An Olympian, fat cyclists and Lyrca ™

This week Sir Chris Hoy made a somewhat less than veiled statement during an interview in GQ. While he maintains it was made tongue-in-cheek the reality is the implications went far and wide. Social then national media – the whole deal.

So what was all the fuss about? Well it all went a little like this:

“No one wants to see anyone over 8 stone in Lycra.”

Sure – I grasp that – far too often you see sports wear on someone who has never been to a gym in their life… and black leggings… well – you know.

So back to his point. Cyclists. Lycra.

It’s better to be out than sat on the sofa, still in bed, or propping up the profits of your local take out / fast food place – no one is disagreeing with that here. However the point is we are not all Olympians. In fact the majority of us do not have the genetic capacity to perform at anything like that level. However cycling kit – well – basically its a practical set of garments… and coming out kitted up in the wrong kit can really piss on your parade.

Speaking as a Fat Lad At The Back – a typical “fat club cyclist” (6ft and 92kg – obese) – there are many good reasons why you choose to wear functionally specific clothing:

– Lack of sore backside;
– Freedom of movement;
– Sweat management;
– Temperature management;
– Lack of chafing;
– Lack of flapping spare material;
– Weather proofing where needs be.

…the list goes on, and on.

I started in shorts and t-shirt. Then padded shorts and t-shirt, then padded shorts and jersey, and eventually full kit… which was nothing less than liberating. The freedom of movement, comfort, pockets in the right place, venting in the right place, and with modern fabrics coming along every now and then the whole thing just keeps getting better.

So sure – while I would not personally parade around in a skin-suit (all in one) – unless I was having a particularly good time trial season… mainly as it is not a flattering look… they hide very little in terms of my ‘rotundness‘.

However, and this is the important part – the choice is MINE. If you have an issue, or are offended by my fatness – look away.

In the same way as you may head out on a Friday or Saturday night to the local to find women and girls who look like they have left half their outfit at home… it happens.

So why did this make the media – why was he lead on this line of questioning, and why did it make the press? You could say the same kind of reason that a single cyclist on a fixed gear bike with no brake is held aloft as a poster boy of “bloody cyclists” … while at fault made no odds in the outcome of someone stepping out – looking the wrong way – phone pressed to their ear. How many pedestrians are killed by cars each day? How many of those are shall we say “below par”?

So – can he say what he likes – sure. Maybe I would too if I was a chiselled Olympian (who incidentally is going to be weighing a tonne more than the stated 8 stone). The bigger issue is why this became a thing, and why it is just yet another thing you bring up with your cyclist mate – while doing a bad job of hiding the rage of the last cyclist that annoyed you. The reason, it sells papers, gets links, gets traffic…. magnetisable.

This bottom feeding is where the issue lays.

Rant ends.

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