MAMILs (not golfers) on holiday
It used to be that men of a certain age took up golf. They would spend hours, from their middle years onwards, perfecting their game and even more hours drooling over the latest kit and equipment. They would plan their weekends and holidays around their favourite hobby and sit in the bar chatting with golfing buddies about golf.
Now, golf has been swapped for cycling.
That first paragraph could be written in the same way but with the word “cycling” instead of “golf”. The rise of the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra) has created a huge shift in sporting hobbies and holidays for men.
It is not only the guys that are turning to cycling. Women cyclists are also fast rising in numbers, although the trend seems to be for younger women, rather than those in their middle years.
MAMILS on holiday
A global trend-setting report, revealed by World Travel Market recently, shows a cycling tourism revolution. The 2014 report, in association with Euromonitor International, looked at the US holiday market and found that while the popularity of golf has declined since the 2000s from around 25 million players to 19 million in 2013, the number of cycling enthusiasts grew in one year from 2012 from 3.5 million to 3.8 million.
Many destinations are now repositioning themselves as cycle-friendly, for tourists and residents alike.
New cycle holidays
Popular holiday destinations and tourist boards are offering a range of outdoors activities to meet the expectations of the new wave of vacation cyclists. The theory is that MAMILs might enjoy a spot of kayaking, white water rafting and hiking, too. Golf resorts are also keen to attract MAMILs for a day of golf, while enjoying their cycling trips.
New bike touring routes are springing up to cater for MAMILs abroad. For example, in the US state of Oregon there a now four times as many state bike routes.
In Europe, an initiative is underway to develop a network of cycling routes that would connect the whole continent by 2020. EuroVelo currently comprises 14 routes. When complete, the network will span 70,000 km.
Cycle tour providers are witnessing a boost in bookings, especially from the MAMIL market.
Top cycle tours for MAMILs
Here's our choice of great holidays for MAMILs.
High achieving MAMILs: Tour of the Cairngorms
in Scotland. Charming Highland towns, castles, malt whiskies, Jacobite battlefields and lots of Scottish hills. An eight-day tour to test your thigh muscles.
Energetic MAMILs: Island Hopping in Croatia
, from Dubrovnik to Split. Fabulous islands, a mixture of coastal routes and hills and plenty to see and do to keep even the most energetic rider happy.
Like your food and drink, as well as cycling in warm weather? The Gourmet Rioja Cycling tour
in Spain could be your perfect trip.
Staycation MAMILs: Sea to Sea (C2C) cycle tour
across the north of England. Hills, valleys, moors, fabulous views and a great challenge all wrapped up into four to five days of cycling.
MAMIL and MAWIL
(aka cycling couples): Italy is the home of romance and this cycle tour combines bikes with boats. Enjoy the Italy by Bike and Boat tour
from Venice to Mantova.