When I first put on the Sheila Moon “Lingerie” knickers—trimmed with pretty lace at the cuff and waistband—I thought, “Oh, that’s right—this is why I like Pedal Panties.”
You see, Pedal Panties, which I like to describe as “more than underwear, less than bike shorts,” serve as my everyday wear for bike commuting. With their silky no-show fabric and light touch of soft lining, they provide a little extra cush for my tush without creating what I refer to as “the full diaper” effect.
Last year, in fact, I think I may have worn bike shorts a grand total of once. I rode 18-mile days in Nuu-Muus and Pedal Panties quite happily. As an everyday rider I’ve toughened up the ol’ sit bones and after years of search I’ve found a saddle that makes me reasonably happy (a Serfas Terazzo Gel, for the record, but since saddle selection is so personal that has little to do with your best option).
But within minutes I paid the knickers what I would consider the highest possible compliment for any pair of bike shorts: I forgot about them.
This does not always happen with bike shorts, as I’m sure you can attest. Common issues I’ve encountered:
- Something about the lining hits you in the wrong spot and you keep thinking about your inner thighs.
- The thread has a quality you find scratchy despite the manufacturer’s effort to find soft, yet strong thread (hey, that’s us women bicyclists—soft yet strong).
- The finish on the chamois seemed butter-soft in the shop but it isn’t as friendly an hour into the ride.
- The elastic around the legs is a little too assertive and you feel like you’ve been stuffed into sausage casings.
- The padding is too much (Papa Bear) or too little (Mama Bear) and you want Baby Bear (just right).
None of these problems emerged with the Sheila Moon product, designed by a woman for women.
My first wearing of the knickers was actually for the Spokane Bike Swap, not a bike ride, which is kind of a funny test. But they stayed comfy all day long while I stood, walked, lifted, carried, and generally moved around.
Few of us would put bike shorts on just to wear all day as our regular shorts of choice but these worked just fine in that capacity and looked screamin’ cute under a Ruu-Muu with a little Sheila Moon bolero to keep my shoulders warm.
Next test was a bit more real-world as far as biking: 25 miles with a lot of hills. The knickers performed equally well under those conditions.
I’m not one who likes a whole wad of padding but I do want something if I’m riding some distance and the amount on these was just right for me. That’s another YMMV (your mileage may vary) calculation that’s very personal for each woman.
Important feature: The lace trim around the legs and waistband is really comfortable!
I don’t know about you and your personal muffin-top setting but I don’t like the feeling of spilling over the waistband of most bike shorts when I lean into the handlebars, nor do I like the nice little red line I get as a result. The lace—a wide and stretchy band of around two inches—gives gently instead of squeezing for all-day comfort.
I have a pair of knickers I bought some time ago for the knee-covering warmth that I’ve essentially retired (aka, stuffed clear in the back of the drawer) because of the incredible discomfort I get from the tourniquets they apply at the top of the calf. The Sheila Moon knickers had no such problem. I had a cute little light lace imprint on my calf when I peeled them off but none of that feeling of returning circulation created by overconstricting elastic.
I wore a pair of the lingerie liners—a flattering mid-thigh shorts length—another day and had a similar comfy experience. That was at the Windermere Marathon Fitness Expo, a fun event packed with women and men getting ready to run a half or full marathon the next day.
The owner of Wahine Sport, another booth on my aisle, kept coming back to check out the knickers and trying them on to decide what size to get. She’s tiny and the knicker length made a really cute pair of almost-leggings on her (and looked really cute with the fun clothes she designs and sells—check out her site). Another friend bought a pair of the shorts length to wear on a trip to Vegas with a dress she thinks is just an itsy-bitsy bit too short; the lace peeking out will be adorable and she’ll have something with some utility after the trip.
The fabric in the lingerie weight is a very light waffle weave with tiny holes for breathability. Sheila warned me that some might not find this quite enough cover to wear as shorts.
I don’t have any misgivings personally, and I’m not the flasher type. Coupled with my propensity to wear a Nuu-Muu (or my new find, the Sweet Spot Skirt—review coming soon) instead of a jersey, I’m wearing these as my new regular bike shorts. I really like the give of the fabric; it follows the body the way you expect bike shorts to without the serious grip of Spandex.
If you wanted to wear them under a pair of baggy shorts you could. Based on my own comfort level, I could also see wearing the knickers all day for work under a spring dress with a pair of flats and being perfectly happy. This is not something I have ever said about any pair of bike shorts I’ve owned, and this is certainly the only pair of bike bottoms I own with lace trim.
Top points to Sheila Moon for comfort and style.
Where to find Sheila Moon: In Spokane, check in with me for the next Bike Style shopping event. Online, check out her full line of dresses, boleros, and other items.