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Britain's middle-aged men switch Ferraris for expensive bikes

Published on Jul 4, 2014 11:58 AM
 
A cyclist rides on the Mall in central London on July 3, 2014. Once a niche sport, cycling has become so popular in Britain that it has spawned a new breed of fans who would rather buy a bike than a Ferrari and who confront their expanding waistlines by taking to the open road.  -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Once a niche sport, cycling has become so popular in Britain that it has spawned a new breed of fans who would rather buy a bike than a Ferrari and who confront their expanding waistlines by taking to the open road.

These "middle-aged men in lycra" or MAMILs, as the tribe has unflatteringly been dubbed, will be out in force this weekend as the Tour de France begins in the northern English country of Yorkshire, many of them wearing day-glo outfits and tight shorts.

The typical MAMIL is over the age of 35 and paid enough to afford the expensive brands favoured by their tribe, such as stylish cycle clothing maker Rapha, as well as pilgrimages to sites such as the mythical Mont Ventoux in the Provence region of southern France.

"Twenty-five years ago they might have gone out to buy a Porsche, or a supersport motorbike, now its a £3,000 (S$6,416) carbon fibre bike," said Michael Oliver, a marketing specialist who claims to have come up with the term "MAMIL", which has now entered the dictionary.

 
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