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Updated: Sir Chris Hoy apologises for comments about MAMILs

Scot said he feels "sorry" for Middle Aged Men in Lycra and compared them to “an overweight football fan"...

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy has apologised for remarks made in GQ magazine in which he shared his cycling style tips and said he feels “sorry for MAMILs,” comparing  most of those who ride in full team kit to "an overweight football fan wearing the shirt of his favourite club for a pub five-a-side game."

On Twitter yesterday evening he said the comments, published in the magazine's August issue, were part of a "tongue-in-cheek article that wasn't meant to offend."

He added that on reflection, the article came across as "harsh," which hadn't been his intention.

The acronym MAMIL, which stands for “Middle Aged Men in Lycra,” was first used in a cycling context by London based consumer research firm Mintel in its Cycling in the UK report published in 2010.

> New research highlights rise of the MAMIL (that's middle-aged men in Lycra)

Hoy began his GQ piece by highlighting what he sees as a “complicated” situation for cyclists in the UK compared to their counterparts in countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany where the habit of riding a bike is more entrenched, and has been for years.

“We are still in that awkward phase of finding ourselves in an unfamiliar situation and feeling uncomfortable,” he said. “So we overthink things and end up assuming to ride a bike in any way seriously you need to be wearing a full Team Sky racing kit.

“Of course, that it makes most cyclists look as ridiculous as an overweight football fan wearing the shirt of his favourite club for a pub five-a-side game.”

The Scot continued: “Personally, I feel sorry for MAMILs. When they walk into a café dressed head-to-toe in Lycra, you'll always spot people sniggering at them.”

He said that one positive interpretation “may be that they were once twice the size they are now until cycling transformed them and they feel great about how they look.”

But he continued: “The flipside is that Lycra isn't the most elegant material you can wear and professional cycling gear generally looks awful on pretty much anyone heavier than eight stone and with more than five per cent body aerodynamic fat.

“But there is a better solution. For me, the most important consideration is to choose attire that is functional, but looks stylish too. That means going for colours that are understated and use smart fabrics.”

Hoy, who in 2015 launched his own short-lived range of cycle clothing in partnership with Vulpine, which was rescued from administration by Mango Bikes earlier this year, took what many might see as a side-swipe at another well-known cycle clothing brand, and one whose products come at a premium.

“Another common mistake is buying the most expensive cycling gear just because it is perceived as fashionable or cool,” he said.

“For many cyclists, there is a reverse snobbery where they will look down on a rider if every item they own comes from the same brand.

“You will get more respect if you mix and match items that look good.”

Hoy’s style tips also encompassed issues such as shorts and leg-shaving

Then there is the issue of shorts and the option of leg shaving.

“If you are part of a cycling group that takes their riding seriously, you can expect a lot of mickey-taking if you turn up with hairy legs,” he explained.

“Likewise, if you ever wear shorts to the office and you have shaved your legs you are certainly going to hear about it.”

Most road cyclists would agree with the first of his parting pieces of advice.

“Avoid white shorts,” said Hoy. “They're terribly unflattering (from the front, men look like a percentage sign) and become see-through when wet. Enough said.”

Riders who regularly participate in time trials might take exception to his final tip, however.

“Never wear an aerodynamic helmet,” he cautioned. “Unless you are taking part in a time trial at the Olympics or one of the grand tours, don't do it.”

What do you think? Is Hoy on the money, or should people wear whatever they feel comfortable in? And what are your personal no-nos? National champion's kit? Mismatched team kit? Any kind of team kit at all, unless you ride for them? Let us know in the comments below.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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94 comments

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skippy | 6 years ago
0 likes
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PapaSmurf | 6 years ago
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If I was a MAMIL I may have taken offence; Being an OFIL (Old Fart In Lycra) I'm cool.

