Guest post from Rob Spedding, Editor of Cycling Plus magazine.
This morning on Radio 5 there was yet another report on recent research that found that cycling, and road cycling in particular, is the new sign of a mid-life crisis in men. It doesn’t feel like a crisis to this middle aged man…
This all stems from a report by market research powerhouse Mintel that found that the cycling market is being driven by affluent 35-44 year old men. It went as far as to say that cycling is “the ‘noughties’ version of the midlife crisis”. As a result, many of you have no doubt found yourself being referred to by mates and colleagues as a MAMIL – that’s a middle-aged-man-in-Lycra.
Another study carried out by academics at the University of the West of England found that 42% of people questioned felt that ‘cycling has become cool nowadays’, and 38% agree that bike technology is ‘sexier’. (There were some other, less positive findings – we’re lazy and not serious career people?)
Well, at 37 (but not affluent sadly), I proudly wear Lycra and ride a rather nice Viner Perfecta. I’ve got too much grey hair, my stomach could be smaller – click here for evidence – I don’t get enough sleep because of my one-year old son, I drink a little too much at times…Prime mid-life crisis material in short.
So, is my cycling some kind of cry for help? Hell no it isn’t – I do it because I love it. I love the burning lungs, stinging legs and feeling of incredible elation I get when I reach the top of a huge climb; I love the buzz of descending that same steep hill at a silly speed; I love the fact that, if I do it enough, that gut will disappear and I’ll be healthier than the majority of 37-year-olds; and yes I love the bikes, the clothes and the gadgets. None of this sounds like a mid-life crisis to me and if it is then I’ll happily live with it!