Recently, the Dabbs went out on the town for a viewing of MAMIL, a new documentary about cycling from co-directors Eleanor Sharpe and Nickolas Bird.
For those unaware, MAMIL stands for Middle Aged Men in Lycra. This is a reference to the rise in middle aged men who have taken up cycling in the last 10-15 years, buying expensive bikes and hitting up the cafes on their weekend rides. Many people in the cycling world have criticised them as having “all the gear, and no idea”, and those outside the community can be quick to judge them as fat blokes going through a midlife crisis.
Fortunately, the film looks beyond the stereotype of the everyday MAMIL, and asks the question, why do these guys ride? There are some great stories shared, and the cyclists interviewed are shown in a very positive light. Some even go so far as to say they would probably not be here today if it wasn’t for cycling.
The film visits six different countries, exploring the MAMIL in different habits, including the UK, USA and Australia. What’s fascinating is that MAMILs are the same world round, just a bunch of middle-aged guys who want the sense of belonging and freedom that comes with cycling.
The film is very humorous in parts. We laughed a lot throughout, especially the part about the guys hiding how much money they’d spent on bikes from their partners! One of the highlights for us was seeing the wives’ and partners’ exasperation at their husbands’ silly, expensive hobby, which I’m sure is something that all people in a relationship can relate to.
Another highlight was the story of the barrister from Melbourne who went on a cycling holiday to the mountains in Spain, and seeing the child-like joy on his face as he got to see the world’s best cyclists up close.
MAMIL was a highly enjoyable film. It is incredibly moving at times, and if you’re a cyclist you will no doubt see parts of yourself in this film. I couldn’t help but laugh at some points and shake my head at others.
It does a good job of going beyond the common stereotype of an amateur cyclist; hopefully some non-cyclists view it too and it changes their perspective, if only a little. We all need to be safer on the road, and though cyclists and motorists may annoy each other, hopefully seeing the humans behind the lycra can provide some much needed goodwill between the two groups.
Score: Yellow Jersey
Have you seen MAMIL? What did you think? If you’re in Australia and you’d like to see MAMIL, tickets can be purchased here.
The scoring system explained:
Yellow jersey: The jersey given to the winner of the Tour de France. A brilliant film/book.
Polkadot Jersey: Awarded to the winner of the most King of the Mountain points. This would be a very good book or film, but not in the same class as one which scored a yellow jersey.
Green Jersey: The jersey awarded to the winner of the most sprint points at the tour. This is an entertaining book or film, but not in the same substance as the two grades above.
Lanterne Rouge: The Lanterne Rouge is known in cycling circles as he who finishes last place in the Tour de France. In this scoring system it will be given to a book or film that misses the mark completely.