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Bikeylikey | 6 years ago
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Having started being a middle aged man in lycra over 20 years ago, and been an old man in lycra for the last 10, I have never once been aware of anyone laughing at me or my aged mates in any of the many many cafes we've been in over all that time. And why does he assume that so many are overweight? I'm not, and I only know one or two over 40s regular, keen cyclists who are. What's even more offensive is the utter crap about what you 'should' wear, being bothered about looking effing stylish and following effing rules about effing 'fashion', especailly when handed down by some arrogant tosser who has a financial interest in all this bollocks. Then realises he's revealed what a tosser he is and 'apologises'. Up yours.

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David9694 | 3 years ago
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just trying to get back to the thread on the latest Hoy/ "tribal" comment - can someone point me to it please? 

someone had just said "motorists should be a lot less killey" and then I got sucked into housework and lost the page. 

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dottigirl replied to NicholasM | 6 years ago
4 likes
NicholasM wrote:

If you read Hoy's GQ article, it's actually light-hearted and pretty inoffensive. I've no problem with it at all. It's the Daily Hate that spun it into a dig at cyclists in general. 

And Telegraph. And judging on the comments here, everyone's fallen for it. 

Divide and conquer. 

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to stever | 6 years ago
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stever wrote:

Does anyone remember the old days when you could have a laugh and everyone wasn't so busy being offended?

Except when someone says something in a position that Hoy has it, it does have an impact in today's society, (just as it always did in the old days too) or maybe you think body shaming/telling people what they can and can't wear is acceptable? Is it right that a prominant  and respected celeb whom is also a Knight Commander of the British Empire come out with such crap especially when people on bikes are continually under fire as well as specifically being targetted for wearing clothing that Hoy makes a point of criticising himself?

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HalfWheeler replied to korblimey | 6 years ago
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korblimey wrote:

He's right about white shorts but so wrong about Team Sky gear. Who seriously aspires to wear it and how often do you seen it worn for all the Wiggins Froome success? Surely there's an article to be written about why people don't actually wear Team Sky and why Rapha baled out. 

Sky kit was very much an early 2010's thing, esp in 2012. It was everywhere. But in the last 3 or 4 years it's died a bit of a death. 

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Sheen wheels replied to Biggus-Dickkus | 6 years ago
1 like
Biggus-Dickkus wrote:

“Never wear an aerodynamic helmet,” he cautioned. “Unless you are taking part in a time trial at the Olympics or one of the grand tours, don't do it.”

What a Dick to make comments like this...

I wear a Casco SpeedAiro helmet for several very good reasons;

1. It is extremely strong and safe.

2. It has an integrated visor which give the rider a brillient view of the road ahead plus great visability from the side for excellent overall vison, unlike a lot of cycling glasses.

3. It has a number of vents above the visor so your head can get very good air circulation, plus these vents have fine mesh grills behind them so it keeps all the flies and insects off of your head.

Agreed. The Giro aero helmet is the best commuting helmet I have ever found - visor clips over your ordinary glasses (I found the Casco didn't give enough clearance for this) and you can flip it up at will. The only drawback is that people assume I'm going to be going a lot faster than I can manage.

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beezus fufoon replied to J90 | 6 years ago
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J90 wrote:

I'd rather listen to Laura Kenny, now that's saying something!

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don simon fbpe replied to sodit | 6 years ago
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sodit wrote:

I live in France and watching the the local clubs go by is great, you have pot bellied 70 year olds, 14 year old racing snakes, blokes and ladies and all wearing club and team lycra in all shapes and sizes and they dont give a shit cos there having FUN the real reason for cycling.!

And where has that got them? Where is France in the world of cycling?

Pfft!

Anyway, in a parallel world there's an article where a fashion designer is feeling sorry for athletes who think they are haute couture experts the second they retire.

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sodit replied to PapaSmurf | 6 years ago
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PapaSmurf wrote:

If I was a MAMIL I may have taken offence; Being an OFIL (Old Fart In Lycra) I'm cool.

Me too only I'm a FOGIL. Fat Old Got In Lycra.

