Home > General rambling, Shopping, women's cycling > Trying to find cycling clothing as a curvy girl

Trying to find cycling clothing as a curvy girl

I’m already thinking about “gift ideas” posts for this winter, and it’s giving me a real dilemma – one that touches on some real insecurities for me as a woman and as a cyclist – should I promote companies that make clothes I can’t buy?

Just typing this makes me simultaneously ashamed, and angry at myself for being ashamed, and worry you’ll think less of me, and hate myself for worrying about being judged by a bunch of strangers on the internet – but I’m a UK size 16 (US size 10, Continental 44) and in some lines 18, especially in jackets and coats (I have broad shoulders and big boobs, and even at my fittest and skinniest, I’ve always been curvy).   I don’t know if you’d think I was fat if you met me in real life, but I feel fat, all the time.  I’m in my 30s, and I will never ever be a size 12 – and I’m struggling with thinking I need to justify my figure.  For sure, I could never drink alcohol and eat cakes, but I also have a thyroid thing that slows down my metabolism.  I’m fit, I can walk forever, and I love my bike for commuting and fun rides – but in the cycling world, I’m huge, I’m a whale, and nothing that makes me feel as fat as buying cycling clothing does.

It’s difficult, because in the usual shops for “normal” clothes, I know I can buy things in sizes 16 and 18 (and yes, I’m also very aware of how hard it is for women who wear bigger sizes than that) but so many cycling clothing ranges for women seem to think 14 is as fat as it gets – while at the same time, guys who are, relatively speaking two or three or four sizes bigger than I am seem to get catered to.  I know we’re talking about a smaller market for women than for men (and MAMILS with lots of cash to spare) but I don’t understand it – guys who are “big guys” can wear cycling clothes, but women who are the average UK size can’t.

When I first started riding to work, I used to commute in my walking raincoat with one of those fluoro harnesses over the top, but as I got more serious, I wanted to swap to a proper jacket, and having been well-versed in the need to support my Local Bike Shop, went in there for a coat.  I used to have 2 LBSs in a 10 minute walk – but the first didn’t sell any women’s jackets, and the second – they looked at me like I was crazy, told me I was too big for women’s cycling clothing, and that if I wanted cycling jackets I’d have to buy men’s cuts.  I was totally humiliated, and looking back, I can’t tell if it was intentional or not, but it made me feel awful.  I bought a jacket that made me look like a hi-viz sack of potatoes, when what I wanted was something that even vaguely moulded to my figure.  I hate that jacket – and I’ve never tried to buy clothes in a LBS again.  The guy (not even a skinny guy, a guy who was the equivalent to me in blokes’ sizes) told me they didn’t stock more women’s clothes because there’s not a market for it, and I’ve always wondered how many of the local biking women are like me, and don’t even bother trying their shops.

So here’s another embarrassing thing to admit – I’ve never even tried to buy bib shorts.  If it was that embarrassing trying to buy a jacket, the idea of being in a changing room trying to squeeze myself into bibs, in front of a mirror – why do that to myself?  So I’ve always ridden in shorts, and running trousers.  I have an ongoing issue with the Aldi cycling kit.  It’s so incredibly cheap, but that makes me think it’s made by orphans in sweatshops, so I can’t bring myself to do it – but it is in my size…

It’s a hard thing to write about, because on one hand I do flog myself for being too fat, and I understand about overheads, and companies choosing to target specific markets, and at a very basic level I believe (and I hasten to add this only counts for myself, and not for any other woman) than I don’t deserve nice things, because I feel that I’m disgusting to look at.  BUT!  it also makes me really angry (more for other women than for me) – especially when I look at the expensive ranges.  When I was a 20-year-old size 12 outdoor activity instructor, or a teenage distance runner, I could never have afforded an £80 top or a £170 jacket – but as a well-paid civil servant, I couldn’t find shops that would take my money!  And what about women who are born with big, or “big” figures, or whose bodies change as they have kids, or just get older?  Are they supposed to give up riding?    And what about women who are skinny sizes, but have big boobs?  Are they meant to just go up a jersey size and have it flap around their waist?

It’s important to me because it really does impact on how I feel about cycling.  Not when I’m on my bike, that just feels like riding, like flying, like freedom, but when I stop, rushing to change into something to cover myself up.  Walking through my big open plan office in that hi-viz jacket, I felt like everyone was looking at me – not for the bright yellow, but for the fact I looked so lumpy.  I want to feel proud that people can tell I ride, not embarrassed about it.

