“Happy Bottom” is actually my dad’s nickname for my mom, whose name is Gladys. (As she always said, “At least he doesn’t call me Jolly Butt.”)
A happy bottom is also what I have on days with a little more mileage than usual—that is, if I’m wearing my new Pedal Panties!
Like many, many biking women (possibly all of us) I’ve been through several saddles in search of the “perfect” one. Ain’t no such thing, sugar. Every woman’s anatomy is different. I’m pretty happy with my current saddle, a Serfas Terazzo, but put in more than a few miles without bike shorts and I’m going to notice it the next day when sit bones meet saddle.
In my ongoing quest for clothing that helps you look good and ride comfortably I ran across the gals at Pedal Panties and ordered some in time for the June Bike Style Treats & Shopping event.
I had the chance to try them out the day before the event. Thanks to a Belles and Baskets evening ride and several errands I put in 16.5 miles that day, whereas a day with no meetings and just a ride to work and back only nets me around 5 miles.
Remember, I bike to work in regular clothes: skirts, dresses, capris, pants. I don’t want to mess with carrying clothes and changing; I’ve made slight adjustments to my shopping habits specifically so I don’t have to do that.
So all this time I’ve been toughing it out on longer-mileage days because there’s no way I’m wearing what feels like a diaper all day long. Bike shorts would show under my work clothes and while Spandex may be slimming, I don’t want to be squeezed like a sausage in a casing all day long. That gripper elastic on the thighs isn’t that comfy after 10 hours either.
To be blunt—this is just between us girls, right?—regular underwear can prove to be a tragic mistake on a bike and you won’t know until you find out the hard way. Beautiful lace? Irritating after a while. Thong? Really bad idea if you’re riding very far. Wrong kind of elastic? Ouch. Depending on the fabric your outer pants are made of you may run into some chafing of the inner thighs, too. Bike shorts are designed to be worn without underwear for a reason.
Pedal Panties to the rescue! They have just a light touch of padding—a soft cottony-feeling finish (made of polyester, though, for its wicking qualities) rather than a thick chamois pad, so no sensation that makes me feel as if I should waddle. They’re made of a lightweight, silky, moisture-wicking performance fabric that feels delightful.
When I initially put them on I was a little worried because the low-rider cut felt pretty low in the back and I don’t like that sensation. But the fabric is so wonderful that two seconds later I’d forgotten all about that and I never thought about it again. They felt comfortable on and off the bike all day long. The boy-cut legs meant no panty line under the somewhat form-fitting stretchy capris I wore to work that day. That cut also provides some inner-thigh protection that I think will reduce or eliminate chafing.
Nothing is ever perfect, of course. Right now they come in teal, lilac, and black. I’d like a color I could wear under whites.
It would be great if the size range covered more women; they start with XS (2-4) and go up to XL (10-12). Those are my only recommendations for change. I’d say the sizing is a little bit larger than you’d think with this scale because I wear somewhere around an 8-10 (depending on the brand) and the size M (6-8) I wore was fine; in fact, I might have been able to wear a size S. A friend who wears a size 00 at Black House White Market said the XS fit her fine and if they made an XXS she could wear those. If you’re a 12-14 I think you could wear the XL. I’ve already asked them about making more of a size range.
Now, they’re not a substitute for bike shorts if I’m heading off for a full day of riding. But for the vast majority of my days this is all I’ll need and it’s a big improvement over the offerings of Victoria’s Secret (or Fred Meyer).
You want to know cost, of course. They retail for $36. That’s more than I’ve ever paid for underwear, and less than I’ve ever paid for bike shorts. And that’s a perfect description of them too: more than underwear, less than bike shorts. For 16.5 miles of comfort last week, it seemed like a fair price.
Pedal Panties are made in the United States, in California. If you’re interested in checking them out, watch the blog for the next Bike Style shopping event. I’ll have them there.
Pedal Panties get a shout-out on Veló Vogue: Back in the Saddle.
Tweet this post: More than underwear, less than bike shorts: Pedal Panties!