review: blow it out your ass-os

I've recently reached that point in life - maybe that was a few years ago but I was only willing to admit it now - where my body mostly only makes sense in a kit. I've been genetically gifted with quads that will grow...and grow and grow...with the calves [and okay, ass] to match. This makes me the envy of the bodybuilders at my gym who refuse to do heavy squats, but also makes me look like a tree stump in skinny jeans.
It's a sad reality for someone who used to love denim. The trade-off was that I discovered Lululemon and Assos.

Though the designers at Lululemon have come up with a way to make even my ass look, well, spectacular, in yoga pants, Assos has been the real game changer. It's been almost a year since I purchased them, but my Assos T.FI. Lady S5 bibs have become one of those garments I try to "save" for special occasions. I'll grit through the relative discomfort of my worn down Capo shorts on shorter rides, just so I won't have to risk my Assos bibs coming under more wear and tear. Sure, they were bulletproof enough to come away with only a small scrape when I crashed back in October, but like the favorite pair of killer heels you generally keep on ice, you can't ever be too careful.

And like those heels, these bibs The difference being that they're also extremely comfortable. The fabric is similar to that of Rapha's [mens'] bib shorts [circa 2010] - silky smooth and supple - but a touch better. It feels good to slip into, and unless you're stupid enough to lose a few kgs after purchasing them, these shorts won't ride up, despite the fact that only the back half of the leg hems have rubber grippers. Everything molds to your body and moves with you in these bibs, including the just-right, infamous, light-blue chamois. You feel naked, but awesomely, confidently so, like how great boyfriends can should make you feel even after you stuff yourself with way too much food.

Even new, the chamois was never obtrusive, either. It's thick enough to provide comfort for those mega-long trainer rides or anything that involves lots of time in the saddle, but outwardly appears low profile. I never got the feeling that I had two giant diapers on, or that I was walking around with a pillow precariously attached to my already bodacious ass. As an added perk, the bibs are cut rather generously in the hips and thighs. Which means I easily fit into a size small (win!!!).
The best part, though? The slightly strange between-boob strap.

I consider myself a fairly creative problem-solver, but never figured out how to drop the bibs to pee without taking off my jersey and trying to find a place to hang it. Assuming there's a hook provided in the bathroom, it never works out well because my pockets are inevitably stuffed with tubes, tire levers, a multi-tool, food, phone, earphones and whatever else. This means I end up battling various layers of Lycra in a fight to drop the bibs and juggling discarded layers so they won't touch the floor, all while crammed in some small public restroom. Yeah, I'm sure there's a porn genre for that, too, but listen, I'm not getting paid for this.
With the Assos bibs, I can unhook the strap, pull it over my head, and slip it down my back, all with my jersey still securely hooked to my shoulders. I'm flexible enough to be able to link my hands behind my back, so the strap gets shoved up my back with one hand, and grabbed with the other. All with my jersey securely on my shoulders. Even if you're not that flexible, you only need to shrug the jersey off one shoulder, not both. The guys probably won't get it, but this has been a total game changer.
Oh yeah, and for someone who is less than endowed totally flat, the strap also gives some illusion of boob-age. Which is cool because I can use all the help I can get in that department, too.

After losing a few kgs, those bibs are starting to creep up my thighs on rides. It's a shame, because it's barely been a year since I purchased them. I'm saving up for another pair, though, even with the other womens' bibs options that are popping up.
Because you've been there. Racing towards the nearest bathroom mid-ride, unsnapping your helmet before you even get off the bike. And who seriously has the time to be taking off a jersey when that happens?
Details Price: 24,780 yen [Note: I got the 2012 model last fall, on sale, for about 19,000yen at the Tokyo Assos Pro Shop.]
[And yeah, you're welcome for having no shame and posting these unflattering pictures of my butt on the Internet.]