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Ilkley lycra lads help put FLAB into fashion
Three Ilkley cyclists have launched a range of sportswear to encourage cyclists – whatever their weight or fitness abilities – to take to the road without feeling uncomfortable in unflattering and tight-fitting clothing.
The company – Fat Lad At The Back (FLAB) – has designed garments that look as good on larger sizes as they do on people the size of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
They say more and more middle-aged men in Lycra, known as ‘MAMILs’, are taking to their bikes.
But with an average UK male waist size of 38 inches, it is not easy to find garments that fit well.
Managing director, Richard Bye, said: “As I know from experience, skin-tight Lycra is off-putting when you’re carrying extra pounds. No wonder ‘normal’ men and women can feel a bit hesitant about getting on a bike and riding out in public.”
He and his friends came up with the idea of launching the clothing range after a cycling trip to the French Alps.
The weekend included cycling Alpe d’Huez, Col de la Croix de Fer, Télégraphe and Galibier – four of the steepest climbs in the Tour de France – and the three friends were joking about who was going to be last up the hills.
In cycling events the last man is often referred to as the ‘Lantern Rouge’ and wears a red or black jersey. The friends thought that a humorous Yorkshire equivalent would be a jersey printed with ‘Fat Lad at the Back’.
The idea escalated when they realised that they had identified a gap in the market.
But Mr Bye says the brand is not belittling fat lads. “We are giving people something to belong to,” he said.
“I have been the Fat Lad At The Back for much of the last 15 years. Getting fit has been a real battle and keeping fit is an on-going struggle.
Fat Lad At The Back celebrates the effort that I and others like me put in. We will never be skinny and we will never be first, but we are winning just by having a go.
“Fat lads out there need to know that they are not alone, hence our motto, Join us and be proud.”
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