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What is a Fred?(29 posts)

What is a Fred?Fatnslow
Sep 12, 2003 11:26 AM
I see lots of referenced to "Freds." Can someone please enlighten me?
re: What is a Fred?gf99
Sep 12, 2003 11:38 AM
There are many definitions. This is mine.

High end bike and gear, rarely used = Fred (a.k.a. poseur)

Any bike, any gear, used often = not Fred
Freds and poseurs are different.Lon Norder
Sep 12, 2003 1:52 PM
A Fred is an unexperienced, maybe even clueless, cyclist. A poseur is a phoney.
That's always been my thoughtjtolleson
Sep 12, 2003 4:46 PM
"Fred" is a semi-pejorative term used a lot of different ways, but always connoting the uncool. Some say Camelbaks on a roadie are "Fred" ... or riding in a t-shirt may be "Fred." Most folks think that anyone who talks about "Freds" is a snob, 'cause in reality many of us have been known to use ATB shoes with our road bikes!

Poseur is a pretender. All the gear, none of the knowledge/ability/dedication, whatever.

Both descriptors tell a lot more about the insecurity and judgmentalism of the speaker than they do about the person described, though.
If you have to ask. . .(nm)MisJG
Sep 12, 2003 11:43 AM
I am a FRED.onespeed
Sep 12, 2003 11:45 AM
All right...LactateIntolerant
Sep 12, 2003 12:01 PM
...I'd been wondering where the wiener dogs have been.
re: What is a Fred?flying
Sep 12, 2003 11:56 AM
According to Webster'spedalAZ
Sep 12, 2003 12:28 PM
fred n. 1) a person who spends a lot of money on his bike and clothing, but still can't ride. "What a fred -- too much Lycra and titanium and not enough skill." Synonym for poser. Occasionally called a "barney". 2) (from road riding) a person who has a mishmash of old gear, does't care at all about technology or fashion, didn't race or follow racing, etc. 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. According to popular myth, "Fred" was a well-known grumpy old touring rider, who really was named Fred.
OMG!!! I'm a FRED??!!Alexx
Sep 12, 2003 4:47 PM
Yesterday, I rode to work wearing baggy cargo shorts, and my cheap old AXO commuter shoes, riding my fixed-gear. Yeah, I guess I am a Fred....
You can't be a Fred on a fixie! nmMShaw
Sep 12, 2003 9:22 PM
re: What is a Fred?MXL02
Sep 12, 2003 12:38 PM

Freds: A Scholarly Treatise

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in ULTRA Cycling (Bicycle Guide refused to publish it!)

It has been to my disappointment that the sophomoric practice of name-calling, especially the use of the term "fred," continues unchecked within the world of cycling. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it is cycling's only generic derogatory appellation, akin to being called a "Barney" in skiing or surfing circles.

To some USCFers, those cyclists who don't race their category or higher are Freds. Likewise, bicycle tourists, commuters and recreational riders are necessarily Freds in the eyes of the egomaniacal Racerheads'of both the club and federation species. And, Fredliness can, of course, also be the result of clothing and equipment choice, like judging a book by its cover. Before we examine the psyche of the invidious purveyors of the term Fred, let's examine the word itself.

The etymology of Fred, both geographically and linguistically, is unclear. Fred Flintstone may be the original Fred, suggested by the use of the term Barney in other circles, mentioned above. The term seems to have originated in isolated locales, then spread geographically in pell-mell fashion throughout the cycling subculture. It may be the result of independent development, but it is not an example of the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon, an urban myth perpetuated by psuedo-anthropologists in which specific knowledge is increasingly attained among a random portion of a cultural group to a point of critical mass (i.e. one hundred monkeys), whereupon this new-found knowledge is spontaneously, and mysteriously, transferred to the entire population (of monkeys, or, in our case, cycling snobs).

At any rate, any second-rate pyschology major can tell you that the malcontents of the bicycle world resort to denigration as a maladaptive coping mechanism for any number of common insecurities. Those secure in intellect, physicality and libido, however, see profit in harmonization rather than polarization.

So it goes without saying, that, for me, anyone who rides a bike is alright, plain and simple. However, that doesn't mean that I'm blind to behavior that is inappropriate (for ease of comprehension, Fred-like), dangerous and/or damaging to cycling's image in the public eye. Fredish behavior, then, obviously includes such commonplace practices as running stop signs and red lights, riding against traffic, expecting cars to get out of your way, blowing past hikers and horses on the trails, and tossing flatted innnertubes on the side of the road, as if the world is your personal garbage dump.

