I remember the day I looked at a pair of bib shorts with bewilderment. Why would I wear those instead of shorts? Straps? Suspenders? Goofy. And how the hell, as a woman, am I supposed to pee on the side of the road? Still, as a nubile Cat 4 racer, one of my first teammates egged me on to give them a shot. I hesitantly slipped into my first pair, courtesy of a team kit order. Immediately, I noticed how nicely everything tucked away. No muffin tops...no love handles! Better than Spanx, and totally acceptable in public. They even hide the unfortunate lower-back tattoo you got when you were 18 - the bibs keep it all covered. And, the supporting shoulder straps keep the chamois exactly in the right place, all the time, keeping unnecessary chafing and rubbing at bay. The comfort level between the two, even at the bottom end of the clothing spectrum, is a remarkable world of difference.
So, how do those of us with female anatomy drop the bibs? Whether in a coffee shop bathroom, a port-a-potty, or searching for a tactful place on the side of the road, we want to have skills. None of us want to spend much time in any of the aforementioned spots, and the last thing any of us want is the precious cargo in our jersey pockets (eg., phone) to drop in the toilet. There are some great tricks out there to make your pee quicker and more efficient. I've even found myself among an all-men's field, and when we stopped for a neutral break they couldn’t believe how nonchalantly I rapidly did my thing.
1. The Original: Get undressed. Yes, you can take off your jersey, slide the straps off, and pee. This is difficult on the side of the road, but even there it can be done quickly. Just make sure to keep the jersey out of the line of fire. 2. The One Shoulder Stretch: My personal favorite, this technique involves unzipping the jersey, slipping one arm out of the sleeve, then gathering the back of the jersey with the free hand to safely stow jersey/belongings closely to the chest. Slide the bib strap off of the same arm removed from the jersey, and pull the bib shorts down. Squat and get it done. Then quickly stand, put the bib strap on, move the jersey back into place, and slide the sleeve back on and go. Full zip jerseys? A must. 3. The Flip and Drip: So dubbed by women's pro rider Tayler Wiles, this "up and over” technique takes quite a bit of practice. Pull one leg of the shorts up, and to the side. Warning: This can be a bit messy if the stream isn't straight, or your bibs are tight. 4. Letting it Fly: Peeing in your chamois. Don't do this. Ever.
Conveniently, Q36.5 is now producing the legendary L1 Dottore bibs in a women's-specific cut
and chamois. In a few short weeks, I'm already convinced - these are the best bibs I've ever worn. The seamless, laser-cut gripper at the leg nearly eliminates sausage leg, and the cradling chamois is suspended, giving the bibs a two-thumbs up look off the bike without the oft-present front wedgie effect. They differ slightly from the men's version not only in cut and chamois, but also in fabric. There are new side panels that give the bib less of a sheer, crinkled look on the bike, something many of the guys here are jealous of. They're not only comfortable, they're also totally stealth - the all-black construction and subtle logo means I can pair them with almost any top I want.
ed. note: Kemi King is a former professional road cyclist. She’s legendary for her pain tolerance, smiles, and never-say-die attitude.