Jul 072011
Happy Bottom: Pedal Panties Review

Silky wicking fabric, no panty line, and just enough padding that you and your bike saddle can still be friends at the end of the day.

“Happy Bottom” is actually my dad’s nickname for my mom, whose name is Gladys. (As she always said, “At least he doesn’t call me Jolly Butt.”)

A happy bottom is also what I have on days with a little more mileage than usual—that is, if I’m wearing my new Pedal Panties!

Pedal Panties Front View: Underwear made for biking.
Pedal Panties: Front view.

Like many, many biking women (possibly all of us) I’ve been through several saddles in search of the “perfect” one. Ain’t no such thing, sugar. Every woman’s anatomy is different. I’m pretty happy with my current saddle, a Serfas Terazzo, but put in more than a few miles without bike shorts and I’m going to notice it the next day when sit bones meet saddle.

In my ongoing quest for clothing that helps you look good and ride comfortably I ran across the gals at Pedal Panties and ordered some in time for the June Bike Style Treats & Shopping event.

I had the chance to try them out the day before the event. Thanks to a Belles and Baskets evening ride and several errands I put in 16.5 miles that day, whereas a day with no meetings and just a ride to work and back only nets me around 5 miles.

Pedal Panties Back View: Underwear for biking
Pedal Panties: Back view.

Remember, I bike to work in regular clothes: skirts, dresses, capris, pants. I don’t want to mess with carrying clothes and changing; I’ve made slight adjustments to my shopping habits specifically so I don’t have to do that.

So all this time I’ve been toughing it out on longer-mileage days because there’s no way I’m wearing what feels like a diaper all day long. Bike shorts would show under my work clothes and while Spandex may be slimming, I don’t want to be squeezed like a sausage in a casing all day long. That gripper elastic on the thighs isn’t that comfy after 10 hours either.

To be blunt—this is just between us girls, right?—regular underwear can prove to be a tragic mistake on a bike and you won’t know until you find out the hard way. Beautiful lace? Irritating after a while. Thong? Really bad idea if you’re riding very far. Wrong kind of elastic? Ouch. Depending on the fabric your outer pants are made of you may run into some chafing of the inner thighs, too. Bike shorts are designed to be worn without underwear for a reason.

Pedal Panties to the rescue! They have just a light touch of padding—a soft cottony-feeling finish (made of polyester, though, for its wicking qualities) rather than a thick chamois pad, so no sensation that makes me feel as if I should waddle. They’re made of a lightweight, silky, moisture-wicking performance fabric that feels delightful.

Pedal Panties Inside View: Underwear made for biking
Pedal Panties: The hidden truth revealed.

When I initially put them on I was a little worried because the low-rider cut felt pretty low in the back and I don’t like that sensation. But the fabric is so wonderful that two seconds later I’d forgotten all about that and I never thought about it again. They felt comfortable on and off the bike all day long. The boy-cut legs meant no panty line under the somewhat form-fitting stretchy capris I wore to work that day. That cut also provides some inner-thigh protection that I think will reduce or eliminate chafing.

Nothing is ever perfect, of course. Right now they come in teal, lilac, and black. I’d like a color I could wear under whites.

It would be great if the size range covered more women; they start with XS (2-4) and go up to XL (10-12). Those are my only recommendations for change. I’d say the sizing is a little bit larger than you’d think with this scale because I wear somewhere around an 8-10 (depending on the brand) and the size M (6-8) I wore was fine; in fact, I might have been able to wear a size S. A friend who wears a size 00 at Black House White Market said the XS fit her fine and if they made an XXS she could wear those. If you’re a 12-14 I think you could wear the XL. I’ve already asked them about making more of a size range.

Now, they’re not a substitute for bike shorts if I’m heading off for a full day of riding. But for the vast majority of my days this is all I’ll need and it’s a big improvement over the offerings of Victoria’s Secret (or Fred Meyer).

You want to know cost, of course. They retail for $36. That’s more than I’ve ever paid for underwear, and less than I’ve ever paid for bike shorts. And that’s a perfect description of them too: more than underwear, less than bike shorts. For 16.5 miles of comfort last week, it seemed like a fair price.

Pedal Panties are made in the United States, in California. If you’re interested in checking them out, check the Events category to see where the next Bike Style shopping event will take place or email me, bikestylespokane-at-gmail.com, to get some happiness for your bottom.

Pedal Panties get a shout-out on Veló Vogue: Back in the Saddle.

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Reader Comments

  1. If you’re into any kind of cycling whether it be on road or off road, motorized or not this is the site for your needs. You’ll find reviews and direct links for the best deals online for parts to complete bikes and motorcycles. You simply won’t find more information combined with the best money saving deals elsewhere so dig in to get yourself that perfect cycle you are looking at or part to make your work in progress a reality. Happy Cycling!!!

  2. I am wholly dissatisfied with my pedal panties.
    I wore them for my 2 mile commute to work, wore them in the office all day, and them wore them for my 2 mile commute home. By the time I got to the office, I was questioning their chafe-factor. By the end of my work day, before I even got back on the bike, I no longer had any doubt about their capability to chafe. By the time I got home I was quite relieved to run in the house and change out of them.
    The legs creep up into the area where my legs meet my groin and the stitching inside happily rubs away with each pedal or foot stroke. I question if the stitching along the front of the interior fleece panel would start to chafe after a longer ride, since it sits right between me and the saddle. I am pretty sure it probably would.

    Do you know anyone who would like a used-one-time pair of small pedal panties?
    I’m going back to bike shorts (or for my usual short commute, my regular panties, which are much more comfortable).

  3. I will be in Spokane the third weekend of August for Gonzaga move-in. Is there any chance of purchasing a pair of Pedal Panties from you? Amazon is currently out of them and I don’t live near any of the other stores that carry them. Thanks!

  4. Annie, come look for our booth at the South Perry Street Fair Saturday, July 16. We’ll be there with our Nuu-Muus (and Ruu-Muus and bike bells and more) on!

  5. Cool! I hope you have another Bike Style event soon — I was out of town for the June one. I’d love to see some Nuu-Muu’s, too! Thanks!

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