aging · body image · cycling · fitness · Zwift

The MAMILs have met their match, the OWLs!

The OWLs

I’ve written a lot here on the blog about men and body image. See here and here and here. There’s more too, if you search around.

I hate all the teasing men in lycra get, so many MAMIL jokes.

What’s MAMIL stand for? Middle aged men in lycra. And lots of the jokes are about men’s bodies in fitted cycling clothes. I hate them.

Here’s a light hearted one, less mean than most.

Goodbye Kevin. I could look the other way with the boozing and the skirt chasing but I didn’t sign up for bicycle clothes.

But on the other hand, at least older men in bike clothes are recognized to be a phenomena. There aren’t as many older women. See Sam is racing with the guys and wondering, where are the women her age?

However, I came across a Facebook group recently for OWLS! That’s Older Women in Lycra. Here’s the group’s description: “Designed to EMPOWEROWL.bike (Older Women in Lycra) made with ❤️ for women cyclists UCA age 55 and older. OWLs are changing societal messages on aging…one ride at a time!”

There’s also this article: Say hello to the ‘owls’ – older women in Lycra

From the article, “Such men have acquired their own acronym, and it’s entered the language. Mamils – middle-aged men in Lycra – are a recognised demographic who are a target market for advertisers, with considerable buying power and much to enjoy spending their money on, from beautiful carbon-frame bikes to stylish cycle-wear. But the Mamil only tells half the story. There are also what I call Owls – older women in Lycra – and we enjoy all those things just as much. And if that makes us objects of satire as much as the Mamils are… then fine.

British Cycling, the sport’s umbrella organisation, confirms that women ­cyclists – including a significant number of older women – are rapidly on the increase. BC’s women-only Breeze Rides – its scheme to encourage women to take up cycling – have attracted more than 13,000 women since the beginning of 2015. Of these, 59 per cent are aged 35 to 54 and 29 per cent are 55-plus. In the 50 to 59 age group in last week’s Ride London 100 – the biggest sportive in Britain – an impressive 26 per cent of entrants were women. Next month no less a 51-year-old than the Countess of Wessex is taking part in a charity bike ride from Edinburgh to London. A few years ago I cycled from London to Edinburgh myself, and it’s a hell of an undertaking.”

The OWLS race on Zwift and while I can’t join them yet–they race in the afternoon spot for the TTTs–I do appreciate that they’re there.

Might also be nice to just have a mature riders group for all people, including those who don’t identify as men or women.

One thought on “The MAMILs have met their match, the OWLs!

  1. At 56, I have fallen out of love with road biking and prefer my mountain bike, for which I don’t wear lycra, but this makes me want to take up road biking again, just to be an OWiL. Although I guess I already wear for for running in the cooler weather, so maybe I already “belong”.

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