Clothes Woes: Fabric Blight

There’s really no polite way to put it. When you spend a lot of time on a bicycle saddle pumping your legs up and down, the rear crotch area below your sit bones is usually the first thing to wear thin.

While proper fitment and good form can reduce the amount of friction this part of your clothing encounters, the fact remains that the constant rubbing on your saddle will eventually wear through almost anything, regardless if it’s a high-end chamois or a pair of heavy duty denim jeans.

Much like Guitar Ted, I also ride in regular clothes in winter. On longer rides, I wear cargo pants or jeans over my summer cycling shorts or mountain bike chamois liner. It’s simple. It’s cheap. And, when the fabric starts to wear thin, I’ve found that I can get a few more months out of them by using iron-on knee patches, such as these. They come in pairs, and cost less than $2:

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I would ocasionally stumble and tear the knees up on my play clothes. My mom would iron these onto the inside of my pants behind the knee to repair and reinforce the fabric. A few weeks ago, I took one of them, cut it in half, then ironed it onto either side of my cargo pants which (as you saw above) were wearing thin.

Even through the other side wasn’t showing any holes, I reinforced both sides.

Last weekend, I was wearing these patched cargo pants when I attempted a rather chilly 200km permanent — a type of Randonneuring endurance ride. I only made it 82 miles before I timed out and called my wife for rescue. They’re still holding up nicely. I’m suspecting I’ll get through the whole winter with these (and a few other pairs of pants I use regularly, of course)

For $1.20 or so, I breathed new life into pants that I use mostly for my short winter rides. Replacing them would have probably cost $20 or more. I’m sure many readers have suffered from fabric blight, so I hope this comes in handy!

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