When You're too Fancypants for a Cuff Clip: Leg Shield

Cuff straps and cuff clips are designed to do one thing, which is to keep your pants cuff away from your chainring where it can be exposed to sharp, gnawing, nasty, greasy teeth. They don’t always do a good job.

Dirty Teeth
I like pant cuffs and I cannot lie…

Like many — perhaps most — American bike commuters, I use a repurposed bike that was originally designed for sport or recreation. We have no chain guards.

And I have a collection of cuff straps that I mostly don’t ever use.

Ted's Cuff Strap and Clip Collection
My Cuff Strap and Clip Collection (L-R): The metal vise, the Velcro tourniquet, and the plastic python.

That’s right. Hiking boots and jeans — at work. You got a problem with that?

It’s pretty inconsequential to me if I arrive to work with a little grease on my pants cuff.

Brooks Leather Cycling Trouser Strap
Brooks Leather Cycling Trouser Strap

But what about you poor saps who don’t have a casual work environment; you people who spend money on Armani dress pants and still endeavor to bike to work?

First of all: More power to you.

You could use a Brooks Leather Cycling Trouser Strap, which will certainly impress your tweedster friends.

But none of these straps and clips protect more than about an inch of your fancy pants from contact with that dirty drive train.

Even with chain guards and fenders, you can still get road crap slung upon that bottom six-or-so inches of your pants.

Leg Shield is designed for you fancypants bike commuters. It covers the entire lower portion of your dressy work pants — 11-and-a-half inches.

Leg Shield | Revolutionary Pant Strap for Biking
Photo: Leg Shield

Take a look at that photo above. That’s not me, and that’s not my bike. (But I do have some shoes almost like that from my wedding.)

Now imagine those shoes and pants in the next photo, because this is me:

Leg Shield | Revolutionary Pant Strap for Biking
My other work pants and shoes.

Putting on the Leg Shield is easy. It reminds me of a compression wrap for shin splints. I wore it all day waiting for one of my co-workers to ask me how I’d hurt myself. Nobody asked.

The only caveat is that it is made of neoprene, and would probably get warm if you were to use it in hot weather. I suppose anything that completely wraps your lower leg would do the same. I only tried it in winter. (Note the gloves and winter coat.) The makers of Leg Shield say that if you wrap it loosely, it will increase the airflow.

Because I’m a Philistine when it comes to pants, I had to look up the price of dress pants, and holy crap! There’s a market out there for pants that cost more than I’ve ever spent on a bike.

I’m trying hard to put myself in the mind of someone who has a wardrobe full of these extravagant pants — five or more pairs.

This is not my world, but I’m trying to imagine an investment of more than $1000 in work pants — pants alone — and wearing them while bike commuting. The Leg Shield costs $19.95 — less than that pretentious little Brooks Trouser Strap.

Hell yes, I’d use a Leg Shield. I’d use two. And I wouldn’t forget. Not once.

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20 thoughts on “When You're too Fancypants for a Cuff Clip: Leg Shield”

  1. Used to see leg gaiters on commuters all the time, but it’s been a while now. You can get cheap nylon ones for something like ten bucks at an Army surplus store and some other discount outdoor supply places.

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      I bet a Virginia country lawyer like Tom Bowden would impress his clients showing up in his fancy lawyer clothes and camo gaiters.

      Camo Gaiters

  2. BluesCat says:

    When the weather starts to get cool — and I go from cargo shorts to blue jeans on my commute — that big, long greasy chain on my long wheelbase recumbent decorates the entire right calf of my pants.

    I usually resort to rolling my relaxed fit jeans up to the knee (WARNING: Adult Image): BluesCat Showing Sexy Leg.

    Now, if it gets REALLY cold (like it did this last week), rolling up the pants leg is really uncomfortable. I’ve seen this Leg Shield before and may have to revisit it.

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      BentRider Online has a positive review of Leg Shield:

      Let’s be honest here… Some recumbents do have some rather convoluted chain lines. If they don’t give you a grease tattoo when riding, chances are they’ll eventually get you on the dismount. This isn’t much of a bother when riding recreationally but can be an issue if you’re commuting. The Leg Shield does a masterful job of keeping the grease away from your work clothes.

  3. cracked lid says:

    I’ve been commuting to work for about 4 months without my dress pants suffering a single staining. I have a cuff strap but I don’t use it because it’s quicker to just tuck my right pant leg into my sock. Inelegant? Sure, but it’s also fast a free.

  4. I’ve been using a mini-bungi cord for years.

    They work great, and can be easily stored in your pocket when not in use.

    I must admit that the Leg Cuff looks terrific.

    Personally I think a cyclist’s trouser cuff-link system should be invented. (I need myself a nice velo-cufflink) 😉

  5. Matt H says:

    What those of us with casual pants jobs forget is that if fancy pants survive the grease, when you add pants clips or leg covers, you get wrinkles! That’s nearly as bad (to them).

  6. Tom Bowden says:

    Now them’s some fine lookin’ gaiters! But just for the record, I ain’t no country lawyer. I’m downright citified.

  7. Dan says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that pretentious Brooks Trouser strap looks pretty spiffy? (Although a true tweedster would probably have a nice pair of plus fours and argyle socks for biking)

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      No you’re not! They look very spiffy indeed.

      I had to Google “plus fours” to find out what you were talking about. I’ve had quite a pants education as a result of writing this review.

  8. Kevin Love says:

    I ride a Pashley Roadster Sovereign. A full chain case is factory standard equipment.

    I am a professional Accountant, and wear nice pants that I do not want to get wrinkled with a device such as the “legshield” shown here.

    There is no way that I would ride without a chaincase, particularly in winter.

    If your bike does not have a chaincase, there are many that can be purchased quite inexpensively. See, for example:


  9. cathey says:

    i made myself a cute ankle bracelet with multicolored plastic letter beads and sturdy thread , i just roll it up over my pants works fine to keep it out of the chain/ cheap make it yourself jewelry craft section @ walmart.

  10. BluesCat says:

    Kevin – There’s not a decent chaincase — that I know of — for derailleur equipped bikes like mine. Those funky things which just fit over the top part of the chain (a la the cruiser bikes) only do half the job.

    cathey – You mean beads like THESE? (chuckle) It’s a clever idea, but if I were to ride into my office with one of those on my pants ankle … with some of those homophobes present who ALREADY think male bike commuters are kind of fey anyway … in order to avoid the tittering and the catcalls I’d have to make sure they spelled out some very manly swear words!

  11. listenermark says:

    You know the little purple rubber bands that the grocer uses to bundle asparagus? Man, those are perfect.

  12. Donna says:

    I saw someone wearing these this morning! (In Richmond, Tom Bowden)

    I use those metal clips from office supply and have been known to use a wooden clothes pin.

    The chain grabbed my pants during a precarious traffic incident once–scarey because I wasn’t able to react quickly because my pants were stuck. I ALWAYS clip my pants now.

  13. snowkitty says:

    Rubberbands…cheap, inexpensive,somewhat wide width rubberbands. Once at work, I just slide the rubberband down a little bit and puff the pant leg out. When time to leave, just roll th rubberband back up and over.

  14. kleurplaten says:

    Really i would be to lazy to put those things on every single time….

  15. Troy says:

    Does anybody use Kitten collars? They work great and they are cheap

  16. Geek Boy says:

    Here is a real cheap alternative. One morning as I was about to go off to work on my bike, noticed one of my daughter’s hair scrunchies just laying around. This gave me an idea, went to her room, found a black one and wore it around the bottoms of my right pant leg. Doesn’t protect pants from grease but all I cared about was not getting pants caught in the chain of my fixie.

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