Tour Divide 2018 – To Chone or not to Chone: Are Chamois really the answer?

Many a debate have been had over frosty hoppy beverages.  What’s best for the nether region?  Chamois?  Bibs?  Freeball?  Baggies?  Mandex?  Chonies?  Macaronis?

So, yeah.  I’ve been “training” my arse area for the last year or so to ride without chamois.  In the past, I got myself used to “living” in my chamois liner shorts, and never had a much trouble with saddle sores.  I just don’t love the idea of soaking in a moist, abrasive, diaper/sponge if I don’t have to.  It just feels so much cleaner and easier to go without, if possible.  I know, I know… it’s not for everyone.  It might not even be for me.  I know a few people that have done extensive bike touring for months on end, with no chamois, and no issues.   I’ve done plenty of big rides/days in the saddle, with no issues.  I’m still not 100% sold on it.  There’s a difference between 6-8 hours in the saddle/day and 16 hours in the saddle/day, every day for 3+ weeks.

I’m gonna ride the Stagecoach 400 with no chamois and see how it goes.  That should be 3-4 days of riding 12-14 hour/day.  It everything goes well, I’ll give the Divide a go with just some lightweight, wicking boxer briefs.  But, knowing me, I’ll travel with a pair of chamois to Banff and decide then.

I’m a baggy shorts kinda guy… started riding late in life and fell in love with riding the moutain bike resort here in town which has an “enduro” vibe… I never got into the mandex xc race kit deal or the roadie gear either.  I know that baggy shorts have the tendancy to move around and rub on long rides, etc – but after the initial “break in period” of going sans chamois, I haven’t had one saddle sore.  I’ve been trying a few different boxer briefs – mainly Patagonia, REI and Ex Officio, and just ordered some Smartwool seamless to try out as well.  They are all comfy, but are sewn together slightly different with seams running slightly different.  So far, the REI units are winning.  Super light and packable (I’ll bring an extra pair), dry quickly, don’t bunch up, and with baggy shorts, my “area” breathes pretty well.  As of late, my arse has been fine after multiple 6 hour rides, and a 10 hour ride around the White Rim… but that’s nothing compared to the hours we’ll be in the saddle on the TD.  To be continued…

Curious to hear any comments…

**I’m Alan – passionate cyclist and owner of The Maven Bike Shop in Mammoth Lakes, CA – if you ever wanna chat bikes, get a price quote, or anything else – please contact me.  Let us help get you on a Salsa, Pivot, Niner or Surly.  — Ride bikes.  Drink beer.  Live happy.
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