Australia’s middle aged men in lyrca on the rise but confined to weekends, affluent suburbs

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

The number of middle-aged Australian men who cycle on weekends has doubled in recent years, but the rise of the so-called ‘Mamils’ (middle aged men in lyrca) is confined to men in more affluent suburbs, says research in today’s Medical Journal of Australia.

University of Sydney authors who led the research said the Mamil study was prompted by media attention given to depicting and satirising this group and the importance of physical activity for preventing lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Journal/conference: Medical Journal of Australia

Organisation/s: The University of Sydney

Key findings

  • The proportion of middle aged men aged 45-65 years who cycled at least once in the previous year nearly doubled from 11 percent (2002-04) to 20.8 percent (2016)
  • The proportion of middle aged men aged 45-65 years who cycled at least once a week in the previous year more than doubled from 6.2 percent (2002-04) to 13.2 percent (2016)
  • The proportion of middle aged men aged 40-59 years who cycle to work hasn’t changed between 2006 (1.1 percent) and 2016 (1.3 percent)
  • Previously published data show the proportion of middle-aged men from high income suburbs who cycled at least weekly more than doubled over a 14-year study period, from 7.5 percent (2002-04) to 17.4 percent (2016).
  • Concurrent trends in newspaper reporting on Mamils are correlated with data showing the increasing prevalence of weekend cycling among affluent, middle aged men.
  • Media tracking data reveals a marked increase in media reporting on Mamils since 2010, with a peak in 2014. Overall, there were about 150 references to ‘Mamils’ each year in major print media, mostly in the United Kingdom (60 percent of mentions) or Australia (31 percent of mentions).

Lead author Professor Adrian Bauman of the University of Sydney said: “We found that cycling by middle-aged men has increased since 2002-04, supporting reports of the growth of the Mamil species.

“However, most are weekend superheroes who don't cycle to work during the week.

“The habitats of Mamils are affluent urban environments, often near the water, where Mamils meet in groups to channel their inner Cadel Evans.”

Note to editors

This research paper is part of the MJA’s Christmas issue, where whimsy and satire are encouraged, and humorous papers expected, so this is serious data with a non-serious twist.  This paper was joint winner this year of the most humorous paper, as judged by the Editorial Board, for which the authors were sent a Christmas hamper. They were all hoping that Santa brought them shiny new bicycles.

News for:

Australia
NSW

Multimedia:

  • Mamils cycling once p/mth previous year trend
    Mamils cycling once p/mth previous year trend

    This histogram shows the proportion of middle aged men aged 45-65 years who cycled at least once in the previous year nearly doubled from 11 percent (2002-04) to 20.8 percent (2016)

    File size: 67.6 KB

    Attribution:

    Permission category: No right reserved (waive all rights)

    Last modified: 11 Dec 2018 12:02am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

Show less
Show more

Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.