A middle-aged man who is a very keen road cyclist, typically one who rides an expensive bike and wears the type of clothing associated with professional cyclists. (Oxford English Dictionary)
They are known as MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). The term was invented in recognition of the recent explosion in popularity of cycling amongst middle-aged men. They can usually be spotted on weekend mornings – flying down the road in a cacophany of garish lycra and expensive carbon frames and wheels.
These are middle-aged, middle-class men with careers, families and mortgages. They are never going to win the Tour de France – yet they spend a huge amount of time, money and energy on cycling. Why is it so important to own the best bike and all the right gear? What compels them to choose long hours on the road over time with the family?
This light-hearted, yet insightful, feature length documentary explores the secret lives of MAMILs in their natural habitat through interviews with experts interwoven with MAMIL stories set around the world.
In Australia, we meet racing cyclist Jayman from the Warragul Cycling Club in
country Victoria; Jim Turner, the president of the Adelaide Fat Boys recreational cycling group; and best mates Craig and Franko from Perth who are on a mission to raise money for cancer and have some fun while they are doing it.
In the UK, we meet Rupert who spends his spare time creating videos about the latest cycling gadgets for his YouTube channel; Andy, a 42 year old father of two, who is making a comeback to professional racing 17 years after giving up a promising career as a junior; and Richard, a journalist who took up cycling as a way to deal with his MS diagnosis.
In the USA, we meet Carlos who founded the Eastside Bike Club Los Angeles to help his hispanic community battle the obesity epidemic; Vern a paraplegic cyclist from Des Moines; Tim a Christian cyclist from Minneapolis; and Bob, a gay cyclist from the Fast ‘n Fabulous Cycling Club in New York City.
In Spain, Australian cyclist Doug Shirrefs arrives for the ultimate boys’ sporting holiday. Over the next ten days he will stay at 5 star hotels, eat at the best restaurants, ride the route of the famous La Vuelta Espana road race and see his cycling heroes up close and personal.
The world of elite professional cycling has been explored in innumerable
documentaries. However, nothing has been done on the world of middle aged men in lycra. MAMIL is an enjoyable and sometimes hilarious romp through the secret world of men and masculinty; that also explores the things that men are reluctant to talk about.
MAMIL is an acronym. It stands for Middle Aged Men in Lycra. The term was invented in 2009 by Michael Oliver, a marketing researcher from Mintel in the UK who had been talking to cycling manufacturers and retailers and they had all commented on the strong growth of the middle aged, male demographic. In 2014, the word MAMIL was included in the Oxford English Dictionary.
When making MAMIL, the filmmakers had to decide which men actually fit the definition of MAMIL. There is no real consensus on this. According to Michael Oliver (the man who named the phenomenon) a MAMIL is in the age bracket 35 – 54. However, many cyclists we met were above that age. There was also the question of whether to include racing cyclists as well as recreational riders; and whether to include middle aged men who had been riding all their lives or just the ones who had taken up the sport recently. In the end, we decided that if a man wore lycra and thought of himself as middle-aged rather than old, then we could include him in the film.
The documentary MAMIL features cyclists from all over the world including cities such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, London, Surrey, Nottingham, Bath, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Des Moines, Minneapolis and New York City. The documentary MAMIL was filmed in Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, the UK and the USA.
The cycling clubs featured in the documentary MAMIL are: The Warragul Cycling Club (Victoria, Australia), The Adelaide Fat Boys (Australia), Team MAMILS (Perth), MAMILS Yeah (Perth), The Bath Cycling Club (Bath, UK), MAMIL Sports (Nottingham, UK), Fiasco Cycling Club (Surrey, UK), Eastside Bike Club (Los Angeles), Altoona Road Riders (Des Moines, USA), Twin Cities Spoke Christian Cycling Club (Minneapolis, USA), Fast ‘n Fabulous Cycling Club (New York City, USA) and the Las Vegas Cycling Club (USA).