There’s No “I” In “Lycra,” But There Is Both An “I” *And* A “Me” In “Merino.” Think About It.

In recent months, my thoughts have been turning to underpants.

If this offends you, then blame this bicycle:

The more time I spend with it, the more my thoughts concerning Lycra are basically, “Why bother?” This is not to say I’ll never wear Lycra again, or that I don’t appreciate it. When it’s raining, or it’s 92 American Freedom Degrees™ and humid, wearing a form-fitting, quick-drying stretchy suit makes a lot of sense–especially if you’re not planning to spend any time off the bike. And of course if you’re riding a bike that puts you in a stretched-out position you’ll find you’re a lot more comfortable in superhero leotards than you are in “normal” clothing.

Otherwise, however, I’ve found I’m increasingly happy to be sitting reasonably upright and wearing “regular” clothes while riding, and I anticipate my desire to do so will only become more acute as I leave youth behind in my figurative helmet mirror. On its surface, this would seem to be a much simpler and more economical approach to cycling and to life; however, this is bikes, and sadly it just doesn’t work like that. See, in the process of weaning myself off Lycra I’ve instead become addicted to merino, thanks in part to a shipment I received not too long ago from Vulpine, which included, among other garments, this 80-dollar t-shirt:

It’s comfortable, I wear it repeatedly without washing for days on end, and I scoff at the foppish Lycra Freds while totally ignoring the fact that I’m riding around on a bike with twine-wrapped bars in an 80-dollar t-shirt.

Anyway, between the merino t-shirt, and merino the socks (yes, I’m also hooked on the socks) it was only a matter of time before I started flirting with the idea of applying the material to other more…intimate parts of my body.

Yes, I’m talking about merino underwear.

By upgrading my undergarments, I reasoned I could avoid Lycra even more often by obviating some of the, well, unfortunate conditions that can arise when you spend lots of saddle time in garden-variety cotton unmentionables.

Alas, merino underwear is quite expensive, and I am merely a humble semi-professional bike blogger. However, it is said that, though the power of positive thinking, you can turn your visualizations into reality. Doubt that if you will, but it’s the only way I can explain that I recently received an unsolicited email from someone working with Ortovox–an outdoor apparel company who offer, among other items, merino underwear. They kindly offered to send their Civetta rain jacket for me to try, which obviously I accepted, because I may be stupid, but I’m not completely stupid, and I know enough to say “yes!” to what looks like a really nice piece of rain gear:

Additionally, I requested–and was granted–a pair of merino underwear:

Both of these items were waiting for me upon my return from vacation, buried beneath about 14,000 pieces of junk mail. (Insert your politically-charged mail-in voting joke here.) It’s still way too warm here to test the jacket (though it does feel great when I parade around my home in it), but I have ridden in the boxers. So far they are proving extremely comfortable, and indeed I already worry that there may be no going back for me. Indeed, I may be well on my way to the undergarment equivalent of a Fabergé egg addiction.

Ironically, in foregoing bike-specific constumes and pursuing an optimally functional on-the-bike/off-the-bike wardrobe, I realize now that I am moving towards the sort of “minimalist” approach I once mocked. Perhaps one day I’ll even be one of those people with just one bike and a few changes of clothes–you know, like a normal person, only with more expensive stuff.

Ah, I can dream…

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