There was no way I could be the only woman suffering with bra-problems when cycling, so I called out to fellow female riders on twitter with the question: "How important is it to you to have a good Sports Bra, cycling hard or not when on your bike?" The resounding reply to that? "very important!" Some of the answers ranged from hating the hardware of a normal bra digging into you while road cycling, needing something more compressive when MTB, not wanting to drench a nice bra in sweat, being more comfortable on bumpy surfaces, and a Sports Bra feeling much better when it's a super hot day. After seeing the responses to that question, and a long period of being in shitty-fitting bras, it was time to take action and get this sorted out!
I wanted to go to somebody who knew their bras and would offer a quality fitting service. Doing some research, one place kept on coming up on my radar; Rigby and Peller. They also saw my lamenting on twitter about the never ending quest for a good bra & invited me to try them. Established over 70 years ago and holding Royal Warrant as Corsetiere to The Queen; they certainly had a good reputation in the business... so I decided to take them up on their offer & give them a go. I was intrigued (and somewhat sceptical) about their Bra Fitting process; how could you size someone, without using a tape measure? The thought of it was a bit strange to me, until my personal Fitting session started & it all fell into place.
Scoliosis. I'm pleased this is one of the first things she noticed about me - the curve in my Spine and my posture are pretty prominent when you see the back of me with no clothes on, but this was never picked-up on in previous fittings, even when I brought the matter up. We discussed the pain I'd suffer when cycling and how proper support was needed around my back and boobs... and how ill fitting the Bra I'd walked in wearing was. Immediately she detected that it was the wrong size and that as a larger-breasted woman, I'd need a strong wide band and wider straps. For cycling, I'd need the same in a Sports Bra, but in good compressive material covering the whole breast. Again - all of this without a tape measure...
She popped out of the changing room, and re-appeared with a normal Bra (which was stunning) and several Sports ones to try on. The normal bra was to ascertain my correct size (which was an eye opener compared to the size I'd always stuck to) and then we went though the Sports range. Things like colour the material has been dyed can affect the fit, and after testing them all out, I finally found THE Sports Bra I wanted to buy...
Shock Absorber Run Sports Bra felt like the perfect one for cycling in. Good compressive material, no wires, correct cup size to hold'em in and the support system at the back felt comfortable on my Spine! This was long-overdue, and also quite emotional to see my posture looking correct for the first time in years.
It's SO important to wear the correct sized Bra and makes a world of difference - not just because it can change your posture and looks good, but the health reasons alone are enough to get yourself sorted. Whatever type of exercise you do, your Breasts will move - be it running, working out in the gym or cycling. Whether you're going hard on your bike or not, it's worth thinking about how much pressure you are putting on your breasts:
- ill fitting Bras can lead to health problems including headaches, Back and Shoulder issues
- damage / pain can be caused to breast ligaments & there is a higher chance of sagging
- one of the biggest mistakes women make is wearing a bra too small in the cup and too big in the back - when your bust gets bigger, it's often your cup size increasing, not your Back
Although I wish I'd did this much earlier in life, I'm glad that I finally sorted out my correct Bra size and will feel a lot more comfort when I'm cycling. As I said, this is a bit of an intimate / personal thing to blog about, but it's something that I really wanted to share with all you cycling ladies out there if it means you'll look into getting sized properly and look after those Boobs on your bike!
I had my Personal Fitting done at the Mayfair Rigby and Peller store in Central London. Further information on R&P stores and Fitting Services can be found on their website. I'd like to give a HUGE thank-you to the team there for looking after me, and not getting spooked at taking pictures of me in the Bra for this post :)