Cycling shorts and why I think we are all wrong….. Cycling shorts and especially the MAMIL variety are always a bit of a tricky area. Jokes and general alarm are abound concerning fat middle aged men, who should know better, wobbling around in Lycra shorts. They are not things of beauty and certainly do not flatter the said bodies. On the other hand, if you see a lean cyclist in Lycra, that is a different matter altogether.
Although I’m a MAMIL I am thankfully not really a fat one. I still feel the need for a degree of sensitivity and modesty but to be honest, I haven’t given it much thought until now. You see, my cycling or running clothes are simply bits of the kit I need to cycle or run – both activities have their specific bits of clothing to make life a bit easier and more comfortable. Lycra on the body of the wrong person is a public disgrace, all those wobbly bits…. you can allow your imagination to fill the gaps here. Not nice, is it?
I don’t mind hobbling around in cycling shoes too much, since they are made for a purpose and I appreciate them for the purpose they’re designed for. Lycra shorts are the same; I wouldn’t wear them for ‘normal’ clothing but they are brilliant for cycling. Besides, can you imagine waddling around all day with a load of padding giving you a wedgie? Just not on, is it?
So it seems a horrible sight when you see grown men, who should know better, walking around in cycling shorts without a bike in sight. One wonders if they might infringed the Public Order Act (section 5 if my memory serves me right) in causing alarm or distress. Looking closer, you realise their shorts are the only bit of cycle related clothing they’re wearing. They have loafers and ghastly, gaudy cotton shirts on and somehow that seems just as bad.
The other day I cycled to work in my baggy shorts. Sure they look okay for normal use and they do have the practicality of cycling in mind (hard wearing, higher back etc) but they are like riding with a pair of parachutes around your legs. This is such a weird feeling. It was most evident when I was freewheeling down a hill, quite fast, and I could see my baggy shorts ballooning up, catching the breeze. Just not on, is it?
And then I noticed the other day, Evans are onto the right line of thought with their advertising. I spotted a poster saying “we buy rock hard saddles and then wear padded shorts”. Absolutely spot on but also a bit of a contradiction, you could say.
All this seems a shame. The cycling world needs something different. Not Lycra, not baggy. Something in between – but what?