Monday 8 April 2024


There are certain locations in London where you will be guaranteed to find the lycra-clad brigade on their carbon bicycles with combined components costing thousands. You know where and you know what I mean. I thought I would explore the choice of outfits many wear. 

Now, I will make a disclaimer. I do wear a pair of padded cycling shorts that has lycra however they have never been on public display and always, always covered with a pair of ordinary shorts or trousers over the top. I will also admit that lycra does have a place in cycling - usually in the professional and semi-professional arena. What I suppose I am trying to explore is the normalisation of this attire.

I was in a bakery in N6 this morning and in walked a lycra-clad type, in a one piece number with World Champion colours across their chest and upper buttocks. The ensemble was so tight, so ill fitting, the padded area (and I am talking about the rear) was enhanced, enlarged and in your face. For a moment I expected Sir David Attenborough to walk into the establishment with a film crew to talk about the obvious feature of the fully grown male baboon and its buttocks in the mating season. Their friend was not much better. They had a gillet that was cut in a minimalist fashion and quite possibly sized for a small child. This rendered it to resemble a bolero top that was fashionable in the mid-1980's. 

I placed my order and while I did another entered the premises with a pair of cycling shorts that actually had such enhanced padding in the buttocks (more than the first first person) were magnified and actually separated the wearers arse into two hemispheres. I can only describe the sight I saw as being like that of a pair of Cox's Orange Pippin apples side by side!

By now, you couldn't move for cyclists (I blame Swain's Lane) and the last member of this merry band entered.  They sported bib shorts - the ones with straps over the shoulders - and a skin tight cycling top. This person had the zip of said top fully open, exposing their chest, nipples and belly button. My eyes! For a brief few seconds I likened it to something Kanye West's wife, Bianca Censori might wear. 

I can assure you that this quartet were not professional or semi-professional cyclists and I would question whether they would beat me up Swain's Lane with me on one of my non-electric Brompton bikes - and with my potentially dodgy knee! 

I am well aware that this type of clothing is more comfortable, less chafing and more aerodynamic but I would point out that you are not on the Tour! 

Wear whatever you like but don't tell me you have wear this stuff if you are serious cyclist! 

Until next time, stay safe out there!  


  1. I really enjoyed reading of this little vignette!

  2. You're correct, you don't have to wear this stuff, but then, when I did move from undershorts with overshorts to bibshorts, a whole level of comfort on the bike came from it, and pairing with overshorts just doesn't work. But they're really not convenient in certain situations, even if you get use facilities of pub or something, e.g. Tom Dumoulin Giro 2017. When it comes to jersey, rear pockets are more convenient in many ways.

    You don't have to wear this stuff, but I wouldn't have finished a Dragon Ride Gran Fondo in the stuff I wore for Ride London 100 or Dunwich Dynamo, and I'm not on the Tour. I can also credit power meter pedals helping me pace climbs effectively to finish, another gadget that some might say, us amateurs shouldn't bother with (certainly, burned matches early the first time I attempted Dragon, and failed).

    Doesn't mean I feel the need to wear it all the time on the bike, or always have power meter pedals on bike I'm riding that day (although, was eye opener putting them on Brommie last time I was in London to see how I used to absolutely abuse my legs on commute everyday, showing why legs would be rubbish by the end of weeks).

  3. Greeting! Agree totally. Not a good look for most. Robert.


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