The anti-Lycra brigade

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by steve, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. steve

    steve Administrator
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    Quote:theage.com.au Wheels turn very slowly as anti-Lycra brigade cruises gently into town SECONDARY school teacher Sue Tyrie believes if she cannot sing while she cycles to and from work, she is riding too fast. It's a philosophy shared by a growing tribe of slow-cycling enthusiasts in Melbourne. They are the anti-Lycra brigade; cyclists who ride for the sheer enjoyment of it. Ms Tyrie considers the leisurely trek from her home in Pascoe Vale South to her work in Princes Hill ''chill-out time''. She doesn't own a brightly coloured Lycra suit. ''It's a hobby, what do you need a uniform for? Women don't wear a uniform to do decoupage,'' Ms Tyrie said. Monash University professor of public transport Graham Currie describes the slow-cycling movement as a rebellion against Melbourne's affectation for wearing specialised cycling clothing. Link: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/wheels-turn-very-slowly-as-antilycra-brigade-cruises-gently-into-town-20101218-191ec.html

    Makes sense to me, how could anyone who wears lycra enjoy cycling?

    What would you estimate the percentage of people in your area use cycling as an alternative transport?
     
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  2. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Steve,

    I think I need to move to Melbourne, lol. Those are my kind of cyclists.

    Seriously, I do understand the need for clothing that doesn't flap in the breeze or get caught in the chain or whatever, I really do. But there is a VERY wide range between flapping in the breeze or catching on chains, and your clothes being so tight that I can tell you have an appendectomy scar without having you show it to me! Unless you're professionally racing and need to shave milliseconds off your time by making sure not one atom of air can sneak next to your skin, are the ultra tight cycling clothes truly necessary?

    I always wonder how fads got started, and this one particularly intrigues me, because the Lycra clothes are neither flattering on the majority of the people I see them on, nor inexpensive, nor -- to me, anyway -- comfortable, though it is possible I just haven't found the right ones, given my budget constraints. I suspect that professional cyclists wore them first to achieve the millisecond-shaving goals and display sponsors, and that wannabe cyclists copied them in the time-honored thinking of "If Current Famous Cyclist wears these and wins, then I'll look as cool as he does and people will think I'm as awesome as he is," until suddenly you weren't cool if you didn't look like a graffiti vandal with incredibly bad taste in neon colors had attacked you in your sleep and spray-painted your clothes on.

    It's like the women who copy (shudder) Paris Hilton or whoever the current celebrity is at the time; whyyyyyyyyyyyyy???

    All that being said, there are a few of you who look really nice in those form-fitting clothes.... if those of you that do could arrange a parade down my street, I'll have the video camera ready. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Thanks for the post, it was really interesting.

    Sierra
     
  3. Scotttri

    Scotttri Member

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    There are a fair few of those anti lycra cyclists around where I live but haveing said that still alot of people who do wear lycra, it's really dependant on where abouts you are riding here.
     
  4. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    Tight cycling clothes do help if you're riding for fitness--they help compress the muscle and prevent the lactic acid buildup. Cycling shorts without underwear also prevent chafing in the nether regions. Flapping sleeves can destabilize your steering, whether from wind or due to speed.

    I'm no racer, but I like to ride hard, and the appropriate clothing is very comfortable. I'm also very happily married, so I don't much care what others think of how I look! ;)

    Jason
     
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  5. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Jason!

    I didn't know about preventing lactic acid buildup, so that's interesting. And I do wear cycling shorts to prevent the chafing you speak of; I just wear them under other not-so-skin-tight pants. As for the flapping sleeves, I mentioned previously that there is a big range between skin tight and flapping in the breeze. I have sweaters and long-sleeved tops that are slim-fitting in the arms and torso and wouldn't flap at all, but not as skin-tight as jerseys. For me personally, the skin-tight ones are uncomfortable, but if you like the feel, I'm happy for ya, lol.

    It isn't the shirts that embarrass me so much, anyway.... it's the... dangly bits that are displayed elsewhere, lol. I'm happily married, too... but his are the only dangly bits I care to see. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

    Enjoy your tight clothes. And join the parade, if you can, lol.

