Fat Lad At The Back


    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 frankie@fatladattheback.com



    Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 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/SWpix.com - 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/SWpix.com 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/SWpix.com - 05/09/2015 - FLAB Cycling - Fat Lad At The Back photo shoot Filmore and Union Ilkley copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com

    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.

  • The British Cycle Quest

    Discovering Britain (and re-discovering my passion for cycling) on ‘The British Cycle Quest’

    In late 2016 after a sixteen-year hiatus I bought two bicycles (Road & MTB) and almost immediately stumbled across two things that really spurred me on and encouraged me to get out on my bike. One was the Fat Lad At The Back brand that sold me some functional clothing that wasn’t skin tight and comfortably accommodated the weight I had gained during my absence from the saddle, and the other was ‘The British Cycle Quest’- a challenge devised and administered by Cycling UK.

    I will summarise my first two years on the BCQ and hopefully give you a feel for why I believe this to be one of the hidden gems of Cycling UK’s work.

    What is the BCQ?

    It's probably the most common question I’m asked when I mention it to people, and the nearest short answer I can give is ‘cycle touring combined with an element of orienteering’. Basically, Cycling UK have set up a scheme whereby every county / region in the country (including Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Shetlands, etc) has six checkpoints which need to be visited by bicycle, added to together this forms a complete list of 402 checkpoints.

    Participants in the BCQ are required to visit each checkpoint and answer a question about that checkpoint, answers are then submitted on question cards which are submitted to Cycling UK for validation. Awards in the form of certificates are gained at 10 and 50 checkpoints, and Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum medals are awarded at 100, 200, 300 and 402 checkpoints respectively.

    One of the attractions about the BCQ for me is its relaxed nature – there are no organised events, no specific routes to be ridden, and no time limits, all Questers need to do is submit at least one answer every five years to be listed on the active Questers list. The Questers that have completed all 402 checkpoints (around 20 to date) have generally taken around 8-10 years to complete the Quest, and many Quester will never complete the entire Quest but will always have it as an aspiration.

    How do you get started?

    Participation in the quest is essentially free as the question book can be downloaded from the Cycling UK BCQ page as a PDF. If you wish to submit answers for validation there is a small charge for question cards – each card can accommodate ten answers, and the full set can be purchased for around £15. Certificates are free and there is a small charge to cover the cost of medals when those are gained. But if you don’t want the awards then the Quest is free.

    As there are six checkpoints in every county there is almost certainly going to be some that are local to anyone looking to start the Quest so getting started is easy. The majority of the checkpoints tend to be in places of historic interest such as monuments, listed buildings, churches, National Trust properties etc, and all are publicly assessible without having to pay any additional fee for entry.

    In general a decent day tour of around 40-50 miles will likely be able to take in two or three checkpoints within the same county or in neighbouring counties, and in some places such as Greater London or the Isle of Wight all six can be covered in shorter distances, and because the rules of the BCQ allow you to drive or take public transport to the general area visiting checkpoints can often be combined with other activities such as visiting relatives or going on holiday etc so long as you take your bike to get to the checkpoint – I once even managed to combine going on a training course for work with a quick twenty mile ‘training ride’ in the evening to a local checkpoint.

    Making memories

    The Quest has taken me to some great places in the last couple of years such as the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, the Hardy Monument in Dorset and Culver Down on the IOW both of which where at the top of ferocious climbs but with views of the surrounding country side that made the effort totally worthwhile. There have of course been the inevitably odd bad day, getting drenched in Surrey after the weather forecast got it completely wrong, and getting the front wheel of my bike wiped out by a supermarket home delivery van in Dorset were probably the only two which after more than thirty days spent questing isn’t a bad ratio.

    The checkpoints for the Quest can (in my experience) be visited on any kind of bicycle as they are all in places where any skinny tyre road bike can go, and I’ve even visited checkpoints on a Brompton – most notably in London where I managed to visit all six in one day, combined with a bit of tourist sight seeing and tube riding so if you have a bike then you also have pretty much the minimum amount of equipment required to compete in the Quest.


