Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

On yer bike - pub bans Lycra-clad cyclists

Mike Saunders of The Plough Hotel in Rangiora with his sign banning lycra from the pub. Photo / Supplied
Mike Saunders of The Plough Hotel in Rangiora with his sign banning lycra from the pub. Photo / Supplied

A South Island country pub is riding into territory many eateries wouldn't dare -- banning Lycra.

But Mike Saunders, co-owner of The Plough Hotel in Rangiora, says he doesn't have anything against cyclists in particular, he just doesn't want his customers to have to put up with the sight of people wearing the tight-fitting activewear.

"We are renovating this beautiful old country hotel out here in Rangiora and making it a community place to go and we just want to set a bit of a dress code and be a bit different from the city cafes and ensure that some of our elderly patrons don't get a fright, we don't want them getting excited. There's heart attacks and things to worry about, we've had people drop before ... it's been here since 1861."

He was all too aware that wearing activewear was now commonplace, however, he hoped patrons, including cyclists, would be understanding of the new dress code.

"It's not just cyclists but Lycra shorts in general.

"Now we're doing breakfasts and we have a big garden and we do have bike racks, for their convenience, we're just asking them to wear trousers if they want to come down."

They haven't had too many Lycra incidents in the hotel, which is about 40 minutes north of Christchurch, but now they will be offering breakfasts they expected a more diverse crowd.

"There's been no real frights yet but we're just getting prepared for a breakfast trade. I'm sure once people start eating our breakfasts word will get out there. We've already got two eggs and a sausage on a plate, we don't need anymore."

Mr Saunders together with his partner Golda Hawes and their friends Amy and Luke Grice have owned the historic hotel for about a year.

Their goal is to restore the "old girl" to her glory days back in the 1920s and 1930s that will also hopefully appeal to families.

"We've just been working on it, renovating it, digging up all the history that's here and taking out the '80s and bringing back the '20s and '30s, the good ole days, so we're pretty much now rich old wallpapers and we've got 100-year-old chairs and we're trying to find stuff from around Canterbury and make it old-fashioned again."

As for reaction to the new Lycra ban, Mr Saunders says he expects to cop a bit of flak but he hopes people will understand what they are trying to do.

"I'm sure our customers will appreciate it ... it's just a good old fashioned country hotel and that's what we're trying to take it back to being, the sort of centre of the community."

It's not the first time an eatery has banned Lycra. Christchurch's Castle Rock Cafe had a sign out the front deterring Lycra-clad cyclists from entering.

Mrs Grice said at the time the sign had been put up by the previous owner because of an incident with a large man in very tiny shorts.

That sort of sight was not suitable for children, she told Fairfax at the time.

- NZ Herald

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