Monday 25 November 2013

Exclusive Interview with "Skin-Suit Friday" Ambassador, Jo Battersby.

Hi people! Today here at Dim Sum and Long Runs we have an exclusive interview with cycling extraordinare and founder of the new movement taking the Sydney cycling world by storm: Jo Battersby.  She's here to tell us all about the incredible new craze, "Skin-Suit Friday". Remember, you read it here first!

Hi Jo. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself please?
The woman herself: Jobee aka Jo the Pro
My name is Jo Battersby but my cycling name is Jobee or Jo the Pro – depending on who you’re talking to. I’ve been riding and racing road and mountain bikes for the past 9 years and I pretty much love anything to do with bikes. I’ve ridden through the Snowy Mountains in NSW hitting 89 km’s per hour; I’ve ridden through the hills of Adelaide chasing the pro’s during the Tour Down Under, I’ve raced an 8 day mountain bike stage race through the Alps of Germany, Switzerland and Italy and experienced more pain than I thought was possible; I’ve raced the Mountains to Beach 5 day stage race; and I’ve pretty much done every great bike ride there is to do in and around Sydney.

I’ve ridden with a few different clubs over the past 9 years which has given me an opportunity to meet lots of different people and to test out the differences in riding styles, techniques and safety. This also means that when I’m out riding I generally run into lots of people from different groups so I can often be seen pulling out of the bunch to have a chat, or crawling between coffee shops chasing conversations. When I’m riding with my boyfriend Tim he often wonders if I’ll ever stop talking to people, but perhaps he’s just jealous about how well-connected I am.

So I’ve heard a little bit about you guys on the internet. But I want to know from you, what is “Skin-Suit Friday”?

There are many different outfits when it comes to cycling and you need to understand these differences before you can understand Skin-Suit Friday. 4 common types are:

1.     The ‘hubbard’ cyclist can be spotted by their mismatched approach to cycling attire, mixing lycra, sports wear, casual t-shirts or shorts and often a high visibility yellow vest.

2.     The ‘club kit’ cyclist wears lycra branded with their club’s logo – in our case this is SU Velo (Sydney University Velo club). They wear club kit socks, knicks and jersey.

3.     The ‘Rapha’ cyclist is relatively new to the streets and wears the very fashionable Rapha brand of lycra. They’re typified by hot pink or yellow socks and animal print lycra.

4.     The ‘track’ cyclist wears a one-piece of lycra called a skin suit and they’re generally only seen riding indoors around the track.

So….Skin-Suit Friday (SSF) is an exciting new concept that’s just hit the streets of Sydney and blends the best of road and track cycling attire.

It’s bringing the inside to the outside. It’s blending style with functionality and form.

SSF began in late October 2013 when Terrence, one of our SU Velo track riders decided to wear his Skin-Suit on our Friday morning coffee ride. Here you can see Terrence sporting his stylish and figure hugging skin suit.
Terrence looks sexy... I wish I'd known this guy when I was cycling in Sydney.
And because I’m a culture vulture, I could see that this had the potential to take off big time. Look at the people surrounding Terrence – they’re all smiling! This is exactly what Sydney needs - more Skin-Suits to make more people smile J

So the following week I put out a call to action through our SU Velo Facebook community of riders – approximately 400 cyclists – that the 8th November would be our first official Skin-Suit Friday. The cyber response was overwhelming. The excitement was building. And on that Friday morning we had a 100% increase in the number of SS’s.

Below you can see me and Terrence with our arms raised in pure joy and ecstasy, having completed our first official SSF ride.
What an extremely good looking pair of cyclists. With ambassadors this good looking, I'm sure that it won't be long before Skin-Suit Fridays is a nationwide phenomenon. 

Who is involved? Is it a Sydney wide thing, or is it so far just your group?
So far it’s just SU Velo Club but we’re pretty sure it’s going to have wide appeal. We only had a modest increase since the first ride, but I spoke to quite a few people in the group who had bought a Skin-Suit but were just a little too afraid to wear it.

You see, most people like to follow the group and do what everyone else is doing. Starting a new trend isn’t easy, you need to give people time to get their heads around it, but with a little coaxing and support, I’m confident we’ll see growth.

Who came up with the concept?
Jo Battersby Inc.

Where do you get the Skin-Suits?
The Skin-Suits are all original and based on individual rider choice. However, Terrence and myself have been in contact with a company in China that can make bespoke Skin-Suits. We’re currently in the concept-design phase and soon we’ll move into low level marketing within our club. We want to start small and grow slowly, we don’t want to flood the market too soon and see a market catastrophe. We certainly don’t want to cause a stock market crash or another GFC. We’re all still reeling from the last one.
Looking fit: Gina and Jo (left) action shot.
How would you compare wearing a Skin-Suit to regular kit, for example, are they more comfortable, or more aero?
Put simply, you just go faster in a Skin-Suit. And you have the added advantage of attracting attention, which is a good thing when you’re cycling on the road and you’re trying to avoid being hit by cars.

What’s your favorite thing about your Skin-Suit?
I particularly like the feel of lycra all over my body and the way it hugs my curves. But my absolute favourite feature is that it stimulates weight loss.  Currently Sydney is quite humid and the mornings are hot. Wearing a SS has the added advantage of making you sweat heaps and heaps, thereby causing instant weight loss. That’s another reason to wear it on a Friday so you can squeeze into your tight jeans and hit the bars on the weekend, looking and feeling fabulous.

What has been the reaction of onlookers when they see you in your Skin-Suits?
People experience a range of emotions from wonder to jealousy. I even had one rider ask me if I was single. I can only presume they were awestruck and were overcome by emotion seeing me in this new attractive attire. I politely told them that I had a boyfriend but that I’m sure the right person would come along for them soon enough.

Are you hoping to grow this movement to become a nationwide, even global phenomenon, or do you prefer to keep it small and elite?
As I’ve said we’d like to start small, but if I’m being really honest, I do have global ambitions. It’s a bit early to speak about that today, but perhaps we could catch up again in the coming months to give you a progress update.

Is there anything more you can tell me about Skin-Suit Fridays?

It’s fun, it’s fast and it’ll make you smile J
Looking at this photo, I wonder if the prerequisite to joining the Lulu Lemon group is chic style? This lot have it all: speed and style!
What an amazing birthday cake! This is an exact replica of Jo's beautiful Pinarello. 

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