Advice re padded cycling undershorts please

I am booked on the MOC trip in Feb.  I am looking for (female) padded cycling undershorts to wear under normal shorts.  Does anyone have any recommendations of specific brands?  Most seem to be quite long in the leg and will be longer than my over shorts.



My advice, is that although padded shorts are useful, the best protection is to 'prepare' your bottom (!), through lots of cycling. Then its get used to it, so to speak.  Obviously do still use padded shorts, but it will be a disaster if you rely on them!  Other than that, I've just gone to sports direct and bought relatively cheap ones, which appear fine.  I've got a long pair and a short pair, for different weather eventualities.  Most short ones will appear under your over-shorts, but everyone's will, don't worry!  (unless you are any good at sewing of course).

Have a wonderful trip.. I'm going in 10 days cycling in central america...

Thanks for the advice.  Have a great trip Katrina...

If you're not that used to cycling, my advice is spend money on a couple of decent pairs! I strongly recommend the ones with gel padding. It really makes a difference. I have short legs too, although I don't wear overshorts. you can always roll the end of the leg up if you're worried about them being too long but (a) no one will care what you look like and (b) it's quite trendy anyway to have the cycle shorts poking out of the bottom of the leg of your normal shorts :-)

Seriously, my all time favourite (and I've tried a LOT) are these:

expensive but worth every penny. I think they're discontinued on Wiggle but you can still get similar other Sugoi ones. Or look elsewhere. Altura do some good ones too but look for the ones with gel. Everyone is different in what feels comfortable for them though. I also recommend using some chamois cream (you can find it on Wiggle, I use Butt Butt'r). You can also use Vaseline or Sudocreme, in the worst case.

And most importantly, don't wear underwear underneath your cycling shorts (amazingly, many people do not know this!) - otherwise you get friction. Trust me on that, it may seem weird but it's much better without. And even more importantly, try to do some cycling beforehand to prepare your body, even if it's just a few spin classes in your gym. Have fun.


Don't really want to get into the "no underwear" discussion, BUT - how many people on here do wear undies and have no problems?  I'm training for Lhasa-Kathmandu in Sept and have done 100s miles all with undies and have had no problems with friction.  I wear gel shorts and have a decent gel seat.

All I can say is that almost all those who wore underwear on my last trip regretted it as they had problems. And professional cyclists don't wear underwear, so I assume they know better than anyone! But at the end of the day, do whatever works for you.


I'm thinking of Cycling Vietnam mid April and just wondered if anyone could tell me how fit you actually need to be. I cycle 15 miles every day to work (round trip) on a mountain bike in London and run twice a week 10k but am worried about the long distance cycle. I have very little time to train for this tour due to the last minute decision to do something different,fun, active and to gain a wonderful experience. I have read several reviews and everyone seems to have an amazing time but no one says what ability they were at before they did the cycle. I consider myself reasonably fit but am just concerned I'll be flagging! (especially in the heat as well) I want this to be an enjoyable experience as well as a challenge. Any advice would be appreciated.

 Thanks Fi

15 miles a day sounds like you're pretty fit - it's not how far you can go in one day, it's the fact that you do it day after day.  Before I went - I would normally only get the chance to do 1 long ride a weekend (max 50 miles, but more likely 30 miles), and about 10 miles every 2-3 days on a Turbo-Trainer.

With all the regular drink/food stops (~15-20km) I found that I rattled through the miles without really noticing them.  The scenery distracted me from the distance I was cycling, and the 30km downhill run - that was just superb.

I found the heat/humidty very draining, but I still managed to keep going.  A lot of it is mental determination to succeed.

You'll have a great trip - enjoy.



 I agree with Helen.  It sounds lile you'll be fine.  The most we cycled without a stop was 25k but for the most part it was around 15k.  So, bascially your ride to work repeated throughout the day.  As Helen has pointed out your legs are used to be used day after day which is the important part.  If you cycle at a comfortable speed (and eat/drink) you'll be surprised how far you can go with regular breaks.  By the time everyone comes into the stop you've normally had around a half hour break depending on which end of the 'line' you're at.  In our group there was a wide range of abilities and at the end of the day if it is to much there's always the bus!  It's  a fab trip - you'll have a blast.

Make sure you eat and drink plenty - you should never be hungry on the bike.  If you get hungry it is to late so eat imemdiately!




Thanks Jo and Helen for the's just what I needed to hear. Now just to ask a few more questions,lol Is there a difference between padded shorts and gel ones. I've only ever used cheap padded ones I got from Sports Direct that have actually done the job for the short distances. Are there better ones you could recommend? Also is it worth getting a gel seat and if so which biking knowledge as you can tell really doesn't go beyond riding the darn thing! I've also read there is a hill than goes on for 7 hrs REALLY?!, surely not that's madness...if so I'll be hoping on that bus for sure!



I don't know about gel shorts but logic says teh gel will shift and so padded would be better.  Anyway, cycling is all about tan line management and the shortest ones i've found are Gore brand.  Gore make very good kit.  You can get it online from Wiggle or Eavns, Cycle Surgery etc.  Shop around whenever you're buying gear as the prices can very.  Def get a gel seat as the bikes are low end mountain bikes so don't have good seats.  I got one for £10 online. 

You should also take some kind of sauce or chilli as the food is bland.  My roomie took reggie reggie, I had chilli flakes (light in bag) and others took peri peri sauce etc.