So, a dilemma and some questions for you, dear reader – from now on,do I feature clothing ranges where I couldn’t buy the clothes, but other people might like them?  And if you’re size 16, size 18 or larger, where do you buy YOUR cycling clothing from – the things that make your cycling experience a better one, things you pull on and they make you look forward to the ride.  Or maybe you’re a smaller size, but have big boobs – which ranges fit your figure and make you feel good about yourself?  Let me know and I’ll make a post of them, because just looking around me, in real life and online, I know that no matter how I feel, I’m normal, this is normal, and it shouldn’t be otherwise.

***

I’ve been trying to write this post for months now, but I’ve kept chickening out, because I really am ashamed of admitting how “big” I am, and at the same time beating myself up for being so stupid about it.  Thanks to Anna, @BloomingCyclist, for starting a conversation about this on twitter.  You should all be following her, and listening to her Pelotonitis podcast.

***

UPDATE!  Anna wrote her own blogpost about her feelings on cycling, body image and shopping for cycling clothes, and I strongly recommend you click through and read it – it’s here.

I’ve been slowly pulling together recommendations (and tearing my hair out over sizing charts – is nothing standard any more these days?  Can wikipedia actually be trusted?) and Part 1, clothes for women over UK size 18 (XXL), is here and Part 2, clothes for women XL-XXL (UK 16-18) is here.   Please do keep the recommendations coming, and any other blogs about this.  I especially liked rpmx2’s blog on shopping for padded shorts, it made me laugh out loud!

  1. October 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    These are probably all things you’ve heard before, but I’ll say them anyway.

    1. 16 isn’t big. It’s well within the range of normal and healthy, and it’s only the bullshit fashion industry that makes women feel the way you do about it.

    2. I think that, ideally, you shouldn’t promote brands that don’t offer cycling clothing in normal, healthy sizes, because I have no doubt that you’re 100% right in saying it puts some women off cycling. However, we all need to make a living; the reality is that you might need to do so, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about that.

    3. You rock, and everyone who knows you (irl or online) agrees.
    :-)

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      You’re such a sweetheart! Thankyou! :-)

      In re 2. – I’ve never worked out how to monetise this, so luckily (?) that’s not an issue! Maybe one day I can have that dilemma! ;-)

    • Lee
      October 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Well said John.

      I don’t know you Sarah but I admire your honesty.

      It is a catch 22 situation, the clothing companies don’t make clothes in larger sizes because there supposedly isn’t enough demand, but how can they come to this conclusion when they don’t make the products in the first place? I think the only way to change it is not to boycott companies but to put pressure on them in other ways. Harass them via email, facebook, twitter, even the good old-fashioned telephone…

      Hopefully you have enough readers /listeners that you can effect some sort of change… good luck.

      • Sarah Connolly
        October 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

        I see the demand thing a lot, about all kind of things – it’s always thrown out there as a reason there aren’t more women’s races shown on tv, because no one will watch, and it infuriates me, looking at the BBC viewing figures for the Olympics – or RAI talking about how the women’s AND men’s road races had the highest viewing figures across all their channels on Worlds weekend – there’s SO clearly a demand, but it’s still used as an excuse.

        It’s interesting, re hassling, because talking to my Local Bike Shop really didn’t work – they told me they couldn’t stock women’s stuff (in one of them) or women’s stuff in my size (in the other) because there was no demand… even though I was standing in front of them, asking for it! But you’re right, letting businesses know that people want stuff is the best way to start – I mean, just from talking to people tonight here and on twitter, it’s clear there are LOADS of women who aren’t being served by the current market, all over the world…

  2. October 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I know these feelings well – working with racehorses is also a hellish example of feeling a bit like a sore thumb. I’ve never been a lil skinny girl (hence my problems riding with groups on the bike etc). I’m not big, a uk 10/12 but with muscles from hard physical work, and big boobs (lol) – I do stand out.
    I’ve been called many names whilst out on my bike – which again puts me off – especially when I just can’t afford jerseys that might/might not fit.
    I will also say – I hate going into bikeshops – especially on my own, if intimidation is the right word!

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      I never, ever understand why people shout stuff at women on bikes about them being fat, because if they’re the type of arseholes who think women should only be little skinny things, surely they should encourage women to exercise? I know, I know, I’m trying to apply logic to wankers, but it makes no sense!!!

