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On the subject of fredness...(12 posts)

On the subject of fredness...Silverback
May 4, 2001 12:51 PM
Thought about this when I read the post on inauspicious beginnings, plus several others recently about freds:
How come road cyclists spend so much time talking and worrying about how they LOOK? I understand the importance of functional clothing (I've been riding for more than 20 years). But it's hard not to laugh at the people I see every weekend in full team gear, couple of hundred bucks' worth of clothes, color coordinated...Jeez, just go RIDE. Spend the money on wheels or something.
Absolutely the strongest rider I know, the fastest I've ever personally ridden with, is a gawky-looking 6'6", 180-pounder who has a basket on the front of his bike and rides in jeans or street shorts. He's done dozens of centuries under five hours, can hold 25mph forever, and people look down on him (until he passes them) because he doesn't wear a "real" jersey. You seem to see this a lot more on the road than in mountain biking. Any comments or thoughts?
If you've got it, flaunt it.The Jerk
May 4, 2001 2:06 PM
I just happen to have "it". I know I look good. I know when I ride, the people who see me think I look good.
Seriously, for roadies, spending money on comfortable good looking clothes is a pleasure. I'm happier wearing comfortable clothes. I'm so happy if fact, I don't have time to worry about what other people are wearing. If I switched to T-shirts and gym shorts, I'd be going out of my way to be uncomfortable. Am I supposed to make a concerted effort to buy only black shorts and dull grey jerseys? Should I avoid buying Gaerne shoes, even if their the best fitting for my foot, simply because their style and color will too much for some people?
I'd say the time and money spend by some roadies on clothes is about equal to the time some people spend worrying about, lecturing on, and questioning what other roadies are wearing and spending. How many times have we seen this type of post, especially in mountainbiking specific boards? You never seem to see a roadie asking why mountainbikers wear what they wear.
re: On the subject of fredness...STEELYeyed
May 4, 2001 3:34 PM
Back when I started riding,I was on a 30 lb. hybrid,in my jeans and sweatshirt,no helmet,no gloves,I did not know I was a Fred and I did not care,I have acquired alot of clothes,bikes and equipment since then and I can tell you that I am faster,more comfortable,and get noticed more,which on a bike are all good things. I may still be a Fred,or I may be a cyclist,I don't care which I am,I am healthy and happy,enough said.
STEELYeyed
Amen.Allen
May 6, 2001 1:50 AM
That about says it all. Happy, healthy, and a cyclist. I might add that being noticed on a bike by wearing flashing duds might be more important than wearing a skid-lid.
'Causegrz mnky
May 4, 2001 4:53 PM
Roadies as a group are more insecure b/c things are relatively stable and stagnant. It is important to focus all eyes on the TdF in July and see what is accepted and cool this year in terms of looks and equipment. Once you know what the uniform is supposed to be you can spend your money, grab the high ground and sneer at the unwashed masses secure in the knowldege that you got it right. Astute marketers figure out what is cool by checking at the "source" then they package and market "cool" back to us whereupon we jump on it immediately to make sure we're cool ahead of our friends. Then the cycle starts again. Whatever the pros are paid to wear yields instant credibility. Does this year's high end helmet protect you significantly better than last year's? No, but if you get it first you're way cool. As a result those folks riding around with an old Bell "brain bucket" are the ultra "non-cool" (i.e. total Freds). Same with the dorky expensive sunglasses glasses that a "true" roadie _must_ wear. People want a readily accepted image, hence identity, so they'll fit in - it's much easier than going it alone and putting up with the flack. A "Fred" can ride you into the ground, but if he's different he's still a Fred so it doesn't count. Since the elite road racers are considered the best riders in the world, if you dress like them then you're OK - no matter how you ride. In the road bike world it's, "I'm OK , but you're not 'cause I've got _the_ image."

The MTB world is highly fragmented and segmented and things are changing - fast. It's hard to tell what is cool and right since MTB riders don't look to any one event or even discipline to see what's "right." Marketers use a different approach - you can sell just about anything to a given segment if you get the look right for that given segment. If they've got a look but hit the wrong segment, they just shift the advertising to the right one. There's always the wild men (i.e. the Shaun Palmers') in the MTB world who can cut a wide swath and couldn't give a crap. In a few years the MTB world will plateau and then the proper image will start to matter. In the MTB world it's "We're all OK 'cause we ride." However, the riders do tend to align with the developing image of their choosen discipline. Still, when was the last time you saw a MTB rider in replica team wear riding an exact replica team issue machine? It does happen rarely, but it's not nearly as common as in the roadie posser world.

One could bet that Gary Fischer & Co. must have really been considered "Freds" pushing those old bastardized rigs up Mt. Tam that had little resemblence to anything that was currently accepted. They didn't fit any image other than the hippie counter culture - and they really didn't care, they were too busy having fun. They still are. Maybe that's what makes the MTB world different from the roadie world. Fun.
'Cause...you are wasting your time...that'smrfredtoyou
May 4, 2001 8:11 PM
I'm an admitted "fred". Accepted on every count.

