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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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ooldbaker | 6 years ago
1 like

He has tweeted tonight that:

'm really sorry; reading it back it looks harsh &that wasn't my intention. Whatever ur age/build, if ur on a bike u have my respect'

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to ooldbaker | 6 years ago
3 likes
ooldbaker wrote:

He has tweeted tonight that:

'm really sorry; reading it back it looks harsh &that wasn't my intention. Whatever ur age/build, if ur on a bike u have my respect'

he's too fucking late, it's pretty clear what he meant!

I'm not having that BS sonshine, you're media savvy whore whom grandmas love because you've never said anything remotely ugly, now you come out with a load of pony supposedly said in jest and you didn't even think to read that back and think what a pompous twat I sound like and it is in actual fact offensive to many. That you even had those thoughts in your head speaks volumes about you Mr Hoy.

Lob-off

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simonmb replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
3 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
ooldbaker wrote:

He has tweeted tonight that:

'm really sorry; reading it back it looks harsh &that wasn't my intention. Whatever ur age/build, if ur on a bike u have my respect'

he's too fucking late, it's pretty clear what he meant!

I'm not having that BS sonshine, you're media savvy whore whom grandmas love because you've never said anything remotely ugly, now you come out with a load of pony supposedly said in jest and you didn't even think to read that back and think what a pompous twat I sound like and it is in actual fact offensive to many. That you even had those thoughts in your head speaks volumes about you Mr Hoy.

Lob-off

I'm not so sure. He hasn't said anything that we haven't heard bandied about amongst any group of cyclists at a café stop - and he's not totally wrong. As banter amongst mates it works - when you read it in print it doesn't. 

And, to be fair, most of us know we look crap in Lycra.

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don simon fbpe replied to ooldbaker | 6 years ago
2 likes
ooldbaker wrote:

He has tweeted tonight that:

'm really sorry; reading it back it looks harsh &that wasn't my intention. Whatever ur age/build, if ur on a bike u have my respect'

Christ, there's some arse kissing wankers out there, judging by the replies to his tweet.

While I agree with wearing team kit (in any sport) by those not associated directly with the team, it was a pretty shit read Chrissy boy.

 

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beezus fufoon | 6 years ago
1 like

The thing about Sir Hoy is, ever since the new wave of British heavy metal, he's had a bit of a fixation on men in spandex and lycra - it's just no one has had the heart to tell him they're actually giggling because of his visible semi.

He becomes visibly uncomfortable and starts fidgeting around, trying desperately to repress his sexual urges... one of his friends might come and have a quiet word with you... better "run to the hills" they'll say, before Chrissy offers to give you some "training" and gives you his number... or "the number of the beast" as it's colloquially known in cafes across the land.

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nadsta | 6 years ago
2 likes

He's possibly forgiven if GQ have editorialised a sentiment that the Lycra dictatorship stops more people from taking up cycling with all the associated fitness gains and pollution wins.

There again, he has bikes to sell. 

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WashoutWheeler replied to nadsta | 6 years ago
1 like
nadsta wrote:

He's possibly forgiven if GQ have editorialised a sentiment that the Lycra dictatorship stops more people from taking up cycling with all the associated fitness gains and pollution wins.

There again, he has bikes to sell. 

Gerald Ratner was planning to sell lots more jewellery, it did not stop him shooting his mouth off ! IF you are in the business of selling to a sector, best NOT to make comments that could be missconstrued.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
16 likes

I feel sorry for Mr.Hoy, feeling the need to publicly come out and put down people who ride bicycles, many of whom will have funded (indirectly) his training/backing etc so he could have a chance to achieve what he has.

Actually I don't feel sorry for him, Hoy, fuck off you pompous judgemental cunt, people can wear  what they like, when they like in front of whoever they like. riding whatever bike they like, it's people like you that make other weak minded twats like yourself think they can follow suit with their insults/negativity, do one sonshine!surprise

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nadsta | 6 years ago
3 likes

Don't waste your time reading Hoy's ramblings. This GQ article on 'How to wear knitted ties' is much better

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/how-to-wear-and-which-knot-to-use-w...

 

 

 

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ConcordeCX | 6 years ago
13 likes

If I wanted to be 8 stone I'd have to cut my legs off, then how would I look on my bike? I'd still look awesome.

He needs to sack his PR consultant and get one who'll tell him to say "it doesn't matter what people wear or what size or shape they are, or what they look like, what brands they buy or not, or how much they spend. If they're trying to get healthy they are beautiful, they've got more style than GQ has insecurities, and to hell with everyone else".

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Legin | 6 years ago
6 likes

Is it me or has Hoy disappeared up his own backside? "People" have been sniggering at cyclists since cars became affordable... feck em!

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Nick T | 6 years ago
0 likes

Aero helmets are banned, aren't they?

