By: Blonde Two

On Thursday morning Mr B2 and I were both clad in Lycra.

Maybe I should leave this blog post there and the rest to your imaginations. What actually happened is probably less interesting, he went off cycling and photographing early-morning Torbay while I went down to the beach for a swim. He looks considerably better in his Lycra than I do!

But it all got me to thinking about the subject of Lycra, which despite being good for all sorts of quick drying and stretching reasons is probably not all that good for the environment. Here are some of the questions I answered:

Is Lycra is the same thing as spandex?

Well it nearly is, spandex is an anagram of ‘expands’ and is a generic term for fibres with certain stretchy boinginess (a less USA-based alternative would be elastane). Lycra on the other hand is a DuPont brand name and as such deserves a capital letter, a trademark symbol and some respect.

Why is Lycra is superior to rubber?

For all sorts of reasons I imagine! However, in this context, Lycra’s superiority to rubber is based on its strength and lightness (I wonder if anyone has ever sunk in a rubber swimsuit).

What is Lycra made of?

Lycra contains at least 85% polyurethane which is presumably stretchy because it is a long chain molecule. I have no idea what the other 15% is made of, I imagine mermaids’ scales and recycled bike tyres.

When was Lycra was first developed?

Lycra was first developed during World War II, at least that is when development started. A lot of rubber was being used in the war effort (presumably in bouncing bombs) so scientists were looking for synthetic alternatives.

Can you put Lycra on your compost heap?

I had no idea that composting clothes was a thing, but apparently it works quite well with natural fibres. Like many synthetic products however, Lycra takes energy and not-so-friendly chemicals to produce and is therefore not good for our environment. One main problem with Lycra is that we tend to throw it away before we need to. In the UK we throw away £25,000,000 worth of clothes every year. If I took off my swimming costume and left it in the sea tomorrow, it would be in the 500 years – forever biodegrading bracket (and I would be a tad embarrassed).

Can anyone wear Lycra?

Well of course they can but when I did a bit of internet research on the subject I discovered a few interesting opinions:

a. The general public don’t mind male cyclists wearing Lycra but they do object to them having brunch in it. I have two solutions to this dilemma; eat breakfast before you go out or find a naturist brunch cafe.

b. The general public think it is alright for “hot”, “fit” or “in-shape” women to wear Lycra but not everybody else. This is plainly ridiculous as clearly it is the more rounded women who need the Lycra to stretch over their curves.

c. “Lycra is bad for the soul.” I won’t tell you where I read this quote but I believe it was referring more to genitals than immortal essence. Next time I see God I will consult him on the subject.

Is Lycra for Christmas or just for life?

Some of my new outdoor swimming friends are doing their December swimming in jaunty Santa hats. This has the double effect of making them visible in the dawn/dusk water and making everybody else smile. I am seriously considering going one step further and purchasing one of the outfits below. Which one do you think would suit me?