This mornings ride took the usual route…
The usual place, at the usual time.

We were, as usual, just ambling along. Discussion included a (particularly good) Francis Bacon documentary, visiting the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in Manchester, the weeks jazz record purchases and the potential for future rides out to Levenshulme night market…… all so hipster it hurt! 😉

We arrived at the cafe to find a queue of lycra in front of us. Egg on toast with no butter types, barely 5% body fat between them, but all excitedly chatting about their ride. Swapping stories of the week to each other, just a gang of mates out getting some fresh air on a Sunday morning.


After sausage butties and coffee it was time to get on the road again, by now the family riders were arriving. Kids on ill fitting bikes with helmets on backwards, dads overloaded with butties and flasks, mums trying to maintain their composure on bikes that hadn’t been ridden for years. Again, all excited to be out for a bike ride on a clear Sunday morning.

On the road to Horrible Lane and Neil and I were shocked to see a couple carrying a lifeless body into a house :-{ I’m still having doubts about what my eyes saw right then?!!

Before we had chance to confirm such an intriguing sight a fancy tandem swept past us followed by a couple of old boys on worn out hybrids and we were talking bikes again.
And so it went on, more and more riders of all ages and persuasion. The only commonality between them all was lycra, plain old ugly lycra.
‘We’ were dressed, as is our style, in whats now known as ‘shabbychic’ (or just plain scruffy in our case) the only remnants of our cycling past being the odd merino base layer and proper cycling shoes.
It seems such a shame that folks feel the need to dress so specifically to go cycling these days, lycra is a superb tool for a particular job but not really necessary for a bicycle ride on a Sunday morning… and don’t get me started about Sky sponsored high viz gilets!
And so the discussion about how “I came from lycra” began. We’ve done our time in lycra (and lets be honest here, none of us will be getting any catalogue work again in that department) we’ve no desire to go back that way. Maybe because all of us are from the era now known as Pre-rapha-lite..?

Being able to ride in whatever you are wearing when you decide to go for a ride is a simple pleasure taken back from the ‘rules’ of cycling and fits in perfectly with the grass up the middle ethos.


Words and pictures – Steve Makin

4 thoughts on “Pre-rapha-lites…

  1. Thank you for this!
    I was leading my Slough Country Ramble yesterday. Eight of us were gathering outside the cafe, a mix of flannel, sweaters, and the like. Two riders in bright Showers Pass jackets and “winter weight” tights passed us by and sarcastically asked if this was the Tweed Ride. 😠


  2. This is really good fun from one end of the country to the other we’re just about wearing exactly the same thing on rides…
    Jettisoning lycra has been such a relief, I can just drop into pubs, cafe’s shops without comment!

    Liked by 1 person

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