Lonely Planet Writer

On your bike! New Zealand pub owner's message to lycra-wearing cyclists

A pub in the North Canterbury town of Rangiora on New Zealand’s South Island  is trying to ban lycra-clad cyclists. The Plough’s owner Mike Saunders erected a sign outside the pub demanding a dress code of its customers. “We just want to set the standards out here in the country and make sure people wear trousers when they go out for breakfast,” he told Stuff.co.nz.

No room at the inn for lycra-clad cyclists.
No room at the inn for lycra-clad cyclists. Image by Sam Saunders / CC BY-SA 2.0

The pub is not the first to discourage lyrca. In 2013 a Heathcote cafe erected a similar sign. Children and the elderly have been outed as the most likely candidates to be offended by the figure hugging attire. “It’s just a little unsuitable, we don’t always want to see any unsightly bumps and bulges,” Saunders told Stuff.co.nz. “When you’re trying to concentrate on your breakfast you just want to see the sausages on your plate.”

Saunders is prepared for an angry backlash saying: “If there’s hordes of cyclists outside threatening to bash us with their bike pumps we can always barricade ourselves in, we’ve got a bit of food and drink here so we should be able to outlast them.” Of course there are other places in town for the groups to enjoy a meal and Saunders hoped people didn’t take the decision personally.

With its dramatic scenery, long winding mountain roads and rail trails, cycling is now hugely popular in New Zealand – and not just adrenalin-fuelled mountain cycling or the more competitive (and lycra-wearing) road cycling. The latest marketing campaign from New Zealand Tourism targets the leisure cyclist market looking for country rides punctuated with gourmet meals and winery stops. Kiwi-Australian star Megan Gale was announced as the “ambassador to promote cycling to the Australian market” in February with a series of short videos. Lets hope she’s dressed appropriately if she stops for a meal in Rangiora.