Monthly Archives: November 2018


    November - Claire Craig


    Recently, we’ve been talking about barriers into cycling and your thoughts on how to make it a truly inclusive sport. And while some of you cited ‘fences and gates’ as the biggest obstacles for riders (touché), others came up with a whole host of tangible issues. These included:

      • A lack of well-fitting, affordable gear
      • Fear of being judged by so-called ‘elite’ riders
      • A shortage of groups/clubs aimed at genuine beginners
      • Abuse from drivers and fellow riders
      • A general lack of confidence, often stemming from fear of traffic
      • HILLS! 

    For our rider of the month, Claire Craig, the principal barriers into cycling were a lack of motivation to get fit and poorly fitting cycle wear.

    Despite her boyfriend Martin being an avid, competitive cyclist, Claire admits that she was never keen to join him on his regular rides:

    I had never considered going out for a ‘proper’ ride with him, especially as I’m overweight, unfit and can be a tad lazy - not to mention I couldn’t find any women’s kit in my size!”

    After receiving a bike from Martin for her birthday, Claire joined Martin and her children for the odd Sunday pedal. Uncomfortable on the saddle even for short periods, Claire was forced to purchase a pair of mens 3XL cycling shorts, which she wore for a while under a knee length skirt.

    However, since spotting an advert for Fat Lad At The Back in a magazine, Claire has gone from reluctant pootler-round-town to fit and FLABulous cyclist, now making it out 2-3 times a week.

    “Once I discovered that FLAB jerseys really do fit - I didn't have an excuse any more!”

    Feeling confident in her new FLAB gear, Claire decided to purchase a road bike and attempt a longer ride with Martin, who initially pushed her up the hills. Despite feeling, in Claire’s words, “like some sort of dying, asthmatic animal”, she has since become hooked and continues to cycle 2-3 times a week for rides lasting between 20 mins and 1¼ hours.

    Now I keep my bike by my bed - a daily reminder that I need to ride it.”

    Since starting to cycle, Claire has noticed a difference in both her physical and mental wellbeing: “My overall physical and mental health have improved hugely. Of course, hills are still a challenge, but I’m no longer on my knees and Martin can keep both hands on his handlebars!”

    She also notes that while her reasons for cycling have never been specifically weight-related, she now feels much trimmer - “a pretty satisfying side effect”.

    At the moment, Claire is enjoying the winter nights and the comfort of knowing approaching vehicles can definitely see her - “I’m hard to miss in my hi-vis getup!” She also explains that she finds inclines and descents far less daunting when she can’t actually see them!

    While Claire assures us she won’t be entering the Tour de France anytime soon, she does have plans to attend FLAB’s BIG FAT BIKE RIDE 2019. Claire told us, “Your sportive happens to coincide with a rather important birthday, so I’d like to tick it off my 40 before 40 list…”

    As a proud member of The Bulge, Claire loves visiting the FLAB Facebook page “to ask for advice and read about other people’s challenges.” She exclaims, “This supportive community reminds me that we don’t all need the fitness and energy of an elite rider, that every kilometre is an achievement, and that cake is as beneficial to cyclists as water!"

    Claire states that principally, she is cycling for herself: “After a ride, I get a kick out of knowing that I went a bit further, a bit faster, or that it’s not taking as long to catch my breath. I still ache the morning after, but I am happy.”


    If you know someone who deserves to be our Rider of the Month, get in touch at



    Picture by Alex Whitehead/ - 16/01/2016 - Cycling - Fat Lad at the Back.

    You're half way round a ride and your hands have gone numb. It's getting trickier to change gear and you're struggling to brake. Sound familiar? Having freezing fingers is never a pleasant experience, but it can also lead to more difficult, dangerous cycling.

    Read on for FLAB's tried and tested solutions:

    1. It's a good idea to invest in some cycling specific gloves, as too much bulk can make braking and changing gear even more difficult than numb fingers!

    2. Make sure your gloves aren’t too tight and keep wriggling your fingers during the ride to keep the blood circulating.

    3. Warm your gloves up on the radiator before going out and give them a blast under the hand dryer at the café stop. Scientific fact: a slice of your favourite cake can also help maintain a pleasant body temperature...

    4. Wear a pair of glove liners under your normal gloves for an added layer of heat.

    5. Keep some handwarmers in your back pocket for an instant hit of warmth half way round.


    • Lightweight full finger gloves

    linersIdeal for those exasperating types who "just have warm extremities!", these lightweight gloves are perfect for riding in slightly milder temperatures and are super easy to manoeuvre in.



