Confessions of a cross dresser

I have a confession to make. I’ve been wearing lycra. 

I wish  I looked that good. The cycling shorts guy from Wiki. I think someone is taking the piss.

Hardly much of a confession,  I know, in a country where people can’t even go for a walk without donning a full sports suit of body-hugging elastic. Just when walking became a sport is unclear to me, probably around the time we stopped walking for transport. Walking is now viewed as something that needs special clothes. Like cycling. And space travel.

Cycling is something that millions of people worldwide do in their every-day clothes and I for one don’t see any reason to dress up like a circus sideshow freak just to amble down a bike track.  I got caught up behind a woman and her husband riding along the Broadwater last weekend, both on those ridiculous hybrid abominations, the bikes barely travelling at speeds that could keep them upright, and yet both were dressed in full cycling regalia. I could see an expensive label on the expansive bum of the woman and I’m pretty sure the cycling outfits were worth more than the bicycles. 

Perhaps people like the skin-tight clothes because it makes them feel more like  ninja warriors and less like some guy who borrowed his mother’s mattresses:

It would seem to me that some people just like playing dress-ups and for them cycling is the ideal sport/pass-time/fetish. It’s lovely that this clothing fetish gets them out to block the local bike lanes but all this dressing up does rather give the impression that cycling is something that requires forethought, planning and a change of clothes. When it is in fact a simple and unremarkable (though enjoyable) way of getting from A to B.

True to form, the lycra-clad couple veered off the path to find the shade next to their SUV where they could relax before remounting their bikes onto their natural place at the back of the family truck. Given that they could not have ridden more then five kilometres it’s hard to imagine what all the special clothing was for. It probably took them more time to change clothes and drive to the Broadwater than it did to weave their bikes between the groups people who stop and chat/play volleyball on the bike path. 
The cycle shorts woman from Wiki, wearing clipless gum boots and sardonic smirk.

My wife and I were returning from a leisurely morning ride for coffee that had subsequently included Chevron Island and then a bibimbap in Surfers, a round trip of about 15-16 kilometres. For this we required no special clothes, no forethought or planning, and only enough elastic as is required to keep our undies upright.

Our national relationship with exercise has become a strange one. On the one hand we’d be unlikely to walk down the local shops if that walk was more than 50 metres, but then we have entire wardrobes dedicated to our various activities and make idols of personal trainers and have shows on TV where they make new people out of the fatties they’re given.

In this house we still chuckle over my mother-in-law, whose actions have defined the modern age and its relationship with exercise. She joined a walking group and their trainer would walk them round town in the morning, for a small fee. Once returned home she would ready herself for work and then drive an identical distance to work. 

That walking even needs a trainer is remarkable. I would argue that he should be called an “enabler”, since the nomenclature “trainer” intimates that he is training them for something and since they don’t actually walk in regular life he’s not training them at all. 

I hear this word, “training” thrown around a fair bit. “I’m going training,” or “I have to meet my trainer at 4pm,” and almost without exception there is no training going on. Plenty of exercise yes. But no training. You can’t be trained for something if there is no goal for which you are being trained. Those who pay money to exercise are almost without exception not involved in any kind of sport for which this training might be required. 

Once upon a time people didn’t own a trainer. They went to a gym. The whole training (cough, exercising) phenomenon of the naughties and tensies is reflective of our growing waste-lines and comparable wealth. In my afternoon rides I might pass at least a dozen such groups taking advantage of the good weather and lovely parks of the Gold Coast. And without exception there are a bunch of those small SUV things pulled up out front. Oh the irony, using the devise that most encourages our sedentary  life to convey you to the people they pay to force them to exercise

Gold Coast beaches. So long as I live here I don’t think I will ever be sufficiently lacking in ideas and motivation to ever require a personal trainer.

Oh yes, that brings me full circle to my shameful declaration. I’ve been wearing lycra. And not just under my other clothes, but out in the open like a true fetishist. Let me explain…

Rides of 10-20 kms are easy enough to do in normal clothes. Beyond that it’s nice to have some proper cycling shorts. (Actually, 40kms in normal clothes is easy too, if you’ve toughened up your butt, so I guess the real problem here is I’ve gone a bit soft.) My Burleigh-return ride is 40kms. I tried hiding the lycra beneath my boardies but it was a bit St Paul Cathedral in there. Walking out in full lycra in the first time in years I felt a bit like I’d walked outside in my underwear. But once underway no-one took any notice of the guy riding a single speed in his padded nickers so I learned to relax and enjoy the ride. And it was fine. Lycra has its place. And I can learn not to be so dogmatic and disparaging about those who wear it (maybe..or just be a hypocrite, more likely).

Cooper Sebring resting in Burleigh.

In the wiki entry I have alluded to above they give reasons for wearing lycra. Here goes:

  • reduce wind resistance, increasing aerodynamic efficiency;
  • protect the skin against the repetitive friction of the legs against the bicycle seat or frame;
  • provide support to the male anatomy analogously to a jock strap;
  • draw sweat away from the skin to prevent chafing and rashes, and to cool the rider down through the process of evaporation;
  • compress the legs, which can help combat muscular fatigue; and
  • reduce the weight of a riders clothing (compared to wearing denim, gym shorts or baggy shorts).

Wind resistance gets a tick. 

Friction gets a tick. 

Male anatomy gets a tick, so long as they’re not combined with board shorts. 

Sweat wicking is dubious. Has any fabric that claimed to draw sweat away from the skin ever really done this? How can one thin layer of textile perform this miracle? 

Compress legs to prevent muscle fatigue. Really? Even though there’s little to no real evidence to support compression clothing?

Reduce weight. Yeah, like most people would notice those 50 grammes. 

It’s a comfort thing. I’ll keep wearing my lycra until someone makes hurtful and disparaging remarks about my chicken legs or I learn to toughen the fuck up. And every day when I ride I’ll pass dozens of people walking babies in prams, or on all fours getting force fed some exercise by their exercise enablers, and every one of them, whether gloriously svelte and curvy or rolling over at the edges, will be wearing the latest and most fashionable sports wear. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.