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Today's midlife crisis more likely to result in purchase of Pinarello than Porsche...

New research from leading market research firm Mintel has helped dispel the myth often portrayed in certain elements of the media that cyclists and motorists are two distinct groups and never the twain shall meet by highlighting that the keenest cyclists are most likely to have at least two cars in their household.

Mintel has even coined an acronym to describe those cyclists – MAMILs, standing for ‘Middle Aged Men In Lycra,’ which generated some discussion on our forum over the weekend – although here at road.cc we have to admit that we’re big also big fans of more flattering fabrics such as sportswool. It adds that those cyclists are suffering from "the noughties version of the mid-life crisis".

The consumer research company’s report, Bicycles in the UK 2010, which has received widespread coverage in the mainstream media including The Guardian and the BBC, also says that regular cyclists – which it defines as people who get on their bike at least once a week – are more likely than average to read broadsheet newspapers, shop at Waitrose and have household income in excess of £50,000 a year. They’re also twice as likely to be male as female.

Michael Oliver, who wrote the report, said: "Thirty or 40 years ago, people would ride a bike for economic reasons, but our research suggests that nowadays a bicycle is more a lifestyle addition, a way of demonstrating how affluent you are."

The research shows that growth in bike sales is being propelled by 35- to 45-year-old men with families, who instead of going off and buying a sports car as they approach middle age now go for high-end bike instead.

Besides the one in eight people who cycle once a week or more, there is a similar proportion who cycle occasionally, but the biggest barrier to getting non-cyclists to take to two wheels is the perception that cycling is dangerous.

The report adds that while it is attuned to many trends that currently resonate with consumers – “health and wellbeing, a sense of community, and environment,” cycling lacks “some of the less acknowledged selling points favoured by car drivers: personal safety, comfort, style, convenience and speed.”

It concludes that getting more people in Britain to ride bikes therefore remains a challenge.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

50 comments

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SimpleSimon [113 posts] 7 years ago
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underground, overground, MAMILing free, the MAMILs of middle aged cyclists are we ....

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richardelliott [20 posts] 7 years ago
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Caption offer...

"I'm certain this one goes on the front"

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Simon E [3097 posts] 7 years ago
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"Yes I do wear Lycra, and yes, I look dreadful but I don't care."

Glad you're comfortable with yourself and confident enough to say you don't care. Regardless of how you look, why shouldn't you just relax and enjoy yourself, whether you're old or young, a CTC beardie, a Mamil or a Generation Y-er. Doesn't matter if you're riding £5k of carbon or a scuffed BMX, cycling is just fab.  16

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podgethepuffer [19 posts] 7 years ago
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SimpleSimon wrote:

underground, overground, MAMILing free, the MAMILs of middle aged cyclists are we ....

LOL - Love it: Can I use it?

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podgethepuffer [19 posts] 7 years ago
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Caption Offer: -

You don't get this problem with solid tyres.....  4

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Grizzerly [367 posts] 7 years ago
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I'm a MAMIL, I wear lycra because it's comfortable and I don't give a toss what it looks like. That's my business, nobody else's. Anyone who wants to express an opinion is welcome to do so, but I reserve the right to smack them in the mouth if I don't like what they say!

Oh yes, how can anyone claim to be a 'real' cyclist if they buy a complete bike off the peg instead of buying a frame and components and building it themselves?

It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are, what you wear or what you ride. If you love to ride the bike, that's all that matters.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 7 years ago
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My only gripe with Mamils is that they seem to be the ones most likely to ride through red lights and drop their energy bar wrappers on the ground.
Admittedly this is only my limited personal experience but if they reserve the right to wear lycra then I reserve the right to make sweeping judgements.

