AN Ilkley couple entered the Dragon's Den to try and raise investment for their company Fat Lad at the Back (FLAB).

Founders Richard and Lynn Bye pitched their ever growing cycling apparel business to the Dragons in the BBC hit show Dragon’s Den to try and convince one of them to go into business with them.

The company, launched in 2013, sells a range of sportwear to encourage cyclists - whatever their weight or fitness ability - to take to the road without feeling uncomfortable in unflattering and tight-fitting clothing.

The pitch failed to attract funding from Dragons, however, Fat Lad At The Back has gone on to secure a listing with leading cycling retailer, Evans Cycles and more than doubled their customer base already.

Michelle Arthurs, head of social media at Evans Cycles said: “Fat Lad At the Back is a brand that carries a story and when we launched the range on social media it prompted an unprecedented response and a strong run of orders. We’d received requests in the past for clothing that catered for larger riders, and FLAB have filled that space in the market.”

Co-founder Richard Bye said “Appearing on the show was a great experience and whilst not all the Dragons understood the brand or how or why it empowers normal people, it has definitely provided us with a superb platform to spread our message to our ever expanding community of ‘Fat Lads’, previously not provided for. There’s always someone faster than you on the bike, and although we cater for everyone from 36” chest and 28” waist to a size of 58” chest and 60” waist, everyone who’s ever been on a bike knows what it feels like to be the Fat Lad At The Back.”

Ilkley-based Fat Lad At The Back, has amassed fans from across the world in the very short time since it was launched and has reached a whole community of both new and experienced cyclists. Richard Bye added: “We are continuing to hear tremendous success stories from Fat Lads who are inspired by the brand and who are cycling more frequently, further and riding more comfortably than ever before because of the clothing."

Fat Lad At The Back was originally conceived when three large framed lads - Richard Bye, Richard Simpson and Andy Webb - decided to take a trip to the Alps and take in several of the iconic climbs that make up the Tour de France. After years of squeezing into ill-fitting and often unflattering kit they decided to create a range of easy to wear, high quality garments using the best technical fabrics available.

The perfect fit is ensured as garments are based on actual waist and chest measurements, rather than the traditional and confusing "XL/XXL" sizing.

To ensure each ‘Fat Lad’ gets the right size when they order, customers are asked to get measured before buying, following simple instructions from the website. The garments ordered nearly always fit perfectly; resulting in a very low 'returns' percentage.