    In the space available on relatively short blog post I really can’t do the Quest justice, so I recommend visiting the BCQ page on the Cycling UK website (link below), downloading the question book and giving it a go – it won’t cost you a penny to try it out but I’m sure you’ll be hooked. If you’re interested in more information I have been keeping a detailed online journal of my questing adventures the link to which is also below.


    Cycling UK BCQ page - https://www.cyclinguk.org/british-cycle-quest

    My Questing diary – http://www.quest.nwarwick.co.uk


    Neil Warwick is a FLampion organises FLAB Social rides in Berkshire. You can find out more about Neil's social rides here on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/groups/2101517010129959/


    Dominic Irvine - Ultra-distance cyclist and FLAB rider

    “You shouldn’t be wearing that kit - you’re not fat enough.” If I had a pound for everytime that comment is made to me. More often than not I hear it from those who’ve sat on my wheel as I’ve pounded out the miles. I wasn’t always a super fit endurance monster. Let me take you back a few years.



    It was the summer of 1999 when I headed out the door and walked to the top of the street I lived in in Ilkley. I was 112kg and about to start my first run in years. I made it to the next lamp post before having to stop and walk. For the next mile I ran between every other lamp post and walked the rest. I repeated the run a few more times before realising I could not lose weight and at the same time get fit. I also felt very self conscious. It was all too much for me. So I decided to focus on weight loss and 4.5 months later I was down to 82.5kg. What no-one ever tells you is losing weight is incredibly hard, often demoralising and requires epic amounts of motivation. You spend your life hungry and being a bit miserable. It’s definitely not as simple as calories in versus energy expended. That’s the sort of nonsense spouted by thin people who’ve never tried to lose a lot of weight. The reward for me came from standing on the scales every day and plotting the overall trend downwards. Once lighter, I started running and it was so much easier. Within a few months I was really starting to enjoy it, I particularly loved off-road running and even entered a few fell races.


    One drunken evening, a neighbour talked me into entering an Ironman triathlon. I hadn’t swum since I was a kid and my bike had a shopping basket on the front for carrying groceries. I rarely rode to the shops a mile or so away, the car was always easier. In the pool, I was out paced by elderly ladies swimming breast stroke and chatting whilst they made their way slowly down the lane. I managed a couple of lengths of thrashing around before being exhausted. My first ‘serious’ bike rides were not much better, I was dropped almost before we’d started the ride. I kept reminding myself that at least I was out having a go and surely that was better than sitting on the couch? What I remember from my first Ironman distance triathlon was the marathon. It was off road. The sun was shining and I was running along eating a packet of crisps listening to a play on Radio 4. I cruised over the finishing line a shade under 11.5 hours and decided if this was sport - I was loving it. 8 Ironman races later my knees called time on running. Incidentally, I got to my lightest weight during my Ironman phase at 79kg and 5% body fat, but at this level I was almost always miserable, ill and cold. I realised I was too light.



    But back to the story. I was always a dreadful swimmer and with running no longer an option I decided to focus on long distance cycling. It was back to being the Fat Lad At The Back - in my first ultra-distance race, I was the last rider to make the cut off taking 30 hours to complete the 525km and 13,500m of ascent. In the final 12 hours of the race I kept vomiting and could only eat an occasional boiled sweet as long as I just sucked on it and didn’t swallow (I had a lot to learn about nutrition and hydration). At about this time, a casual comment in a conversation led to what was become a 5 year obsession with the Lands End to John O’Groats tandem bike record. It had stood for decades at 50 hours 14 minutes and 25 seconds. The record had withstood attempts from Olympians and National cycling champions. It felt as crazy as doing an Ironman as a first triathlon. Once again I was back to novice status this time learning to ride a tandem. It was about this time I came across FLAB. I totally related to the brand. It was about getting up and getting out there - not taking yourself too seriously but at the same time not being afraid to give it a go. It was this spirit that kept me going through the two failed attempts on the record. Finally, at the age of 47, in 2015 along with my riding partner we set a new tandem world record of 45 hours and 11 minutes for the 842 miles that is LEJOG (this stands to this day). Building on the back of this fitness led to a win and a 3rd place in a couple of European Ultra Distance races.


