! And let’s be honest, you’re hardly going to get much relief by stuffing an antelope down your shorts! On further searching I found out that it is also a cloth for making thinks shiny! Surely having a shiny bum can’t be that advantageous for cycling? Finally I found out that it is also a pad that is sewn in to cycling shorts to protect ones nether regions.
So off I went to purchase a pair of cycling shorts with a ‘chamois’. I was told that should get ‘Bibbed’ ones as they go over your shoulders and stop them sliding down when you’re riding. Bloody hell, it took me a couple of goes to get them on, as straps were going in the wrong place etc. I even had them on backwards at one stage which was just plain weird. I mean, who the hell needs a pad coming that far up their front?? I wasn’t planning on lying on the saddle! Finally, I got them on correctly and proceeded to waddle around the house looking like John Wayne after a particularly long ride on a very twitchy horse! But, as time passed, I became one with my fancy new cycling shorts! I even managed to convince myself that they didn’t look too bad. But then, the family arrived home and all hell broke loose. Mixed emotions (all bad) flowed like a raging torrent. The general consensus was disownment and longterm ostracism! But hey, I was doing this for charity wasn’t !? Grudging acceptance followed, although it has now been agreed that I have to warn them in advance when I am coming through so they can avert their eyes and face the wall!
Given the severity of the reaction, I have decided not to tell them about the Chamois Cream, as I reckon that would put them over the edge. But for those of you who are less squeamish, Chamois Cream/Butter is used to lubricate the Chamois and your nether regions so that there is no chaffing on long rides.
And does all this stuff work? The answer is a resounding yes. So, to jump back to Commando parlance, if you don’t want your ‘undercarriage shot to pieces’ then bib shorts with a chamois and chamois cream is definitely the way to go!