Fat Lad at the Back coming to the fore ahead of Tour de France

Fat Lad at the Back MD Richard Bye cycling in Ilkley wearing his kit. Picture by Gerard Binks
Fat Lad at the Back MD Richard Bye cycling in Ilkley wearing his kit. Picture by Gerard Binks
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Bringing up the rear is the fear for many who are new to cycling.

But feeling comfortable in your own skin and going at your own pace is something to be treasured, according to a tongue-in-cheek cyclewear start-up that is helping larger riders saddle up.

Fat Lad at the Back was born in October 2013 after cycling enthusiast Richard Bye decided he’d had enough of ill-fitting Lycra, having always been broader than his fellow riders.

The 41-year-old’s brand, which caters for cyclists with up to a 60inch waist, has gone from strength to strength as local interest in the sport soars ahead of the July Tour de France Grand Depart from Yorkshire.

In just seven months of trading as Fat Lad at the Back, or FLAB for short, 13,000 people have bought their plus-size jerseys.

“There are so many people getting into cycling, the middle aged men in Lycra theme is going over the sports industry as a whole and all of those people are going to be able to find top quality gear,” he said. “It fits you nice and snug but not too tightly.”

The business idea came following a cycling trip with friends through the French Alps, where Mr Bye and two others designed FLAB jerseys having worn ill-fitting gear for years.

Thousands have bought into the idea, including Scottish slimmer Phil Jones who has dropped 10st in just 20 months of cycling.

Far from an insult, Mr Bye sees the FLAB tag as the Yorkshire equivalent to the Lanterne Rouge – the name given to the last rider to finish the Tour de France.

A cyclist of 18 years, Mr Bye said: “The name is not a statement of insult. It doesn’t matter what you look like, you can get out and on the bike and do something to get yourself fit.

“It’s changing the opinions of the people that are seeing those fat lads out riding. As much as they may be struggling to get up the hills and stay with the pack, they’re far further ahead than the person sat on the sofa.”

The fat-fighting firm has also received high profile support from the likes of Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity.

He said: “It’s great to see Yorkshire businesses like this coming to the fore to help open up cycling to a wider audience and potentially increase participation. This is especially important given the Tour de France is set to ride into our county.”

The YEP’s Let’s Get Cycling campaign is hoping to tap into the growing interest in cycling ahead of the Tour de France by encouraging readers to get on their bikes and send their cycling pictures and stories to jonathan.brown@ypn.co.uk.

Visit www.fatladattheback.com for more on FLAB.

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