The real reason so many men are wearing Lycra.



There’s a fluoro man coming to a cafe near you. He’s weary, slightly sweaty and enjoying a tiny ritual that could have more value than he realizes.

It’s Le Tour season. There is a resurgence on our streets. Every guy around here seems to be getting into the action. They are buying their swanky new bike, strapping on their reflective shoes (stopping before shaving their legs thank goodness) and launching into the streets at sunrise on a weary wintery morning.

But after the ride there’s a little tradition, that alone, seems worthy of keeping this phenomenon going.

It’s the group espresso.

Men don’t call their friends to chat. They don’t ask ‘how are you really?’ around the water fountain. They need an excuse to talk. They need a reason to gather together. They need a place to do it. And if a little ill-positioned lycra is the precursor to getting men talking then I’m all for it.

Apparently there’s now a trend for 28 to 32 year old Australians to have an early mid-life crisis. We now often need to deal with those feelings of disgruntledness about ten years earlier.

Sport gives men something to bond over and riding fits nicely into that little gap between teenage footy and retiree golf.

Older men have recently gained Men’s Sheds, thanks to the government, and spruiked by the PM’s main man Tim Mathieson among others. Men’s Sheds support older and newly retired men, giving them a community and supporting their wellbeing.

But our boys need a place.

This is especially so after careers take off, wives and babies come along. It can sometimes be too easy for men to let friendships slide.

Of course our boys can go to the pub – and they do. That’s okay but there is often a macho image and a lot of alcohol that goes along with that. We want more for our men than a drunken night out. Some exercise, fresh air and relaxed conversation seems so much more mature, don’t you think?

We girls talk. We’re born communicators and from the minute we arrive in the world we start talking, it’s what we do.

Whereas men are proud. They are often keen to run, swim, compete, ride. But they’re not usually as eager to call their friend to talk through a relationship downturn.

So perhaps we don’t tell them that we love the fact that they can sit and gossip huddled around a cino.

But we can encourage them to keep getting up for that ride – cause we know it’ll give them the space to talk. And if they ever have something on their chest they’ll just happen to have a mate sitting next to them, available and ready to listen.

And it might help to solidify a support network if ever they should need it.

So ladies, let’s embrace the boys in lycra this Tour season. And let the ride begin.

Kate Selth is currently a ‘career woman without a career’ spending time raising her two tiny tots in beachy Perth. In a previous life she has worked in media and communications roles in charity and government. She tweets her views about babycinos, politics and the world here.

Do the men in your life congregate and talk? Where do they do it?