Fat Lad At The Back

  • Sweet Success

    It’s funny how some moments in life change things forever.


    You can be going along quite contentedly, then suddenly something happens and you realise life will never be the same afterwards.

    One of these moments occurred for me when I was diagnosed as a diabetic.

    Up until that point, I’d never really thought about diabetes, it was just another disease, after all. As we know, diseases are things that ‘other people’ get. I think we all live in that state of denial about matters of health, it makes things easier, until it happens to us. I walked into the hospital a ‘healthy’ person with some bad test results and a permanently dry mouth. I walked out with a medical condition, some syringes of insulin, a blood glucose monitor and a seriously diminished sense of self-confidence.

    Chris 4In the time leading up to my diagnosis my cycling was at the best it had ever been. I was an increasingly lean (I’d lost around fives stones) riding machine. I’d found that my legs were giving me power that I’d never experienced before. I had reserves that seemed to belong to someone else. For about a month before I got the results, I felt a real sense of unity with me and my bike, I was in ‘the zone’.

    You can imagine my disappointment when I was told that I should avoid cycling until I’d become used to the new medication I was prescribed. As an insulin dependent diabetic, I run the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic – essentially when the glucose in my blood drops to a level that is problematic. When this happens I can become unsteady, disorientated, slurring in my speech and can even pass out. So you can see why my doctors advised I didn’t cycle in the short term. ‘Hypo’s, as they’re known, are treated with the consumption of sugar – I’m never without a bag of jelly babies these days. ‘The Bonk’, that cyclists experience after over-exerting themselves, is also hypoglycaemia – the difference being that for a diabetic cyclist (using insulin) the effects could happen at any moment.

    After some time, I got into a rhythm with my medication and became able to read the signs of an impending ‘hypo’. It did, however, take a long time to get back on my bike. I won’t hide it from you, I was scared.

    Cycling had been a liberation for me. It allowed me to go off where I wanted, when I wanted and just be at one with the road. Suddenly, with my diagnosis, I was in a position where I could become quite seriously ill on a ride, if I didn’t read the signs carefully. This really knocked my confidence. The last thing I wanted was to need the assistance of a passer-by, or worst still become disorientated and fall into the road.

    I was scared to get back on my bike, but I also knew that if I was to manage my diabetes effectively, cycling was going to be crucial. Diabetics are urged to exercise in order to maintain their health and manage their blood glucose levels. So that’s what I did. I got back on my bike and took a ride.

    How was it?

    I’ll not lie, it was frustrating. It took getting back on my bike to realise how much fitness I’d lost during my period of inactivity. My legs just weren’t providing me with the power they once did. I also had a few ‘wobbly’ moments, where I needed to top up my sugar intake. It all felt a bit weird.

    But then, feeling a bit weird is all part of being a cyclist, isn’t it?

    I’ve been back on my bike for some time now. It feels less weird every time I head out. My confidence is back, I know if I’m sensible and take precautions I should have a great ride, diabetes or no diabetes.

    Am I back to my previous self, in ‘the zone’? Not yet.

    Will I get there?

    Of course I will!Chris M 2


    Chris McGuire is a Westcountry-based writer, follow him on Twitter @McGuireski

    For information about diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.uk


  • It's Time To Show Off Your Cycling Clobber!

    Spring is here and it’s time to show off your cycling Clobber!

    We asked Lynn Bye, our Arty Farty Lass and Creative Director at FLAB to tell us about her inspiration for the Lasses Spring Summer collection. Here's what she had to say!

    I think cyclewear can be fashionable, as well as technical, so the women’s collection is very much influenced by what’s on the catwalks and the high street.

    This season I want customers to get much more out of their gear than it just being practical and doing a great job when they’re cycling. Feeling great on your bike is such an important part of the overall experience, so I want our customers to really enjoy their cycling clothes and to be inspired by some of the colours and pattern combinations we are suggesting.

    The women's collection is built around central colours which mix and match, so you can wear various different jerseys with the same jacket and shorts for example, to create different looks and keep your cycling wardrobe fun and interesting, just like your every day wardrobe.

    We have added a Rainbow padded short and windproof gilet to the collection for 2017, which is bang on trend and has the added advantage of going with absolutely everything in the collection.