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beezus fufoon | 6 years ago
2 likes

I currently have zero percent "body aerodynamic fat" - maybe Sir Chris could be a bit more useful and tell us where we can get our body fat streamlined?

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gonedownhill | 6 years ago
5 likes

Pretty sure every person ever who both supports a football club and plays themselves has worn their team's top to play in.

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
12 likes

What a twat. Not fat or a team-gear-wearer but still annoyed by his holier than though attitude.

Signed - a taxpayer whose money went towards your training costs whilst you were lending yourself money from your own company. 

 

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Kadinkski | 6 years ago
7 likes

I see far more cyclists in Europe wearing full team kit than here. Having said that, I don't really give a shit what people wear and what that idiot thinks is fashionable or not.

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LJS | 6 years ago
1 like

Isn't gq a pretend style magazine?

tbh there are bigger issues in cycling than berating other people for what they're wearing.

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srchar | 6 years ago
3 likes

Pure clickbait. "Chris Hoy thinks lycra is the best material for cycle clothing" would not garner many clicks. I wonder what he wears in his racecar? Given that race suits and boots look stupid, I assume he's in jeans and an expensive designer t-shirt?

That said, I'd rather wear lycra and nomex than 95% of the shit they peddle in GQ every month.

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Richard D | 6 years ago
7 likes

I don'th think that Sir Chris actually meant half of what his words seem to mean.
But it's a stupid own-goal to gie an interview that lets the MSM scream a headline like "Sir Chris Hoy: middle-aged men over eight stone should stop wearing Lycra". 

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Beecho | 6 years ago
16 likes

Get tae fuck

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dpope1364 | 6 years ago
3 likes

So how would Sir Chris like us Mamil's to dress! Within cycling wearing Lycra, especially club kits is a thing of pride!

We can't all be in tip top shape all the time! As we still have to work! If I could devote my life to the gym and the road, I too could be built like a sparrow!

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patto583 | 6 years ago
5 likes

As a larger chap myself I accept that I'm not the picture of aesthetic appeal in lycra, but I wear what's comfortable and fits, which is no easy task. Shorts are ok, I tend to steer clear of the stylish Italian brands, as I've seen it said that you should size up, and their sizes rarely go up far enough, but I can usually find shorts that fit. I've got a couple of Fat Lad At the Back jerseys, which is essentially a tacit admission that you know you don't look good, but are trying to do something about it. The problem I have really is I ride in fits and starts, so never do enough to shift enough weight to look good, and I'm sure most overweight cyclists are in the same boat.

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Awavey | 6 years ago
6 likes

cough clickbait cough, Im with him on the white lycra thing, but the rest of it is garbage, Ill ignore the fact he happily put his name to the Vulpine lycra stuff, but to even say only people of 8 stone should wear it...that rules out most of the pro peloton doesnt it ??? let alone any of his track buddies, seriously 8 stone ? is Chris Hoy advocating only size zero lycra cyclists ??

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reliablemeatloaf | 6 years ago
14 likes

No team kit for me, just basic black and white jerseys, tights, shoes, helmet. I like that it goes with my bike scheme, so I don't look like I am a refugee from a boot sale. I hope that it makes me seem a little cool!

As far as people laughing at me, I will have the last laugh after they have died from stroke, diabetes,hypertension, heart attack, or cancer, because all the exercise they get is poking at their omnipresent phones as they drive home from Starbucks with a triple latte frappucino dingdong or whatever the hell they sell.

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barongreenback | 6 years ago
5 likes

I just buy what I like. Lycra feels more comfortable than cotton. My Rapha shorts are the most comfortable I've ever owned but I'm happy to team them up with a dhb jersey.  Team kit is amazingly popular on the continent so why not if you like the design?  The only thing I think is weird is people wearing replica rainbow jerseys. Those should be earned. 

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don simon fbpe | 6 years ago
7 likes

Having a second crack at the cycle clothing market are we Chris? No one likes a failure after all.

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drosco | 6 years ago
0 likes

Cough, Rapha, Cough....

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Toxmarz replied to drosco | 6 years ago
1 like
drosco wrote:

Cough, Rapha, Cough....

Walmart's latest brand?

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MandaiMetric | 6 years ago
32 likes

Yawn... Wear what you want.

Anyone who tells you otherwise can fuck right off.

That said... you won't catch me wearing white shorts.

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gmrza replied to MandaiMetric | 6 years ago
2 likes
MandaiMetric wrote:

Yawn... Wear what you want.

Anyone who tells you otherwise can fuck right off.

That said... you won't catch me wearing white shorts.

I was always under the impression that the way to look cool on a bike was to climb fast.  Doesn't matter what you wear, or what you ride - just climb fast, then you will have everybody's respect.

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