Encouraging new cyclists to give it a go

Richard and Lynn Bye who set up Fat Lad at the Back cycle-wear and launched the FLAB sportifs. PIC: Simon Wilkinson
Richard and Lynn Bye who set up Fat Lad at the Back cycle-wear and launched the FLAB sportifs. PIC: Simon Wilkinson
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Ilkley based Fat Lad at the Back cyclewear has introduced a new 25-mile event as part of its cycling sportif taking place on Sunday, May 8.

The brainchild of cyclist Richard Bye, whose affectionate nick-name, was the inspiration for the booming performance-wear company, said they hoped the new distance would inspire new riders who may fancy a sportive but found the distances daunting.

The 25-mile race will run alongside the 50 mile and 75 mile sportifs which are expected to attract more than 400 ‘fat lads and lasses’ - a 100 per cent increase on last year’s inaugural event.

“We’ve had an incredible response this year,” said Richard.

“In addition to the 25-mile route, I think the presence of FLAMbassadors has given people that extra assurance that they can achieve their goal and they don’t have to do it on their own because, sometimes, that is the most daunting thing about getting on a bike.”

The ‘FLAMbassadors’ are experienced cyclists, breeze riders and cycling coaches whose role will be to support all participants on the routes ensuring no one is facing the challenges alone.

There is also a rider buddy scheme to give confidence and support to first-time sportive riders. This gives any rider from any of the distances the option to ride in a paced group rather than on their own.

“We have a real cross range of riders from the very experienced to enthusiastic novices which means no one will be alone and there will be lots of mates to help and support along the way,” Richard said.

Coming a week after the prestigious Tour de Yorkshire, which saw 144 elite riders from across the globe descend on the county, the FLAB routes will take in a lot of the famous scenery. Challenges will include climbs such as up Greenhowe Hill, and down Malham Cove, as well as criss-crossing the Tour De France 2014 route, taking in the best views but missing out some of the hardest climbs.

“A big focus with the sportive this year has been on making it more social based as well as encouraging each other to push each other further,” said Richard.

“The food stops are also legendary and include black pudding scotch eggs as well as fruit and flapjack.

“Our objective is to ensure riders have an ace day out, and leave wanting more,” Richard said.

Richard founded Fat Lad at the Back in 2013 with his wife Lynn. It followed his own struggles to find kit that fitted and he realised there must be others out there who had the same problem. Since then the company has helped build an online community of riders who may have lacked confidence to get on their bike - or wear lycra before.


There is still time to enter the FLAB sportifs. The three routes are:

25 miles - A 1/5 undulating route criss crossing sections of the Tour De France 2014. A low traffic route with a drinks stop in Burnsall.

50 miles - Taking in the Wharfe Valley, Kettlewell and Bolton Abbey, with a lunch stop at Burnsall.

75 miles - A challenging ride setting off from Ilkley and heading into the dales and coming back past Malham.

To enter go to www.fatladattheback.com