“MAMIL”: Cycling’s New Breed

MAMIL: Middle Aged Men in Lycra.

It’s 6am on a winters morning in Sydney.  Sun rising over the ocean in the east, frost signals the warm breath as he first steps out the front door with bike into the brisk cold, weary after a late night watching the Tour de France coverage til early morn. He’s a cyclist.  Well, actually not, he’s a project manager in a bank, but at that moment he definitely is a cyclist, with professional logo covered lycra to prove it.  And the cycling gear is expensive, and by gear we mean threads, much more expensive than his regular clothing, it’s all imported from Italy.

Your definition of middle aged is up to you, but we all know a MAMIL right.  Or at least have seen one, especially this time of year in the middle of the Tour de France.  Italians call it “bella in sella”, looking good in the saddle.  And it’s the latest breed in cycling.

The new mid life crisis for the upwardly mobile modern man, involving a very expensive bike, and a lot of tight, bright lycra cycling gear.

I haven’t yet been lured however, despite the community pressure, which is real.  There are rules after all, protocol and unwritten conventions on what to wear, how and at what times, when on a bike.   But the temptation is growing.  Cycle shops, emails, websites, even Facebook throwing images at me of lean cyclists in colourful and expensive cycling gear.  Lycra, breathable polyester, stretch wool, recovery spandex…it goes on, and up, as do the prices!

MAMIL cyclists having a coffee

But I persist, still in my loose shorts, cycling in t-shirts, singlets even…and gaining the sneers of the MAMIL as he rides by, or as I ride by him.  And that’s the observation, that it really has no impact on performance.  Don’t dare say that to a MAMIL thought, it might snarl at you!

A ride is a ride is a ride.  High performance gear has it’s place, but not with me.

Do you know any MAMILs?