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podgethepuffer [19 posts] 7 years ago
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Hmm: Look, there is a danger here that this could become a battle of words between the age groups, let call them the Newbies and the MAMILS. At the end of the day, we all ride bikes because we like to ride bikes. Does it matter what age we are? Does it matter what we wear? Does it matter what sort of bike we ride? Does it matter whether its off the peg or bespoke. We all have the same desire. To ride our bikes. As for litter, I would suggest that this probably down to a range of age groups with no particular emphasis on old or young. We're all guilty of it, and it's down to us all to stop it.  22

By the way, for those of you that don't now me, I'll be the fat one at the back on the first climb of the Southern Sportive and the Exmoor Beats.  1

Now, let's all get out and pump pedals and wave a cheery hello to one and all: especially fellow cyclists, old and young, fat and thin, skinny or knobbly.  3

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scotter [55 posts] 7 years ago
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 7 what is it with Lycra? Olivia Newton John has a lot to answer for.
Lycra should be banned ! a health hazard... accident causing, sweaty microbial infestation....
BTW Moosehead, don't u mean 'Cameltoe'? eeeew  13

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rowes [89 posts] 7 years ago
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Must be true. The only Waitrose in the area (Plymouth / Cornwall) has a Specialized Concept store next door...targeted lacation by Specialized I reckon

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lesviner [2 posts] 7 years ago
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What's with this middle age stuff? I'm 67, still racing, ride 6 days a week and wear the best sport cycling gear I can get. I have four bikes, all top end and a cyclocross bike just for Oh yea! I still work full time too. Come on you researchers widen your boundaries

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bikeylikey [227 posts] 7 years ago
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I'm 60 years old in six months time, been riding a bike for about 55 of them, wearing lycra for the last 30. After reading this, I've realised that I'm too old for nice racing bikes and definitely lycra, am making you young studs feel sick and should get some tweeds and slippers and hang up my wheels.

Nah, don't think so. I might get some very tight team gear though, and stick two fingers up (not the trendy American one finger that you young trendies favour) as I speed past.

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Greensox [13 posts] 7 years ago
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Great, I slog away for 15 years on me bloody bike then finally, 3 months before I turn 46, I get my own acronym.

Can I appeal for an age range change or is this now set in stone or wobbly lycra somewhere in Brussels?

We could cycle on the offices of British Cycling and demand the age range be re-assessed. I sense that some in the 35-39 age range may be with me on this (Super Domestique?).

Look at what the "Pink Pound" has achieved, think what the "flabby middled aged lycra pound" could do (once we come up with a snappier name for it obviously).

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boffo [34 posts] 7 years ago
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Love thy Mamil.. We need these people! how else can we expect to pick up one year old barely used top flight bikes at a bargain price.  4

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podgethepuffer [19 posts] 7 years ago
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And Another thing: Wearing Lycra reminds me just how fat I am and encourages me to do that buit extra to get thin. Well, that's what the little voices in my head tells me anyway.
 19

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jphilipc [1 post] 7 years ago
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This a rather fruitless argument. I am 73. I wear Lycra. When I was younger, I sailed a 30ft boat in the South China sea, and wore sailing clothes. When I climbed rock, snow and ice on various continents, I wore climbing gear. When I now ride a bike, I wear bike gear. I don't do it to look good. I don't! But the suggestions of those who think its stupid are themselves lacking in taste and sense. Wear whatever you like!

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SimpleSimon [113 posts] 7 years ago
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podgethepuffer wrote:
SimpleSimon wrote:

underground, overground, MAMILing free, the MAMILs of middle aged cyclists are we ....

LOL - Love it: Can I use it?

'course you can - attribution goes to Mike Batt and the Wombles!  16

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katgood [1 post] 7 years ago
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I'm finding this thread quite amusing. I fit the profile perfectly, I'm 36, I shop in Waitrose, I read the Guardian, the household income is in the right range. OK, we only have 1 car, but it's not exactly a Ford Fiesta. I've got 4 bikes (2 are mountain bikes, so I sometimes wear lycra and sometimes baggies...). And I'm thinking about buying more bikes (Lapierre....mmmmm). I ride a bike nearly every day. There's just one problem. I'm female. Now where do I fit in?

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simonmb [515 posts] 7 years ago
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katgood wrote:

There's just one problem. I'm female. Now where do I fit in?

You do appear to fit the profile really rather well. Are you absolutely certain that you're a girl?

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Tony Farrelly [2899 posts] 7 years ago
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MAWIL possibly… although got to say 36 is a little early for middle age in my book and I said goodbye to 36 before the last century was out …sniff  20

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