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Now retired but busy still living..

Tuesday 14 December 2010


I've seen a lot in the media recently about 'MAMILs'.  This is an acronym for'Middle Aged Men In Lycra'. Apparently the middle aged man these days is not bothering to buy a sports car as an outward sign of a mid-life crisis. No what mid-life crisis men are doing now is buying high end road bikes- putting on lycra and zipping along our highways and byways.

Market research and other studies have been carried out that show one of the main reasons people cycle is to keep fit and burn off the fat (41%). These reports also claim that those aged 45 - 54 enjoy cycling the most - the younger riders tend to view commuting as the number one reason to ride a bike.(The accepted age for MAMILs is 35 - 54)

Now  the thing with middle aged men is that for them to really enjoy their hobby and sport they feel that they have to spend lots of money on it. Hence the top end bikes - top of the range everything...! Shoes - socks - mitts - helmet- and the lycra.

I suppose that all these extra people riding bikes can only be a good thing  - the more cyclists about on the roads  can only help but change attitudes to cyclists in general as well as making the roads safer. According to the latest reports 42% of the population now see cycling as a 'cool' activity to be involved in so you would think that being a 'MAMIL' would also be seen as cool. However the term tends to be used more as a form of that good old British trait of laughing at ourselves.

If you mention to someone that your a keen cyclist one of the first things that you seem to get asked is 'do you wear lycra'? Now I would agree that wearing lycra is not going to be very flattering if you are a middle-aged man with a paunch. 
However, because cycling is such a good way of keeping fit and maintaining a good trim well shaped body it follows that you won't see many lycra clad paunches around. Most of the MAMILS that I see look in pretty good shape.

Now as far as I am concerned I have been a lycra wearer for years. Because I am one of those riders who likes to 'go fast' on whatever bike I am riding be that a tourer -sportive - trainer etc -  I've found it to be the most comfortable thing to wear on a bike.
I have tried other things such as 'proper' touring shorts and loose fit jerseys but these styles of cycling kit don't cut it for me - they tend to flap around in the wind and just feel uncomfortable.

Whether I fit into the MAMIL grouping is debatable - the age group the report quoted of 35 - 54 means that I am too old . In about five weeks time I will be 63 years young so I don't really think that I fit comfortably into the group although I do seem to fit quite comfortably into my lycra.
This means that I will have to come up with my own acronym. I have had my thinking helmet on and I have come up with.......GOGIL.... Yes I must be a GOGIL.

GRUMPY OLD GIT IN  LYCRA...............!!!

Yes I am a grumpy old git in the stretchy stuff.


Alan Sloman said...

I am afraid my cycling attire probably doesn't cut it in the GOGIL brigade - with my right hand jean leg tucked into woolly sock to stop it getting mashed any further by the chainy coggy clash thingy.

The kids nicked my cycle helmet some time ago - so its the corduroy cloth cap instead...

Not quite the right image - something must be done!

Anonymous said...

I love your GOGIL acronym!!

Steve A said...

I'd have guessed AWW - "Ancient Wearing Wool."

limom said...

Lycra rocks!
It may look a bit goofy, but it rocks!
Of course I wouldn't wear it to like a bar or pub or something.
Though there's nothing wrong if you do.
Wear it to the pub.
Okay, I'll stop now.

TrevorW�� said...

I love your description: "The chainy coggy clash thingy" my local bike shop would understand that totally.

Regarding your cycling garb I would draw your attention to what Limom is always telling us on his 'The Flat Tire' blog, he says "Image is Everything"!

Yes it is a fair description.

AWW - Ancient wearing wool - I think that goes well with the Shutt Velo Rapide jerseys I posted about recently - made from smartwool - retro design for a retro cyclist.

I will wear lycra to a tea shop when we stop on a training ride but never ever to a pub..!!

John Romeo Alpha said...

I have decreased my Time Wearing Lycra to Time On Bike ratio (TWLTOB) not by decreasing the numerator but by increasing the denominator. Lycra and its brothers in fiber are superior for longer, faster, more strenuous rides, and that's all the explanation any of us needs for wearing it on those occasions. But my Time On Bike has increased by adding to the number of ways and variety of distances I ride, many of which have no sensible or justifiable usage of lycra. I could suit up for the one mile trip to the grocery store...and be 100% everything the MAMIL Who Makes People Laugh (MAMILWMPL). Well, except for the paunch. I think riding the kilomiles every year prevents paunch.

TrevorW�� said...

I like your TWLTOB as a formula.

I would agree about not wearing lycra for the one mile trip to the grocery store. I think that I would prefer to walk that anyway - then I become a GOGWIB...! (Grumpy Old Git Walking In Boots)

Big Oak said...

It's taken me a long time to become a MAMIL. I plan to relish in this newly found distinction for as long as I'm permitted. Although, in a few years it seems I'll be entering the GOGIL. No matter, I've always wanted to be a part of a group, but until now, didn't know which group I would fit into.

TrevorW�� said...

Enjoy being a MAMIL you've worked hard to join the group...!!

rlove2bike said...

I am happy we have connected in the blogsphere. I too will be in the MAMIL group...for a only a little while longer, as I am nearing the largest MAMIL number.

The bike shed said...

Age has nothing to do with it - I reckon I was a GOGIL when I was in my twenties! Ws Lycra about then?
Never mind - you get the idea.

MrDaveyGie said...

That was a neat read. I get teased at work for being 57 and wearing lycra. I tell them guys I guarantee it, if you rode much bike you would find yourself in it too.

TrevorW�� said...

Yes - pleased that we connected.

A twenty something GOGIL Eh?
I started young too.!

Your right - it wouldn't be long and they would be wearing it too.

l' homme au velo said...

Gog fit's the Image of me alright Grumpy Old Git without the Lycra. Although I have graduated to Baggy Shorts with a Chamois for those very long Rides I sometimes do on occasion.

I have always been a Grumpy Old Git even when Young and I seem to be getting more Argumentative as I get Older ,rather like Victor Meldew, Old British Funny Sit Com One Foot in the Grave which used to be on the Telly a long time ago now but they sometimes do Reruns of it.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...