The padana, the most important part of a culotte
Although there are elements that contribute to more comfort, such as well designed bracesthe length of the leg, etc., the most important part of the culotte is the padana. It is very important that it is of quality and conforms to certain parameters.
Thicker pad padding isn’t necessarily better, in fact it is usually worse, as it will give off more heat and tend to accumulate more sweat. The development of new foam compounds and the inclusion of new materials such as gel make it possible increasingly less voluminous pads. The differentiating factor in a pad is the foam densitythe inclusion of other components (such as viscoelastic silicone, active carbon, etc.) and the arrangement.
Its shape must be suitable for our morphology. In reality, we won’t know this aspect until we’ve tried it, but it’s true that we can follow some guide to know whether or not we’ll get it right. An excessively narrow pad will cause us to be left without protection in our support areas, while if it is very wide it will generate friction and discomfort when pedaling.
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When we put it on we have to check that the area with the most padding should be right at the level of the ischium bones and that, in front, it has the appropriate shape to protect our perineum and genitals without being excessive. The important thing is to identify the pressure zones and know if it will protect us.
To be able to match the two needs (sufficient padding with a changing shape), many pads use foams with different densities. Usually the areas with the highest density are the ones that suffer the most pressure, such as the glutes, while the medium and low density areas are for those that need less support.
The pad is also responsible for protecting such a delicate area from bacteria, so most quality pads have a antibacterial treatment and are hypoallergenic. They are also very breathable to prevent sweat from accumulating.
The fabric of the bottom: breathable and flexible
A good culotte must be made with materials that allow one proper perspiration of the leg muscles (and the crotch) to prevent the accumulation of sweat. But also so that they are fixed to the shape of the leg and adapt to the pedaling movement without moving.
The fabric must therefore be flexible, with the smallest possible seams and with adjustment points at the end of the leg. It is recommended that the leg of a short breeches covers the whole thighsince the (slight) compression exerted by the butt has a vasodilator effect which promotes muscle recovery while we exercise. The systems we find to strap the bottom to the bottom of the thigh without it moving, such as rubber bands or silicone additions, they must fasten the piece to the skin without tearing the muscle or digging in.
Long breeches for winter must be cinched up to the end of the leg, without it being too long or short. The warmer, thicker winter breeches are usually finished with a small zipper that makes it easy to put them on or take them off with a perfect fit and without movement while pedaling, while the longer breeches are more flexible, but less warm, they finish with a rubber band to fasten to the foot.
Braces must have the adequate width, as the straitjackets tend to dig deeper into the skin, with the discomfort that this entails and the marks it leaves. Many culottes tend to form one wider structure covering the back, offering greater support and adjustment. Although it may seem that this piece gives more heat in the summer, if we choose one with an elastic mesh, or a very breathable fabric, we will not have this problem and, nevertheless, we will be more comfortable.
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Do you wear or not wear underwear with panties?
This is a common question among novice cyclists, and the answer is never. The culottes have been designed as one first layer in direct contact with the skin. As we have seen, quality pads have a number of specific treatments to protect the genital area and therefore there is no need to wear an extra layer of clothing.
In fact, the least we can achieve if we wear underwear underneath is one terrible times caused by these pieces, in addition to the opposite effect to what we are looking for, especially if we wear cotton clothes that will make us sweat a lot more than usual and does not evacuate moisture. If we ride a bike with panties or underpants (it doesn’t matter if they are tight or not) under the bottom, we will end up with a wet, uncomfortable, scratched area and with a greater presence of bacteria than if we only use a culotte of quality
Differences in women’s knickers and why you don’t need to wear a boy’s knicker
Although the general keys to making the choice (pad size, stitch type, composition and design, fit, etc.) are the same, women cyclists should look for specific to them. It is necessary to note that the pad is a little wider to adapt to its morphology, just as it must have a different form since the protection required by your genital area is different. too braces must have a specific design for them, usually crossed in front, to avoid inconvenience with the breasts
When we are going to renew the equipment, or if we are introduced to cycling for the first time, both Mountain and Road, it is best that we reserve an important part of the budget for the butt. It is a decisive piece, and we better buy a good one with one quality padeven if later we have to lower the price of the sweater, for example, that we buy the first one we find for little money and immediately the friction appears or we move.
We also have to check how the padana has been sewn to the butt. A low-quality bib, with the pad stitched in any way, will end up causing us unpleasant chafing, plus the threads will immediately loosen due to the constant movement of the pedals. The best thing is that the seams do not protrude nothing and that if we pass our hand we don’t notice them and the touch is soft.
Another good tip is that we choose one suspenders and not just at the waist, whether in winter or summer, as we will have better support and adaptation to our body.