    The learning curve from running between lamp posts to standing on a podium in Italy had been huge and so it made sense to commit these lessons to paper. So I wrote a book co-authored with Professor Simon Jobson, who coached us to break the LEJOG record. These days I’m lucky enough to have one of the best cycling coaches and a world class levels of fitness. I work with a nutritionist, a psychologist and my race bikes are custom made to deliver the riding characteristics I want. But once again I am the Fat Lad At The Back. Now I’ve shifted to ultra distance off-road. My next race is 2750 miles. It’s highly improbable I will win, unlikely I will finish (most riders don’t) but in the true spirit of FLAB, I’m giving it a go. I’m still no weight weenie at 84kg and 9% body fat, and I get my butt kicked on long climbs, but who cares - the important thing is getting out there and enjoying your cycling.


    What I have learnt is that FLAB is an attitude, it’s a mindset, it’s not a specific weight or body mass. It’s a philosophy that recognises ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they set their mind to it. I wear my kit with pride.

    You can read Dom's book on ultra distance cycling here.



  • Cyc-ology - The science behind why cycling enhances mood


    Anybody who regularly spends time in the saddle will know that a few miles on your bike always lifts your mood and makes you feel better (errant drivers aside) – but why?  Well research has shown that not only is cycling freaking awesome but can also improve memory, reasoning and planning as well as providing a huge boost to your mental health.

    A cerebral work out

    Did you know that cycling can grow your brain just like weight lifting can grow your muscles? Cycling increases blood flow to your brain which in turn builds more capillaries and ultimately supplies more nutrients, blood and oxygen to your noggin that can improve its performance.  Sudoku anyone?

    Cycling also makes your body produce more proteins, which you use to create new brain cells.  Regular pedalling can double or even triple new cell production in the brain.  If that wasn’t enough, regular jaunts on your wheels of steel increases neurotransmitter activity which improves cognitive abilities.  The Times crossword will be easy peasy lemon squeezy after a cheeky cycle!


    Fighting aging

    The plethora of benefits you get from cycling are even more profound for those of us who are no longer spring chickens.  The science stuff we’ve talked about can counteract the natural decline of brain function as we age.  We can’t promise you’ll no longer walk into a room and have no idea why you’re there but scientists did compare the brains of adults in their 60’s and 70’s and found that the brains of those who exercise regularly appeared younger than those who don’t. 


    You must have been living under a rock if you’ve not heard of this ‘mindfullness’ malarkey – but what does it actually mean?  Well it’s about taking time out and focussing on the here and now – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you.  Well cycling is the ultimate ‘mindfulness’ activity, concentrating on the here and now (and that lorry that just passed by too closely) and appreciating the scenery. 

    The pressures of modern life

    Here at Fat Lad at the Back, we’re more than aware that the pressures of modern life can build up to a point where you hit a wall, our very own ‘Fat Lad’ Richard Bye has struggled with exhaustion and anxiety and has found that cycling has helped him more than anything else. He said:“I hit the wall back in 2009  after years of working 16 hour days and international travel.  Cycling has definitely helped me recover and continues to be a vital contribution to my physical and mental well being.”
    We also have hundreds of people in our community of who testified to the effectiveness of cycling in helping them fight depression and other mental health difficulties.

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 20/042016 - Cycling. Richard Bye Ilkley West Yorkshire - founder of closing brand Fat Lad at the Back copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 20/042016 - Cycling. Richard Bye Ilkley West Yorkshire - co founder of clothing brand Fat Lad at the Back
    copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com




  • Sportive and Group riding etiquette


    We’ve ordered the weather but things change around here from one hour to the next, our advice is, pack everything!


    Faffing about is an essential part of cycling, but please build in enough time to ensure that you can faff to your hearts content and still be on the start line ten minutes before set off time.

    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.


    We’re looking forward to lots of you riding with our Ride Marshalls. Some of you will be less experienced at group riding and we wanted to offer some guidance to ensure the safety of you and your fellow riders.


