Sheer Shorts Syndrome = Sheer Embarrassment

The booties, balaclavas, and jackets are long forgotten as the summer heat cranks up and the time for riding in bare arms and legs is in full swing. It’s glorious!

Now is also the time for all cyclists who wear spandex to assess the state of their cycling shorts collection. Your favorite shorts that you bought three years ago? It may be time to send them on their way.

Those shorts with the oddly placed mesh panel in the back? Yes, you know what I mean when I say oddly placed. I saw you on Hains Point last week. Please stop wearing those.

People, I’m talking about the dreaded sheer shorts syndrome. Because just as summer is the time when people bust out in the bare minimum for their bike rides, it is also the time when people are prone to sporting those shorts that just don’t cut it anymore.

No sheer shorts here… phew!

Unfortunately for me, I’ve been seing sheer shorts a lot lately, primarily on my post-work laps around Hains Point. I’m not going to include any of these incidents on this blog because I have a certain standard I like to maintain, but you know the shorts I’m referencing. Time to reassess your wardrobe choices, people!

I know, I know, it’s tougher than it seems to avoid the dreaded sheer shorts syndrome. Those unstretched shorts that looked fine when you pulled them out of the dimly lit closet? They might not look so fine when you stretch them up around your legs and ride off into the afternoon sun.

Nobody has eyes in the back of his or her head and none of us has the ability to swivel our noggins around like that lady from The Exorcist. It’s nearly impossible to self-diagnose the level of our own cycling shorts’ sheerness.

The key to avoiding sheer shorts syndrome is to designate a sheer shorts liaison. Yes. You need a dedicated someone (ideally, someone you ride with and like), who can look at your shorted derriere and tell you, “Insert your name here, you really cannot be seen in those things anymore.”

If you don’t have a sheer shorts liaison and you ride in spandex cycling shorts, then you are courting trouble and embarrassment. Do yourself (and those around you) a favor. Secure a sheer shorts liaison today!


  1. LG performed that invaluable service for me last year. Unfortunately those were my favorite shorts. But all was not lost. Those shorts found new life as winter-wear under tights, preserving borh modesty and $$.


  2. I am glad to see a rando blogger finally courageous enough to write about this dreadful subject. Thanks, MG, for doing your part to make the roads more beautiful. (It’s never the right person wearing those sheer shorts is it?)


  3. Thanks to all! I feel you, Eric. It always seems to be the favorite shorts that have to go. But when you find out they’re sheer, how can they be your favorite shorts? Yes, George, you know I am always honing in on those hard-hitting issues of essential importance to the randonneuring community!


  4. A few years ago on a Crista ride, I overheard several riders talking among themselves … “Who’s going to tell Nick?” Then someone told me. Uncomfortable 🙂

    I’ve also heard people refer to sheer shorts as “porno pants”.


    • Ha ha! Me too, Nick! I originally thought of titling the post as such, but then worried about having that word in the title.


  5. Late entry – I hope I’ve been avoiding sheer shorts by admitting it’s time to wear XL shorts (I’m not 25 anymore). Wearing the correct size in the first place goes a long way! I’ll keep the “porno pants” remark in mind! LOL! Sometimes I use the phrase, “It may be time to relegate those to the winter closet.” Most of my fellow riders know that code. 😉 My closest cycling friends are both women. Neither of them have an issue with keeping me informed (and I’m honest with them, too). One would probably ask if I plan to apply for Chippendales. She’s a blast!


    • Well, as long as the XL are not sliding around in a bad way, probably a good way to go. AND it’s always good to have riding partners who will be honest w/ you!


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