    Colours are strong and vibrant for 2017 and we have introduced 2 new colours to our pixel jerseys, which are both key colours for this season.

    All jerseys_2


    These jerseys can be mix and matched with the rest of the collection for lots of variations and looks. For example all the long sleeve versions of these jerseys work with the new Geometric top (BELOW RIGHT) and the Beacon Neck Doo Dah, so you can pick and choose whichever colours you like best, knowing they all work together.

    Geo and long sleeve Sunshine rainbow shorts_2


    Florals have been gradually creeping onto the high street since Autumn 2016 and they are now a key theme throughout 2017 and into 2018.

    Our Nar Then Flower Jersey (BELOW RIGHT) comes in a short and windproof long sleeve and focuses on peach, which is another big colour for Spring Summer. Here it’s shown with the Blush jersey, Rainbow shorts and flower neck doo dah.

    Blush Flower and Rainbow Shorts_2


    Sticking with flowers, the new Floral jersey (BELOW LEFT) has a delicate multi coloured print and goes with a lot of pieces from the collection, including our best selling In The Pink jersey. Here we have teamed it with this seasons turquoise jersey (BELOW) and purple to show two different options, which work equally well.

    Floral with rainbow and kingfisher_2


    Purple is a really strong colour for 2017 and 2018, even making it onto a lot of the mens catwalks. For FLAB it’s inspiration for our new women’s Stealth collection – which is our unbranded range. As well as the short sleeve, we have added a women’s long sleeve windproof jersey – we call it the Jacksey (BELOW MIDDLE). This is the perfect item for the transitional weather through Spring, where it’s not freezing but you need protection from the chilly wind and even a bit of a drizzle.  It has the added advantage of matching perfectly with our Gaffer jacket, so it will give people options throughout the seasons.

    Floral with Purple shorts and long sleeve


    For more information about the Fat Lass At The Back women's range checkout our website.


  • Top Cycling Trips on a Budget!

    Tilnar challenge ( This Is Life Not A Rehearsal )

    This unique event takes place on 25th June this year between 6am and 9pm.It’s a simple idea, sign up for the event at Tilnar Cycle Challenge select what category you’d like to enter, there’s something for everyone, all ages and abilities and even the option of doing it on a static bike! You ride whatever route and distance you want for as little or as much as you want. So, whether you want to ride a couple of miles with the kids or set yourself a personal challenge of doing your furthest ever distance this is a fantastic idea that In my opinion the most accessible and inclusive event in the cycling year.

    Entry fee for an Adult is just £2.95 with a £5 donation to charity


    Described by many as 'THE FRIENDLIEST SPORTIVE THEY’VE EVER DONE' our Up North Sportive takes to the roads again and is just the incentive you need to get on yer bike.
    Same routes as last year, the routes have been planned by Fat Lad in Charge Richard Bye, who grew up in Ilkley and has been cycling the surrounding roads for the past 20 years, so you’re in for something exceptional.
    Breathtaking views, historic locations, superbly enjoyable cycling, varying levels of challenge and hills (that goes without saying!).


    Our emphasis is on enjoying the ride so these routes avoid some of the worst lung stinging climbs available and offer interesting, varied, challenging and well balanced rides, that you only get with local knowledge.

    Our objective is to ensure that you have an ace day out, meet some of the awesome lads and lasses in the FLAB community and leave wanting more. Not more to eat however - our lunch stops are legendary!

    There are 3 options, so there is definitely one for you. The three rides overlap and include sections and drink stops which are shared so you have every chance of meeting up with riders who are on the other 2 routes. £30 entry for the 25 mile route. FLAB up North Sportive

    RIDE TO THE SUN –Sunday 17th June 2017 free entry

    Register here-ridetothesun  After cycling 100 miles through the night you arrive on Cramond beach to watch the sun come up.


    UK Cycling events

    UK Cycling events offer a huge range of sportives all over the UK. They offer several distances on every route so there’s something for all abilities.

    The C2C2C -29th June 2017 is a 100 mile charity cycle ride that takes you across Linconshire from Castle to Coast to Castle more details can be found HERE


  • Top Cycling Trips - Splash the Cash

    Lifecycol is the business of Amy and Ian Johnston. They offer pre-organised, structured cycling and fitness breaks. There are two training camps planned in 2017 run in conjunction with Better cycling coaching company and led by Mike Wilson. Bike fitting is on hand to help cyclists improve their riding based on the advice of qualified coaches.

