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  1. #1
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    New to spandex: Funny stares from a new group of folks

    With my recent weight loss comes a new found confidence. I recently took the plunge and bought a couple pairs of spandex shorts and cycling jerseys. Had I known how much easier you can move in these and comfortable they are, I'd have ditched the baggy mtb shorts and t-shirts long ago. Now begins the expensive process of buying more stuff, particularly winter attire.

    What I have noticed now are the droves of people staring at me which I never saw before. Before I was just some dude on a "ten speed." Now, people really seem to gawk. My favorite was the young couple in the 80s Camaro. The young lady was really looking me over as her guy was pulling into the left turn lane beside me. I can't help but think he had to notice and took the opportunity to refocus her attention by peeling out as they made a u- turn.

    The group of people who also seem to treat me different are other cyclists, roadies in particular. The majority seemed to either look at me funny or fail to acknowledge me at all when they saw a fat due in baggy clothes rolling down the road. Now, I think they see me as one of them and I suppose maybe I am.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippin_bikes View Post
    Before I was just some dude on a "ten speed."

  3. #3
    not as fat as I was Biggziff's Avatar
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    Good for you regarding the confidence! That's something you cannot overstate as far as its importance. As far as being "one of them" I'd just say do your own thing and enjoy the benefits. I'll wave at passing cyclists and most wave back, but if they don't wave to the clyde in spandex I don't give it another thought. Same for peeps staring...I figure they're all jealous that I'm out doing what they might want to do. Maybe I'll inspire someone....I know there are a few really big guys riding around my area that have inspired me to start riding regularly. If they/I can do it...anyone can do it!!!
    humans can be so....rude

  4. #4
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    Couple times a year I pull out my old "muscle shirt" jersey. The one that draws all the muscles n the upper body. That's the only time I really notice the looks. It's great to see who's paying attention, and watching their reaction!

  5. #5
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippin_bikes View Post
    Had I known how much easier you can move in these and comfortable they are, I'd have ditched the baggy mtb shorts and t-shirts long ago.
    I've lost count of the times I've read this very statement here. Why do people still refuse to believe?
    Craig in Indy

  6. #6
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I've lost count of the times I've read this very statement here. Why do people still refuse to believe?
    Believe in what? Well, I'm for liners and poly or wool tops, but... ridiculous is the polite word for recreational riders parading their kits and Primal wear. Runnng shorts and dri-fit tops couldn't be more comfortable. I suspect the reason why people are checking you out is because you look like you got dressed in your wife's closet....or...other. Granted, bibs are functional, but that look can go wrong very easily. Each to their own...

  7. #7
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Believe in what? Well, I'm for liners and poly or wool tops, but... ridiculous is the polite word for recreational riders parading their kits and Primal wear. Runnng shorts and dri-fit tops couldn't be more comfortable. I suspect the reason why people are checking you out is because you look like you got dressed in your wife's closet....or...other. Granted, bibs are functional, but that look can go wrong very easily. Each to their own...
    I like the spandex shorts as they are very comfortable. But I still am shy so I wear long baggy tops. Good modesty compromise and for a 10mph rider it isn't pretentious looking. But I have no problem with what anyone else wants to wear and don't think anything is wrong. I admire the confidence of those who are willing to wear ski tight clothes. I don't even mind muffin tops on teenage overweight girls.

  8. #8
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Oh, good grief.

    Compromising on-bike comfort and/or utility simply for the sake of modesty is a quick path to giving up riding, IMO. Who the hell cares what you look like when you ride? The fact that you're riding is what's important.

    If someone truly believes they've achieved all the comfort that's available to them by riding in baggy shorts and underwear, more power to them. But if that outfit gives you even a little discomfort on the bike, then you need to get over your spand-o-phobia, or you'll find your discomfort will eventually lead to staying home on the couch.
    Craig in Indy

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Oh, good grief.

    Compromising on-bike comfort and/or utility simply for the sake of modesty is a quick path to giving up riding, IMO. Who the hell cares what you look like when you ride? The fact that you're riding is what's important.

    If someone truly believes they've achieved all the comfort that's available to them by riding in baggy shorts and underwear, more power to them. But if that outfit gives you even a little discomfort on the bike, then you need to get over your spand-o-phobia, or you'll find your discomfort will eventually lead to staying home on the couch.
    +1

    cripes ... the phobia is insane

  10. #10
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Believe in what? Well, I'm for liners and poly or wool tops, but... ridiculous is the polite word for recreational riders parading their kits and Primal wear. Runnng shorts and dri-fit tops couldn't be more comfortable. I suspect the reason why people are checking you out is because you look like you got dressed in your wife's closet....or...other. Granted, bibs are functional, but that look can go wrong very easily. Each to their own...
    Sorry, but even recreational riders don't need to 'earn' the right to wear Lycra:


  11. #11
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    +1

    cripes ... the phobia is insane
    No, it is very sane because people want to fit in. We get messages from our culture that fat is something to be ashamed of and covered up in baggy ugliness. You are supposed to do only certain things if you are fat. Like sit at home and be depressed. It isn't easy for many to get past the shame. But fabulous when you do. I am still amazed that I am willing to wear spandex shorts. All it took was the encouragement of this forum and one ride on a remote country road on a hot day and I was sold.

    A second issue is using spandex no matter what your build. I know plenty of nonbiking people who think spandex is pretentious (it really is for racers, not for the hoi polloi) and immodest. In the US anyway we have weird ideas about both. I remember a poster here who quit wearing spandex shorts when the teenage neighbor girl complained about it to her dad. So, wearing spandex means you might have to get past that cultural message as well. But if you are part of a group that bikes you have your own little subculture that will help you. It may be your local bike club. It may be the Clyde/Athena forum. I would never have even tried spandex if it weren't for this forum.

