Bike Shorts

Figure 1.--


Some fashion magazines started promoting boys bike shorts as summer wear in 1988, but they did not become really popular until summer 1989. Boys bike shorts went out of mainstream fahsion about 1993 when big baggy shorts became the rage. Skatboarders liked baggies, probably because they were older boys and didn't like the form fitting style of the bike shorts. They also followed African-American culture closer, where bike shorts have never been popular.


Before they were introduced, the preferred style was for plain color sport shorts (in cotton or nylon) or bright colored board shorts (like Okanuis). Neon colours associated with the beach were the fashion, so when bike shorts first came out, they were mainly black and had side panels of neon colour, either a flat pattern or sometimes a mix of colors. In about 1991, the trendiest bike shorts were bright colors all over, often in blues or reds, and often with either bike or skateboard logos printed on them. Some makers reversed the earlier style, and had a bright neon color with a black side panel.


The first bike shorts were plain, perhaps with a different colored side panel. Later, patterns instead of plains made there way into the preferred styles, and these often covered the whole garment.


The prefered fabric was nylon lycra, as it provided a confortable fit and keeps cool, unlike cotton lycra, wich was heavier in weave and could become too warm with body heat.


They were worn as casual wear, and many boys wore them as part of there school sport uniform as well. Boys would wear the new bike shorts everywhere, including when they went biking, rode their skateboard, or in some cases rollerblading (which was only starting to take off then). Later, many of the school sport uniforms as well as weekend sport clubs adopted bike shorts for boys as part of there regular sports uniform. Many continue to use them now.

Accompanying Clothes

The accepted clothing to wear with bike shorts was either a singlet or muscle shirt (T-shirt without sleeves), but more and more boys preferred just the plain T-shirt, so long as the color matched the shorts in some way. Beach sandals were the best thing to wear as footwear , but some boys liked to wear sneakers or sport shoes, sometimes even with ankle socks. Because the shorts came down to the middle of the thigh or in some cases the top of knee, many boys thought that they looked better with sandals than with socks and shoes.

Figure 2.--These are the sunsuits popular as sunsuits in Australia. They are essentially expanded lycra bike shorts. The boy on the right wears a front zipper sunsuits for toddlers sold about 1996.


Sun protection

Bike shorts are still worn, but in 2000 mainly as beachwear. The Australian Cancer Council approves of them because they are lycra, wich is sun protection. Most boys will wear them instead of speedos because they are like a cross between speedos and boardies, wich arent sun protection but the bike shorts are.


Some sun protection wear makers make the sunsuit, wich is bike shorts and rashie combined in one suit, and has a zipper like a springsuit up the back or sometimes up the front and made of lycra instead of wetsuit rubber. Sometimes you see the long sleeve sunsuit, wich has long sleeves and short legs, and sometimes you see kids wearing the sunsuit that looks like a steamer with long sleeves and long legs. These normally have the zipper up the back with a piece of string to grab hold of it. Some kids wear their speedos underneath there sunsuits, but most dont bother , just wearing the sunsuit as a swimming costume. Kids who dont want to wear the sunsuit wear a rashie. With the rashie they wear speedos, boardies or bike shorts, or with a long sleeve rashie some boys will even wear footless lycra tights or leggings. Sunsiuts are normally brightly colored, or with big panels of dark color or black and small areas of neon color. The most popular colors are black or dark blue with some neon blue, yeloow or red. Girls wear sunsuits as well as boys do, and they tend to be bright pink a lot.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: November 22, 2000
Last updated: November 27, 2000