    25th June- 2nd July

    2nd July – 9th July

    Prices start at £550 per person- based on two sharing at their partner chalet down the road which is full catered except for lunch.

    They also offer exclusive, personalised breaks designed for your group’s needs. Prices to stay with Lifecycol at Chalet Avenir start at £835. They are passionate about food and know how extremely important quality nutrition is and offer a 4-course meal with their half board package. Amy is a qualified PT and Yoga teacher and can offer pre and post ride stretching which will help alleviate those aching muscles from climbing the local cols.

    A 75 minute transfer from Geneva airport, the stunning Chalet Avenir is in Morzine in the French Alps, this awesome alpine location is a world class cycling playground that has hosted a stage of the tour de France and L’Etape du Tour and also has world class mountain biking in Morzine and nearby Les Gets which boasts some of the world’s best downhill trails.

    Hot tub and stunning deck for post ride relaxation.

    Bike hire available nearby with top end road and mountain bikes available.

    Lifecycol’s local knowledge and expertise means they can organise and support you on daily rides on varied terrain.

    Visit the lifecycol website for more details

    LEJOG-Land’s end to John O’Groats

    An iconic long distance ride the entire distance of the UK approx 1000 miles depending on which route you take. There are many options for this ride, and you can take a few days or a few weeks, do it self-supported using hostels, camping, B&B’s or doing it with a cycling holiday company who organise the route and move all your bags. I used Peak tours for my supported 10 day LEJOG in 2015 and they were superb. There is also a LEJOG pack available from cyclinguk packed full of all the info you need to organise a self-supported trip.

    Cape town cycle tour

    The annual Cape Town cycletour is the world’s largest timed cycling event with 35,000 riders traveling from all over the world to take part. It’s a 109km route through some spectacular scenery with Table top mountain as a back drop. There are many packages available with some offering guaranteed entry, flights and transfers all included.

    CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 10,  during the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour 2013 on March 10, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa Photo by Greg Beadle/CTCTT/ Gallo Images


    San Francisco to LA

    Cycling tour company More Adventure are offering a 500 mile bike ride along the west coast of California starting in San Francisco and finishing in LA. It’s a 13 day trip but with eight days cycling there’ll be plenty of time for sight seeing.


    L’Etape du Tour

    Etape du Tour is a mass participation event that allows amateur cyclists to ride a stage of the Tour de France on closed roads. The 2017 event takes place on Sunday 16th July where riders will ride stage 18 of the tour in the Alps. This superb package from sports tours international lets you watch the pros in three stages of the tour and ride Etape du Tour.


    If you don't fancy selling a kidney check out our lower budget suggestions tomorrow!

  • Top Cycling Trips - Middle of the Road

    DIY trip to Paris

    Ever fancied cycling to Paris?  This fantastic route from Donald Hirsch gives you turn by turn instructions on cycling from Dieppe to Paris. It also includes information on accommodation options along the route, getting home via Eurostar and route advice if you want to do the ride in reverse and cycle back to Dieppe. I’ve cycled it three times and what I love about this route is that it’s so quiet and as you get into the suburbs takes you into the city through the old hunting forests that surround Paris. It feels like a mini adventure as you are carrying your own gear and navigating yourself. I’ve taken two, three and four days to do this trip and have had a great experience every time. It also works out very good value for money especially if you’re sharing a room and many of the B&B’s offer an evening meal as part of the package.



    The North coast 500 is a circular route around Scotland starting and finishing in Inverness. A challenging ride in some of the most stunning scenery the UK has to offer. I’m sure this ride will become an iconic must do on every cyclist’s bucket list, it’s certainly on mine and I’m hoping to complete it this year. You can plan your own or Sheffield based Pedal Nation are one of the first cycling companies offering it as a supported trip.


    French cycling tours

    There are a lot of companies out there offering cycling holidays in France, recommended by a fellow FLAB Green jersey French cycling tours offer loads of supported rides for all tastes and abilities and also offer special interest tours to the battlefields.