Regardless of my equipment/gear/whatever I smoke riders so often it is pathetic. So when I pass mr.litespeed on my Centurian during a Century, who is the fred? I think the bonehead on the fashion statement is. I don't even own a cyclometer, it would weigh me down.
'Cause...you are wasting your time...phs
May 5, 2001 5:33 PM
Centurian? Sweet rig. I think we all pictured you on something like that.
re: On the subject of fredness...xxx
May 4, 2001 7:20 PM
So, your friend is a strong fred. Think how much stronger he'd be in comfortable cycling shorts. And a basket? Well...whatever. Everyone seems to hung up on clothes. Clothes do not make a fred...well, they can ...any Looney Tunes, 'Fear This' type of crap. The point I was making when starting all this (and I'm quite proud) is people 'accusing' me of yada, yada, yada. I wear my team's clothing while cycling because I'm suppose to, and I'm proud to. If I'm chilling heading to the coffee stop, then it's bit much...of course. Fred is a state of mind and being ...not the clothes you wear. If your state of mine is wearing 3 Stooges embossed jerseys, or the like........see ya.......
re: On the subject of fredness...EW
May 5, 2001 2:13 PM
I am probably a "Fred." I am 30ish, never won a bike race, entered only a few. But I like riding nice equipment and I like nice stuff. The bike industry loves me because I buy lots of equipment (that I probably can't justify by my cycling ability). I have a couple of team jerseys that I wear on my rides as well as the "dull" one color jersey/black bibs combo. I pass a few riders, I get spit out the back. I probably account for the majority of riders out there. I don't buy the stuff to flaunt it, but because it makes my riding more enjoyable. If you are a good rider, you don't have to be so angry with others who want to support the sport we all enjoy. Just let them be. And if I can afford it, I don't see what the problem is with that. Bike industry people, do you agree?
re: On the subject of fredness...GregJ
May 6, 2001 1:09 AM
Well, I have been around cycling for 20 years myself and I am here to tell you that the large majority of road riders wear black shorts with pro, local club or generic jerseys. Nice shoes blend with anything and yes some riders wear pro-kit and what's wrong with that if they have the bucks for it. The fact is most riders have a mix of clothing. And please stop with the MTB riders aren't concerned about that stuff. While they may not worry so much about pro clothing they can be absolutely ridiculous about having outrageously expensive aftermarket gizmos on their bikes. I don't ride an MTB myself but have plenty of friends that do(most of them are road riders as well) so I know a bit about what they are interested in as well. Also, you are just plain wrong about road riders spending a great deal of time talking about how they look. When I get ready for a ride I throw on a pair of shorts, grab one of the half dozen jerseys I have and go meet my friends for coffee where we talk about our jobs and our families and the latest world cup race and then we try to kill each other for 45 miles. I don't care what people wear to ride but black shorts don't show dirt and grease and a nice chamios is God's gift to cycling and a modern 3-pocket jersey is comfortable, cool and quite practical.
The Truth isAllen
May 6, 2001 1:46 AM
ProTeam gear is not necessarily expensive. I find it fun looking different. I would never wear Mapai or Banesto, but I like the Second Division Italian Teams. I find it easier to get good deals on pro team stuff vs Castelli, Pearlizumi or Assos. With Nalini and Biemme, there isn't much around that is not ProTeam. I picked up a 1999 Amica Chips Jersey in Europe that cost me $18, including shipping (it was a large order so the shipping wasn't much. I found the matching shorts on a closeout at $45. Not really expensive, and it is comfortable and makes me more visible in traffic, which is very important. I also found two pair of Briko's, brand new, for $25 each.

Last year I did not ride very much, so I wore my plain duds and kept my Tommasini with carbon wheels in the living room. There is a time to dress like a fred, but you shouldn't have to if you are fit and fast.
functional clothingDog
May 7, 2001 7:34 AM
Some of what you may deem "fashionable" clothing is really used because of its superior function.

Cycling shorts have nothing to do with fashion, in my book. I have tried dozens looking for the ultimate comfort. It's all about comfort. I'd bet the guy you reference does not ride double centuries in jeans. He'd be raw with open wounds in the crotch.

Jerseys are functional, too. They wick away moisture, allow cooling, and the rear pockets serve a real function. Tight fitting is better, too, for less wind resistance.

I'm not a big fan of wearing pro race clothing, myself. But, it can be had pretty cheap. However, I've seen hundreds of goobers wearing pro football jersey replicas, even when they are not practicing football, and who even thinks twice about it?

As for real team clothing, sometimes that's the deal you make with sponsors. My team has an A and a B team. The A's are fully sponsored, and their deal, contract actually, is that they always wear the team clothing while riding -- it's advertising. The main sponsor may pay $20,000 or so a year, so they need something in return. The B's (including me) don't get much sponsorship, so they just must wear the clothing at races and team training rides. Incidentally, the team clothing is usually the highest quality, too, and very comfortable. So, you see, there may be darn good reasons for wearing the fancy duds.

Yes, every town seems to have the sleeper guy who rides in jeans (usually on a single speed, too), and kicks everyone's butt. But, who's to say he wouldn't be faster and more comfortable in good functional clothing?

Doug