I have to confess that a large part of the excitement leading up to my trip is researching all the gear, gadgets and kit needed.   As time goes on I will pass on more details of not only the choices that I made, but how well they performed while out on manoeuvres.  This week I spent some time getting to the bottom of touring cycle shorts.

To recap, I’m an overweight, vertically-challenged, middle-aged man who will be cycling approx 2000 miles around France in the Summer heat, so whichever shorts I wear, I’m sure to look hot.

The first and possibly most obvious shorts option, is tight lycra with built-in nappy.  For anyone who is unfortunately able to conjure up a vivid mental image which maybe resembles the love-child of Vinyl Vera and the Michellin Man, let me straight away puncture any thoughts of me joining the army of MAMIL’s (Middle Aged Men In Lycra).  France is not ready for, and does not deserve, this explosion of bare-faced chic.

It’s also worth considering some of the key qualities that my shorts must have.  They must be lightweight and quick-drying – the last thing I need is my leather saddle all soggy and saggy.  And they should be a non-synthetic material, baggy, and not prone to ruching.  Although I might harness the output to power my lights, the last thing I need is sparks of static electricity flashing from my shorts.

My research quickly revealed that ‘baggies’ were the way forward and although most designs are aimed at mountain bikers, I did eventually come across some designed for touring.

As in all things, you get what you pay for, and although I haven’t yet finalised my choice, I came across a pair of Vulpine Tailored Shorts at just £94.99 which promise to be real head-turners.  For that amount of money, you expect something special, and these shorts don’t disappoint as their design includes:-

… two main pockets cut high to prevent unexpected content deployment, a rear magnetic flap pocket and a small side zipped pocket.

To be confident my shorts will not expose me to “unexpected content deployment“, no matter how hard I’m pedalling, is now a key requirement for me when I come to make my purchase.

I do have a concern that the “rear magnetic flap pocket” will affect the compass situated on my handlebars when I lean forward, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that I didn’t know my arse from my elbow.

And so, while I continue with this arduous search for my perfect cycle touring shorts, I think I’ll have a drink.

Bottoms Up!