MAMILs of the World Unite!
Okay folks, come closer, I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a MAMIL. A delightful modern term used to describe those cyclists of a certain age who ride their super-duper carbon racing bikes, wearing tight clothing. ‘Middle-aged men in Lycra’ seems to be used, by some people, as a derogatory term - but why?
It would appear that the typical MAMIL is aged between 35–44 and is therefore, by association, entering his mid-life crisis. No longer does he spend his disposable income on a flash car, but now chooses to buy a top-end racing bike. He then dresses up in racing colours and cycles around the countryside at the weekends, building up to ‘non-competitive’ 100 mile sportives. What’s wrong with this? I would argue that he’s not harming anyone and is getting healthier in the process.
Personally, I like bikes. It’s as simple as that. I appreciate the engineering, love the looks and enjoy the freedom they give you. The ability to ride through beautiful countryside clears your mind. I may go as far as to say in a spiritual way.
But why did I feel the need to apologise for my addiction at the start of this article? I think we receive a bad press because of our enthusiasm, bordering upon over-enthusiasm. I feel the same boyish excitement experienced with my first shiny new bike, the release of the latest Indiana Jones movie and saving up to buy a Star Wars figure. In short, it felt good.
However, remember your manners young man. Here’s three simple pointers to curtailing your MAMIL over-enthusiasm:
- Stay calm– you have a nice bike and all the gear but you’re not Mark Cavendish. Don’t attempt to race everyone in sight and accept the fact that younger riders do have the right to pass you. Acknowledge them with a friendly smile or wave, and avoid the need to make excuses such as your “dodgy knee is playing up today”.
- Know your limitations – Lycra is a great material for riding a bike, and is widely available in a number of non-florescent colours. Also, get the sizing right to avoid scaring young children and animals.
- Be considerate– your wife and kids are not necessarily interested in the merits of carbon fibre frames. They may indeed, like to talk about something else (less important than cycling). Feel free to converse with fellow MAMILs to your hearts content.
So, buy that expensive high-tech bike. Wear your favourite pro-team kit with pride. Join a cycling club and enter a sportive. Why shouldn’t you? MAMILs of the world unite!
We would love to hear from other MAMILs and your cycling experiences. Please email us your stories and hopefully we can include some on the CTC website.