    Sierra
     
  6. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

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    Hmm... My lycra shorts are tight, but my jerseys are not. BTW, hydrophobic fabric jerseys are supposed to be tight so they transport sweat better; but I prefer a little extra room in them. 'Sides, if they were as tight as they're supposed to be, they'd be too short.
     
  7. steve

    steve Administrator
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    'marketing'
     
  8. steve

    steve Administrator
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  9. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    The author of the article assumes that only non-lycra people ride for "sheer enjoyment". Quite a presumption there and one that many of my lycra wearing cycling friends would disagree with.

    People wear lycra because it's more comfortable than anything else. And if you want to go fast you need tight fitting clothes else it's like riding with a drag chute. Drag doesn't matter much at 10 or 11 mph but when you starting riding at 20 mph and up it makes a huge difference. I bet that anti-lycra cycling crowd haven't done any century rides else they'd now be wearing lycra.

    That being said, when I'm on my commuting bike I tend to avoid lycra and I wear dorky looking cycling stuff - baggy shorts and t-shirts. My commuting rides are shorter and slower than my road bike rides so the added discomfort is bearable.
     
  10. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    I was indifferent to cycling specific clothing when I started riding a couple of years ago - especially Lycra. But I was convinced by friends that a good pair of cycling shorts would make things more comfortable - - was very true. I also found out that expensive flat-lock seams are more comfortable than cheap flat-lock seams. 8-panel fits better than 6-panel. Not night and day, but there is a difference.

    In the colder months I was wearing a compression sleeveless top under my slightly flappy (1 -size larger) Jerseys. As the temps pushed above 70, I found just wearing the sleeveless top was far more comfortable, so when it came time to buy more jerseys they were a little tighter. Most are solid or 1/2 colors and I gravitate to black, or yellow/white and black. But brightly colored jerseys sure do catch my eye as a driver. ..... I'm thinking I kind of like to be seen while riding, so my next jerseys will probably have a little more color.

    Keep your eyes off my bits - just focus on the pretty jersey colors and don't run into me! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  11. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I am not a bill board so I dont wear team or corporate logo jerseys. I do wear Lycra cycling apparel. Jerseys are designed to wick away moisture helping to keep me comfy in the saddle. They also have pockets in the back allowing you to carry items like cell phones and keys. Everyone is aware of the benifits of shorts. To me cycling in regular clothing is like swimming in jeans. You can do it but damn there is a big difference.
     
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  12. TGVZG

    TGVZG New Member

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    I am riding now to stay alive. I was over weight, hight triglicerides and cholestrol, family history of heart disease, etc. I consider myself a serious rider. I ride in full racing gear (expensive, but worth it). I ride my local park daily (lately in sub-freezing temps), do the trainer if it rains or snows, velodrome once a week, and a long-distance ride every Saturday night (except in rain or snow).
    Now I would NEVER be able to do all that, if not for the moral and psychological boost I get from knowing I dress in the apropriate attire for the activity I am doing. I could only speek for myself, but I am assuming others like me dress in proper cycling gear for the same reason.
    Obviously, I do appreciate the benefits of the aerodinamics, padding, and muscle compression too.
    I am curious to know if others out there feel the same.
     
  13. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Welcome aboard. I tip my helmet to you. You have taken control of your life. So often I hear of people resting to cure their ailments when being active is the only real cure. You are not alone in your attire choice.
    Crank Away
    Dave
     
  14. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    I also resisted lycra for quite some time but when I finally switched over I never looked back. Like one of the posters above, I also avoid jerseys with corporate logos since I can't be a corporate shill without someone paying me for the advertising space.
     
  15. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, TG!

    Like you I started riding to stay alive (or more specifically, to have bypass surgery so I could stay alive), but it took about 3 minutes for all that not to matter, because I was loving it so much. I've lost 48 pounds, my triglycerides and cholesterol are now normal, and I'm happier doing it than I ever thought possible. Unlike you, I don't consider myself a serious rider. I do it only for the sheer enjoyment, and never plan to enter races or competitions or whatever, though I am planning my first credit-card tour in June, and am very excited about that.

