Bad news for MAMILs - 1 in 3 think cyclists should ditch Lycra before turning 40, says British Heart Federation survey (+ infographic)

Charity also launches partnership with British Cycling to get more people riding bikes

by Simon_MacMichael   June 11, 2014  

New Forest Sportive

Nearly one in three people believe that cyclists should ditch Lycra before they turn 40, according to a new survey from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) - bad news for so called MAMILs (middle aged men in Lycra). The charity has also launched a partnership with British Cycling aimed at getting more people to ride bikes.

One of the aims of the partnership between the BHF and British Cycling is to help cyclists develop their skills and improve their confidence on the bike, and by joining the organisation via the charity’s website members will gain access to training materials, as well as other benefits. The BHF will receive a £4 donation for each person who joins.

Stewart Kellett, recreation and partnerships director at British Cycling, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the BHF to get more people pedalling, not only to improve their health but also to power research to raise vital funds to tackle the UK’s single biggest killer, coronary heart disease.

“Together with the BHF, we are hoping to inspire people the length and breadth of the country to saddle up to help improve their fitness and overall heart health as well as helping further a truly worthy cause.

“By becoming a British Cycling Member, cyclists will have access to training material to get them in tip-top shape for their upcoming ride. We also have a number of training rides available to BHF supporters to get them ready for any cycling challenge.”

Shoshanna Goodman, cycling project manager at the BHF, added: “Our partnership with British Cycling will provide our supporters with additional guidance and expertise to help them build their confidence and prepare for one of our bike rides.

“Each year around 60,000 cyclists get on their bike for us and challenge themselves on road, off-road, overnight or overseas, raising approximately £5million for life-saving research.

“Cycling is a fantastic way to keep your heart healthy and by taking on a ride for us, not only will you be keeping fit but you will be helping us fund life-saving research.”

The BHF and Santander, which sponsors the charity’s fundraising cycling events, including the London to Brighton Bike Ride, surveyed 2,000 people to find out their views on fitness and cycling.

They found that mechanics are the most physically active profession, exercising on average four days a week, but bankers who are keenest about cycling for leisure, with 87 per cent doing so.

Lycra’s biggest detractors were found in the beauty industry, with workers in that sector saying no-one beyond the age of 27 should wear it – bad news for the likes of Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Teachers turned out to be more MAMIL friendly, although even they said that 44 should be the upper age limit for donning tight fitting gear.

There are more results from the survey in the infographic below.



78 user comments

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If you were to take this seriously Jens Voigt and Chris Horner would find hot races quite sticky.

Both over 40, both still riding grand tours.

posted by gnarlyrider [11 posts]
11th June 2014 - 20:15


Let's gets something clear about the beauty industry: their entire industry is devoted to focusing on people's insecurities. They are also an industry that values form over function, and is entirely about appearance.

That said, there are many men and women over 40 who look very good in lycra.

For myself, I would not wear anything but lycra for my daily commute, as I put 65 to 70km behind me every day commuting. As for my waist measurement - it is roughly what it was when I was 18.

posted by gmrza [15 posts]
12th June 2014 - 2:39


I presume that the majority of those who think that the Lycra should be ditched at 40 are simply suggesting this out of concern for the cyclist's self-esteem rather than because MAMILs are painfully offensive to the beholder. This would explain why those in the beauty professions recommend ditching Lycra at age 28; they are giving beauty advice, not demanding respite from painful ugliness, or are they?

Hairdresser: "Don't look out the salon now!" [shading eyes]
Esthetician: "Hot Dermawand, I looked! A 30 year-old in Lycra!" [retching]

posted by timtak [42 posts]
12th June 2014 - 3:56

1 Like

All this on a day when it looks like obesity could be classed as a disability, thanks BHF. where's the nearest Greggs?

Noelieboy's picture

posted by Noelieboy [95 posts]
12th June 2014 - 8:54


I am a 41 year old who looks dreadful in his due to years of inactivity till i was gripped by this world!

I don't give a flying F**k, i love my Lycra and I love my bike so go away with your polls!

posted by mickcee [57 posts]
12th June 2014 - 9:37


People in marketing cycle the furthest each week? Of course they do. They are always 100% truthful that lot.


posted by arrieredupeleton [587 posts]
12th June 2014 - 9:53


I'm sure context matters to the question, is there anyone that has a set attire that they always wear on the bike no matter what the ride is for?

I'll wear lycra if I'm doing a training ride, or taking a long Sunday spin. If I'm commuting, I'll usually wear MTB shorts (I ride cross, we can make up our own rules). For local trips, it's whatever the hell I have on.

bikebot's picture

posted by bikebot [1422 posts]
12th June 2014 - 10:07


Simon E wrote:
IMO overweight people can do what they want too, it's for me to judge whether they look 'good' in lycra.

Oops. Just re-read this and I meant that it's not for me to judge! Sorry if anyone misunderstood.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2419 posts]
12th June 2014 - 14:31


Yes after 40 Mom jeans are much more appropriate.

posted by Toxmarz [29 posts]
13th June 2014 - 0:36


johncleary wrote:

If 1 in 3 thinks it's not ok, then surely 2 in 3 think that it is ok?!

