Brisbane mum designs cycling gear for curvy women

Brisbane mother and recent cycling convert Barbara Spooner was disheartened when she first went scouting for cycling gear.

The 55-year-old had taken up the sport a few years ago and was frustrated by the tight cycling shirts available for women.

“I am not a size 8,” she said.

“(If) I have to go buy something I have to get a 2XL.

“I would go in and try and get bigger shirts that weren’t really clingy and you had to get … men’s shirts to cater for my size.”

Rather than make herself wear something uncomfortable, Ms Spooner decided to take the matter into her own hands and create an outfit that suited women with curves.

For the past three years Ms Spooner, who graduated with a diploma in graphic design at the age of 44 and built her own company because she couldn’t find a job, developed her brand, Birds on Bikes, to cater for female bike riders.

“I wanted to do something you felt comfortable in, go for a ride and go get a coffee (and) you can jump off the bike and not feel uncomfortable,” she said.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t a size 8 that are still fit.”

While she believed marketing looser-fitting cycling clothes in Australia would be hard given everyone “really gets into the lycra”, she said was going to give it a shot.

“I don’t know if it makes people feel more sporty or competitive,” she said.

“It is comfortable and easy to throw in the wash but it is just what we do here; in other countries they don’t necessarily get out in lycra all the time.”

Ms Spooner has already sold some outfits to women down south and had plans to open up a stall at the West End markets to show off her wares.

“It has taken me about two or three years to get from the idea to now, to having something out there,” she said.

“I have a whole new respect for the fashion industry, even though mine is kind of a sports industry.”

Ms Spooner has been accepted into the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Fashion 360 accelerator six-month program to help her take her business to the next level.

She said she hoped the program would help her set up a manufacturing warehouse in Brisbane as her outfits are currently made in Melbourne.

“I would like to set up some sort of manufacturing in Brisbane, in an ideal world, and … empower women to get out there and do things,” she said.

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