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Skin tight coffee? Your take on lycra and cafés

Wearing lycra at a cafe
Wearing lycra post-ride at a cafe

We recently ran a cheeky article about cyclists in full gear visiting cafés for a cup of coffee at the end of a ride. It turned out to be a hot topic – and no, that’s not a coffee related pun – with you, the users.

For most of the people who cycle for fun, there are few things as important as the social aspect of the sport. Cycling in a bunch and finishing up in the café with your friends – and the guy you’ve known for 15 years who just ‘pulled an Italian’ and snuck past you in the final sprint (status currently downgraded to ‘fellow bunch rider’) - and chewing the fat over a latte after three hours on the road.

However, that’s not the way everybody sees it.

Drinking coffee while wearing a cycle bib might be all fine and dandy – if you’re sporting a beard out of Mumford and Sons and have ridden your ‘fixie’ all of 57.8 yards to the café for the latte.

If you’ve just climbed off your bike after a 40 mile ride with your cycling buddies, then the jury is out on whether or not you can go straight to the café for coffee – especially if you’re not really into sharing a room with a bunch of sweaty people in all-together too tight clothing.

That is, in a nut shell, two sides of the discussion that was sparked by the recent article here on BikeRoar, where we asked the rhetorical question: Is it OK to visit a café whilst wearing sweaty post-ride lycra?

The author played devil’s advocate and said that it wasn’t.

No lycra at Castle Rock Cafe
Looks like not everyone appreciates us in lycra!
Photo: Stacy Squires / Fairfax NZ

Here’s a little of what we said:

“The first angle is from the point of view of those sweating within the lycra – the cyclist. Having finished a morning ride ‘with the lads’, as my Dad would say, there’s nothing better than sitting down for a post-ride coffee and debrief.”

“The first of my concerns at this point is purely health-related, and nothing to do with terrible fashion (that will come later). Is there anything more dangerous than a 50+ year-old man, who has just taken his heart rate to frightening heights for a prolonged period of time, taking in several strong coffees and eggs covered in hollandaise sauce??”

Check out the full article: Post ride lycra...Is it acceptable?


The answer we got back from you, the users and riders, was a resounding roar of disapproval for that view. Here are a couple of the things you told us: 


“Hi from the UK where Lycra clad in my club is the norm on the bike or in the cafe post ride. I also run and find the use of tights essential for keeping muscles warm but find the wearing of shorts over tights looks strange. I guess it’s all down to personal preference. Why be embarrassed by our bodies, it’s the natural state of things and if you are a little too big maybe it will encourage cycling harder and wear off all the extra calories of the post-race cake!!”

- Graham Davidson


“Lycra is the most appropriate clothing for this activity, and your story doesn't help any cyclist who may have reluctance about wearing it. I don't necessarily like how I look in knicks or longs. But are you actually suggesting I should feel so ashamed of my body I don't take it out in public, in cycling gear, to do something good for my health?

“Sometimes that latte I drink on a long ride is the boost I need to complete it. Café owners are welcoming. I assume any looks I get are approbation rather than condemnation.

“Come on - what would you have us do - cycle home, get showered and changed, then drive our cars back to the café to socialise?”

- 'Overweight woman in leggings'


“Given that at that time of the morning, cafés all across South Bank in Brisbane would only have a fraction of the business they currently get by being popular with the cyclists and runners I think from a business perspective it is excellent having the cyclists and runners enjoy a post activity drink. Having 50 sweaty cyclists may drive away 2 or 4 other diners, which mathematically isn't bad for the cafe. You also need to keep in mind that while cycling is an excellent cardio exercise, it is also a social thing too.”

- Phil


We are all lycra latté lovers at BikeRoar and it is great to see many other passionate cyclists out there putting it on the line for the good of the greatest sport on earth. We can only add that we definitely hear you.



1Author: Marc Prosser
A total convert to all things cycling after (mis)spending his youth running around after a football. Loves all things bike, but has a special interest in road racing. Favourite bike would be a Pinarello Dogma black - so completely black that it would make Johnny Cash proud. Favourite cycling team: Saxo Bank. Favourite rider: Jens Voigt.

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