[[[[[[ Er...not really. Maybe the 66.6 couldn't care less?


posted by PhilRuss [332 posts]
13th June 2014 - 0:49


youngoldbloke wrote:
I'm a member of the BHF and I wish they wouldn't waste money - all donated remember - on this kind of tosh. It would be better spent on research into heart disease. By the way I am 67, and wouldn't wear anything else Big Grin

It's to drive up awareness for the London -> Brighton ride this weekend I believe. I suspect it doesn't cost them much and the sponsorship it raises for those riders generates more.

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [152 posts]
13th June 2014 - 7:23


Didnt wear lycra before 27
wont wear lycra at 40
everyone's happy.

And fuck whatever people think. You like lycra, wear lycra. Thoughts police can die.

posted by muffies [18 posts]
13th June 2014 - 7:25


Don't care what people wear, would rather see an overweight person on a bike in lycra than sitting on the couch getting bigger. Good for them, good for society.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [186 posts]
13th June 2014 - 11:08


Sorry I disagree I am 80 repeat 80 and wear Lycra shorts, they are very comfortable and I look good. I am not fat and overweight!


Nevilleauk's picture

posted by Nevilleauk [3 posts]
13th June 2014 - 20:06


I'm 68 this year and still wear lycra when I ride. I actually think it makes me look good - I certainly FEEL good in it and it is much more comfortable and convenient than the alternatives. I have never had anybody tell me I look wrong in it, any more than they do when I wear a wet suit for body-boarding.
i would agree that if somebody is significantly overweight, with a beer belly, then it looks wrong, but neiher of these apply to me.

End of a long, hard day

posted by BarefootBrian [17 posts]
13th June 2014 - 20:55


Aye, you look freaking fit, mate. Applause

The only thing hurting my eyes in that picture is the saddle bag. Waiting

Got milk? Doesn't fit in your bottle cage? Get a Carton Cage.

Video: we put a GoPro on a sparrow.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [474 posts]
13th June 2014 - 22:08


Well luckily I don't give a shit what 1 in 3 people think, or the other 2 in 3 either so I'll carry on wearing whatever I bloody well like.


posted by jazzdude [66 posts]
14th June 2014 - 1:23


Bugger what people think. Im overweight and wear lycra 'cause its the most suitable thing to wear whilst cycling to get fit and lose weight.
I may look like a Froome-stick one day but still wont give a s**t what people say At Wits End

posted by Phil H [46 posts]
14th June 2014 - 1:29


"We want to get people cycling…" so let's make them feel self conscious so they stay in their cars. Good work eh?

posted by Alec Wallace [18 posts]
14th June 2014 - 8:04


Working in a heart hospital I raised this with a British heart foundation nurse yesterday. She told me that she can't believe they asked such ridiculous questions when they should be promoting exercise for all without any ridiculous ideas on what people should wear.

posted by BigAl68 [73 posts]
14th June 2014 - 9:23


I've never heard of the the British Heart Federation....Foundation yes,

lifes goal is not to arrive at the grave in a perfectly preserved body, but to skid in sideways yelling "yeah what a ride!"

posted by wheelsucker [57 posts]
14th June 2014 - 12:14


What a counter productive survey from BHF!

Lycra is for cycling in, end of

posted by SuperG [93 posts]
14th June 2014 - 14:34


Nearly one in three people surveyed by the British Heart Foundation were inactive, obese, alcoholics who couldn't cycle 100 miles if their very lives depended on it. Said one respondent "I hate seeing fit people outside doing physical activities." Another added: "I feel a compulsive need to tear down anyone who isn't exactly like me."

posted by 53x11 [9 posts]
16th June 2014 - 16:49


Wow a lot of comments about Lycra! We sell a LOT of cotton piquet cycle polo's and Merino wool cycle tops. If you want to be different and follow the BHF advice vivit us BeDifferent


posted by nwcyclist [11 posts]
18th June 2014 - 13:39


Does this apply to women too? Confused I turn 40 next month and see no reason at all to ditch my lycra shorts or leggings. I've always worn them when cycling because I think they're the most comfortable thing to wear in the saddle. Granted, I don't wear the shorter shorts now, but I'm confident enough in how I look to carry on wearing what I do. I can still catch a younger (work)man's eye, so that's good enough for me! Wink

posted by purplemadwoman [30 posts]
20th June 2014 - 12:11


SuperG wrote:
What a counter productive survey from BHF!

Lycra is for cycling in, end of

[[[[[ Lycra is for swimming too, among other activities. Uh-oh! For my next swim, I'm wearing baggy brown corduroys---wouldn't want to offend anyone at the pool, now.


posted by PhilRuss [332 posts]
24th June 2014 - 0:09


Ive noticed a good proportion of middle aged women secretly cant resist 30-40 yo men in lycra shorts.

posted by earth [213 posts]
27th June 2014 - 18:30

1 Like

I am a what is known as a MAMIL, i only started cycling again 2 years ago at the age of 40 after 15+ years off the bike.
they can say what they like but i wouldn't where anything else on a bike no matter how old.

posted by fennyvelocarbon [6 posts]
29th June 2014 - 23:57


First try to catch up with this mamil, then complain about my albescent lyrca Wave

posted by auke [6 posts]
30th June 2014 - 9:03

1 Like

Does this mean I have to ride nekkid now?

ConcordeCX's picture

posted by ConcordeCX [75 posts]
23rd December 2014 - 20:45