I don't turn forty for another six years, but I thought I would get a head start on my mid-life crisis and take up cycling. A few weeks in and I can understand its appeal. The early morning starts, spectacular scenery, the low-impact, high-intensity workout and the tribal appeal of belonging to thefastest growing sports cult since rollerblading.
What has appealed to me most is the ritualistic integration of cycling with coffee. It seems like everyone is Lance Armstronging themselves on the stuff any chance they get. I love that every ride is structured around which cafe it will end at.
What I didn't realise I would love so much is sitting in those cafes sipping my latte in lycra.
Yes friends, I have joined them.
We are the enlightened.
We have reckoned with our body image issues and now present them for you to deal with, wrapped in lycra, out in the public sphere, all whilst enjoying poached eggs and kale.
We know what you don’t.
There is nothing better than combining the benefits of aerodynamic clothing with your long macchiato, or is it small? It matters not; when you’re wearing lycra the whole cafe will soon decide for themselves.
What I do take issue with in a cafe is men and (mostly) women who are wearers of “activewear”.
Usually activewearers will have betrayed the first part that noun unless you count walking from the carpark into the cafe as activity. The definition of ‘wear’ is also quite often stretched by these types, along with the fabric itself.
What was intended to be functional athletic apparel for those who exercise, has been hijacked by fast fashion to become the staple weekend wardrobe of Masterchef mums and DIY dads, struggling students and saggy seniors.
“Activewear” is fashion saying “Bae,why exercise when you can just look like you have but without all the necessary cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and endorphin producing benefits?!”
It needs to stop. The problem with fashion is that trends evolve. Right now it's classic black lycra with the occasional print embellishment but that won't last. Do you think your local cafe will be such a welcoming place when the nude trend makes its way to yoga pants?
Imagine trying to enjoy your single origin pour over and the weekend papers, when Mrs Ashcourt your old high school teacher is waiting in her flesh coloured leggings for a very, very flat white. No sugar.
May I suggest a simple guiding principle? That you need to have burned more calories than you intend to consume to earn the right to wear lycra in a cafe.
Let’s just hope rollerblades don't become the next footwear trend or we are all stuffed.