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Baggy shorts, the mountain biker’s choice
Baggy mountain bike shorts have a lot going for them whether you are a mountain biker or someone who tends to stick to the off road trails. For a mountain biker the first and most obvious plus with baggy shorts over Lycra cycling shorts is that you get a lot more protection, with the possibility of having room for bulkier padding for those bumps on the way.
The other big plus is that the baggy style MTB shorts have pockets; mountain bikers are often away from support for longer than road bikers and so having pockets where you can stash a chocolate bar, maps, compass and other essentials is really useful. Because they aren’t fitted, baggy shorts can come in a much wider choice of fabrics, including natural fibres like cotton. Choosing a technical fabric such as polyester means they are easier to wash but will take a little longer to dry than Lycra, Spandex or Xpandx fabrics because of all the cunning pockets and gussets, so you might want to bear that in mind when it comes to caring for your baggy shorts.
Something which makes mountain bike shorts more appealing to leisure cyclists is that when you get to the middle of your ride and you want to park the bike and have a beer at the pub or a little wander, you will look pretty normal. There are of course lots of places where shorts aren’t welcome, but in most holiday places it is fine to go into a bar, cafe or museum in roomy shorts. Close fitting lycra cycling clothing is not really acceptable anywhere except on a bicycle.
Baggy shorts are very comfortable if you have a tendency to get hot when you put in a lot of effort. If you are on a long mountain route you could get very hot quite often and if you are in lycra all you can do is sweat and then get cold, possibly chilled, as you coast downhill in damp and clinging clothing. Baggy shorts allow a wicking effect and probably are actually made of a special fabric to aid the skin’s breathing mechanism as well as letting far more air flow over the skin. Baggy shorts are a relatively recent popular choice in cycling clothing but the choice is wide and the comfort undoubted.