I don’t know why but the words Lycra, Xpandx, Spandex seem to bring out worst in our subconscious. Obviously the thought of the elasticised form hugging properties combined with the smooth silky feel must send subliminal messages to the brain. Even when trying to subdue the image you hear in your head the male cyclist jokingly refer to his Spandex cycling shorts or Lycra cycling tights as “budgie smugglers”. It is true to say that Lycra, Xpandx and Spandex can be very revealing and generally don’t look good on men or women with, let’s say, a fuller figure. But the benefit of the material always far outweighs the fashion statement you’re not making, especially when it comes to cycling.
While many sportsmen wear Lycra or Spandex, cycling is a road sport which puts the cyclist and his bright coloured skin tight attire right in the eye of the unsuspecting public, thus making cyclists the butt of many spandex innuendos. Seasoned cyclists won’t think twice about putting on their bright form hugging cycling shorts and tights but newbie’s to the sport, especially those with a fuller figure will often think twice before they venture out.
With winter on the horizon many a would-be Mark Cavendish will want to continue their summer cycling routines into the colder weather. This will undoubtedly mean wrapping up more to keep the body temperature constant and preventing muscle cramps. This is when a good quality set of Xpandx tights will become an essential part of cycling attire. The tight fitting garment will not only help with the retention of body heat, the compression qualities is claimed to help improve peripheral circulation in your leg muscles by aiding removal of blood lactate.
When the real cold winter weather sets in it is wise to consider warmer fabrics such as D-Robax or Super Roubaix, these still have the same body hugging compression qualities as Xpandx but are thicker and incorporate a fine inner fleece which captures and retains pockets of heat from the body while still allowing excess moisture to evaporate. One variation of tights that is worth a mention is bib tights; whilst they do basically the same job they can offer additional shelter to the stomach and lower back and the shoulder straps mean they should never fall down.
Don’t ever let the stigma associated with Lycra put you off wearing it, it’s wise to layer up in colder weather so if you need to cover up wear a pair of baggy shorts over tights or a baggy jersey on top of compression tops.