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TheBillder replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
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Rapha Nadal replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
3 likes

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

stever wrote:

Does anyone remember the old days when you could have a laugh and everyone wasn't so busy being offended?

Except when someone says something in a position that Hoy has it, it does have an impact in today's society, (just as it always did in the old days too) or maybe you think body shaming/telling people what they can and can't wear is acceptable? Is it right that a prominant  and respected celeb whom is also a Knight Commander of the British Empire come out with such crap especially when people on bikes are continually under fire as well as specifically being targetted for wearing clothing that Hoy makes a point of criticising himself?

Yawn.  This is road.cc, not The Daily Fail.  Take your faux outrage elsewhere.

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sodit replied to don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
0 likes
don simon wrote:
sodit wrote:

I live in France and watching the the local clubs go by is great, you have pot bellied 70 year olds, 14 year old racing snakes, blokes and ladies and all wearing club and team lycra in all shapes and sizes and they dont give a shit cos there having FUN the real reason for cycling.!

And where has that got them? Where is France in the world of cycling?

Pfft!

Anyway, in a parallel world there's an article where a fashion designer is feeling sorry for athletes who think they are haute couture experts the second they retire.

Your remark highlights my statement they are having fun who gives a fuck about the professionals. Get a grip.

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David9694 replied to TheBillder | 3 years ago
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Cheers

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to Rapha Nadal | 6 years ago
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Rapha Nadal wrote:

BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

stever wrote:

Does anyone remember the old days when you could have a laugh and everyone wasn't so busy being offended?

Except when someone says something in a position that Hoy has it, it does have an impact in today's society, (just as it always did in the old days too) or maybe you think body shaming/telling people what they can and can't wear is acceptable? Is it right that a prominant  and respected celeb whom is also a Knight Commander of the British Empire come out with such crap especially when people on bikes are continually under fire as well as specifically being targetted for wearing clothing that Hoy makes a point of criticising himself?

Yawn.  This is road.cc, not The Daily Fail.  Take your faux outrage elsewhere.

It's not the outrage by people who ride bikes that's the problem, it's those that have a beef against people who cycle.

it's not fake outrage, i'm genuinely pissed off that someone that should be supportive of riding a bike is poking fun at and denigrating those that do. Who the fuck is he to come out and tell anyone what they can and cannot wear or what bike they can ride.

 

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stever replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Except when someone says something in a position that Hoy has it, it does have an impact in today's society, (just as it always did in the old days too) or maybe you think body shaming/telling people what they can and can't wear is acceptable?

Except the amount of outrage bears no relation to either the tone or content of the actual article: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/chris-hoy-on-what-to-wear-when-you-...

"It might seem ludicrously simple, but the obvious answer to what to wear on your bike is whatever that helps you enjoy cycling. "

Nobody I know living or dead matches his quip about '8st and 5% body fat', so it's hard to be too literal about the rest. Anyways. I like the man, will continue to wear lycra when I feel like it and sleep easily at night.

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check12 | 6 years ago
4 likes

If you read the gq article it's a bit different to this one. He has some valid points. 

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STiG911 | 6 years ago
3 likes

Cycling gear is designed to be worn close to the skin and direct sweat away from the body as well as reducing drag for those who like to cycle long distances. The fact that almost all non-cyclists don't understand AND think it's a reason to mock us just shows everyone how stupid they are.

I sweat like a fountain after only about three miles on even a mild day, so I'll wear the gear for the job, thanks. And almost all those berks wearing football tops are only going to the pub anyway.

PS. I've never seen anyone out my way in Team Sky gear. The vast majority - myself included - don't even wear any team kit, just nice colourful jerseys.

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alansmurphy replied to STiG911 | 6 years ago
0 likes
STiG911 wrote:

 

PS. I've never seen anyone out my way in Team Sky gear. The vast majority - myself included - don't even wear any team kit, just nice colourful jerseys.

 

Where are you - I'll pop round.