    15219630_1199186206840117_6238064061374746847_n  Way of the Roses 

    At 170 miles long this coast to coast ride crosses Lancashire and Yorkshire. Using minor roads, cycle paths and disused railway lines this route has something for all levels of cyclists. You can do it in one day or take a week to do it a leisurely pace. There’s loads of information on the Way of the Roses website for planning your own trip or there are companies offering a fully supported guided trip.


    Coast 2 Coast

    The 140 mile sea to sea route is best ridden west to east to take advantage of the prevailing wind, it doesn’t happen very often but I once did experience the elusive tailwind…. loads of information is available on the C2C website



    Check out our blog tomorrow if you are up for splashing the cash on an awesome cycling trip!

  • Getting past Chris Froome

    Getting past Chris Froome was so important to me.

    Crucial, you might say.

    I can hear you now, as you read this. “What is he talking about?”, “He’d never be able to get past Chris Froome – there’s no way!”

    Well I have! And here’s how…

    Of course, I’d never be able to cycle past, or go faster than the esteemed Mr. Froome (I do love his name, by the way, all sports stars should have onomatopoeic monikers). By ‘getting past’ him, I don’t mean in a race. I’m sure Chris would still beat me, on my bike, if he was on foot (again). What I’m talking about is getting past the image, in my head, that to be a ‘proper’ cyclist I needed to look like Chris Froome.

    Let me explain. I’m a big fella, always have been. At primary school I was 6 foot plus and dwarfed the headmaster. I can still remember getting stuck when trying to climb under a school bench as part of a Sports’ Day obstacle race. It took a team of teachers and a lot of butter to release me. These days I’m 6 foot 5 and around 18 stone. My weight has been a lot heavier than its current level – through cycling I’ve lost around 5 stones.

    The thing was, despite this impressive increase in fitness, I wasn’t happy.


    Bloody Chris Froome.

    I’d got it into my head that in order to be a cyclist of any proficiency (by which I mean someone who enjoys to ride in their spare time) I needed to look like Chris Froome. This was never, ever, ever going to happen. Chris has a completely different body type to me. He’s built like a whippet, 4 inches shorter and almost 8 stones lighter. If I lost 8 stones I doubt I’d be able to get onto a bike, never mind ride it. Do you see my point?

    For too long I’d been beating myself with a (metaphorical) stick – beating myself with a literal stick sounded far too painful. I would look at myself in my cycling kit and shake my head. Why? Because, I’ll never be a lean-mean cycling-machine. At best I’ll be a bulky-hulky… well, you get the idea. When I put on bib tights I don’t bring Miguel Indurain to mind, I look more like Giant Haystacks (the wrestler). I’m always going to look slightly too big for my bike – and I ride a big bike. I’m never going to be a sprinter. My body doesn’t do that. Speedsuits don’t come in my size, mainly because people my size don’t travel fast!

    So, recently, I’ve put Chris Froome to rest – I’ve got past him. I now look at myself in the mirror after a ride and still see a sweaty, slightly chubby, man in Lycra. I also see someone a lot fitter than I was, and that’s as a result of the cycling. I’m fine with that now. It’s a great place to be. To be fair to me, Chris Froome could never achieve my body shape either. Should someone want to shift a piano or need a fella to work a nightclub door, I’d be the first choice over Froome, every time.  Sorry Chris.

    I hope you get past your own personal ‘Chris Froome’. There’s little point spending time worrying about what you’re not, when you could be focusing on what you are. As the much shared statement says: “I may be going slowly, but I’m still lapping everyone on the couch.”

    Enjoy your riding…


    PS: I will get my own speedsuit one day – and be the world’s slowest TT racer – as soon as they figure out how to make stitching strong enough!

    Chris McGuire is a Westcountry-based writer.

    Follow him on Twitter @McGuireski He’s the guy who looks nothing, and we do mean nothing, like Chris Froome.

    Chris 2

  • Battle with your numb!

    Are you sitting comfortably?

    Arguably the seat is one of the most important parts of the bike to get right and if you’re not sitting comfortably you could be doing untold damage to your important little places!

    Remember your first proper road bike ride - ‘Wow that was ace!’ and then ‘ow my #@$*!’