However, these are just the tip of the Fredish iceberg. Fredism also manifests itself in less publicly damaging ways:

1. Ceaselessly and vociferously itemizing the weight and cost of your newest titanium parts.
2. Ignoring other cyclists on the road, riding hi-lessly, wavelessly, and nodlessly by, like some smug, self-righteous snob.
3. Having a bike and gear worth ten times more than your activity level merits, such as riding at non-competitive events with disc wheels or tri-spokes.
4. Riding on aero bars while drafting someone.
5. Mouthing off about how dangerous aerobars are, while you're not even wearing a helmet.
6. Dropping newcomers to your weekly ride, then never waiting for them to catch up. Worse yet, intentionally ditching a guest at your ride and leaving them lost in the farmlands of Eastern Pennsylvania.
7. Wearing Oakleys around town, telling the uninitiated that you train with the national team, are a 'Neo-pro,' or plan to ride in the Tour next July.
8. And finally, spending your spare hours name-calling other cyclists.

In conclusion, to avoid true Fredism, our malcontented, maladjusted comrades of the cycling world who still continue to denigrate our sport by labelling others as "freds" need simply get on their bikes and ride. An
End of messageMXL02
Sep 12, 2003 12:40 PM
"And for the sake of us all, they should keep their insecurities to themselves."
Sep 12, 2003 1:22 PM
If I understand the above responses. It's either:

A bad rider with a great bike
A great rider with a bad bike
Someone with no respect for road rules or other riders
Someone who doesn't already know the definition of "Fred"
A sausage dog

that's cleared that up for us newbies then...
I was always of the impression......TNRyder
Sep 12, 2003 2:29 PM
that a fred was a cyclist that did not shave his legs. Thereby exempting women (all but the most butch of lesbians) from being called a FRED.

I am glad to see that the distinction was made between a person named Fred, and a FRED. One of the nicest guys I've ridden with is named Fred, and I am sure that he would be upset to find that his name was somehow a derogatory remark!

Anyway, by many of the definitions listed above, I qualify as a FRED.

Hairy legs
Can't hang with the Racer types
Been known to wear mis-matched cycling garb (I'm working on that one)

Oh well, I still love to ride my bike, so if a FRED I must be, a FRED I must be!
Female Freds are Wilmas...MShaw
Sep 12, 2003 9:47 PM
At least that's what I remember hearing at some point in my cycling life. Don't think I've heard it said to anyone for a loooong time, though.

I'm going to toss my definition of Fred in here. Its pretty simple really: a Fred is someone that rides a bike, buy isn't a "cyclist" with all the lycra-wearing, shaving, etc. that being a cyclist involves.

Typical Fred garb may include (but is not limited to) tube socks, T-shirts, and baggy pants.

Typical Fred bikes are outdated by several generations of parts and are usually dusty rather than dirty. "Yeah, I bought this 10-speed a few years ago, and I thought I'd try this cycling thing again..."

There is, however, a sub-section of Fred reserved for the ultra-endurance rider types. Those that would rather ride a triple century than intervals, for example. There's just something odd about someone that wants to spend 12-18 hours on a bike at a time. Maybe its the hanging bags, racks, or map carriers, or maybe they're Freds just 'cause they're not "mainstream." I have a friend that rides these things, and other than the prediliction to ride 5 figures of climbing and triple digit rides, he's actually OK.

Grudging respect for the ultra-endurance riders must be given. Even if they can't ride 30mph without a downhill, they'll do their 12-14 ad infinitum.

Now a poseur is a different critter. He's the guy duded up in the full Postal kit, riding the Madone, but can't hang with the group. As the Texans say, "Big hat, no cattle."

The Poseur can usually be found hanging out at the local Starbucks, drinking his latte, bragging about his latest ride to the non-riding public.

Typical Poseur clothing includes matching kit from a well-known professional team and the current model team bike.

The Poseur's bicycle may have all the gewgaws, but it is shiny with new-ness, and lack of use.

If you see either of these categories of riders, STAY AWAY. Whatever they have is catchable! If you're stuck riding with one, drop them like a bad habit before they crash you (and maybe the whole group you're with!).

Someone posted a chart of cycling categories and who you have to give respect to, and who owes you respect here a month or so ago. Very neat thing to have around...

(posting a VERY tongue in cheek message!)
re: What is a Fred?RealMatureGuy
Sep 12, 2003 3:46 PM
Was out at the local time trial / interval loop, 2.5 miles down & back each way, when a group of riders coasted by, all decked out in team wear. Lead guy said "Hey Fred". Took a second to register that it was **me** they were speaking to, because I'd been riding solo pretty much at their pack pace for close to an hour. And I rode there, they drove there. And I was riding a road bike when they were a glint in their momma's eye.

