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!
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.
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!
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!