Padding the figures: Garda orders 200 lycra shorts with Italian cushioning

Force is planning to spend about €135,000 on high-end cycling gear for its members

The Garda plans to buy 200 pairs of cycling shorts made from ‘lycra sport fabric’ with ‘ergofit padding from Italy’ and ‘flat-lock stitched seams for maximum comfort’. File photograph: Getty

The Garda plans to buy 200 pairs of cycling shorts made from ‘lycra sport fabric’ with ‘ergofit padding from Italy’ and ‘flat-lock stitched seams for maximum comfort’. File photograph: Getty

 

An Garda Síochána is going soft but not in the way you might think. The force is seeking to purchase 200 sets of lycra cycling shorts complete with “ergofit padding from Italy”.

The purchase is part of a move to modernise the uniforms of the some 800 members trained to carry out their duties from the back of a mountain bike.

The Garda is seeking to spend about €135,000 plus VAT on high-end cycling gear for its members, according to a request for tender document published last week.

The winning supplier will be required to provide 1,200 pieces of equipment which could do the job on the Alpe d’Huez, never mind the back roads of Athlone.

The cycling shorts should be made of “lycra sport fabric” which “ensures a correct muscular compression” and have “flat-lock stitched seams for maximum comfort”.

Also required are 200 pairs of “modern style sport glasses” with “interchangeable polycarbonate lenses”, “hi-impact PC frame with adjustable rubber nosepiece” and a carry pouch.

Soft mesh lining

A similar number of cycling shoes are required. These should have a soft mesh lining “with provides instant comfort” and something called a fork-shank “to ensure flexibility and stability.”

The force requires two types of cycling gloves, a fingerless summer glove with gel padding and a winter glove with a “special 3-layer thermo system”. The winter version should have “anatomically 70° pre-curved fingers with knuckle stretch zones for a perfect fit on the handlebar”.

They should also have a “breathable layer made of waterproof and windproof polyurethane (PU) membrane. Keeps cold air and water out, while microdots allow moisture to escape, keeping your hands warm and dry,” the Garda document states.

And naturally helmets are also required. These should have 14 air vents and washable anti-bacterial pads. The order should come complete with 400 helmet stickers that say “garda”.

‘High visibility patrols’

The Garda Síochána has 177 mountain bikes and 804 gardaí have completed the Garda mountain bike course since 2016, a spokesman said.

“They provide high visibility patrols and mobile support to large events that strengthen our overall strategy of keeping people safe. Gardaí are selected by local divisional/district officers for training.”

The force has spent almost €39,572 on 30 new bicycles since 2018, at a cost of €1,319 per bike. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has indicated the bicycle fleet will be further expanded next year.

As well as the aforementioned equipment, each bicycle garda receives a rain suit, a polo shirt and a “first layer T-shirt”. As of now there are no plans to purchase any Garda-branded yellow jerseys.