Inclusitivity is a word used easily in conversation. It is also one that requires thought in real life.
Ever seen an article of clothing that you loved and hurried home to find out that it was no longer available in your size? This scenario has happened to everyone at one time or another. What was your reaction?
Ever shown up to an event dressed in entirely the wrong apparel? “Oh no, I did not know that this was an x type of event. ” Yep, gut sinking feeling.
Why size inclusion matters…if you are larger than a XXL finding appropriate clothing for sporting activities is less than a productive search. The clothes are boxy, low quality and ill fitting in many instances.
Imagine attending a major cycling event knowing that your clothes did not fit. Imagine that when you got there you were going to be different than everyone else because your clothing was different…wearing a T Shirt or similar item. Not only do you know your body type is not the same but now the glowing fact is there for everyone…you don’t fit in.
I receive numerous requests from major brands to test equipment. When asked I have two requirements:
That it fits
That it does the job it was designed to do.
It’s not enough to just make larger sizes..it needs to fit and work in the same manner as the clothing designed for the fit model. I need to know that this product was made for an active non traditional body type!
Why does it matter? As an industry we are trying to consistently find new people, new riders and new customers. EVERYONE has the simple need of wanting to fit in. It’s not unique by body style or comfort level. No one wants to be the stand out in a negative way. No one wants to be the last one picked.
The first time I saw my own body type in a marketing piece I ORDERED! Wow, someone understands that we have humans larger than a size small in cycling clothing. They picked a model of my size, and they chose to USE the image! I could not have been more proud of that company.
I have stood on the front line of inclusitivity since I started cycling. Of all the statements that I can say about my time in this world…that is the one I am most proud of! We are seeing change!
Telling events that I really have always wanted to purchase your event kit but it was not in my size is a hard pill to swallow…but one I gladly will take in the effort to see change. And change I have seen!
I can not wait to watch the cycling industry find that there are thousands of individuals who have non traditional style bodies. We don’t want catered to…we just want included. I am incredibly proud to say that we are seeing change. I am pushing for change, riders are pushing for change and so are brands in the industry. It will happen!
To the companies who have embraced this change…THANK YOU! To the companies that are attempting with questions…please ask.
Why does it matter….it matters because our athletes of every type matter! Fitting in matters and comfort matters!