    Riding a bike is definitely something you have to get ‘used to’ but if that same uncomfortable feeling becomes repetitive, it’s time to rethink the position and possibly the type of your saddle.

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 25/10/2014 - Cycling Fat Lad and Lass at The Back photo shoot - copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com


    It’s all about your sit bones!

    First off you need to get the right bit of your bot on the saddle. There’s a misconception that the bigger your bum, the bigger the saddle you need but in fact bum size has very little to do with finding the right saddle. It’s all about your sit bones!

    The sit bones (part of your pelvis) are designed to support your back and upper body and this is what you need to be sitting on. The distance between sit-bones can vary tremendously but has no relationship to the size of your anywhere else.

    You can be a skinny lad with wide apart sit bones or a larger lad with narrow sit bones, it all depends on the size and shape of your pelvis.

    So if you have wide sit bones and a narrow saddle all the pressure and weight of your upper body is going on… parts that can go numb easily aka ‘soft tissue’!

    Finding out the distance between your sit bones is the essential first step to a comfortable saddle. Some cycle shops do have ways of measuring your sit bones, we’re not entirely sure what they’re called… maybe an arse-o-meter? Although you can make your own ‘arse-o-meter’ at home, there a plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how to! Here’s an example of one:


    Now you know your sit bone width, what is the perfect saddle?


    Don’t rush into making a decision, you’re going to be spending a lot of quality time with your saddle so take the time to get it right and don’t feel that you have to choose a saddle at the shop there and then. There’s no point in buying one and realizing it’s not quite right 2 months time.

    There is a much better solution. Fat Lad in Charge, Richard met  Selle’s UK distributor, Dillglove http://www.dillglove.co.uk/test-saddles/ at a recent bike show where they had their full range of saddles -  there you can ‘try’ as many saddles as you like, until you get one which feels right and then, they’ll let you trial the saddle at home. It does take a while to get to know the saddle and you may have to swap a few times to find a perfect match but it’s well worth it.

    It’s made a huge difference to Richard and the office is no longer subjected to detailed information about his numb bits, so it’s a win win!

    Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 03/05/2014 - Cycling - Yorkshire, England - Fat Lad at the Back.

    Fine tuning

    The positioning of the saddle is another factor that you need to think about. For example if your seat is too high and you are using clipless pedals, you are actually pushing your nether-regions into the seat! You might have found the most comfortable saddle in the world and it fits to your sit bones perfectly, but the increase of pressure could give you numbness and saddle sores (as you try to reach down to the pedal on each stroke). Minor adjustments work best to get height and angle of seat right, so go for a leisurely ride and take a friend and a bike tool and keep pedaling and adjusting until you’re sorted.

    Bike Fit

    Although bike fit comes at a cost, it can make the most significant difference to your comfort and to your overall ride. Most people think that there’s no point spending on bike fit unless they have an expensive bike, but that’s not true and in the long term a proper bike fit may well save you money and make you appreciate/love your bike even more!

    You can seek professional bike fitting help with www.cyclometrics.co.uk and get a specially negotiated Fat Lad discount  20%. Paul is a qualified professional bike fitter for Cyclometrics and member of the International Bike Fitting Institute. He has professionally fitted a wide variety of riders from those buying their first bike to world champions.

    He has worked in sports for many years and spent time with Middlesbrough Football Club as a development coach, York City Academy in their centre of excellence and more recently working alongside British Triathlon.

    He is a Gym Instructor, Kinesiology Taping provider for Rock Tape and as a Biomechanics Trainer is one of only five UK based providers of gebioMized pressure analysis.

  • Beginners Turbo Trainer Guide

    Beginners Turbo Trainer Guide

    The winter weather, time and the realities of real life can easily put paid to the most noble of resolutions to keep up your hard earned summer fitness by continuing to cycle all winter. A turbo trainer is a great piece of equipment that allows you to ride your own bike stationary in your own home and can be a valuable aid to your cycle training. Turbo trainers are available to suit all budgets and there are many apps and videos available that provide structured training plans and motivation. Most are easily attached by swapping the rear quick release skewer that goes through your rear wheel to the one supplied and mounting onto the trainer
    Picture1      or the newer direct drive trainers that allow you to attach your cassette directly to the trainer.


