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Are you Fred?

by Richard Masoner

Bobby asked what a Fred is. According to the Glossary of bike terms and slang, Fred can either be the poseur buying more bike and kit than he’s capable of utilizing; or he’s (and Fred is generally a “he”) the bearded utility cyclist with sandals, rack, pannier or milk crate and with jeans tucked into his socks. I personally follow this second definition.

Fred “has mishmash of old gear, does’t care at all about technology or fashion, didn’t race or follow racing. Often identified by chainring marks on white calf socks. Used by ‘serious’ roadies to disparage utility cyclists and touring riders, especially after these totally unfashionable ‘freds’ drop the ‘serious’ roadies on hills because the ‘serious’ guys were really posers. This term is from road touring and, according to popular myth, ‘Fred’ was a well-known grumpy old touring rider, who really was named Fred.”

I sometimes do the lycra and tights thing on my commute, but I almost always go Fred and I do so proudly. How about the rest of you all — Fred with an old bike completely rigged for commuter use; or are you kitted out with shorts, jersey, wrap-around shades and lightweight shoes?

 
Burley nomad 269

14 Responses to “Are you Fred?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am the second one…never worn lycra…does it really stretch to show EVERYTHING?

  2. Doug says:

    Sorry…my name is Doug!

  3. Rio says:

    fredette here.

  4. Mike says:

    Hi, my name is Fred; Fred Fredberger!

  5. Steve says:

    I guess I’m more of a poseur than a Fred. But I have a long commute and I get really sweaty. I have the luxury of getting to shower and change at the end of my ride. When I need to dress for the ride home, the nylon and lycra biking gear is generally dry (although a tad smelly); a flannel shirt and corduroy knickers would still be soggy.

  6. Al says:

    First of all, I love the skinsuit picture, it’s awesome.

    I wear lycra during my commute. It allows me to sneak a workout in during my ride to work and I have the luxury of showers at the office. However, I am starting to lean towards becoming a Fred so I can ride into town to do errands.

  7. Fritz says:

    Glad to meet the Freds, Doriss, Poseurs and dedicated enthusiasts here. I want to assure everyone that I’m a Big Tent kind of guy — I appreciate all types of cycling with all types of gear and clothing on all types of bikes.

  8. Bobby says:

    Fred or no Fred, I just love to ride my bike. Although, I have to admit that I am a bit of a Fred myself, but who cares, right?

  9. I wear the lycra when communting because it chafes to wear pants, and I think my work pants will work longer. I wear ATB shoes because they fit the pedals and toeclips better than my big fat sneakers. I’ve got the bright yellow/green wind jacket to catch the eye of drivers. A fluorescent horror!

    I only wear a jesey on rides of 20 miles or more, and I save the flashy souvenier jersey (Tour de Tucson) for 40/50 milers. I’ve got my standards, don’t ya know!

    I’m totally out of shape compared to the usual suited-up guys, and my bike handling skills kinda suck (if you ride next me, chances are I’ll fall over and take you down with me!), so I guess I’m Fred!

  10. Jay says:

    I feel the definition of “Fred” is someone who buys all kinds of expensive gear but only has minimal athletic ability. i.e. the guy who has the super expensive carbon road bike with a carbod bottle cage, but has just average cycling ability.

    Anyway check out this podcast for Freds: http://www.thefredcast.com/ The guy that puts this together does an excellent job, very informative and high quality.

    By the way, the female version of a “Fred” is an “Ethel”

  11. Mike in Florida says:

    Hmm, well I guess i’m a BoB-Fred. I wear a Bell Metro helmet–with mirror. Usually have a wool jersey on, with MTB shorts(hey, I don’t always go directly home–and lycra shorts don’t work at the grocery store). Black socks and touring shoes, or MTB shoes, depending on which bike I’m riding. My bike is fendered, lighted, and racked.

  12. T. Ryan says:

    Dang…now I’m nervous…I’m worried I’d fall more into the first category…I have a Mongoose wing elite that I commute on…but I do the full on bike jerseys and spandex. For me it’s just more comfortable than my jeans or shorts I wear to work…sheesh..them roadies must look at me and nearly fall off their bikes…one more thing to be self concious about.

  13. Thanks for the definition. I’ve seen it pop up over the last couple of days in a number of bike blogs. Talk about a meme.

    I’ve consciously avoided the weekend warrior look w/out realizing that I was Fredding in the other direction. But after a nasty spot of saddle rash this summer a bike buddy convinced me to get those fancy-schmancy Lycra shorts with the padded crotch … mmmmm, mmmmm … feels sooooo gooooooood %)

  14. All types of bikes guy says:

    I ride all types of bikes, road, mtb, and free-ride. I’m going to start commuting to work soon on an old mountain bike with racks and panniers. I don’t care what someone wears, as long as it works for them. I’ve been out putzing along in slacks and a sweater and had to school a “fred” that’s all decked out in lycra. To me a Fred is a person all decked out and on an expensive bike, especially a mountian bike that’s never been off-road.

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