    Your Ride Marshall will also repeat this on the day, but there’s a lot to remember:


    SPEAK UP!:

    Communication is vital in a group and especially on these roads which are often busy with other cyclists and vehicles.

    Your view is restricted by other bikes and you must communicate to ensure everyone remains safe and there are no pile ups!

    Here are some common commands which we regularly use on ur rides. PLEASE listen out for these and shout out and pass onto your group:

    STOPPING– vital to call when coming to a stop. If you don’t there’ll be a pile up and split tyres

    SLOWING– If you’re breaking heavily, tell people!

    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.



    CLEAR– it is OK to pull out at a junction

    CAR UP (This is subject to regional variations but what we use in Yorkshire)

    – a car is coming from the front towards the pack

    CAR BACK- a car coming from behind

    LINE OUT– some riders prefer to stay 2 abreast when a car is trying to pass – on these roads we don’t think that works – lining out at least lets drivers know that you are trying to make room and perception makes a big difference to the way drivers will respond to you

    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.

    HOLE LEFT– hole/obstruction on the left hand side of the carriageway. If riding 2 abreast, outside riders are aware the inside riders will be moving out and to give room if safe to do so
    HOLE RIGHT– as above but on the right

    HOLE MIDDLE– bet you already guessed this one?! Riders will split around the hole

    GRAVEL– there are LOTS of gravel spots on the routes, shout to warn your fellow riders with an indication of where the gravel is (middle, all over, left etc)


    When you stand up out of the saddle, your bike immediately loses speed – this will cause people immediately behind you to either crash or swerve. Think about who’s around you as you cycle!

    When you need to raise out of the saddle, do so on your full downward pedal stroke and push hard as you do – this should maintain your speed whilst rising you out of the saddle.


    Never ride more than 2 abreast


    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, when a car is behind you please LINE OUT – you might not normally, but please do on this sportive and create space where needed so cars can get through


    Groups will generally ride at the pace of the slowest. If you are struggling and feel that you are too slow, then let your Ride Marshall know that you will be dropping off the back and you will be picked up by the group behind, and ultimately by the sweeper if needed. (It’s not a real sweeper, it’s a man or woman on a bike!)

    If you feel that you are stronger and could go faster than the group, then just let your Ride Marshall know that you’ll be going off on your own!

    Try to have a turn on the front as well as sitting in the pack


    Our Ride Marshall's have a small yellow hi viz badge on their helmets identifying them by name or by the word Ride Marshall's  so they are easy to find. Whether you are in a group or not, if you have any problems at all, then just let one of them or one of our Marshals know.


    Helmets must be worn


    Bring spare inner tubes, water, basic repair kit and snacks just in case you get peckish between feed stops.

    Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for our glorious UK weather conditions.


    It’s going to be a fun day and a great way to meet other FLAB’s and having a nice social ride at a pace that suits you. Enjoy!

    We’re used to daft questions so ask away  fatlads@fatladattheback.com

  • 8 Reason Why You Felt Flat in January ......

    ... And How To Feel FLABulous In FEBRUARY


    NO, it’s not just you!

    If January has left you feeling a bit flat and you can’t put your finger on why you’re not alone, here are the top 8 reasons why it’s not just you that felt down in the mouth and some positives to help you shake off the January blues and step into February feeling flabulous!

    Reasons to be miserable:

    1. The Christmas Comedown

    After December’s month long exercise in sedentary binge eating and excessive booze consumption, comes January’s self-sacrifice and austerity which can be a bit of a shock to the system after weeks of over indulgence.

    1. Sober

    Whether you  did Dry January or just cut back it can be soul destroying not to have a glass of vino or a pint to look forward to after a long day at work.

    1. Skint

    We’re all skint after Christmas and January can feel like one long Simply Red song (money’s too tight to mention) especially when the credit card bill arrives!

    1. Hungry

    Everyone and their dog was on a diet in January (you can’t use that old shrunken jeans chestnut forever) and there is nothing like depriving yourself of carbs to leave you feeling a bit dejected.

    1. No Bank Holiday in sight

    After two weeks of doing naff all over the festive break the reality check of the daily grind can overwhelm us a little and leave us feeling more than a bit fed up.  There isn’t even a bank holiday to look forward to until Easter.

