If you haven't already heard the term "MAMIL", this is latest acronym to try and segment an emerging demographic group by the market research firm Mintel. "MAMIL" stands for Middle Aged Man In Lycra (see picture for the image that conjours up).
I did titter to myself when I read it. No doubt because there will be hoards of blokes below 40 who will object to being called "middle aged" (the demographic is from 35-44) and that the their interest in cycling is somehow linked to them having a mid-life crisis. As someone that fits within the MAMIL definition, here's my take.
It's true that as you get older, you're values change and things like health and well being, nudge themselves futher up your list. It wasn't until I was starting to approach forty that I kind of got that need to "kick start" getting back into fitness, I guess it was part of the mid-life crisis cycle that we all get to go through, if you're not there yet, good luck with it!
Thinking of my day job, it involves lots of time sat at a PC screen, sat in meeting rooms or in my car plus long hours or time away. Outside of work, I found myself doing lots more work and devoting all spare time to raising the kids and being #1 Dad. As a result, the old waistline was expanding and I wanted to do something about it and "break the cycle" so to speak. That's how I ended up back on the bike, this blogpost explains the key steps I took.
Why I enjoy cycling so much is that aswell as being a way of getting fitter, it does appeal to my gadgety bloke nature too. Poring over bikes, specs, latest stuff and statistics is right up my street. I confess to buying mags and admiring bikes, thinking of new wheels, new bikes and all that comes with it, like an expensive car (with perhaps one less nought on the cost).
I've really enjoyed the science behind performance, reviewing my heart rates, diet and technique, riding sportives, seeing new countryside, meeting new people and really developing a passion for a sport, rather than just buying a bike.
In conclusion, I think I am a MAMIL as far as the basic definition goes. I'm in the age group, I wear lycra, I have a carbon bike, do sportives but have not (yet) ridden Mont Ventoux.
So, I'm now firmly in my box, defined by the marketeers and now waiting for the hoards of marketing material that is no doubt going to arrive. I can feel a T-Shirt coming on, a magazine and a support group. On a more serious note, Mintel wouldn't be doing reserach like this if it wasn't a significant marketplace at stake. MAMIL's have disposable income, they are ABC classification demographic, likely to be home-owner and in middle or senior management roles. There are lots of complimentary businesses that want to communicate with this sector, so the MAMIL is not soon to be extinct, but a new force to be reckoned with.
You can read the full BBC news story behind MAMIL's here.