Fierlan

60 Seconds

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Fierlan founder Lucy Gardner

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This week, we caught up with Lucy Gardner, founder of boutique women’s cyclewear brand Fierlan. Lucy launched Fierlan in 2013 and the brand is gaining a reputation for sleekly styled, high performance road wear that is far removed from the ‘pink it and shrink it’ school of design. We were particularly impressed by Fierlan’s chic and innovative Three-Quarter Cycling Tights which swiftly became my between-season cycling tights of choice. They’re still the chicest bib tights I’ve seen with their crossover top and flattering cut.

1. Lucy, who or what inspired you to ride?

My dad is a roadie and to be honest, to begin with I was embarrassed by his MAMIL ways and pretty resistant to cycling!

So, initially it was First Bus and their ridiculously expensive bus fares… I borrowed my mum’s bike (it was so heavy it was nicknamed the Station Wagon) to get home from the pub after the last bus.

Then I got a lighter bike, and started riding the long way home from college… Before I knew it I was riding for fun…. Going longer and longer distances, it wasn’t long before I was introduced to the Lycra life, and cycling shoes… And it all went from there!

2. What sort of cycling makes you happy? Where do you like to go?

There’s not many feelings that come close to a warm day with a slight breeze and cycling along the coast, or through the countryside to a nice country pub!

Yorkshire Velo Tours
We couldn’t agree more. Cycling through beautiful countryside en route to a good lunch stop is what it’s all about!

3. If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I’m going to go with any Victorian ladies who were into cycling… I’d be great to see how much more fun they’d have on bikes sans bloomers / corsets… Can you imagine riding in that?? Bonkers.

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Could this be the Fierlan Fusion RT Team of 120 years ago? We can’t imagine cycling in those heavy long skirts was much fun when attempting a QOM! Photo Source: The Online Bicycle Museum

4. In 2016, who do you think gets a better choice of cycling kit: men or women?

At the moment, women are held back by the variety of kit on offer. Key pieces from different brands are using the same patterns, and smaller companies can get caught in the trap of using factory templates in order to keep costs down and compete with the big guys.

That’s one of our biggest challenges, we don’t want to compromise on design or materials, so finding all this within a competitive price takes a lot of time.

Anyway, I’m going to say men still have the best range in terms of fit, styling and performance – and price.

5. How far into the women’s cycling boom do you think we are?

I think we’re getting there. I don’t think we’ve reached the peak just yet… I’m sure the Olympic results are going to inspire a lot of ladies! I’m expecting to see more interest in track cycling, and I’m definitely sensing an increase in interest in racing and TTs.

I think the growth now is going to be in performance and sport rather than commuting.

I think there are probably a few barriers we need to break down to get more women into cycling as a sport though… The big one for me is time, I’ve got a toddler, a dog and a full time job – it’s pretty hard to make the hours work to go out on a ride. I just focus on keeping my fitness up as best I can in the time I have so when I can get out on the road it’s still fun!

Fusion RT Fierlan 2016 Kit
The Fusion RT Fierlan Team. From left to right: Jenny Holden, Angela Hibbs, Elizabeth Malins, Ashleigh Fraser, Lizzie Stedman, Fiona Hunter Johnston, Ellie Campbell and Jenny Hudson

6. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Everything to do with Fusion RT! (Fierlan sponsored the pro women’s team at the start of the year)

Financially, it was a crazy decision – I’m still waiting for the telling off from my accountant… But it’s been SO rewarding. I’ve learnt so much from them and they’ve really helped to refine our products, and the wealth of knowledge they’ve provided for our blog is out of this world.

7. What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, just makes me want to go fast….

8. And finally: what’s in store for Fierlan? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?

We’re developing new kit, and new colour ways… We’re super small, but the passion and the drive is still there. We’re going to keep ticking away!

 

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Feelin’ fine in Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Cycling Tights

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Only a year ago, I vowed that I would never be caught wearing Lycra.

