Chris Hoy & What To Wear Instead Of Lycra

What To Wear When You Ride Your Bike

Once you start wearing merino wool, you won't look back.

At Road Rags we have built our range of clothing for cyclists - clothing for both male and female cyclists - around merino wool, because it is a breathable and luxurious fabric perfectly suited for those who ride their bikes.

This base layer for example....


Even Sir Chris Hoy mentioned how comfortable it is to wear merino wool when cycling. In fact, his distaste for Lycra really made the news....

Sir Chris Hoy And The Mamil

Last week, Sir Chris Hoy joined the team of popular magazine GQ.

His brief was to write each month about a different biking dilemma - well, he made an auspicious start, didn't he? 

His tongue in cheek article about how ridiculous the middle aged man looks in Lycra, especially if they weigh anything above 8 stone, was quickly picked up by other news outlets and spread across the internet.

We posted it on our Facebook page and received this (slightly edited) reply....

"Why would I listen to a guy that only rode indoors in a temperature controlled environment under a roof! I ride outside in London under the constantly p****ng clouds!"

Fair point.

It seems then, that if you are going to talk about what to wear when cycling, you had better be someone who cycles everyday, outside and in all weathers, and so knows exactly what is needed from the clothing you wear.

A Casual Cut That Understands The Riders Needs

Move over then SIR Chris Hoy. The internet thinks you know nothing about outdoor cycling. Let us here at Road Rags lead the way!

If you find yourself riding outside under the (to put it gently) 'rainy' clouds of Britain, or somewhere else that has a cloudy climate, then on top of your merino wool base layer you are going to need a waterproof top.

Hence this Ventile jacket, lightweight and tough, yet still breathable.

"The stitching is great and it feels as if it will last for years. Casual but with long enough arms and a subtly dropped tail. Excellent natural water resistance... rain simply beads off."
Urban Cyclist Magazine


The story behind Ventile is a fascinating one.

In WW2 the pilots of aircraft protecting the Arctic convoys faced such atrocious weather, that planes would crash - straight into the cold Arctic waters.

These pilots would often survive the crash, but then develop pneumonia from the freezing cold water and die. To stop this happening, Winston Churchill asked the Shirley Institute to find a way of keeping these pilots dry if they ever ended up in the ocean.

So, invented by the English, Ventile cotton was developed as a breathable yet waterproof fabric to help these pilots survive the worst conditions imaginable.

Breathable, yet waterproof. Strong enough to last for years.

It just had to be the fabric (sorry man-made fibres, sorry Lycra!) we used for our lightweight cycling jackets here at Road Rags, because if it can survive the Arctic Ocean, it will certainly help you survive a rainy day on your bike!


The Chris Hoy Apology

Sir Chris Hoy, having alienated his Lycra wearing audience at GQ and spawned a trending topic on social media, next day issued an apology.

"As a 14 stone Mamil myself this was a tongue in cheek article that wasn't meant to offend. Whatever your age/build, if you are on a bike you have my respect."

We look forward to what he has to say next month - he must be dreading it!

What The Telegraph Say You Should Wear

Following on from the Sir Chris Hoy article, the Telegraph published an interesting piece about cycling clothing that doesn't include a scrap of Lycra.

Road Rags had two separate items of our range mentioned in it.

The Telegraph said:

"If you're a Mamil hoping to explore opportunities for apparel that lie beyond lycra, we've rounded up our picks of the best performance wear ready for your commute and more."

They then linked to our lovely ventile jacket (which you now know all about!) and our 100% merino wool base layer.

You can read the Telegraph's full article on alternatives to Lycra here.

Road Rags - An Alternative To Lycra, Made In The UK

At Road Rags we focus on making the best quality clothing we can.

We choose materials that are cooling when the weather is warm, warming when the weather is cool, odour resistant and all made here in the UK.

Our clothes are cut with subtlety, so you can wear your Road Rags on the bike, in the office or even out on the town.

So if Chris Hoy and his Mamil article has changed your mind, and you no longer wish to be seen in Lycra, do browse our collection to find the best alternatives available for you.