    I have a pair of the tight padded bike shorts, which I wear under other pants, and a cycling jersey and jacket. I really don't like the feel of the jersey and jacket being so snug and sticking to my arms, but they do wick away the sweat, so I wear them anyway. Because they're a solid color, I don't feel quite as much like a Muppet as I would in some of the outfits I see. I wear these things only for comfort; if I could find prettier clothes that were as comfy, I would most certainly wear them (and would pay a LOT for that), but finding them has been impossible thus far. That may be because I can't afford to spend $300 on a jersey or jacket that I WOULD like, even if I found it.

    This thread is one of the reasons I love these forums and the guys on them. I started out here all anti-Lycra, thinking it was just some snob thing to prove you're better than people who ride in jeans... and lo and behold, I'm beginning to understand why people wear them! For me personally, there's no moral or psychological boost -- quite the opposite, because I feel ugly in the cycling clothes, and I pay about as much attention to what 'proper attire' is for sports based on that as I do to fashion divas like those who used to say 'no white after Labor Day.' But when there are physical benefits to the clothing, that I can understand, so I'm hereby changing my tune.

    I may never be part of the pro-Lycra brigade, but at least now I'm not anti Lycra, lol.

    Thanks for the input, and welcome to the forums!


     
  16. bikester62

    bikester62 New Member

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    My riding is largely commuting to work. I have only been riding seriously since this summer. The specialty clothes were recommended to my by a non-cyclist: a person who runs. I was telling him that I wanted to try winter riding and he suggested the thin, tight layers because of everything we hear about them. They wick sweat away, dry quickly, and offer less wind resistance. (The additional benefit that runners don't care about is compression.) I already owned a short sleeved nylon shirt (not a biking shirt - just a golf shirt). I realized that he was right. Even in the summer that shirt was really more comfortable.

    So I ordered a tight, and under-layer, and a good jacket. I couldn't believe the difference they made. I could ride faster in a head wind for the same effort. More importantly they dry quickly when I get to work so I can change into my street clothes much sooner. Moreover, I don't stink. I got two of the things I like because of laundry. I have been able to find everything with a good 50% or larger sale. I don't need to spend $200 on a shirt; I can get a $70.00 shirt for $30.00. In many cases shipping is free with minimum order.

    Recently I was commenting to a friend that all the money I'm saving in gas I am spending on gear. His comment was that I don't have to buy the gear every month. Once I have it, I have it.

    The clothes make the ride more efficient and more doable.
     
  17. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    +1
    Good analogy, Dave. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif
     
  18. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    Semi on-topic, see also the Tweed Ride movement. Britain and some cities, including Washington, DC. Although it seems that for some it may be more about fashion. I read one of their websites and decided that I didn't have warerobe for it, let alone the bike. (Brooks saddle, Yes, titanium, NO.) But I can't fault folks who are looking to ride vintage Raleighs and other British bikes. I just can't.
     
  19. TGVZG

    TGVZG New Member

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    Thanx Dave and Sierra. I can use all the encouragement I can get. Its brutaly cold here in Brooklyn these days, and the indoor trainer is a pain in the gluteus maximus.
     
  20. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    You're welcome, TG.

    We all need encouragement to keep doing what's good for us! It has been raining almost every day for 2 solid months now here, and I'm so sick of it -- and of not being able to ride -- I'm about to die. So yesterday I bought a used bicycle trainer off Craigslist for $75. We put it up today just to try it out. It works fine, except that my old cruiser won't work on it, so I either have to put my new baby on it or buy another used road bike to keep on it so I don't have to keep changing it in and out. Since we don't have it in front of a television yet, I didn't stay on long and figured out quickly how boring it was without scenery or something to look at! But my legs did enjoy being back in the rhythm, so will get it set up in its permanent place tomorrow and hit it long enough to experience that pain in the keister. ANYTHING, even a trainer, is better than not getting to bike for months on end!

    Keep up the good work. We'll look forward to posts on your progress.

    Sierra
     
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