“I’ll never be a Lycra road warrior!” I cried. “I’m perfectly happy to ride in my regular clothes. I want to look like me on a bike!”

How times have changed.

I only bought a road bike in April, after being somehow mind controlled by Matt who convinced me to sign up to the Prudential RideLondon 100 miler. I still don’t understand how he did it. But I’m glad he did, because taking up road cycling has been one of the best decisions of my life. And it made me realise that, while it’s perfectly possible to ride a bike in jeans, it’s much more fun to ride a bike in dedicated cycling gear. My bum certainly thinks so.

As a woman, I want kit which has been designed with women’s bodies in mind.

But that is not to say that I don’t still want to look like me when I’m out riding. I want chic kit. I want kit that is well designed, well crafted and high performance. And, as a woman, I want kit which has been designed with women’s bodies in mind.

Fierlan is a new player in the women’s cycling apparel market and they’re acing it with their focus on stylish performance apparel which is designed in the UK and crafted in Italy from the highest quality fabrics. I tested Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights on three rides of 15 to 20 miles each.

 

From one extreme to the other... My transition from dedicated streetwear cyclist to diehard Lycra wearer...
From one extreme to the other… My transition from dedicated streetwear cyclist to diehard Lycra wearer…

 

Style, Comfort & Performance

Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights are far and away the chicest bib tights on the market for women. I don’t know about you, but I can’t bear the look of most bib tights when I’m getting changed: that awful gap between my sports bra and the waist which shows off my untoned stomach. So unflattering. But the Fierlan tights are completely different: with their flattering and feminine crossover top I feel put together and pleasantly unexposed on the midriff front. As Autumn draws in, it’s nice to not have that gap, too. Style-wise, these tights are a hit even before I’ve put my jersey on. What else do I like about the styling? Well, the fact that the legs are so plain – and a really true black – is a bonus. These tights go with anything – you needn’t worry about clashing stripes or logos.

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The tights are comfortable, too, which – even for someone as vain as I am(!) – is, ultimately, what we’re all looking for when we’re cycling. The best looking tights on earth will be quickly discarded if the pad is rubbish. But the women’s specific pad Fierlan have incorporated isn’t rubbish: the bright turquoise foam is comfortable, and after three washes hasn’t shifted or gone limp. (I have only ridden distances of up to 20 miles in them so far, so I can’t comment on the pad’s performance for a longer distance.) The MITI Lycra in the legs and body has a lovely robustness – it isn’t flimsy, they’re not remotely see-through and the cut means they skim rather than cling which makes them look rather elegant. The silicone dots around the leg hems prevent the legs from riding up as you pedal – and the longer length is flattering, too.

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Simple, elegant and flattering, the three quarter length also keeps knees warm on cool Autumn days.

Fit & Sizing

I usually wear size 12 clothing and the Fierlan team advised me that a Medium would be the best fit. They were right, the fit is spot on – close fitting but not skintight. As I’m somewhat top heavy with a 32G bust, the crossover top doesn’t provide a huge amount of coverage; but it still meets up with my (very heavy duty) sports bra and there are no gaps. It’s far superior to the style of all the other bib tights I’ve worn, and for anyone with a slightly less – erm – ample upper half, shall we say – you’ll be well covered. The tights are available in sizes XS to XL and you should feel confident ordering your usual clothing size.

The crossover style top of Fierlan's Three-Quarter Cycling Tights is much more flattering than the usual suspender style.
The crossover style top of Fierlan’s Three-Quarter Cycling Tights is much more flattering than the usual suspender style.

Value for money

The Fierlan Three-Quarter Length Cycling Tights are currently in the sale and you can snap a pair up for £60.00, which is extremely good value. They’re beautifully made, flattering, comfortable and sophisticated. And for the cooler days we’re now experiencing, that extra leg length will keep your knees warm which is no bad thing.

Reviewer stats

Height: 172cm

Weight: 69kg

Measurements: 99-77-100

Cycling activity: 80-100 miles per week, in moderate British conditions.