There’s a wealth of beautiful cycling clothing out there for women, but if like me you’re carrying a little extra weight, it can be a bit daunting trying to squeeze into something that’s clearly been designed for a svelte physique.
Enter stage left: FLAB, or Fat Lad at the Back.
Taking its title from its founder’s nickname, FLAB is a sportswear company aimed at the larger-bodied among us. Their cycling gear is well thought-out and adopts a range of high-spec tech to make for comfortable riding, so it’s not just a case of sizing up. They wanted to redesign traditional wear, to fit and flatter a range of body shapes.
They started out as a menswear brand, but soon saw the huge potential in expanding into the women’s market, and thus Fat Lass at the Back was born. Whether you love or loathe the name, you can’t deny that they know what they’re doing. As a chubby size 12 with thick thighs and a buxom bosom, it was a breath of fresh air to slip into something designed to fit around my curves.
FLAB’s Lasses Cycling Pedal Pushers
At three-quarter length, the pedal pushers are perfect for when it’s not quite the height of summer, or if you just don’t want to show a lot of flesh. They’re very flattering, and provide plenty of coverage, coming up to the waist and sitting well below the knee. The tummy-friendly high waist is confidence inspiring, as it sits comfortably without digging in the main reason many cyclists opt for bib shorts.
The redesigned garment now features a high-density 210gsm Lycra fabric, so there’s no fear of that awkward transparent patch that some thinner fabrics can bring. It’s lightweight and breathable and does a great job of wicking moisture away from the skin. Despite breaking into quite a sweat, I felt fresh and comfortable throughout the ride.
Aesthetically, the feature side panel isn’t really to my taste, but it feels amazing. I did spend a lot of time caressing my own legs with glee and freaking my friends out a little.
The chamois is a women’s specific high-density pad which I found to be very comfortable on longer rides. I didn’t experience any discomfort and felt supported the whole time I was in the saddle.
One feature that was new to me, was the drawstring for tightening around the waist, which is tucked inside the garment. I have to admit I didn’t get on very well with this. No sooner had I tied myself into them, that I immediately forgot it was there, and needing a quick bathroom break resulted in me attempting to pull them down whilst fastened, tightening the knot almost beyond the possibility of loosening it again.
After a bit of fumbling, I managed to free myself, but I was reluctant to tie them up again for fear of repeating my mistake. However, as their sizing covers double-ranges (mine were a 12/14), being on the lower end of that range meant I needed to tighten them because the waist felt a little on the loose side.
Having the drawstring tucked inside means that you don’t have any bumps showing under your jersey, adding to the flattering fit, so it does have its merits. You just need to be a bit self-aware when nature calls. They’re still less hassle on toilet breaks than many types of bib shorts can be.
There are some final details that form the icing on the cake: the silicone hem and waist were very effective. Even with the drawstring untied, I didn’t experience any riding down. They also feature some reflective detailing on the legs, including a small tab that rests against the back of your calves that I find very subtle and tasteful.
FLAB’s Lasses Cycling Pedal Pushers: Verdict
Overall I found these pedal pushers to be very comfortable and flattering. I wore them on days where the sun wasn’t blisteringly hot, and they kept me feeling cool and fresh. The fabric feels lovely to the touch, and it’s clear that the high-density Lycra is of a very good quality, giving excellent coverage. The drawstring was the only part that I didn’t really take to, but that’s partly down to my goldfish memory. Plus perhaps the ease with which I forgot about it is the perfect demonstration of how comfortably it sits against your waist.
As long as you don’t over-tighten it, and remember to loosen it when removing the garment, the drawstring and high-waist combination make a great alternative to bib shorts if they’re not your bag.