Thursday, September 1, 2011

Padded What?

When I was in college, and riding my Triumph 10-speed, I decided that some bike shorts might be a good investment.  Riding on a Brooks saddle, which was not yet molded to my rear, in cut-off jeans and tighty-whiteys had me thinking good thoughts about chamois-lined stretchy-pants.

Nowadays, buying some shorts would be a simple purchase.  Just go down to the local bike shop, and pick some up.  Or, if your shop isn't convenient, get on the internet and order some from an online vendor.  In 1979, however, it was not that simple.

There wasn't a bike shop within 100 miles of Martin, Tennessee, at that time.  And, of course, the internet was still a ways off.  (We used punch-cards in the Basic Programming class I 1982!)

So, I went to the local athletic clothing store, and asked if they could order me some bike shorts.

"We have plenty of shorts that you can ride your bike in, hon," said the lady behind the counter, as she pointed to a rack of running shorts.

"No, you don't understand,"  I replied.  "I'm looking for the shorts with the pad in the seat, made especially for they wear in the Tour de France."

"We ain't no French store," she retorted, and turned away.

As I left, I heard her talking to one of the college-aged sales clerks.  "Padded shorts!  He was looking for shorts with a diaper in 'em, or something!" she snorted.

I went to school there for 5 years, and I never set foot in that store, again, after that.

Ten years later, in Columbus, Ohio, I finally bought my first pair of bike shorts at Bike Nashbar.  I kinda wanted to drive back to Tennessee, take them into that store in Martin, and show them to that woman behind the counter.

But, I just rode my bike in them, instead.



  1. Nice story, Jon! When I saw padded shorts the first time, at an LBS in St. Louis, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to wear anything between them and my body. I actually had to ask :)

    Now, I ride in street clothes, on Brooks saddles, broken-in or not. I guess I have gotten used to them now.

    Peace :)

    PS. Did you say Basic programming? One of my friends actually showed me how to write music in Basic.

  2. That reminds me. I need to try out those shorts I got last Christmas before it gets too chilly!

  3. Cghandra: I do the same. But, in 1979 we were still wearing what I call "Robert Plant Jeans", so tight that you can sit on a dime and tell if it's heads or tails...and those were what I was wearing in cut-off form.

    Not too comfy on any bike seat, really.

  4. Dang! Sorry about the typo in your name. I've gotta pay more attention!

  5. I hear ya, Jon :) I got a story about'em Plant pants!

    Peace :)


As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.