CYCLING & MEC: Fat Girls Not Allowed!

The weather is coming.

We woke to fog yesterday, then a bank of clouds rolled in and parked upon us. Now, the weather cautions that rain, lots of it, for four days, will suddenly shatter the record-breaking drought we rainforest folk have been enjoying since late July.

As a girl who’s taken to a cycling/walking-only lifestyle after spending 60 hours-a-month-plus on Vancouver’s buses last winter, having great rain gear is the most important thing to me.

Unfortunately, in the last two years I have regained 28 of the 75 pounds I lost, and my cycling gear is too snug and a transit strike looms here my fair city. I cannot be without gear, and the idea of going and buying men’s industry rainpants because the fitness industry thinks a size 18 girl can’t pedal a fucking bike is getting pretty insulting to me.

So, I wrote the “leader” in getting outfitted for the outdoors here in Canada. Here is my letter to Canada’s

Dear Customer Service:

I’m very, very frustrated.

You have so little available to larger women in your outdoor gear. I’m a 16/18, and I have moved to a city where I’m now 24/7 walking and cycling, and the rainy season is upon us here in Victoria.

My old XL MEC pants are coming apart at the seams after a very stressful year in which I added another 10 pounds to my frame, and I’m proud of my efforts to try and get fit of late since I’ve battled a lot of injuries to get here, but there’s no denying:  I’ve certainly gained weight, and I can’t NOT cycle just because the rain or wind are rolling in and I don’t have the option of proper gear.

You don’t have anything beyond XL, really. And you’re frequently sold out in the largest sizes.

It’s not like you seem to have a surplus of any of your biggest clothes at the end of the season, so you can’t argue they’re not selling, and yet you refuse to provide any sizes beyond!

I’m in a giant debate on Facebook and Twitter, where I have 5,000ish followers, talking about how little we can find at MEC, where we would EXPECT to find the gear, and how hard it is to cobble together something effective from other stores, usually where we’re forced to reduce ourselves to wearing men’s clothing, all because we have the indecency to be a size 18 or size 20 girl, or beyond, who’s trying to change her lot in life and be active outdoors.

You’re a LEADER in the fitness industry in Canada. If YOU don’t make it possible for the slightly-above-average girl who is ACTUALLY PRETTY AVERAGE to adopt a healthy, outdoorsy, fit life, then WHO, I ask, will do this for us?

Would it really be so horrible to offer fitness gear to people who actually want to become your customers, who are trying to change their lives, but who weigh a little more?

I keep hoping you’ll suddenly wake up and include us, but I guess it’s time I write a letter.

Also, I’ll be posting it as-is on my blog, to foster dialogue. That’s, and you’re welcome to reply there too if you like.

Thanks for listening. Here’s hoping next season it gets a little easier for me to be your customer for more than just my tires.

Steffani Cameron.

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