I bet you’ve heard of the Werewolves of London. The movie or the song has come across your mind. Well there is something else that is in London. It’s the mamils. Mamil stands for Middle Aged Men in Lycra. The mamils are the bike riders that seem to be everywhere.
I was just in London for vacation and it was a wild ride. London is a city of nine million. As you can imagine the traffic is horrendous. I’m not just talking about the fact that they are driving on the wrong side of the road. The shear number of vehicles is almost unbelievable. The cars are packed together. Remember the roads were laid out in the sixteen hundreds when there were only horses and carriages on the roads. All the buildings are that old too. The roads are packed in and there is no way to change them. Motorcycles cut between the cars and to the side of the road are all the bicycles.
Getting around on a bike is a feat. You see all these middle aged men with Lycra biking suits on. They have helmets and funky bike riding shoes and their working clothes are in back packs or panniers.
They are headed to work. They have a serious look on their faces. It has to be serious. I was afraid for them. Between trucks, cars and motorcycles, they could be hit from almost any direction. Their little bike compared to a car is no contest. All these bike riders are skinny. They are pedaling furiously just to stay in the flow of traffic. I figure that when you can’t keep up, you just get run over.
I did talk to a girl that rode to her job on a bike. She pedaled 50 minutes one-way to get to work. She said the only time she took the bus was if it was raining. She didn’t say how many miles it was but she claimed that she was in good shape. She also didn’t have a car payment and could afford to live closer to her work. Housing is even more expensive than cars.
On Saturdays the mamils really came out in force. These were the guys that were riding for exercise and not going to work. They were the people that were really in danger. They were slower than the people going to work. They didn’t have a schedule and they tended to not know the roads as well. Thank goodness some of the business traffic was off the rode.
I’ve been back in the USA about a month since that trip. It is fun to take a leisurely drive without having to worry about traffic. It is a pleasure to go down a country road without too much traffic on it.
Every now and then I pass a group of American mamils. There are bike clubs around and they like to get on the back roads for their Saturday jaunts around the countryside. They wear helmets and all the Lycra suits too. I get them a wide berth if I have to pass them. That’s a lot different than what they have to do in England. I can pull out in a different lane and give them lots of room. In England everyone has to stay in his lane and just hope for the best.
I didn’t get to ask the girl how hard it had to rain for her to ride the bus. She did say that she kept two changes of clothes, a rain suit and an umbrella with her everyday she rode her bike. She did say when it got cold she would ride the bus more often. I didn’t find out how cold it was, she said it in Celsius.