Ly·cra/ˈlīkrə/: an elastic polyurethane fiber or fabric used especially for close-fitting sports clothing.
When I first started getting serious about riding, my “riding apparel” consisted of a pair of gym shorts and bright color Haynes Tshirt. Sure, they worked, kept me comfortable and I didn’t really think twice about it. When I started spending more time in the saddle, I started looking into padded bike shorts to help with “sore butt” – this was before I discovered saddle fitment but started me down the path to “Lycra”.
It took a lot of trial and error to find padded shorts that fit well. The most important thing I found when looking for plus sized riding gear on Amazon is, measure yourself, look at their sizing guide, and then go the next size up. I still have multiple pair of padded shorts but I mostly save them for mountain biking now. The main issue I had with padded shorts was rolling up of the legs or rolling down of the back side, I was consistently adjusting them on my ride.
I decided to start looking into my first set of riding bibs. Sizing was once again the biggest challenge but I also didn’t want to spend over $100 for something I was still unsure about. I once again did a ton of research and found multiple brands that advertised plus sizing on bibs. I think I ended up ordering 4 different companies before I kept one.
I am roughly 360Lbs and wear a 44 waist pant, I found a brand that offered a 4XL claiming a 46-49 waist and they ended up being the pair I kept. The brand on Amazon is CEROTIPOLAR.
So, after getting my bibs I realized that they are amazing! With bibs, they don’t roll down and you don’t have to worry about mooning the people behind me on the trail. The additional plus side, they are basically shapewear, so once you put the jersey on, you’ll look great!
Now that I know bibs are for me I discovered an American company that makes “Big/Tall” riding gear and I know people who ride with them and love their gear, reporting that their customer service is great. I will be doing a review of their Tall sized jersey and new Honeycomb base layer in the near future. Check out Aerotech Designs if you are looking for quality plus sized gear.
In conclusion, if you are getting more serious into riding, invest in gear that makes you comfortable. You might feel odd wearing tight fitting clothing at first but if you are out bettering yourself, who cares? Cycling clothes aren’t supposed to be fashion statements. Don’t get discouraged if you have to try multiple brands to find the one that fits right and when you do find one that works, let the company know you appreciate them supporting atypical riders.