    1. Cold

    It's dark, it’s damp and its bloody freezing – the lack of sunlight and plummeting temperatures are enough to make anyone feel disheartened.

    1. The kids were doing your head in

    If there’s one thing Christmas is good for its blackmailing your children “if you don’t behave, Santa won’t bring you any presents” - that carrot and stick is redundant for at least another ten months so it’s back to actually having to parent our kids (sigh!).

    1. Feeling like a Failure

    All that ‘go hard or go home’ motivation can get a bit much when your social media timelines are full of other people’s good intentions, gym selfies and meal pics.  If the detox, diet or Olympian exercise regime didn’t go quite to plan it can leave us feeling a bit like a failure.

    Let's Look Forward To Febuary

    group 4

    If you spent January feeling Blue, you’ll be glad to see the back of the month and look forward to February; it’s starting to get lighter, you’ve been paid, Dry January is over and pancake day is just around the corner.

    January can make you feel like you need to change your whole life, quit smoking, cut down on drinking, go on a diet and launch a tech start up to make your millions.  Really?

    If your New Year’s resolutions haven’t gone to plan, you still haven’t lost *that* 10lbs or put those shelves up, life is too short.  Now that January is finished we have the whole of 2018 to look forward to, dates to put in the diary, summer holidays to plan and beer to drink.

    There is one sure fire way to put a smile on your face and a glow in your cheeks……….dust off the cleats, get the bike out of the shed and get back in the saddle.  Let the gym bunnies fight over the treadmill in the gym and enjoy the open road.

    You don’t have to try become Bradley Wiggins overnight, give yourself a break and set yourself some realistic and achievable goals to work towards.  Why not sign up to our Up North sportive in May.  Join our FLAB lads and lasses in your area on our FLAB community rides



  • FLAB Social ride locations 2018

    FLAB cog black


    All social rides are listed on the https://www.letsride.co.uk/social website. Please note these are social rides,  not led rides. All participants must book a place via the website and read the T&C'S of taking part in a ride social available here https://www.letsride.co.uk/terms 

    County Town Names Social Link
    Berkshire Lower Earley, Reading Neil Warwick FLAB Social rides Berkshire
    Cheshire Congleton Wendy Bibby FLAB Social rides Cheshire
    Derbyshire Swadlincote & Ilkleston Will Fisher & Steve Wadey FLAB Social rides Derbyshire
    Greater Manchester Bury Lucia Cronin FLAB Social rides Manchester
    Hampshire Sherfield-on-Loddon James Morrison FLAB Social rides Hampshire
    Lancashire Morecambe Craig Townson FLAB Social rides Lancashire
    Preston Bill & Lou Shaw FLAB Social rides Preston
    Leicestershire Loughborough Emma Dickson FLAB Social rides Loughborough
    London (South East) Forest Hill Dean Nicolson & Charlotte Levitan FLAB Social rides SE London
    Merseyside Crosby, Liverpool Louise Collins FLAB Social rides Liverpool
    Middlesex Hayes David Gable FLAB Social rides Middlesex
    Norfolk Attleborough Dave Bickel FLAB Social rides South Norfolk
    Great Yarmouth Jamie Roberston FLAB Social rides Norfolk
    Nottinghamshire Hucknall & Newark Theresa Peacock & Andrew Saxby FLAB Social rides Newark / Nottingham
    Somerset Pill, Bristol Ian Hall FLAB Social rides Bristol
    Suffolk Levington David Shutt FLAB Social rides Suffolk
    Surrey Horley Adrienne Horne FLAB Social rides Surrey
    West Sussex Chichester Karen Wheeler FLAB Social rides West Sussex
    Wiltshire Swindon & Stevenson Rob Woods & Rafe Aldridge FLAB Social rides Swindon
    Yorkshire Ilkley Bella Duckworth & Emma Booth FLAB Social rides Ilkley
    Harrogate Dave Marson FLAB Social rides Harrogate
    Scotland Angus & Fife Kirsty Billin FLAB Social rides Angus & Fife
  • What's stopping you from signing up for a sportive?