  12. #12
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Sorry, but even recreational riders don't need to 'earn' the right to wear Lycra:

    You do have the coolest jerseys Neil.

  13. #13
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I understand your point, Goldfinch, and can appreciate it, being a former Clyde myself (though one who wore lycra shorts at 270+). But even if I were still 270, 300 or more, as long as I see some of the things I see on people at places like Walmart, nothing about my riding attire would ever make me embarassed or self-conscious.

    It's hard enough to get past the notion that we look like we don't belong on a bike. Anything that makes riding physically uncomfortable is just one more hurdle none of us need to have before us.
    Craig in Indy

  14. #14
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I've lost count of the times I've read this very statement here. Why do people still refuse to believe?
    FYI: 43280

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UberGeek View Post
    That is even funnier because I work for an insurance company, just like "ten speed guy."

  16. #16
    Senior Member RedC's Avatar
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    I went to a meeting of my professional association and was tell an old friend about my then new cycling "obsession" He replied "That great Red, but you don't wear those clothes they wear do you?" I said Jim, I not only wear the clothes I have a pair of bib shorts I paid more for than any suit I've ever owned. That and my "Old Farts Cycle Club" jersey hopefully they can't say they didn't see me
    Red, like the color my hair used to be.

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  17. #17
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Oh, good grief.

    Compromising on-bike comfort and/or utility simply for the sake of modesty is a quick path to giving up riding, IMO. Who the hell cares what you look like when you ride? The fact that you're riding is what's important.

    If someone truly believes they've achieved all the comfort that's available to them by riding in baggy shorts and underwear, more power to them. But if that outfit gives you even a little discomfort on the bike, then you need to get over your spand-o-phobia, or you'll find your discomfort will eventually lead to staying home on the couch.
    I agree with what you're saying, but I used to be one of those who were "modest" and I certainly understand the thought process of someone who doesn't want to wear spandex.

    As large people, we're made fun of a lot. It hurts. Some people don't have as thick of a skin as others, and the prospect of being made fun of even more may be too daunting for them to handle.


    That being said, I've been wearing spandex for about 2 months now. I like it a lot, and I have yet to be made fun of specifically for the spandex. Maybe people are thinking it in their head, but the way I get around this is by saying to myself "Hey, who cares what they think about me right now, in another few months I'll look totally different!".

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I am still amazed that I am willing to wear spandex shorts. All it took was the encouragement of this forum and one ride on a remote country road on a hot day and I was sold.
    BAM. This is exactly how I got sold as well. I bought a pair just to try out, and didn't like the way I looked in them. I wore them underneath gym shorts when I biked, and didn't really feel like it added anything to my cycling experience.

    Then one really frigging hot day on a deserted road, I got sick of the chafing going on near my thighs, so I said "screw it", took off the gym shorts, stuffed them in my panniers, and rode with just the spandex. I cooled down immensely, the chafing went away immediately. From that point on, I was sold, and never put gym shorts on over them again.

  19. #19
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    +1

    cripes ... the phobia is insane
    Just to be clear, my "razors in my eyes" reaction to you super heros in tight spandex and fashion shoes is not directed at Clydes. Clydes/Athenas get nothing but love for just being out there. The rest of you; back in the phone booth (closets?) please.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Believe in what? Well, I'm for liners and poly or wool tops, but... ridiculous is the polite word for recreational riders parading their kits and Primal wear. Runnng shorts and dri-fit tops couldn't be more comfortable. I suspect the reason why people are checking you out is because you look like you got dressed in your wife's closet....or...other. Granted, bibs are functional, but that look can go wrong very easily. Each to their own...
    You done? K, now step off the sopabox and listen: Nobody cares. At least I do not care what you think. It is simply not important because it is me who is riding. And when you ride, I couldn't care less if you ride naked, in a dress, or in spandex, because, it is you who is riding, not me. I do not care what you do on the road as long as you are not directly endangering me with your actions. I believe it goes the other way around with sensible adults too.

  21. #21
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    If I'm out riding, and somebody thinks I'm wearing garish clothes that are unattractive, then they've served their purpose: They had to SEE me (and presumably, not run me over) to ridicule my clothing selection.
    DFL > DNF > DNS
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  22. #22
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    richard: right one!

  23. #23
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Believe in what? Well, I'm for liners and poly or wool tops, but... ridiculous is the polite word for recreational riders parading their kits and Primal wear. Runnng shorts and dri-fit tops couldn't be more comfortable.
    So what's the official crossover line out of the "recreational" category to when I'm allowed to wear my lycra gear? So I'm not going to kit up for my 1 mile trip to the grocery store... I get that much. What about my 34 mile r/t commute with 2000' of elevation gain? Running shorts and liners for that one right? (Because I need 2 garments instead of just 1 if I wore my bibs... that makes sense.) How about my 100k Permanents for RUSA? They're non-competitive rides, although they are timed and certified. Does that mean I can kit up yet? Is it a distance qualifier, or does the ride have to be a competition? I did a couple of 300k and 400k rides last season, but they were brevets. The very definition of randonneuring is that it is a non-competitive event; there's no "winner" because everyone who finishes gets the same award. No lycra, right? 250+ miles in baggies because it's not a competition.

    I'm going to suit up in full kit... Heck with that; I'm wearing my skinsuit to ride my balloon tire grocery bike on a snack run, just to buck the system.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  24. #24
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    I wear a skinsuit while I'm Cat 6ing on my Worksman ... looks funny, but I feel fast, so that's all that matters

  25. #25
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
    I wear a skinsuit while I'm Cat 6ing on my Worksman ... looks funny, but I feel fast, so that's all that matters
    You beat everyone else on the factory floor?

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