I am thinking of getting (investing in) a road bike for my 11 mile commute (total 22 miles each day). I want to continue wearing normal work clothes - meaning hiking pants and a T-Shirt. I plan on using the Spiderflex seat (taken from my Mountain Bike) on a road bike.

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The Spiderflex eliminates any seat pain, and there is no chafing, ever. Can this be done? Does anyone do something similar?

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    This has to be a duplicate. There are over 90 questions tagged [clothes].
    – andy256
    May 17, 2015 at 0:25
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    I rode a 12 miles to work and back for decades before I bought my first Spandex shorts. I commonly rode in cotton T-shirt and lined jogging shorts. The one thing most likely to be an issue (besides staying cool and keeping your pant legs out of the chain) is your underwear -- the wrong underwear can be unbearable. May 17, 2015 at 0:38
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    Not usually on a road bike but I used to ride 10 miles each way in clothing chosen only for the conditions - gym gear in the summer, hiking trousers over bike leggings on the coldest winter mornings. It might take some trial and error but go for it on whatever you're comfortable in. Take alternatives at first in case you misjudge it - the extra load is minimal. I didn't find that the riding posture affected my choice of clothing when I borrowed a road bike for the same journey. Never tried jeans on the road bike though - and wouldn't make a habit of them on an upright bike.
    – Chris H
    May 17, 2015 at 14:04
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    It is ok to ride without spandex but you must wear nylons and a garter belt under your street clothes. Panties / thongs optional
    – user19554
    May 18, 2015 at 22:24
  • Have you made the same journey on your mountain bike before? I ride my mountain bike 5.5 miles each way to work in jeans or cargo shorts without any problems. I didn't like wearing shorts lighter weight than cargo shorts. Last summer I rode 40 miles in cargo shorts and a T-shirt last fall and was perfectly comfortable the whole time. I felt like I could have easily gone another 20.
    – rob
    May 19, 2015 at 0:41

6 Answers 6


Yes, absolutely.

Clothing is mostly an issue of personal preference. Performance fabrics and things like spandex don't make that much difference for short stretches, and their advantages become more pronounced and valuable the longer you ride.

11 miles is somewhat of an intermediate distance; in regular clothes you'd be totally fine, assuming that the weather and the road conditions won't make your work clothes sweaty or dirty by the time you get there. For commuting to work, I'd make the decision more on the basis of road conditions and comfort.

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    The speed you ride or the effort you put into riding also makes a difference. I never 'need' special cycle clothing as my speed is always on the low side.
    – Willeke
    May 16, 2015 at 19:10

I would try riding 11 miles in these pants once, and as long as you haven't experienced any discomfort from riding this distance without spandex shorts that contain a chamois pad, you're unlikely to experience much discomfort as you ride more often. However, bike shorts are crafted from fabric made to resist pilling from the friction created when your rear rubs against the bike seat. With your seat this might be reduced compared to seats made of rougher material, but even if you aren't feeling any chafing, the friction might still have a negative impact on the fabric of your pants, especially as you rack up the miles. I've biked similar distances in pants and shorts made for hiking, and the synthetic ones pill a lot around the crotch area after riding a decent amount. None of my spandex bike shorts or baggy mountain biking shorts have shown this wear. If keeping your hiking pants looking nice for a casual office environment is a concern, I would recommend either biking to work in a separate pair of pants, or investing in a single pair of baggy mountain bike shorts. These tend to dry fairly quickly (probably like your hiking pants) due to their synthetic composition.


Answer Yes - totally possible in normal clothes. Its the muscles to do the work, and the fit of the clothes to avoid friction, that count.

Normal clothing is all about comfort, and lycra/spandex/etc are more about cooling and aerodynamics. Remember there are such people as nudist cyclists.

As long as you're not chafing, normal clothes suitable for the conditions are fine. Shoes are somewhat different - you really should be wearing comfortable shoes not dress shoes.


The main reason to not do it is cultural. Road bikes and spandex go together for a reason, and by wearing hiking clothes on a road bike you show everyone your ignorance. It's like wearing hiking clothes to business meeting or suit to hiking trail, there's no absolute reason to not do it but you still don't do it. Of course, the Spiderflex saddle already makes you suspect :)

Hiking pants on a touring bike are on the other hand perfectly fine. I do a similar commute in jeans every day it is not raining (on a touring bike with old Turbomatic saddle, though).

Edit: Almost same question, almost same answer

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    This question wasn't about fashion or arcane cycling snobbery, so I think you're being a bit harsh with the inclusion of the word "ignorance" in your response. The OP is trying to determine if it would be practical/comfortable/feasible to do an 11-mile commute without Spandex.
    – pjd
    May 17, 2015 at 22:21
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    My hiking trousers are THE BEST for riding. They can breathe, and are comfortable even when soaked in snow and water. Plus, I had a bloody fall from the bike on my knee once, but the trousers are intact.
    – Davidmh
    May 18, 2015 at 8:42
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    I wear outdoor clothing to business meetings, so following your logic I'm fine not wearing spandex at all :) May 18, 2015 at 12:42
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    I totally agree. And that saddle has no business on a road bike. The original question is full of violations. Rule 18, 61, probably 48.
    – jqning
    Dec 29, 2015 at 4:54
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    @jqning That's fine. Consider "on a road bike" to be appended to my response. I wouldn't change anything else that I wrote.
    – pjd
    Dec 29, 2015 at 14:55

I recommend a gel seat cover. Changed my roadbike from a P.I.T.A. (literally) in 20 min to no problem at all after a 50km ride (31 miles) in jeans or normal shorts.

Also, that seat looks like it will be horrible for a road bike with the more agressive seating position, you will either slide off or put pressure on the back of your legs.



In my experience it’s uncomfortable and pants tend to get caught in the chain and bottle cages.

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    That's why you roll up the pants legs, stuff them into your socks, wear a reflector strap around your ankle or a number of other solutions.
    – ojs
    May 17, 2015 at 17:23
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    Put a bottle in the bottle cage. If this doesn't help get a less crappy bottle cage. (At least on your right leg you have to use a strap or roll up the trousers anyway) May 18, 2015 at 12:43

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