That article for GQ magazine.
Speaking as an over 80kg middle-aged man in Lycra, I agree with Cris Hoy. Wearing team kit is naff. See Rule 17. So is wearing white shorts, an aero-helmet and undies under your padded shorts.
He’s also correct in saying that too much blubber under Lycra is not a good look, but that can’t be helped. You don’t have to built like a rake thin pro to be a cyclist, and there’s no question that Lycra is the most appropriate clothing for a road cycling. Moreover, Hoy may feel that Lycra does not look good on people weighing over eight stone but that didn’t stop his own cycling apparel brand offering gear in XXL size.
Old men in Lycra may well be the subject of sniggers, but I can live with that. Cyclists do it weekly, so of course we’re going to want to wear the right clothing. Are we really expected to change mid-ride in order to be more appropriately dressed when we stop at a cafe?
But there’s a much more serious point to all this.
By picking up on one point Hoy made – that overweight people don’t look good in Lycra, and ignoring the very important qualification he made – that perhaps some of them were twice that size before taking up cycling, the shower of media disapproval adds to a real problem in society: body fascism. Hoy actually spoke positively about overweight people getting into Lycra but all the reports focus on the first part of his statement only. That’s not helpful. So much more good might have come from emphasising his point that getting into Lycra will increase the health of the nation.
But that won’t bother GQ. They will be delighted with the attention the piece has garnered.
Chris Hoy is a new columnist for GQ. He’s going to be writing a series of articles addressing cyclists’ dilemmas. GQ is a magazine for somewhat shallow young men who lose sleep over things like what brand of after-shave they should be using now that they’re growing a waist-length beard. It’s quite easy for Hoy to play to this gallery by taking a pop at Mamils, allowing some controversy to be manufactured by the wider media, and thus giving the mag far more publicity than it would have otherwise attracted for what is, after all, not exactly the journalistic signing of the century. Then just as the harrumphing gathers pace, our national treasure of the track tweets apologetically, thus feeding the story even more.
The original piece is about as bland a cycling column I have ever read. It really says nothing of interest, so a hat-tip goes to GQ for creating so much out of nothing. Shame nobody took the opportunity to focus on encouraging people to get fit instead of looking acceptable.