Monday, August 16, 2010

Long live the "MAMIL's" (middle aged men in lycra)

I was out on my bike with Paddy and my father-in-law, David, yesterday morning.

There was great excitement as we discussed our plans for an epic cycle ride to celebrate my 50th birthday next year.  We hope to meet up with Chris, Tim & Steve, of "three peaks" fame", and cycle from the Pyrenees back to Cognac in time for my (surprise) party.

David is an experienced cyclist and has cycled throughout Europe as well as completing six stages from the Tour de France. He has made mince-meat of Mont Ventoux and other near vertical mountains.

However, even he is quivering with anticipation at this particular challenge as we discussed starting our mini tour by tackling the mythical Col du Tourmalet.

It is the highest road in the Pyrenees and the most used mountain stage in the history of the tour.  It's also the one major French mountain that David has never conquered.

We were talking about starting in Lourdes, sweating our way up (and down) the Tourmalet before making our way up through the beautiful "Parc des Landes" into the sweeping vineyards of Bordeaux and St Emillion. 

The last leg would take us home to Cognac and a rapturous welcome from our family and friends.

As I say, the three of us were full of ideas and making plans to drive the route next month to check out the smaller country lanes and look for suitable accommodation. 

We felt like true adventurers.

Then, last night I read this article that Chris had posted on Twitter.

It turns out that we are not alone and that there is even an acronym for sad old goats like us.

MAMIL's....middle aged men in Lycra.

The correspondent from the BBC says:

Flashy sports cars are out, now no mid-life crisis is complete without a souped-up road bike. Why?

Every weekend, across the nation's rolling countryside, watch out for the Mamils: middle-aged men in lycra.

Research conducted by the retail analyst Mintel suggests there has been a surge in the number of middle-aged men choosing to get on two wheels.

So there you have it...our great adventure is actually no more than a mid-life crisis and as we're slogging our way up the Tourmalet we'll probably get stuck behind a long queue of balding men with tight lycra suits bursting under the strain of all those middle aged stomachs.


Andy said...

That's a great shot of you in the vines on your bike Graham!

Chris said...

Wow good luck when you do it, such a scary prospect. Always fancied doing one like Alpe D'Huez but would be way too overweight for that.