      Bike shops… I used to be on a forum that always referred them to “Friendly Local Bike Shops”, and encouraged people to always use them over chains, but lots of them remind me of the comic shops I used to frequent, which generally made me feel they didn’t want my custom and were horrified by me even going in…. I swapped to Amazon for my graphic novels, and I don’t know where I’d buy a new bike from any more.

  3. October 9, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Reblogged this on thelonelycyclist.

  4. October 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Did tweet but will leave some info here. I use for a lot of my clothing a bunch of guys called Tenn Outdoors. They are what you might call “mid range” not cheap but certainly not top level racing gear, but for women they cater for all sizes and most products they do up to size 20.
    For instance, here they have 3/4 length padded leggings, in sizes up to 18, but they also have a built in skirt so if you are bum conscious you can keep your bum covered when you are walking around etc. http://www.tenn-outdoors.co.uk/ladies-pace-padded-skort-leggings-blackpink-18
    They are a nice bunch of guys, im sure if you get in touch with them they can help you out. :D

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Ace, thanks so much!

  5. October 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Great Piece x
    I’m 6′ tall, 48″ chest but not busty, just a very broad back & shoulders, I need a 16/18 on my bottom half. I am am slightly overweight, but i’m 43 & had 3 kids. I’m fitter than most people half my age.
    I hate shopping for clothes, especially cycling clothes, Until recently I only ever wore mens cycling kit, I prefer bibs to waisted shorts, as i’ve had half dozen ops on my stomach and have tender scar tissue right where a waistband would sit. So I wore mens bibs which meant the chamois was never quite right. I found that DHBs ladies bibs do fit & I also have a couple of pairs of Morvelo ones too, the proper chamois has made a huge difference, but i’m still stuck with mainly mens jerseys, as i’ve only found a couple of brands whose female jerseys fit.
    I don’t lets things get to me, i’m not overly hung up on my weight/body shape, but it is depressing looking at racks of lovely looking garments & knowing without even rummaging through the labels that none will fit me x

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Yeah, there’s definitely the feeling of massive envy, clicking through sites and at the same time knowing I can’t buy them…. I do like lovely things…

  6. Lian
    October 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Although my top half fits pretty well into most of the cycling jerseys on the market (I have always wished to be a bit better endowed but alas) I have a huge problem with cycle shorts. Even if I buy a size large enough to cover my bum, they are so tight on my thighs that after a 20min ride I have large red rash marks. I’m well aware that my bum is on the larger side, and I feel so conspicuous when riding along while cars whizz past, with a perfect view of said feature.
    Also, shops in Australia are even worse than when I lived in the UK. There is gear for the super serious cyclist (male) but anything casual or (heaven forbid) for women is almost unheard of. As much as I would like to support local business, I’m really forced to buy online.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      I’ve never had that with shorts, because I’ve never worn proper shorts, I’m too chicken even to try them on! But it’s a weird thing, isn’t it – that clothes for an exercise designed to give big thighs doesn’t design for big thighs!

  7. Pete Dawson
    October 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Great article. The only shame should on the folks that make cycling gear for women, all women.
    Cycling will only be taken seriously as a sport and a mode of transportation when women embrace the sport. They should make all kinds of awesome gear for all types of women so more ladies start to ride
    Keep riding.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      I can completely see why the bike shop experience would put off a lot of women – and men too, actually. can’t imagine what it would be like to be a big guy and go in and see all that lycra, and the expectation he’d wear in, beause at least women are faced with 1000s of fashion things telling us we should be showing off cleavage, wearing tight clothes etc, even if we don’t do it. But you’re absolutely right, cycling will only become “ordinary” when ordinary people are catered to by the industry.

      • entendered
        October 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

        Yeah, lycra does me absolutely no favours. I have that exact same thing, where when I’m on the bike and riding, it doesn’t matter because I’m moving and it’s cooler and comfortable but the second I’m off the bike, I just want to pull on a tshirt and become invisible.

        I’m amazed that someone like Vulpine for example, who promote a whole “cycling fashion can be fashionable” kind of ethos, don’t include larger sizes. There might be legitimate cost issues, but even if they had a pre-order function where the garments are only made when they have enough orders, I’m sure people would be willing to do that.

