A friend at work — motorcyclist and fluent German speaker — sent an email to a few of us cyclists at work with the subject line “Fred?” and a link to this Wikipedia page:

I was perplexed by the ambiguous question mark in his subject. Was he asking us whether we knew of the term? Or was he asking us (or maybe subtly suggesting) if we were in fact Freds?

Turns out he’d never heard the term. It seems they don’t have a term for such a person in the motorcycling world, but they do have posers. I said a Fred would be someone who showed up to a race with tennis shoes, a styrofoam Bell helmet, and a mirror attached to the helmet and/or handlebars.

Next morning I saw one of the other guys on the email getting coffee. He said, “um, I think you were describing me. I have a styrofoam helmet, with a mirror, and an old Schwinn with SunTour components.”


Then he smiled and said, “but I know better than to show up to a race like that.”



Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Fred?

  1. Fred: A cyclist riding on the Towpath wearing long sleeves, camo ankle gaitors and neoprene shoe covers on a 85°F day while humming loudly in a random, not-identifiable-as-a-tune way.

    – – –

    A Fred may also just be a retro-grouch. (I searched for that term on Wikipedia and found nothing. Perhaps we should author an article for it.)

    – – –

    I like the differentiation between a Fred and a Poser. You could look at Brad Hansen and think him to be a bit “Freddly” – replete with duct-tape shoe fastening system, filthy bike and squeaky drive-train. Then you would realize he’s nothing of the sort as he handily drops your sorry poser-arse and rides away. (Ya’ know … “back in the day”)

    – – –

    Some roadies may think me to be exhibiting some Freddly-ness when I ride in a cutoff sleeveless jersey. Really, I just hate that distinct tan line on my upper arm.

    – – –

    To me, anyone out riding a bike is cool. Even if I briefly think to myself, “What a Fred.”

    Power to the pedal-people!

    – Tris

  2. Brian

    funny, Brad Hansen crossed my mind as I was writing this.

    I can be a bit Fredly too. In Feb I raced on my old Waterford with gobs of touch-up paint all over it … drawing several comments. I’ve been known to use duct tape when necessary.

    today I was out for a little lunch spin, tired from the weekend. Just taking it easy, I passed a kid on a mountain bike and slowed and said ‘hey’.

    We were going up a little hill when a guy wearing a Tour de France polka-dot KOM jersey with yellow do-rag under his helmet decided to challenge us up the hill, huffing and puffing and looking back to see that he had beaten us.

    Fred or Poser?

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