distasteful questions (practical issues for women on long rides)

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bikefind
Participant
#

Ok, so I’m planning this ~100 mile solo ride for this year. The route plan is coming along ok, and I’m working on a list of things I’ll need to bring, and I’ve still got alot to do, but it’s very exciting and all that.

But I keep coming up against an issue I don’t want to deal with but know I’ll have to.

I’m going to be on good stretches of back roads through the country/woods, and really don’t want to get into the trap of “don’t drink so I don’t have to pee” thinking. A severely bad idea, but I know I’ll tend that way if I don’t plan.

So if you’re a woman, and if you know you’re going to need to pee, and you’re going to be somewhere where you can, out in the woods, but don’t want to expose yourself, what do you do?

I know they sell devices for peeing standing up, but heck I can do that anyway. And there’s no way I could get one of these things in place without getting out of my bike shorts first, which defeats the exposure issue. (Desolate areas sure, but when you have to go, you *know* that’s when a bunch of hikers are going to appear from out of nowhere.)

What I’m thinking of is buying a short skirt that wraps around and attaches along a side (as opposed to having to step in and out of it) and put that *over* my bike shorts when the time comes. Thus lack of exposure. Still there’s the pain in the butt of getting the bike shorts off after putting the skirt on, and getting them back on before taking it off. What would be really awesome would be if someone made bike shorts with a removable crotch. That would solve the problem, but I’m not seeing anything like that out there. Anyone know of anything?

Or a different solution?

I just really don’t want to have to find civilization and lock up my bike every time.


reddan
Keymaster
#

I am, uh, not equipped to give any advice based on first-hand knowledge.

That said, a great place to search, and/or ask such questions would be the randon list.


Swalfoort
Participant
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There are a couple possible answers to this question. First and foremost, pretend you are travelling with a child, and anytime you are in a public location with a restroom facility, make use of it. That will minimize the “in between times.”

As for the out in the woods exposure, if it makes you uncomfortable to expose yourself in the woods, pick up a short skirt to wear over your shorts. The ones that I think would be best are the sort of casual ones made out of fleece, or sweatshirt material. You can even wear them on the bike, so no one will realize why you are wearing it. You can pick them up at places like Old Navy for like $10. Personally, for your purposes, I’d look for one that was not a straight Aline style, but one that has a little bit more of a flare to it.

That way, when you drop your shorts, you will retain your modesty.


Mick
Participant
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Well I have different plumbing, but I’ll commment on some of it anyhow.

When I have a bike loaded for travel, I’m casual about locking it. It isn’t easy to just grab a fully loaded bike and ride off on it.

Rural areas dont’ have the infrastructure to support bike theft anyhow.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Granted I’m not female, but I did follow the several month long trek of the Tuk To The Road girls a few years back. They drove a tuk-tuk (3-wheeled motorized rickshaw) from Bangkok to Brighton UK, through rural Laos, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia, before encountering civilization as we know it. I don’t recall them discussing this specific question, but through them I found out about this product, a device I have never seen on any store shelf in the U.S.A.


stefb
Participant
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I would not care. I would just drop my pants and do it as quickly as possible.

To answer your question, The only thing i can think of is taking a towel and wrapping it around your waist, pull off your pants, do your business, wipe, pull up pants, remove towel.


caitlin
Participant
#

actually the device you referenced could be used without exposing yourself with a little practice :)


edmonds59
Participant
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It distinctly sounds to me as though there is an article of clothing, that does not exist, that needs to be designed and made.


bikeygirl
Participant
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There is also the fact that women can also ‘hold it’ as long -or- longer than guys to wait for a proper relieveing location…

(edit) but if you gotta go, you GOTTA go… of course


sloaps
Participant
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Stadium Pal, as advertised by David Sedaris


edmonds59
Participant
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Oooh, dear. I will not, will not, make fun of the Stadium Pal. I don’t want the mfr coming on here and wigging out vis a vis the Glide cycle or whatever that thing was called a while back. That guy is probably still pissed.


Tabby
Participant
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@stu, they do sell it at the co-op. A great product and most everyone I know who’s tried it has loved it.