  8. Emily
    October 10, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I’m an American size 10 most of the time which is close to your size. I buy most of all of my cycling clothes from Voler. I don’t know if they ship to the UK or not but they got up to an American size 22 in their clothes. For women, they have a lot of different designs in shorts and jerseys (no jackets that I saw). I’m more pear shaped in the fact that I have bigger hips and thighs than boobs so it ends up that my cycling shorts squeeze the fat on my thighs so I feel your pain.
    I go to my local cycling store to buy gloves and hate how they only have men’s gloves. I have to end up getting a color that I don’t like and that doesn’t match the rest of my cycling clothes. My dad cycles and he falls under the “big and tall” category and he shops at an online store that only has clothes for the big and tall.
    Don’t worry, I always look at the mirror before I go out for a ride and feel sorta like a beached whale. I only wear shorts (not bibs) and I’m constantly making sure the waist of the shorts go over the top of my roll because it’s more comfortable that way and so that my roll isn’t showing as much. And this isn’t an age thing, I’m only 21 and I feel this way.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks so much – US size 22 is amazing, that’ll fit everyone – and it’s well worth paying postage to get things that fit. It’s weird how USA companies seem so much more flexible than companies in the UK/Europe. I wonder if that’s because of there are so many more people in the US than in the UK, or it’s a cultural/customer service thing?

  9. Charlotte
    October 10, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I don’t know why I thought I was the only one feeling like this but I did. I normally use my running tights and gym t-shirt when I’m biking. I wanted to buy a cycling jersey some time ago, and saw a supercute one at a bike shop. Taking a large into the dressing room, I couldnt get it over my boobs. I stopped trying to press it down my body, in fear of ripping it. I came out red faced, warm and so embarrassed, coming up with an excuse not to buy and very shamefully leave the store. They didnt have larger sizes, but I dont think they would fit anyway. I later I needed a rain jacket, and ended up buying mens XL. None of the womens could fit even they had bigger ones than a large. Again so embarrassed and the guy working there said he thought the mens was a better fit than the womens. Forgot to say I’m a UK 12, 40, M/L depending on. Having a big upper body I just came to term that my body was not built for cycling clothes. Having boobs and some extra kilos in the waist area it just doesnt work, and I have tried and seen loads, and now I save myself for the feeling of trying on something that is not going to fit. I haven’t tried to find shorts and dont think I will either…as a comparison my dad is bigger than me, but have no problems finding cycling stuff that fits, even his beer stomach is triple mine;)

    I also hate that when I wrote this, I felt the need to explain why I have some extra kilos, and to mention stuff about my form, and I see that a lot of others women do when talking about their body. WHY the need to justify that? It may be a whole new debate, but it makes me sad, and I feel the cycling clothing industry contributes to this. It is not a problem to find running tops or other stuff…..Well. It makes me sad and angry, but your post made me feel better for not being the only one. Thanks! (also for all other cool stuff you do:))

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      I know exactly what you mean about the feelings about explaining weight – I really struggle with that. Part of me feels this huge need to explain that I have an excuse – which is completely ridiculous, I’d never expect any other woman to have to ‘justify’ her size, I don’t even notice it in other people most of the time. But here I am, feeling like I have to make excuses… crazyness, and yes, the industry does contribute.

      Changing rooms give me the horrors, but at the same time, mail order is hard too, because the horrors of having to post something back because I’m too fat for it – this is why I love the companies with full sizing charts that have chest-waist-hips-length details, so I can see if it’s worth thinking about.

  10. October 10, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I am 6.1 and believe me – finding clothes to fit is harder than buying a winning lotto tickets. I have ended shopping in the men’s side for shorts….but there area few places you can get shorts so try these:
    performance bikes – you may find something there.
    cycling deal – australia store where I found some things on the guys side. sizes are small
    torpedo 7 – also australia but sizes are okay. I bought a xl (ladies side) and it was a good fit
    wiggle – uk store – not sure of sizing but they look like that have a good selection.
    But for a laugh you could read this: http://cyclingdynamics.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/training-what/

    and then this:

    http://cyclingdynamics.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/got-padded-shorts/

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      I’ve never understood this, but is there a difference between chammy for women and for men?

      Those blogs are hilarious! OMG, ripped shorts on a ride…. THE HORROR!!!!

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Love love love love that second blog especially – possibly shouldn’t have read it while drinking a cuppa tea though…! Thankyou!

