Middle Aged Men In Lycra

I’m not the first to address the issue of MAMILs [that honour goes to the BBC]  and doubt I’ll be the last. The UK cycling scene, particularly urban cycling is suffering from a recent glut of MAMILS. They’re so prevalent that the word’s made it into the latest update to the Collins Dictionary .

I can’t take credit for the acronym, but I’ve sat behind enough straining seams to be an expert in the subject. The genus has two species; the urban MAMIL and the road MAMIL. They’re not to be confused. The road MAMIL is mainly a pack creature and limited to two habitats; the road and the café. Urban MAMILs are more solitary and adventure into office receptions, trains, parks even supermarkets. 

Cycling’s still a statement for many in the UK and what better way to make that statement than to vacuum pack yourself in figure hugging lycra. The urban middle-aged male commuter is at the extreme of this line of the species. These are often “born again” having rediscovered cycling through a combination of a company medical assessment, a bike-to-work discount scheme and the fact that their seven-year-old daughter leaves them for dead on the hills.

Age-wise I fall into the category and I cycle to work wearing lycra (a journey of more than 15 to 30 miles depending on the route). After cycling to work and freaking out bumping into a female colleague in our reception once, I always carry a pair of cotton shorts to slip over my cycling shorts. It saves embarrassement all round.

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6 comments
    • I’ve just been reading about the femail equivalent GiRILs (Girls Riding In Lycra) – a blog post to come as soon as I can think of something original to say. My current focus is “Unlikely Heros Of Cycling #1 – Grand Master Melle Mel”

  1. Daniel said:

    But do you wear white lycra? This has to be the biggest faux-pas of the MAMIL’s i’ve seen to date.

    • White lycra is a particularly heinous fashion crime – have folks not realised that it goes see-through when it’s wet? Unless you’re Mario Cipollini avoid it. I’d like to think that white lycra was the only deviance. Wet look and the faux-denim of the late Carerra team are also up there. If you can stomach it there are more garish images here

  2. Oh no. Not white lycra. That’s going a little far. I don’t know what kind of body confidence I’d need to wear that.

    I have a couple of pairs of black and grey shorts and then several garish tops: day glo orange, yellow, green, for safety.

    I live in Arizona, so it gets pretty hot here for most of the year. Not really practical to layer up, so I prioritize my own comfort over the sensibilities of others. And yes my colleagues do give me grief when I go into the office.

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