“Oh, I won’t be needing those,” they’ll say when deciding to take up cycling for fitness. “I didn’t have padded Lycra shorts as a child so I won’t need them now. And anyway I’ll look ridiculous in them.”

Then, after just one outing on their shiny new bike, those same people who dissed the need for “proper cycle shorts” always change their minds. “Oh, I think I might look into the padded shorts now, after all,” they’ll say. “I just had no idea how sore my backside would be from just a few miles of cycling. Yeah, they might be a bit tight looking but I’ll soon slim down enough to look good in them.”

And off they go in search of a pair of padded cycling shorts, as if they had always intended to buy such a thing in the first place!

What are the benefits of cycling shorts?

The benefits of padded cycling shorts far outweigh the belief that no-one looks good in Lycra. Tight-fitting and stretchy shorts with a decent padding in the right place can make all the difference between a bike ride that is long and comfortable and one that is short and very sore.

The padding is designed to offer comfort when sitting on a usually less-than-comfortable bike seat and to prevent chaffing in places that we don’t want to say out loud. A key point, too, is that women’s cycling shorts are designed in a different way to men’s cycle shorts so make sure you buy the gender to suit. If you think about the difference between men and women down below you’ll fathom just why the padding has to be different.

The stretchy polyester fabric overcomes any fabric flapping potential. Think of a bike going at speed, plus wind, plus loose-fitting shorts or skirts and you’ll understand why a tight-fitting fabric makes sense. There are looser styles of cycling shorts and these are worth considering but for a starter set of cycling shorts you’ll be looking for a pair that are relatively cheap.

Another feature to look out for in cycling shorts is that seams aren’t going to dig in to your soft skin. Flat-locked seams are the best as these will prevent rubbing on your skin when you are repeating the same cycling motion over and over. A nice comfortable waistband is also vital. Your  position on a bike normal dictates that you’ll be bent forward so you will not want cycling shorts that bunch up on your stomach.

Dare 2b Ladies On Your Bike Padded Cycle Shorts

On test is the Dare 2b Ladies cycling shorts.

Our reviewer says: “You don’t get much for a tenner these days and at just £9.81 I was more than a little suspicious of the quality of these shorts. I noticed they have an RRP of £20 but in my experience this is still cheap for a pair of padded cycling shorts. So I was pleasantly surprised at the quality.

“The padding is a good thickness but not so bulky that you feel as though you’re wearing a nappy. The shorts length was perfect for me, coming half way down my thighs. And the size 10 was a good, snug fit but not too tight around the waist, which I hate while cycling.

“Out on my bike these cycling shorts did a great job of keeping me comfortable and stopping seat rubs. In fact, I could hardly tell I was wearing the shorts as they felt so light and comfy.

“The shorts didn’t ride up my legs either, and despite a sudden downpour they kept me dry because when the sun came out the material dried out really quickly. This is important for prevent sweat rubs, too.

“I would recommend these shorts to women who are just getting back into cycling or who are looking for several pairs: one on, while the others are in the wash. You could have three pairs for under £30, which is excellent.”