Fat people look like hell in Lycra. I should know. Every bulge, roll, and unsightly pudge on my over-sized body is often squeezed into my stinky kit. People gawk and stare, and occasionally ask why I wear such unsightly clothes. It’s the extra pockets, the padding, the moisture wicking, I’ll stammer. They gape back, unconvinced.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve tried a variety of get-ups for my riding comfort and type of riding I tend to do: slow, many stops for pictures and explorations, all day, all conditions. I’m also a man that doesn’t like to many costume changes or closets bulging with clothes I need to consider when I haven’t had my morning coffee.
I’ve tried wool t-shirts, wool jerseys, team gear, pad inserts, padded baggies, street shoes, bicycle shoes, thick socks, thin. It’s a process.
Here’s what I’ve come down to on my need for bicycle clothes: no flapping in the wind, staying dry despite my sweating like a proverbial pig, plenty of pockets to store my stuff (a jacket, a bite to eat) and I can wear it several days in a row without washing it. I ought to be able wear it without feeling like a kook in the grocery store.
Two days ago, I rode a pleasant 75 mile loop around Lake Washington. It was sunny, but there was a hint of the upcoming fall in the morning air and a chill breeze in the shade. I was wearing my recently arrived Rapha long sleeve jersey; a soft merino wool with fine details, decent weight, and a smart fit.
Not cheap, I’ve been justifying the cost by telling folks that it’s suitable for a man of my stature. And that’s the truth. While it can’t hide the fact that I’m a big guy with some weight to loose, it turned heads and was flattering. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on my bike feeling sexy. Audacious, sure. Tough, yes. Cheeky, yep. But sexy? No, not in ages. That changed on Wednesday.