You can get money out at the airport but after that money machines are fairly thin on the ground and often have run out of cash if you do see one.  The guides will always tell you if there's one nearby.  So, take pounds so that you can change them if you need to. 

There's no 7 hour hill but there is one very hilly day but it is far enough into the trip that you should be ok.  Also, they time the stops so that you've rested and fuelled up before the hills.  just make sure you're already in the right gear when you hit the hill and spin your way up it.  Everyone in our group managed all of teh hills - some just took longer than others to do so.



 I live in Clapham and work next to the gherkin if you wanna have a coffee and ask any other questions.


Fi - my comments relate to the cuba trips as that's what this post started off about.  Just noticed you're going to Vietnam so my trip comments hills, food, money machines don't apply!

Mmmm, I can't remember a 7-hr hill.  There were lots of ups and downs, and some bits steeper than others.... but given I was at the back for most of the trip, I think I'd have remembered a complete day of cycling uphill.


Jo - I did wonder what you meant by the reggae reggae sauce,lol! Especially as I thought Vietamese food would be delicious and full of flavour haha :) 

Helen - Glad to hear there isn't a 7 hour hill, my word that would be a struggle. 

* Most people decided to get a gel seat rather than a gel cover, what did you both go for? I'm worried if I buy a gel seat will it actually fit the mountain bikes over there. Otherwise it's pointless and mays well just get a gel cover. Also did you go for UV tops at all rather than applying suncream as if it's 30 degree heat am thinking it will be just running off me with sweat.

Thanks for your advice and getting back to me girls..always good to hear your thoughts :) 


Did either of you suffer with chafing btw, I did cylce London to Brighton and London to Oxford and didn't suffer but that was only for the day...these trips are cycling day after day after day...




I can't seem to see how much it costs for a Vietnam visa, did you get them before you left the UK? At this rate I'll be better off queuing and getting one at the Vietnam embassy, especially living in London. Something I would prefer to avoid though! Thanks

FiStasr - I suggest posting specific questions about Vietnam in the appropriate forum/thread.

For cycling issues - I'd recommend a gel cover rather than a seat if you're going to get one specially (easier to take with you, it'll fit all saddles, and it's cheap and very effective).

For chafing - see my comments above.

(1) do not wear underwear. That's an invitation to chafing. The professionals don't wear it. You don't need it.

(2) use one of the creams I mentioned above in this thread.

(3) Gel shorts are much better than other kinds of padded ones (in answer to a previous question). They're more comfortable and they're thinner for the amount of protection you get, which is also key. They also last longer and are less prone to wear and tear. 

I wore undies when I did this trip.  I didn't get any rubbing/chafing, but.... they got seriously sweaty.  I know the professionals all go commando - but I just didn't like the thought of doing it.

I used gel shorts for the trip - and I've previously worn padded.... much prefer the gel ones.

I bought my visa in advance - contact the embassy for the current price.  It was so easy to get it in advance too (and I did it direct rather than through an agency).

When I checked in for my flight I was asked whether I needed a Visa to enter Vietnam, and I was able to say "yes, and I already have it in my passport".  I'm not sure what the outcome would have been if I'd said I hadn't got one and was going to get it when I landed. It seemed such an easy thing to do in advance, and would avoid any potential last minute problems.


Helen... I wanted to know if you got the rabies jab for cycling Vietnam, the nurse told me it's a must for biking. I have thoughts of dogs snapping at my ankles now as I cycle past,lol!

Also did you take malaria tablets? Am assuming a sleeping bag isn't required but would you say it's worth taking a mosquito net. They love my blood!! 


Never had the rabies jabs, and wasn't bothered by dogs either.  Didn't really see many, and they weren't bothered at all by cyclists.  Don't forget a lot of the locals use bicycles, so they're used to them.

I did take Malaria tablets, but the trip leader did say that they weren't needed.  Some of the group didn't take them.  I got a very small number of bites - I certainly wasn't bothered by insects at all, I probably used DEET a few times, but that was more paranoia about malaria rather than seeing the mozzies.  The majority of overnight stops are by the coast too - my GP said that it was inland that mozzies and malaria were a risk.  All the hotels were first class - no sleeping bag needed.  The overnight train to Hanoi leaves a lot to be desired though, even in the first class cabins.  Check out my pics/videos to see it in all its glory!



Just looked through your pics and camera footage. How fantastic and great to have as memories. Really enjoyed them. Well done you :0)

Looking forward to my trip now. 


Can anyone recommend Insurance for a cycle tour, am aware Exodus does but has anyone used a different company? Thanks

Best shorts i've ever had, trimbo workout shorts for women, crazy heat and sweat, thighs on fire during spin class, i lost weight initially through sweat (water loss) but weeks later genuine weight loss, only problem is they get soaked in sweat so 2 pairs really needed if u r a gym goer.

Best shorts i've ever had, trimbo workout shorts for women, crazy heat and sweat, thighs on fire during spin class, i lost weight initially through sweat (water loss) but weeks later genuine weight loss, only problem is they get soaked in sweat so 2 pairs really needed if u r a gym goer. They don’t make them for men tho.

Many cyclists wear form-fitting, padded bike shorts designed to remove moisture and prevent chafing. The padding in bike shorts will not eliminate all bike seat problems or discomfort, but it can make your riding experience more enjoyable. Padded bike shorts must fit tightly against your skin in order to function properly. You must also wear them correctly for best results.

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