How you become a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra

The Learning Period (5 behaviours)

  1. You notice yourself looking at road bikes and Rapha clothing and thinking hmmmm I think I like pink stripes
  2. You start talking to strange men at suburban parties (not that sort) about cycling and how many miles they do at the weekend
  3. You look at your belly and start to think that (proper) cycling might actually be better for you than pretending that hungover weekend jog will suffice
  4. You buy Rouler, and then buy Cyclist Magazine as Rouler was incomprehensible, and then settle on Cycling Plus because of the Fat to Fit headline (very UnRouler)
  5. You go for a coffee in a cycling cafe and freeze in the middle of all the hubris so you order a flat white and walk out.

The Trial and Error Period ( 7 behaviours)

  1. You buy a bike (cheap, but definitely not from Halfords… need to have some cred). Mine’s a Bianchi Nirone, or more to the point something not from Halfords but not over £700…
  2. Next, you sign into Wiggle. Say goodbye to any disposable income you might have floating around
  3. Once the clothes arrive, you send 50% of the stuff back as you realise a large cyclist is not a normal large sized man. This reinforces Behaviour 3 from the Learning Period
  4. After four weeks of buying/sending back equipment you have the balls to go out for a ride. You feel like Lance Armstrong after a trip to the pharmacy but you look like that bloke you laughed at a few months ago, especially when you negotiate the first sudden stop in your new Shimano cleats
  5. You buy more stuff from Wiggle
  6. You discover Strava and relentlessly study your colleagues’, neighbours’ and enemies’ routes, heart rate zones and trophy cabinets. Stalker is very much in your vocabulary and you’re comfortable with that
  7. You buy a computer and heart rate monitor from Wiggle.

The Acceptance Period (6 behaviours)

  1. After a few average outings, you hit upon a glorious ride and you feel like Jan Ullrich after a trip to the pharmacy. The bike seems to propel itself forward, the countryside bathed in sunlight whooshes by as the miles get eaten up, lorry drivers wave at you and English farmers shout ‘Allez Allez’ at you… maybe not that last bit
  2. You don’t even talk to your family after your rides as you need to ‘compare segments’ on Strava as soon as you walk through the door. You drink that HIGH 5 Protein drink even after a jolly 15 miler
  3. You buy ‘jazzier’ cycling clothing. Whilst still looking wistfully at the Rapha site you decide to go for something in the Condor sale at about 25% of the cost. I’m currently wowing the Sussex Farmers with my pink peaked Condor/Bar Italia cap
  4. You enter a local Sportive with a mate and actually start to train for the event. You cut back drinking wine on school nights
  5. You feel like a cyclist even though Presta valves still bother you and you are still of the ‘If I get a puncture I’ll get my wife to pick me up’ mentality
  6. You sit in the Rapha coffee shop and don’t feel like a fish out of water, although that’s probably more to do with the sitting down than anything to do with cycling.

I’m told life will never be the same now. I’m currently swotting up on threshold training (which only used to happen when it was the boys’ bedtime and I wanted the loo). I’ll let you know how this pans out.

Allez Allez!

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