Regarding the OP’s question- I’m with StefB


bikefind
Participant
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caitlin, that’s the best thing I’ve heard yet. To be clear, you’re telling me that it’s possible to get this thing on under lycra shorts (the kind that come down to mid-thigh or so) and get the tip to extend past the hem of one’s shorts (which I guess at this point have been pulled up as far as one can get them) and, in that configuration, not pee on oneself?

(It’d be easier with loose shorts, but I’m thinking that for a ride of this length I’m going to want my padded shorts.)

OTOH, if anyone’s done all-day riding without padded shorts and not been sorry, please tell me about it. (I’ll have done some practice rides of near-comparable length by the time I do this, but I want to start gathering gear much earlier.)

@sloaps: I think we’d be talking about the stadium *gal*, which looks like an equally horrible experience. Plus, then there’s that whole contraption to take with you, all run through with pee, or waste a good amount of water to rinse. I love David Sedaris though. I remember hearing him read that piece. Painfully funny. Probably needed one of the devices to listen to it.

@mick: you’re probably right, although the lower risk for me is balanced out by the colossal disaster it would be to have my bike stolen 50 miles from home or destination, probably somewhere with no cell reception. It’d be nice to lose the weight of my U-lock, but I’d be such a wreck worrying that I’d probably end up having to pee every five minutes. Maybe I’ll at least look for a smaller/lighter one. The one I have, you could use to lock an elephant to its mother. Or something.

stefb you’re very cool.

Thanks Swalfoort, but I’m a horrible horrible liar. I get sick thinking about it. Unless someone makes me angry with a question they’ve got no business asking. Then I’ll create an obscene amount of fiction. But to get access to a bathroom? By saying I had a kid with me? I’d collapse mid-sentence.

Thanks everyone for all the replies.


cburch
Participant
#

No matter what you do, look out for bears!


stefb
Participant
#

http://www.uroclub.com/. I got this for my dad for father’s day. See how easy guys have it? They pee off of the side of their bikes while they do the tour de France.


Pseudacris
Participant
#

Learn to recognize poison oak and poison ivy.

Use a skirt. And maybe cut up a piece of a water bottle or milk jug to use as either a shield or “chamber pot,” so you can avoid peeing on the back of your ankles, depending on how your plumbing works + how full your bladder is.


Mick
Participant
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@stefb They pee off of the side of their bikes while they do the tour de France.

I have, indeed, pissed on the side of the GAP without even dimounting my bike.

No animals were harmed in the productioin of this post.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

In the context of biking or hiking on an established biking/hiking trail, I think “doing what you gotta do” is perfectly acceptable behavior, as opposed to stopping in the middle of Bloomfield to relieve one’s bladder.

Not that i’ve ever done that. In Bloomfield I mean.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

To be clear, I was not suggesting that anyone lie about needing a restroom to care for a child’s needs, or otherwise imply any untruths. I was simply suggesting that you adopt a behavior common among parents with young children, and think about using a restroom any time you come across one. I remember well the days of “oh honey, are you sure you don’t want to just try….(to pee)” while at a lunch stop, gas station, turnpike oasis or other location offering a restroom while on long car trips with the family.


Pseudacris
Participant
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@swalfoort: I believe Queen Victoria had some quotable advice (which I can’t find) akin to what you’re saying here. In her day, it took so long just to get in & out of garments she advised women to never pass up the opportunity to use a bathroom.


salty
Participant
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I hope this post makes the “messageboard thread of the month” thing and someone (lolly?) has to try to explain what it’s about…


Vannevar
Participant
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Raincape, whether it’s raining or not.


ejwme
Participant
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having solved this exact issue in a country where the flush toilet opportunities outside the capital could be counted on a single hand, and where everywhere I went I developed a parade of children (and my god there were kids everywhere – I don’t think they even had a word for privacy), here’s what I did.

Take a piece of cloth – waiste to ankle is a good width, and long enough to wrap around your hips 1.5 times. When nature calls, wrap it like a skirt over (and above) your bike shorts. when you find your preferred location, take the bottom hem to a place on the bike shorts as low as you can and still pull the bike shorts off – the skirt won’t come off because it’s wrapped above the shorts (affixing said skirt can take practice, but folding outward was custom where I was). As you pull down, bike shorts come off, skirt provides privacy. squat, do business. when you stand up, reverse procedure. unwrap fabric, ride on.

