There are as many types of Middle-Aged Men in Lycra (Mamils) as there are of mammals – and any two Mamils are about as similar to each other as a dwarf mongoose is to a reticulated giraffe. (Which, in case you’ve never seen a dwarf mongoose, is not so much.) Here are some of the different Mamil subspecies out there:
WOMBATS (Wild Old Men in Baggies and Trendy Socks)
These hard, gruff men of mountain biking are fit and fearless. They climb like mountain goats and descend like champions, and eschew spandex for much more macho baggies. They have three Cape Epics under their belt (how do we know? Because they’ve told us), and their wives have moved into the guest room to make space for the stationary bike. The females of the species are known as Mombats.
WORMs (Wiry Octogenarian Racing Machines)
A Worm is the roadie equivalent of a Wombat – they’re the racing snakes of the masters category. Lean, tough and sinewy, these silver foxes just keep getting stronger and stronger.
SQUIRILs (SQUishy Idlers Rejoicing In Lycra)
For Squirils, it’s not about the bike – it’s about the fantasy of the bike. They’re nuts about all things bike. Except riding. Squirils are in it for the coffee, croissants and Lycra, which creates the illusion that they’re athletes. They avoid hills, and wonder every 10km about “When are we stopping for coffee?” They often miss rides (“My alarm didn’t go off” is their go-to excuse).
CoBras (COrporate BRAs)
These MDs, Chairmen, CE-Ous, and other Masters of the Universe executives are usually A-plus personality types. Typically, a CoBra is a racing snake – they just can’t help being competitive. For CoBras, cycling is not only about business; it performs a vital social function. They never pay for a post-ride coffee.
RABBITs (Rogue Annoying Bossy Bad-asses In Tights)
Unlike Squirils, Rabbits can’t get enough kays or hills. Stagger off your bike at the end of a ride, and the Rabbit looks like a bunny caught in the headlights: “What? We’ve only done 140km!” He’s the guy who heads to the front and cranks up the pace. He’ll tell you how he could/would/should have been a pro, “if only…” Rabbits enjoy passing on their infinite wisdom – your saddle’s too high, your cadence too low, your crank too cranky – but above all, the Rabbit’s the guy rocking tights… because when it comes to compression, he’s a true believer, baby.
SHITS (Sulky Hipsters in Ironic T-Shirts)
Despite the fact that a fixie (fixed-gear bike) is a hipster accessory, these bearded, bespectacled counter-culture latte-drinkers are not a sub-species of Mamil. In fact, Shits, with their tight slacks and sandals, only ride their pastel-peach fixies from trendy coffee shop to trendy coffee shop, tarnishing the image of cycling. Most are too young to be Mamils anyway. Bastards.