    Types of trainers


     Magnetic trainers


    On a magnetic trainer your back wheel sits against a roller which has an attached magnetic unit which creates resistance on the back wheel. It comes with a dial which can be clipped onto your handlebars to allow you to adjust resistance up or down making it easier or harder to pedal.

    Usually the cheapest option and they do the job but they can be very noisy which can irritate the Neighbours or your family if they are trying to watch TV in a nearby room. 


    The resistance from this type of trainer is provided by a propeller which spins inside a fluid based chamber and you use your bike gears to adjust resistance. As well as providing a better ride feel fluid trainers are much quieter than magnetic trainers which makes them more popular.



    Virtual reality/Smart trainers


    These trainers make the most of the latest technology and allow you to connect your trainer to a PC, tablet, TV or smart phone via Bluetooth or ant+ . There are numerous apps available that connect with your trainer which make the experience interactive via software playing a video on a laptop, tablet, television or even a projection screen in front of you. This software allows you to ride courses and routes with and/or against your mates. The trainer is controlled by the computer which adjusts the resistance of the trainer so it gives the feel of riding the route you are watching on screen. You can also up load your ride stats via Strava if you wish to analyse your data a bit more.



    Rollers provide the closest experience to actually being on a bike but If you are a beginner you may find it difficult to get along with this type of trainer as it requires focus, balance and skill to stay upright as there is no fixed frame to clamp your bike onto. You have to remain focused to avoid falling off so many people prefer rollers as it keeps them more engaged and they find it less boring. Great for improving pedal stroke and balance and rollers are much easier to set up than other trainers. Practice makes perfect!


    Useful accessories

    Turbo trainer specific tyres are available which can help reduce noise, help grip and avoid any unnecessary wear and tear on your bike tyres as they are made of a harder compound so withstand the wear and tear of using the turbo for longer than a normal bike tyre.

    A wheel block is placed under the bikes front wheel to raise it to the same height as the rear making it level and gives you a more natural position on the bike, it also helps keep your bike stable.

    A full length trainer mat placed under your turbo helps protect your flooring and also helps to minimise vibration and noise especially if you’re using your turbo on a hardwood floor or live in a flat.

  • Why The Sufferfest?

    This month at Fat Lad At The Back we’ve been working in partnership with innovative cycling training app provider The Sufferfest. After all, it’s the start of a new year and we always need some reason and incentive to get on our bikes.

    Why The Sufferfest?  Well, we think there are many similarities between the brands. It’s easy to think that The Sufferfest is just for crazy fit people, and that Fat Lad At The Back only for ‘fat’ people. Both stereotypes are very wrong.

    As the community perfectly demonstrate, it doesn’t matter if you’re a 36” or a 58” chest, we are a people’s brand which anyone can be part of.

    IMG_5097 Liz Johns is a Dame of Sufferlandria and also flies the FLAB flag!  "What does being a Dame of Sufferlandria mean?"  For me, being a Dame - the very first one, too - means I am part of a group of amazing people who have all achieved something incredible. I found The Sufferfest at the start of my cycling journey, and it turned me into "a cyclist". Sufferlandrian Knighthood was the hardest thing I have ever done, physically and psychologically, but it also taught me that I can achieve more than I ever thought possible.

    The Sufferfest isn’t about being an elite cyclist because everyone suffers regardless of your base level of fitness.  The Chief Sufferlandrians want to encourage anyone and everyone to use cycling as a way to achieve their goals and this is exactly what FLAB is about.

    Cycling can be a very intimidating sport for anyone to get into, especially for larger people as there is a certain ‘image’ of being slim that cyclists are supposed to conform to. The Sufferfest gives you the opportunity to get on your bike in the comfort of your own kitchen.

    Some of our own are ‘fair weathered’ cyclists, so turbos are a good way of keeping your fitness going in the darker months and because it’s constant effort, a 45 minute turbo ride could be seen as equivalent to a 90 minute road ride simply because there are no downhills or freewheeling. With this in mind, the deal allows you to get two months’ free access for new subscribers to the motivational The Sufferfest app, if you make any purchase from FLAB before the end of January.

    Within The Sufferfest there are people of all shapes and sizes. It makes sense to provide those Turbo warriors with kit options for optimal performance and comfort.

