Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 May 2013

Don't Forget Your Lycra!

Here's something to give new meaning to the term "fashion police":

In the UK town of Bath (as in Chaucer's "Wife of..."), constables stopped cyclist Tim Burton, who was riding a fixed-gear bike.  That in itself is fairly unusual in that area, as it's fairly hilly, so not many people ride fixies.  

But, as Burton explained, the bike has dropped bars (as, ahem, a real fixed-gear bike should ;-)) and, to a casual observer, might look like a road bike.  Turns out, there'd been a rash of "garage and shed break-ins"in which bikes--mainly road bikes--were taken, according to Officer Keith James.  So what made Officer James think Burton was un voleur de bicyclette?

Sit down before you read the answer:  Burton wasn't wearing any lycra.

Yes, you read that right.  Apparently, Officer James thought Burton wasn't a "real" cyclist and therefore had no business riding as good a bike as his.  "Maybe I didn't look hipster enough," he mused.

After performing a check of the bike's serial number and Burton's background, the constables released Burton with his bike.  Even after his ordeal, he said, "It's nice to see them looking out for pinched bikes.  I told (the officer) I appreciated it."  And he certainly didn't miss the irony:  "It's amusing that I've been stopped for no Lycra!"

Now,if I were to wear Lycra, that would really be a crime!


  1. No, it wouldn't be a crime if you wore Lycra. I wear Lycra shorts if I'm planning to cycle anything but short distances on my road bike, and judging by the photos, I'm rather heavier than you. If I'm planning to spend time off the bike, I'll toss a skirt in the saddlebag to give me a bit more coverage then. It's a comfort thing, and everything that modesty requires be covered by cloth, is. In non-cycling situations, I don't like wearing shorts, or short skirts, because my thighs aren't close to societal standards of beauty. But I find the Lycra cycling shorts sufficiently helpful when cycling that I'm unwilling to forgo them, and anyone who finds it unsightly can simply avert their gaze.

  2. "No, it wouldn't be a crime if you wore lycra."

    Ailish, you're too kind!

    Even if I were skinnier, I don't know that I'd want to wear Lycra again. While I like the way it stretches and moves, I never liked the way it felt against my skin.

    Back in the day, I knew a young Orthodox Jewish woman who trained in Prospect Park. She packed a skirt in her jersey pocket and slipped it on the moment she hopped off her bike, even for a minute!