  11. A.
    October 10, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I’m also a female cyclist on the bigger side (US size 14, very large chest), and share your frustrations. Like you, I don’t even bother at my LBS anymore.

    As a US 14, I find that if a company offers “XL” sizes, those usually fit. I really like Road Holland – they only make a few items (for both men and women), but they are high-quality, attractive, and come in a wide range of sizes (up to XXXL for jerseys and XL for women’s bibs). I have a few of their jerseys and they are very comfortable and thoughtfully cut. If you’re looking for a jacket, dare I say… Rapha. I have one of their wind jackets in XL, and even with the big boobs it fits me surprisingly well. Granted, that is their largest size, but it’s better than nothing. Obviously wait until their annual half-off sale or else it’s wildly expensive.

    I understand your shame all too well. At my size, I’m too embarrassed to show up for group rides. I know the sport considers me a monster. I feel like I need to wait until I’m thinner (that magical day…) before I can be a real cyclist. It’s hard, because everyone talks about how cycling is such a community, and everyone has cycling buddies, but as a fat girl I don’t really get to be a part of that. So thanks for this post; it’s good to know I’m not alone.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      I can’t imagine ever going on an organised group ride – I worry I’m too slow, too fat, not serious enough about riding. I find it interesting that the group rides aimed at women in the UK (Breeze, Cycletta) put my off as much as the ones organised by clubs and groups – I think it’s because the women-only ones are marketed so much as girly – pink everywhere, “helmet hair” workshops and the like, reading like their aimed at first timers, so I don’t think I’d fit in there either. I just want to ride my bike and love it!

      Maybe we need a fat girls cakeshop ride at some point…

      It’s really sounding like what I really need is to try on some Rapha and then stalk their site for sales…

  12. October 10, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I have sympathy for your situation. As women’s cycling increases in popularity the clothing manufacturers will hopefully wake up to the need for increasing their size ranges. As a bloke I am rather spoiled for choice but women should be too.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Thankyou! Here’s hoping!

  13. Kitty
    October 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Thanks for such an honest post, Sarah! You’re wonderful.

    For women who want urban cycling clothes:

    I just bought a pair of the Women’s Daily Riding Pants from Outlier.cc – they go up to a US size 14. I have them in my usual size and find they are quite stretchy on me too, I possibly couldve gone down a size, and they are really comfortable when riding around on my road bike. The pants are modelled by really thin and tall girls on the website, but they note what size the girls are wearing – usually a size 4 or so! – which I think is a good, because it makes you realise that the incredibly skinny girls on the website are just like, incredibly skinny girls who wear tiny sizes, and so you know they’re not wearing “average” sizes so you don’t feel like you’re a giant for going up a billion sizes? I guess, if that makes sense?

    Also, they are super super long so that most women need to get them tailored to fit but if you are a really tall girl they will fit you! Yay! They are a little bit “shiny” … A tiny bit, but because they are so comfy to ride in I kept them anyway. Also because posting returns from Aus to US is crazy expensive.

    I have no other advice to offer except that I often wear men’s stuff because I like the fit of it better for whatever reason – often because I am small / average sized and have no boobs. I think boobs are a problem because they vary so much, from no-boobs to huge-boobs, across otherwise similar sizes of bodies, so I sympathise with clothing manufacturers in that sense.

    Oh yeah and someone suggested Ibex, they go up to XL on their merino (!) shorts. I have a pair of the 3/4 merino shorts, they are super warm, great for cold days, very well made. The chamois is ok. Not totally great, but not awful. As winter riding tights, I think they’d be really good because the fabric is quite thick so I think it would be quite flattering, it’s not at all shiny or thin or anything (my pet hate, I hate shine!)

    Rapha go up to 16, and everything I have ever bought from Rapha has been really high quality. Their wind and rain jackets are beautiful, and their merino wool is also really beautiful – thick and really soft.

    • Sarah Connolly
      October 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

      You’re wonderful too! Isn’t it funny that boobs are such a problem, when they’re so great? I think that every woman I know could go into the same shop and try on the same 3 things and they’d only actually fit 20% – but in cycling stuff it’s even less.