    David, Chief Sufferlandrian, told us:

    “We at The Sufferfest really like what you all are doing for those who don't fit the traditional cyclist mould. The future of the sport depends upon greater inclusivity and breaking down those barriers to entry.

    “Sufferlandria has always been a place that welcomes everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, we just want you to Suffer and push yourself to new achievements… and we also have lots of Sufferlandrians who are big, powerful units!”

    There are big, powerful “units” in both communities. Of course, FLAB wearers already benefit from the comfort, fit and performance of the FLAB clothing and we wanted to help spread that word across Sufferlandria!

    We’re always so thrilled and motivated when we hear stories of our own members of The Bulge whose lives have been transformed by discovering cycling and improving their physical and mental health and wellbeing, not to mention making new friends and tackling new challenges.

    Perhaps The Sufferfest is another new challenge that might interest you. Richard’s got his own The Sufferfest plans, between the 4th and the 12th of February he will be taking part in the 2017 Tour of Sufferlandria, this is about doing 9 days of Sufferfest videos in a row. There’s still time to join him if you want to suffer together.

    We’ll leave the last word to Dylan Robbins, Head of Marketing for The Sufferfest:

    “One of the things that makes The Sufferfest special is the sense of community it creates. We’re constantly amazed by the stories of personal transformation and overcoming obstacles we hear from the community of Sufferlandrians, and are excited to share those stories with a wider audience.”

    As we are, FLAB followers. As we are.


  • Getting back in the saddle

    Chris 1So how’s it going?

    Have you got back on your bike since the holidays? Not easy is it? If you’re one of those impressive people who didn’t over indulge over Christmas, you might as well stop reading here.


    They’ve gone.

    I didn’t think I’d had that ‘heavy’ a Christmas. With a teething baby, there was very little all night partying going on in my household – lots of late night nappy changes, but that’s not (quite) the same thing. With this in mind, I didn’t think my fitness would have dropped after a few weeks off the bike. Boy was I wrong.

    I found myself especially grateful for the amount of ‘give’ in my bib tights as I readied myself for a post-festivities ride. It seems, despite the early nights, I’d put on a few extra pounds – perhaps this was something to do with my including Terry’s Chocolate Oranges as part of my 5-a-day. Don’t worry I didn’t have 5 in one twenty-four hour period – but I came close.

    Chris 2I was far from my ‘fighting weight’ as I clipped in for that first ride of 2017. I set off on my usual route along the Exe Estuary in Devon. It’s a beautiful undulating ride on National Cycle Route 2, with amazing views across the River Exe. Familiar as I am with this route, I couldn’t help feeling that something was different. Had somebody been in over the New Year and made these hills significantly steeper? I checked with the council – apparently not.

    The miles crept by at a snail’s pace as my legs screamed with the effort. At one point I needed to stop and sit on a bench, where a kindly old lady offered me some of her flask of tea. I politely declined. The further I cycled, the way I viewed myself changed. I started the ride as a ‘Chris Froome’ type, who’d (perhaps) eaten a slice too many of cake over Christmas. By the time the journey was over I felt like a goldfish gasping on the living room carpet. Not a pretty sight.

    Fear not because, in the words of ‘D:Ream’ (just before they faded into obscurity), ‘Things can only get better!’ My second ride after Christmas was also tough, but not quite as bad as the first. My third was also a bit of a shocker. And my fourth? Well, I’ll tell you when I’ve done it.

    Do you have big plans for your cycling in 2017? Are you going to take part in a Sportive? Perhaps you just plan to increase the mileage of your rides? Maybe you’re hoping to keep on, keeping on? Personally my goal is to leave memories of these post-Christmas rides far behind. I can’t wait until summer when I can get out in my favourite Bobby Dazzler shirt and embrace the joy of early morning rides that don’t feel like I’ve just cycled into a freezer.

    I’ll be keeping those heady cycling days of summer in mind every time I clip in and push off. I’ll be back to my fighting weight by then, of that I have no doubt. Right now, my biggest fight is summoning up the energy to get on my bike and ride.

    Have fun.


    Chris McGuire is a Westcountry-based writer.

    Follow him on Twitter @McGuireski If he’s on his bike, don’t follow him, overtake (he’s pretty slow at the moment).

    Chris 3

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