Drive through banks, drive through chemists, drive through launderettes, drive through restaurants, drive through funeral parlours…
Okay I made the last one up. But all the same nobody seems to walk anywhere much in this part of America so the locals spend an awful lot of time sitting on their backsides. And so will we over the next month as we saddle up and pedal 3,000 miles across the US. Which means we have to pay special attention to our, ahem, nether regions.
Without wishing to ruin your Easter with talk of hot cross bums scrupulous hygiene is called for. For starters we’ve got to make sure we’re squeaky clean down below, then smother our cheeks with chamois cream and finally wrap them not in cotton wool but padded shorts.
In the old days that meant slaughtering a goat-antelope, tanning its hide and sewing the resulting soft leather into the gusset of one’s riding breeches. Now it’s pretty much all synthetic and the only thing that gets slaughtered is your wallet.
I paid £220 for a pair of Swiss-made ASSOS T.cento s7 bib shorts (think lederhosen and the Sound of Music and you won’t be far wrong on the look) which is an eye-watering sum of money by any reckoning. But then a sore backside can be eye-watering in a different way. And in any case if they perform as the manufacturer promises it’ll work out to just over 7p per mile. Question is will they?
Search the sales blurb for an answer and all you’ll find is the usual pseudo-scientific hyperbole. Here’s an excerpt.
The unique insert is a small masterpiece that has been specifically designed for ultra-long-distance missions. Ergonomically shaped, it uses higher density memory foam shock absorbers and features a very special ASSOS invention, kuKuPenthouse. In the front section of the insert there is a low volume circular inlet that accommodates the male anatomy in cocoon-like comfort, yet holds everything securely.
Sounds like a load of old bollocks – literally when I’m wearing them. Which I did today for a 40km training ride. To be honest they didn’t feel significantly more comfortable than the pair I wore on the same ride yesterday and cost only a quarter of the price. But hey it’s way too early to say if I’ve been sold a bum steer. The proper road test begins in little over 24 hours. I’ll keep you posted.