      Thanks for the recommendation – your recs are always the best :-) I will never ever forget your “Worst Gear Reviews Ever”, they made me so happy! (for everyone else, Part 1 of that, and Part 2)

  14. Sheree
    October 10, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I’m based in the south of France and I ride with women who all weigh under 50kg! I have similar problems to you with kit. I only ever wear it in flattering black and only bib shorts, never shorts. I find XL Santini ladies bib shorts to be both a great fit and very comfortable. In winter I opt for Rapha’s ladies 3/4 bib shorts. Neither of these marques are cheap but they’ve survived spills and thrills, almost daily washing and lasted three seasons. Not bad on a price per wear basis. When it comes to jerseys, gilets and jackets, I generally buy a form fitting men’s M or L (depends on brand) as I’m quite long in the body, have large boobs and don’t have much of a waist. Brands which both fit well and have stood the test of time include Rapha (again) and G4 Dimension.

  15. Michael
    October 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    You’re a wonderful and brave woman Sarah. My wife has the same issues and will not venture into an lbs looking for cycling clothing. Keep up the great work with woman’s cycling.

  16. Emily B
    October 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I’m a US size 10 with larger shoulders/chest and smaller waist. I have a size M jersey from Vanderkitten that fits well. It’s snug but it works. They go up to size XL and have size charts on their website. They don’t give a length, I’m 6′ tall and it goes a little past my waistband on my shorts.

    For those going to your local bike shops, will they order things for you? My local shop has offered this to me as they don’t stock a lot of women’s wear. I know it can be difficult to ask, but if they could order a few things in different sizes and fits you might have some luck (and not have to hassle with internet shipping and returns).

    *Great post. It’s definitely opening up some dialogue on the topic. From the comments it seems clear we are all our own biggest judge. I’ve been nervous about joining a group ride in my area. I think people should do what they enjoy no matter their size or ability, but I don’t always do that myself.

  17. Jaki
    October 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Now I consider myself an offionado on this matter. I am a forty something social cyclist who wants and deserves to as look as great on the bike as I do off it. My best bike costs thousands not hundreds and I refuse to wear anything I don’t feel or look good in. I work hard and I want to play hard comfortably and stylishly. I am a size 18/20. Altura, Polaris and Aldi have their place in the market-but not for me and they don’t look or feel as good as a better designed product. It’s simple, you get what you pay for. I have spent hours researching and ordering clothes and returning them. RULE 1: don’t waste time going to a cycle shop. They are not interested even though they are ignoring a massive commercial opportunity. Mainly they are owned or run by men, need I say more. RULE 2: avoid those lovely looking ranges from Giordana, Assos, Castelli, Mavic etc. they are not for us, not nearly. RULE 3: don’t waste your time even on Wiggle, Evans and Chain Reaction as they rarely stock all sizes and god forbid that you want matching shorts and top, RULE 4: continental makes are generally more generous if you can find them. But it’s not easy. So my hot to trot fave’s are: 1. Odlo. Excellent cut, fabric, colour, style and technicality. They are Brilliant. 2. Sugoi. Same applies and often with a wow factor. Superb. 3. Gore Wear – mostly great quality and style, though I am squeezed in like I have been through a sausage machine! Tops can be a bit short in the body. So better for the 16/18 but I sometimes wear it if feeling brave. 4. Pearl Izumi-but can be variable in style, cut and quality. Not guaranteed to delight. So, where do you spend your time looking-Deva Sports. I no longer waste my time anywhere else. But Deva-my challenge to you is be bigger and bolder and do more and you will delight your potential customers! My challenge to the rest is: wake up to a massive commercial opportunity. Jaki Lowe p.s the views are my own and the experience I completely own. @lowe1_jaki oh and my parting words Sarah et al-thank you for raising this debate and until we demand more from the market they won’t give us more #proudofwhoiam

  18. January 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I have just read your post, I am a size 10 12 American mother of 2 in my late 30 ‘s. I understand where you are coming from. I ride in a size large from Pearl Izumi I also only wear bib shorts and here is why…. that roll that so many of us have is actually covered and supported with out constriction. The bibs also allow you to use the bathroom if you get the drop tails. The bibs are cut high enough to make it all smooth in the tummy area. The leg bands are also designed to eliminate sausage leg. The chamois is great and it will make feel more confident and strong riding. I know pearl Izumi is sold internationally so check it out. I hope this helps. If you do buy I would love to hear your feedback positive or negative. You are a great woman who has valid opinions and know that many cycling brands are listening. Keep riding and loving life.

  1. October 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm
  2. October 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm
  3. October 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm
  4. October 13, 2013 at 7:55 am

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