    • Windproof gloves 

    For dry days, windproof gloves offer great protection against the cold air - keeping your fingers from freezing and your skin from drying up.

    • Glove liners

    Glove liners are extremely lightweight and come in a variety of fabrics, from silk to merino wool. Liners are really versatile in that they can be worn all year round - even under fingerless gloves in spring/summer! For winter rides, pair glove liners with wind/waterproof gloves for maximum protection and no added bulk.

    • Lobster glovesphew lobster

    As the name suggests, Lobster gloves group two fingers into one compartment - sharing the warmth but still allowing for a good grip on handlebars and easy use of levers. These low bulk Phew gloves are ideal for a temperature range of 0 to -8 Celsius.



    • Waterproof & windproof


    For slightly harsher conditions (welcome to cycling in Yorkshire), throw on a pair of water/windproof gloves for all-round protection. These Sealskinz All Weather gloves are particularly dexterous and allow for maximum breathability, all while keeping your hands nice and toasty.




    • Neoprene gloves

    Neoprene gloves are highly effective at keeping out the cold air, which can't permeate the synthetic rubber material. However, this results in a lack of breathability which can lead to a pair of very sweaty palms!

    • Latex gloves


    Latex gloves are altogether handy (pun intended!). Caught in the rain mid-ride? Want to keep your hands clean doing a roadside repair? Need an extra layer of heat? Pop into the nearest petrol station and grab a pair. We promise it'll be worth the shrivelled, been-in-the-bath-too-long aftermath!




    Designed for all types of bikes, Bar Mitts are a great investment for extreme weather conditions, or for riders who suffer from Raynaud’s and other circulation problems. They attach to your handlebars for added insulation, with plenty of room for a pair of gloves underneath.





    Still can't keep your hands from going numb? Take a pair of handwarmers out with you on winter rides for a boost of warmth whenever you need it!


    Picture by Alex Whitehead/ - 16/01/2016 - Cycling - Fat Lad at the Back.Part 1 - Keeping your noggin warm

    Halloween is over, Bonfire Night has come and gone, and supermarkets everywhere are stocked with premature Christmas decorations. In other words, Winter is Coming... (Nicely put, George).

    For those of you brave enough to face the drop in temperature, keeping your head, ears and neck warm (without overheating!) is key to a comfortable ride.

    While the vents in your helmet are great during the summer months, unfortunately they are no match for a biting winter wind - especially for those of us with slightly less hair!

    Never fear, FLAB are here with our top tips for staying toasty this winter:

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/ 29/10/2016 - Cycling Fat Lad and Fat Lass At The Back Cyclewear shoot - Burnsall, Yorkshire


    Neck Doo Dahs/One of those whatsit-thingy-m’bobs 

    These tubular pieces of material are really versatile, easily adjustable and can be worn a variety of different ways  ------->

    Channel The Doctor and use your Neck Doo Dah as a scarf without the hassle. Or, why not create The Hood for an all-round cosier ride. Alternatively, pull your Neck Doo Dah up over your face, balaclava style.

    How do you wear your Neck Doo Dah?

    See our range of Neck Doo Dahs here

    Cycling Caps

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/ - 05/09/2015 - FLAB Cycling - Fat Lad At The Back photo shoot Filmore and Union Ilkley copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson -

    Not just a summer accessory, cotton caps are great at keeping out the winter chill. Our close-fitting caps feature an antibacterial tape which prevents moisture from dripping into your eyes on the uphills. For rainy rides, the peak will help keep the drizzle out of your eyes (unless you ride in Yorkshire...)

    See our range of cycling caps here

    Ear Warmers/Headbands

    For those of you who run a little warmer, headbands and ear warmers offer a more breathable alternative to a hat. The fleecy material keeps your ears warm while allowing the top of your head to breathe.

    Skull Caps/Merino Beanies

    Made from technical fabrics, cycling skull caps and merino beanies are designed to be especially breathable. The fine material means they fit comfortably under your helmet to provide that valuable layer of insulation.

    Full Balaclava

    For you sub-0 riders, a cycling specific, full face balaclava offers ultimate protection against the freezing conditions. Made from thin, technical fabrics, a balaclava will fit snugly under your cycling helmet while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

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