Fat Lad at the Back

We can't expect to perform like Chris Froome who is as slender as a whippet at 71kg. A few of the track-sprinters are on the beefy side though, Chris Hoy for instance at 91kg. But just because we're on the bigger side we should at least be able to look good on our treasured ride.

Up until now, our vital statistics were mirrored in the clothing we're offered to us wannabe cyclists – If I were to walk into a shopping centre I'd be classed as a medium, or large depending on my propensity to buy up the UK's total stock of Reeses Peanut Cupcakes. How does this fare for the larger than UK average waist size, currently 38in for men, and 34in for women?

Well Richard Bye could cast an opinion on this – he is the founder of Fat Lad At The Back, his own brand of top-end cycling clobber for the bigger than average cyclists. Fat Lad At The Back offers cycling gear to fit those with chest sizes of up to 53in and cycling shorts to a maximum waist of 50in. The inch-based sizing system is used on purpose as Richard explains:

"Lycra is designed to stretch, to become a second skin. If you buy an XL in a high-street shop, and the XL sizing is 42-44in, if it's a cycling top it will measure between 37in and 39in. It's designed to stretch around you, which is why you look like a shrink-wrapped chicken if you're anything other than a skinny whippet. From us, when you order a 44in size, what you get is a 44in garment. What we've done is that the fabric and the technical element of the garment still works even if it fits you, rather than having to stretch around you."

Sizes range from 39in – 49in, and feature a 'Spare Tyre' range with a hearty 54in+ chest option.

Fat Lad At The Back was rejected by the BBC's Dragons' Den investors partly because of its name, yet have become a huge success since securing national distribution contracts and strong partnerships. In only four days the first batch of stock sold out.

Plans to expand into the US have already been discussed, and a women's range – Fat Lass At The Back, is due in 2016. While there are larger cycling clothing sizes available for less money, when it comes to the quality of material and stitching, the bigger cyclist suffers. He has a point – Rapha Condor goes up to a XXL, but this only translates as a 38in waist and 45in chest.

Richard explains that there is an enormous sense of pride that sits alongside the purposeful self-mocking: "It is a recognition of what you are, and the fact you're on the bike, going out and doing something about it, as opposed to sitting in a Subway eating a triple-decker sandwich."



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