 

Have the Castelli Sky top because it looks really nice, like the little line things showing the victories. Have the Wiggins kit as I liked the 'Mod' stuff. Also have a Miltag top celebrating Tom Simpson, a couple of Ventoux tops including the blue Rapha one.

 

I like to know I look ok in them and like to know the more I cycle the better I look in them, but I wear things I like rather than caring what others think...

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STiG911 replied to alansmurphy | 6 years ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:

Where are you - I'll pop round.

Have the Castelli Sky top because it looks really nice, like the little line things showing the victories. Have the Wiggins kit as I liked the 'Mod' stuff. Also have a Miltag top celebrating Tom Simpson, a couple of Ventoux tops including the blue Rapha one.

I like to know I look ok in them and like to know the more I cycle the better I look in them, but I wear things I like rather than caring what others think...

Not too sure about Wiggins stuff 'for me' but agree it does look good. Miltag / Ventoux though - sweeet.

I may* or may not have a ltd edition replica 2015 Paul Smith / Castelli Tour of Dubai jersey  4 (It's designed for hotter weather - see my earlier comment about sweating like a fountain)

 

 

 

*Yeah, I do.

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maviczap | 6 years ago
2 likes

Sir Chris forgets who was cheering him on all those years, and voted for him on BBC SPOTY. A right Ratner comment, although no doubt manipulated by the editor of GQ for maximum click bait effect.

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Woldsman | 6 years ago
2 likes

I have a friend who thinks he may be a MAMIL. And he points out that when he was their age he looked far more conventionally physically conditioned than messrs Wiggins and Froome et al who are in no danger of appearing on the cover of Men's Health, for instance.  For sure I could never ride my bike as fast as an average amateur racer - I mean my friend couldn't - but not everyone is able to get down to their 'ideal' weight, even if they wanted to. 

The likelihood of my buying a Hoy bike? Fat chance. 

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fixit | 6 years ago
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midle aged men in lycra??? doI smell RACISM???? some of us look ridiculus but, yes this is racism!

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exilegareth replied to fixit | 6 years ago
1 like
tsarouxaz wrote:

midle aged men in lycra??? doI smell RACISM???? some of us look ridiculus but, yes this is racism!

You may wish to google 'sense of proportion'. The non-event of a man who needs publicity getting it by saying somethign mildly controversial that wouldn't be out of place in a really bad open mic comedy performance does not equate to racism.

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drosco | 6 years ago
7 likes

Is everyone getting a bit hysterical? It's only stuff we've all joked about at one point or another surely?

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HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
3 likes

Never use a black Bic biro to write children's books, Chris, it makes you look like a right wally. Leave it to the professionals. And those gloves you had on when you were pretending to be a racing car driver - they scream twat.

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sammutd88 | 6 years ago
5 likes

Wear what you want on a bike. If Team Sky or BMC kit makes you want to get out and ride, go for it. Not my thing but each to their own. If you want to go full Rapha or Assos and have the dough, then good for you. It’s not a fashion show, just enjoy the ride!

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velo-nh | 6 years ago
6 likes

Ageism and body shaming at the same time.  Nice!

 

If you're a road cyclist, then you've already drawn complete contempt from other road users.  What you're wearing doesn't matter at all, unless you went out with just a speedo (looking at you, GCN).

 

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WashoutWheeler replied to velo-nh | 6 years ago
2 likes
velo-nh wrote:

Ageism and body shaming at the same time.  Nice!

 

If you're a road cyclist, then you've already drawn complete contempt from other road users.  What you're wearing doesn't matter at all, unless you went out with just a speedo (looking at you, GCN).

 

 

I always appear to have an invisible target on my 60 year old MAMIL back!

I don't mind people taking the pee, they mostly know no better and are so unfit they will be gone long before most of us pedal pushers anyway!

 It's the idiots using my invisible target trying to have me off I get concerned about!!! And Idiots like @YvetteShapiro do not help matters with their anti cycling "I own the road" ordure. The BBC should sack her for "causing offence to a minority" in her tweets they have done it before so let's see if they have any bottle..........................

 

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