Fat Lad At The Back

One of the things that I originally wanted to write about when I started this blog was cycling products for larger cyclists. When I started riding I was 365 pounds. Nothing fit. My bike broke more than once. Spokes popped with regularity. I had to buy gloves and cut the seams to fit my hands into them. Technical fabric shirts looked like spandex on me. Cycling shorts cut off the circulation in my legs. II had to wear a second layer of clothing over my cycling kit to feel comfortable walking around outside. It wasn’t pretty. It was also one of the challenges in committing to a new lifestyle. I was never comfortable in my own skin so I hated having to do anything that made me less comfortable.
Over time I lost weight and started to be able to buy clothing that almost fit. Almost. Lets be honest, cycling is a small, skinny, fit person’s sport. It is an amazing no-impact way to lose weight and gain fitness, but a vast majority of the products, from the bikes themselves to the clothing that makes riding them comfortable, are designed for the already fit. I have suffered through the start of the process in remaking myself into a fit person, but there is a long way to go. I have lost 90 pounds and I am currently dealing with what I call the curse of successful weight loss, I have to buy all new clothes. Again. I love it because nothing I wear fits and I have literally worked my fat butt off to make that happen, but I hate spending money on clothes and shopping for them in general.
Cycling clothing is even worse than normal clothing. In normal clothing I have seen a huge difference in size and fit. I used to wear a 46 inch waist. Now I am a 38 inch waist. That is progress! Even if I have to buy new clothes, at least I can shop in the normal department for pants, not the Big Man’s section. That was a huge accomplishment for me! My size for cycling clothes? Unchanged. I have been a “order the biggest size and stuff into it” since the first day I tried to buy anything. The cycling shorts and shirts fit better, sure, but they still don’t really fit. There is an acronym for those spandex clad cyclists you see riding in groups on the weekend; MAMILs. It stands for Middle Aged Men in Lycra. I always feel more like a whale. There is progress, and I am able to purchase name brand clothing that almost doesn’t fit at all that has been designed for men one third of my size. Okay, maybe half my current size. It is much better than purchasing off brand gear because it stretches more and I can almost fit and it might last a little while before it gives out from being cheap and pushed past it’s limits.
The worst insult to cyclists sharing my predicament is the attitude of the cycling industry. Trek doesn’t design bikes for larger people attempting to get into shape. Zipp isn’t going to whip up a new budget wheel set that can maintain it’s true when ridden by an overweight man. Canari Cyclewear isn’t making shorts any larger than XL. The response tends to be “Ride yourself thin and come back” when you want to buy something. Thankfully there are great local bike shops out there that will help you find what you need when it comes to equipment, even if they are using tandem wheelsets to handle the weight load or other tricks. They have learned to cater to the customer and help them where the major manufacturers don’t seem to want to bother. The attitude still exists, and it is frustrating to want to buy quality equipment but not be able to because people aren’t designing it. I can’t believe that no one from Specialized or Trek have figured out that there are a legion of people who would be more than happy to pay for a bike or equipment designed for overweight cyclists that wouldn’t break or wear out from strain.
Why am I going on and on about this? Because one company is finally changing all of this in the cycling world. Fat Lad At The Back is a company from the United Kingdom that is making cycling kit for the rest of us. They have designed a full range of clothing for overweight cyclists that actually fits and doesn’t cut off circulation or make you want to hide under three more layers of clothes. Their sizing chart goes all the way up to a 48 inch plus waist size. I wish these shorts were available when I started riding. Heck, I wish I could buy a pair now but the firm is still working through international shipping and trying to find an agent for the United States.
The clothing looks to be top quality and the prices seem very reasonable once I struggled through the conversion rate. They would easily undercut most mid-price offerings from major manufacturers available here. The best part of Fat Lad At The Back, aside from the acronym, is the attitude. It is a company founded by bigger boys with a sense of humor about life that tends to be shared by anyone who is an overweight cyclist. We all know we are big. We all know we ride at the back. There is a certain camaraderie amongst us as we soldier along doing our best. Others may laugh at us, but we are improving ourselves and making a positive change. If that doesn’t put you in a good mood and leave you feeling positive to anyone else sharing your struggle nothing will. The Fat Lads website is filled with that same positive energy and humor. I decided to write about Fat Lad At The Back based on that attitude alone. I can’t wait for the day I can actually write a review of the product because the company has already impressed. I wrote an email to them based on a visit to their web site asking about availability in the USA. They wrote back within an hour letting me know that they are working on it. I was surprised that they would respond so quickly to someone who wasn’t even able to buy anything yet. Hopefully they can get their agent signed up so they can start distributing here in the US soon. In the meantime, head over to their website and check them out, or head over to their Facebook page and throw them a like and share a laugh with them.

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This entry was posted in Cycling, fitness, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fat Lad At The Back

  1. yceblu says:

    Great article! Will check out both the website and their Facebook page.

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