Since living there, I’ve never totally understood how humans in this country can survive without always having a rectangle of cloth roughly that size. It’s useful for so many things – wrap to keep chill off, modesty/bad hair head cover, skirt if your pants/shorts get messed up, shade in the sun, privacy in public, curtain in the car, make shift bag at the store, baby carrier, bathrobe, rag, kleenex, towel, it does everything. Ok, maybe not everything at once, that could get gross, but it’s very versatile.

Whatever you do, don’t worry about it too much. 50% of us all have roughly the same parts as you, 100% of us all have the same “calling”. Jerks will be jerks, everyone else will understand and look the other way.

Oh – not sure what your clean up plans are, but maybe cary extra water a-la diy bidet (TP was also something you couldn’t get where I was)… it’s more pleasant than packing out used TP, or carrying it around until you find a trash.


HiddenVariable
Participant
#

Since living there, I’ve never totally understood how humans in this country can survive without always having a rectangle of cloth roughly that size. It’s useful for so many things – wrap to keep chill off, modesty/bad hair head cover, skirt if your pants/shorts get messed up, shade in the sun, privacy in public, curtain in the car, make shift bag at the store, baby carrier, bathrobe, rag, kleenex, towel, it does everything. Ok, maybe not everything at once, that could get gross, but it’s very versatile.

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.


Kayla
Participant
#

HiddenVariable- I’m glad I’m not the only one who was thinking of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide when she brought that up.


cburch
Participant
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you both beat me to it! oh well at least i know where my towel’s at!


reddan
Keymaster
#

Given the forecast, I expect to get a lot of practice at throwing myself at the ground and missing…


gimpPAC
Participant
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+1 on the Hitchhiker’s reference! Great post. On the long bike rides I’ve been on, I’ve never had to worry about not having enough trees to hide behind, so this is something to think about for future rides.

You can also loudly sing while you are peeing so people know you are there and they will be less likely to sneak up on you…


joeframbach
Participant
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Modesty is so arbitrary anyway. Just do what you’ve gotta do, people understand. I’ve run a few marathons, and there are always without fail a few women squatting behind the bushes, crowd presence or not.


RoadKillen
Participant
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OT – I saw a guy taking a leak in Frick Park and told him to “shake it once for me” as I rode by. He laughed and said “sure will!”.


Jane
Member
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Pseudacris
Participant
#

Ladies: Problem solved! Check out the Go-Girl.

For some reason there was an ad for this on a page about police bikes.


Lyle
Participant
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A similar device is sometimes sold as a “Lady J”. I don’t know why.


Pseudacris
Participant
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I’m tempted to get one just so I can have the experience of writing my name in the snow.

I thought it was interesting that the Go Girl comes in a cammo version: maybe the female troops are using them?


campingtoilets
Participant
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LoL, Actually Camping Toilets combo would be nice!


Pseudacris
Participant
#

^ spam


reddan
Keymaster
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Yes, those look nicely portable and inconspicuous.

Damn you, interwebz, for enabling that particular variety of spammy marketing.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

True, it’s spam, but I suspect we’re a good target market for them. While the chances of someone hauling what has to be a 25# tool around on a bob trailer is minimal, it might be useful for some of us who have plans for a four-wheel excursion, or a pit crew.

OTOH, this isn’t the first time we’ve gotten spam, and likely won’t be the last. A grudging thumbs-up to them for having the thoughtfulness to target one specific thread rather than, say, golf lessons at the top level of the board (as we’ve seen).


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Impressive detective work, reddan. I never would have picked up that it was spam. I mean, he disguised himself so cleverly: using lower case letters and no space between the words of his handle. Pretty slick, those marketing types.

(Someone help me – do I need to insert the “winky” emoticon here to let everyone know i’m being sarcastic, or can I just skip it?)


reddan
Keymaster
#

If you’re heaping me with praise, I’ll just assume you’re being sincere.

I would like to see the spammer in question demonstrate the proper use of their product on a long bike trip, however. Preferably with video illustrating the portaging and setup/teardown process.

Actually, Stu’s mention of the BOB trailer leads to intriguing possibilities…perhaps a classic outhouse on wheels with a trailer hitch?

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