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Their numbers are swelling at an alarming rate, thanks to Tour de France winners Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome — men I would admire but for my husband's desire to emulate them.

As professional sportsmen, it is their job to dress in ridiculous clothes and spend endless hours in the saddle.

The clothes grew tighter, the cost escalated as he bought a cycling computer (a glorified satnav), which at £500 cost almost as much as his bike, and £250 sunglasses (they have gaps in the lenses to stop them steaming up — but if you sweat as much as Richard, they steam up anyway). For MAMILs do not simply go on an hour-long run out.Rides regularly last three hours or more, while in the spring and summer they disappear for days to ride in 'sportive' events.My husband, like so many of his friends, is a fanatic.He buys an average of one bike a year, each more expensive than the last.His first was a relatively meagre £800, that he sold two years on for £200.

Then there are the clothes, gadgets and 'sports nutrition'.

Tools, inner tubes, tyres, wheels, hats, gloves (summer, autumn, winter and spring versions), shoes (waterproof for the winter, lightweight for the summer), overshoes, arm warmers, leg warmers, lights, pumps, pedals and saddles... At night in bed, he reads Cycling Weekly or autobiographies of surly-looking Belgians.

He has also been agonising over whether to shave his legs or not, although the only reason he can give me for doing so is 'the pros do it'. We live in the Surrey Hills — one of the best cycling spots in the country.

Box Hill, where the Olympic road race was held, is a local climb and the Tour of Britain passes through every year. So a couple of times a year Richard and his MAMIL pals pack their bikes into protective boxes (£500) and fly to the Pyrenees or the Alps, for a weekend emulating their professional cycling idols.

For a man diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, Richard is impressively active.

Within a year of taking up cycling he rode from London to Paris and this summer did the Etape du Tour — a mountain stage of the Tour de France, in appalling weather. I am far happier my 41-year-old husband is out riding a pushbike with a bunch of other men than zooming around on a Harley-Davidson and chasing girls half his age.