An open response to the inclusion of cycling in the 'Better Health' campaign to tackle obesity
The Better Health campaign has tapped in to the zeitgeist by finally offering official support for healthier lifestyles in a time where the focus is very much on our individual, holistic health. With cycling taking on a star role in this campaign we feel the need to comment as this is where the heart of our brand lies.
We are an inclusive, premium cycle wear brand that have challenged the stereotypes of cycling and have blazed the trail for more inclusive cycling communities. We have completely transformed the manufacture of cycling clothing to make it more comfortable, form-fitting and flattering for every body. We welcome the government’s backing with open arms and feel that it’s about time that we started empowering people to take responsibility for their lifestyle, and leading a healthier one. We just need to make sure that we support them through that journey.
We do, however, feel there are obstructions to the success of this initiative, as the barriers into cycling haven’t been fully acknowledged. A survey conducted through our social channels asked our community what they perceive to be the biggest challenges that novice cyclists face. The top 5 were roads/other road users, feeling as though you’re not good enough, not looking ‘the part’, clothes that don’t fit properly and a lack of cycling routes close by. It’s clear from these that potential new cyclists are crying out for compassionate communities, clothing that’s made for their shape, and more accessible and safer places to cycle.
With a community of over 50,000 people, we have created a space for people of all sizes to feel safe, supported and encouraged. Doing so through our online communities and our network of Flambassadors who organise social rides in local areas for anyone to get involved in. We’ve got the resources to empower people and connect them with others. As well as provide them with comfortable, properly fitting cycle wear so they can look the part. What we don’t have are the resources to reach the entire country to educate and help to shift the attitudes towards cyclists on the road.
We want to urge the government to understand that in order to encourage people to cycle, they need to tear down the barriers first. Investing in infrastructure for more cycle lanes, better roads to cycle on, and education for road users. But ultimately, what we need to see is a social shift to more positive attitudes towards cyclists. That’s only going to come if the government start to use their platform to influence and educate other road users and humanize cyclists through the mass media. Firmer legislation needs to be in place so that drivers are held accountable for dangerous behavior and the hierarchy of road users needs to be reassessed based on vulnerability. We are aware that this is currently in the consultation phase to which we have contributed. However, launching this initiative right now and anticipating larger numbers of cyclists on the roads without having reviewed this first is dangerous.
It is vital that a shift in sentiment is encouraged by official parties to ensure the success of this initiative and teaming up with brands/communities like ours can really help spread the message and educate compassionately. It’s all about supporting one another. A colossal move in the right direction but one established on uncertain ground unless we see a shift in the negative attitudes around cyclists.
Fat Lad At The Back
Premium Cyclewear for every body.