    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Cycling Fat Lad at the Back Sportive - Ilkley - leisure cycling

    Sportives are a grand day out on the bike they let you cycle around a new area without having to worry about getting lost or finding a café for a mid-ride refuelling stop.

    We know that loads of our FLAB community would love to enter their first sportive but have a few concerns about taking part, here are the main ones that our FLAB community forum said was preventing them from taking part.

    FITNESS-  If you can comfortably ride 80% of the distance on similar terrain to the distance you’ve signed up to at 10mph you’ll complete our sportive. FLambassadors are on route to talk through options if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

    HILLS- STOP WORRYING! If you can’t cycle up to the top WALK, there’s no shame in walking up a hill.

    CONFIDENCE- Our sportive is super friendly, inclusive and supportive with the option of riding in a friendly group with the support of one of our awesome Ride Marshalls.

    MECANICALS- Carry a puncture repair kit and learn to fix a puncture before the event, it’s a lot easier than you think just takes a bit of practice. Loads of tutorials on YOUTUBE.

    FINISHING LAST- Who cares? You’ve lapped everyone on the sofa.


    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.FITNESS

    Will I be fit enough? Can I make it to the finish line?

    First thing to remember is a sportive is NOT a race the only competition is with yourself, do it at your pace within your comfort zone and don’t try and keep up with other people or compare your pace to others.

    There will be Ride Marshalls on route to offer support.

    If you’ve done a reasonable amount of training beforehand relevant to the distance you’ve entered you will fine. So, for instance if you can comfortably do 18 miles you will be able to 25 miles on the day and the atmosphere of the event and adrenaline can really help push you those last few miles.

    There is always Ride Marshalls on the route that you can chat to about options if you feel you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.


    STOP fearing hills! It is so easy to go into a complete meltdown at the thought of hills on a sportive and that big hill that you know is coming up can soon become the whole focus of your ride taking away from your enjoyment, remember THERE IS NO SHAME IN WALKING UP THEM.

    So what if someone fly’s past you with ease having a chat with their mates making it look easy while your legs are screaming and your lungs are on fire!

    Everybody is different it’s your body your bike ride and your business how you get up them! If you have to walk then walk it’s much better to get off and walk to the top in one piece than push yourself beyond your limits, risk injuring yourself and having a very unpleasant experience.

    STOP PANICKING IT’S ONLY A HILL! If anyone mocks another cyclist for walking up a hill we say SHAME ON THEM! We salute anyone getting of the sofa and having a go!

    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.  Our feed stops are legendary


    Signing up for your first event can be pretty nerve racking with so many what ifs to worry about, being judged, being last, riding on your own, what if I get lost….

    Our sportive is unique as we have Ride marshalls who ride the whole route with groups making sure that everyone has an awesome experience and you won’t ever feel alone or worry about getting lost as our Ride Marshalls will be there to support you along the route.

    If you’d rather do it on your own the route is fully signposted and you can download it prior to the event. We also so set the longer distance riders off first you will get very few riders overtaking you along the route.


    It’s always important to carry a puncture repair kit, a couple of inner tubes, tyre levers pump etc. with you on the route. If you don’t know how to change a puncture it’s worth learning how to do it before hand.

    There are loads of very easy tutorials on YOUTUBE showing you step by step how to change an inner tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwwfV99VV8I

    Best time to do it is in the comfort of your own home/garage/shed when you have plenty of time , you’ll be surprised after a few goes just how easy it is to master with a bit of practice, and there will be hundreds of other cyclists passing and many of them will stop and offer to help you out if it’s not something you can fix yourself.


    Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 07/05/2017 - Commercial - Cycling - Cycling - Fat Lad at The Back Yorkshire Sportive - Ilkley, England - Cycling, Leisure.

    N’owt wrong with finishing at the back, so whether it’s taken you two hours or five hours you’ve ridden the same distance as all the others on the same route and lapped all those sitting on the couch.

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS OF THE FLAB UP NORTH SPORTIVE 2018 https://fatladattheback.com/sportive/up-north-sportive




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