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Celebrating 150 Years of the Jockstrap and BIKE Athletic

As we all know, the cornerstone of every bear and gay man’s wardrobe is the jockstrap, which recently turned 150 years old this year. And for their indispensable place in our lives, we salute both the garment and the original company that brought it to us, BIKE Athletic!

Invented in 1874 in Boston by C.F. Walker (who worked for the company now known as BIKE), the original purpose of the jockstrap was to hold bicycle messenger’s parts in place as they navigated the bumpy cobblestone roads of the city. Over time athletes began using jockstraps for similar reasons, especially after they were built to hold slip in cups; but it wouldn’t be until the 1950’s when gay men began discovering them and made them our own. It was at this point in gay history and fashion when a hyper masculine aesthetic became popular and we’ve kind of stuck with it ever since.

I mean you really can’t beat the utilitarian aspect of a jockstrap as a gay man. The leg straps perfectly frame our exposed butts and the breathable fabric over the genitals leave little to the imagination and allow us to ‘advertise our wares’, so to speak, whether in the bedroom or at an underwear party at the local bear bar. And with a size range going up to 3XL, us bears can finally get in on the action!

“It’s evolved almost into kind of male lingerie at this point,” said Alex Angelchik to the Associated Press. (Angelchik is a co-owner of Bike Athletic who bought the brand along with other investors in 2019.) “From the ’70s through today, it became kind of a cult favorite within the gay community and expanded to the metrosexual urban community.”

In fact, 70% of BIKE’s customers are gay men and the company has sold over half a billion jocks in the last 150 years. The bestselling style remains the No.10, which happens to be the one Kristen Stewart made headlines with when she wore it in her Rolling Stone shoot this past March.

BIKE is proud of their place in gay culture too. They are the proud sponsors of the 2nd Annual Bear World Magazine Awards and have previously sponsored the BIKE Jockstrap Ride in Provincetown (in conjunction with the Provincetown Brewing Company) for the last two years; where people ride through the streets of P-Town in their jocks during Labor Day Weekend to mark the end of the tourism season and the beginning of ‘townie season’ – And these are just some of the ways the brand has shown their devotion and appreciation to our community.

In honor of their 150th birthday, BIKE has curated an anniversary collection of a new jock, tank, hat and fanny pack with a unique logo marking the milestone. Unsurprisingly, the limited-edition jock blew out of stock, but you can still get your hands on the other items of the collection here.

Besides their famous jockstraps, BIKE also offers underwear, swimwear, shorts, tanks, T-shirts, socks and more. There is even a Pride collection for sale further showcasing their proud allyship to our community. So, if you’re looking to spruce up that summer wardrobe or for a new jock for that lingerie drawer, go with the brand that started it all and support a brand that puts its money where its mouth is with respect to the gay and bear communities.

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