I did a quick mental inventory: 5-year-old Bell helmet (hey, it was a hot item at the time), Mt. Bike jersey, $20 performance glasses, black Eddie Bauer ankle socks - holy sh*t batman, I'm a fred !

Next time out: jersey from most recent club, Rudy project glasses, Giro Pneumo helmet, C*stelli socks. Asked one of my buds, "so, am I a Fred ?" Skip a beat: "You're a Fred".

Just damn.
I, too have been subjected to "Hey Fred"Mg1
Sep 13, 2003 9:48 AM
couple months back, on my 15 yr old Neon orange Scott Super Limited mtb bike that I use to pull my kids in the Burley. I had just played tow truck for an hour, dropped off the kids for a couple of quick hill intervals. I've got my mtb shoes, shorts, scruddy old jersey, same $20 performance glasses, 10 yr old Neon orange bar tape on a Scott LF-2 flat/bar end combo bar, an orange flag (wife insists I put one on the burley too, plus a flashing light!) AND the camelbak.

I ride by a threesome of decked out riders, all Ti & pi (pearl izumi). I heard the "Fred" just after I passed them. I turned and laughed and said "yabba-dabba doo!"

Saw the same guys a month later on my road bike, got a cordial "Hey" w/o the Fred. I gave them another "yabba-dabba doo."
Sep 12, 2003 4:36 PM
My addition to the lexicongeeker
Sep 12, 2003 4:51 PM
Those who get off on calling other cyclists "Freds" are "Dicks". BTW, I revel in my fredliness...
This guy!!!!kfatschor
Sep 12, 2003 6:47 PM
Helmet? Must crash frequently indoors in living room nmFez
Sep 12, 2003 8:33 PM
This is a fred!Jeff Rage
Sep 12, 2003 9:02 PM
I'm all Fred - And Proud of ItFred Fredricks
Sep 13, 2003 3:10 AM
From how Fred is used on this board this is what I come up with.

A Fred is someone who does not look the part of Yupped Out Road Racer.

Someone who:
Wears a mountain bike jersey or heaven forbid a normal shirt.

Someone that wears and helmet that does not cost over $100.

Someone that wears normal socks.

Someone who does not throw away thier $20 pair of socks when they get greese on them.

Someone who rides a bike that costs less than $5000

Someone that is more concerned about function over style.

Someone who does not buy into all the marketing hype surrounding this sport.

Someone who paid less than $20 for a pair of sunglasses

Someone who keeps the same bike for years.

Someone who has been a road rider for 30+ years and finds it extreamly hard to believe how snotty, arrogant, ellitest, self centered, clicky, image concious, money centered, status concious, and yupped out that many of the road cyclist have become.

What happened about just riding a bike and having fun?

Fred Fredrick
I don't think so...Dwayne Barry
Sep 13, 2003 10:24 AM
being a Fred has almost nothing to do with how much your equipment cost. It's about "getting it" or not "getting it". Of course "it" will vary somewhat depending on the situation, but "it" basically is the "style" (in the broadest sense) of being a road racer.
OMG I don't get "IT" - What is "IT"?Fred Fredricks
Sep 15, 2003 5:27 AM
IT = "the style of being a roadracer"

From this I take it that those who don't have IT are Freds.

Sounds kind of like highschool to me.

Is IT a fashion show where you can parade around is spandex, bright colours and shaved legs? Comparing each other fancy new fashions like a bunch of teenage girls. Forming a tight little click and then picking on the other little girls that don't have the latest cloths.

Hum, maybe I am onto something here. Maybe the roots of calling people Freds comes from Latent Transvestitism. And the Fred Calling is a protectionism mechanism that allows you to maintain the slightest grasp on your masculinity while you shave your legs and dress up in Spandex and dart around in traffic for the whole world to see.

Just a thought.
Well...Dwayne Barry
Sep 15, 2003 11:29 AM
yes you are right in a broad sense about it being a click(sp?) thing but still "off" in that you are overly focusing on new clothes, etc.

Some Examples:
Helmet mirrors are almost universally regarded as a "Fred" thing. Why? Not because they necessarily "look" wrong but because a competent cyclist should be capable of turning around and looking behind them if they want to see whats behind them!
Wearing a T-shirt. Because funtionally it is orders of magnitudes inferior to a cycling jersey.
Not knowing how to ride a paceline.
re: What is a Fred?mackgoo
Sep 13, 2003 3:54 PM
A parctical down to earth cyclist that the Fabio's can't stand because they could never be as cool.
re: What is a Fred?mackgoo
Sep 13, 2003 4:55 PM
Hello my name is Fred and I'm A Campyholic.