To the new and uninitiated in the world of multi-sport, Lycra can be a scary thing. At least until you get bitten by the whole run, cycle, swim thing and realise that there isn’t any clothing more comfortable than lycra that you’d rather be in.
Through experience and experimentation you begin to realise that lycra has practical benefits. Then almost at once, you become friends with lycra. Although it still has its moments. Moments of unexpected awkwardness.
I blame this observation on spending far too many hours on a bike. Not only do long rides enable valuable thinking time, but it also enables you to see many things. Sometimes too many things as you follow closely behind others wearing lycra cycle shorts.
Things like see-through lycra. Hands up if you have also experienced a full moon on an early morning group ride?
I’ve worked out it’s all about angles and light. A lycra prism of sorts. A perfect lycra storm as the sun hits your bum on an early morning commando ride making your cycle shorts a blank canvas. A completely blank, see through canvas.
In such situations it is important we all remember that this is an innocent mistake of our fellow athletes. They of course don’t have the same view as us as we are hunched over our handlebars staring straight ahead at their cycle shorts. It’s impossible for such offenders to know their cycle shorts have entered the dreaded lycra prism zone. They have no rear vision mirror. We need to show empathy for their situation. Heck, we could all be guilty of the same thing. We need someone to tell us.
I imagine the problem must be a creation of innocent lycra wearers not having sisters to inform them of the prisim effect. Sisters have the ability to give direct feedback with no emotional baggage attached. Partners could also be useful in informing the wearers of the unknown issue ; however, it seems that partners can sometimes have a conflict of interest as they consider if the see through lycra is a benefit or a risk to the wider community.
To help those who do not have sisters to provide direct feedback on how not to wear Lycra, I’ve been thinking about the merits of establishing a sticker system. This way, no words would have to be exchanged. No awkward silences or avoidance issues either.
The sticker system would operate if you pass a cyclist that needs a bit of honest feedback – you’d place a sticker on their back with the code word ‘Lycra prism alert’. Simple but effective. Not sure if it’ll catch on, and if it doesn’t perhaps we could at least establish a ban on white lycra? That’s a whole other minefield.
Have you been a victim to the lycra prism effect? What’s been your greatest lycra wearing challenge?