Would someone openly want to be a Fred? I do and I would be honored to be called a Fred. You see, there is the widely accepted cycling term of Fred and then there is the real meaning of Fred to me.
Accepted definition of a Fred
Fred is a derisive term used by “serious” road cyclists to describe other cyclists who do not conform to serious road cyclists’ norms with regard to dress and equipment, and appear amateurish to them. The term is generally reserved for men, while the female Fred is sometimes called a Doris.
A better kind of Fred
A Fred to me is my granddaddy. He loved his family, worked hard, and treated people fairly.
He went to war for his country
He built his own house. Yes, built his house!
He was an honest hardworking man whose handshake meant something
He loved watching wrasslin’ (it’s a real word) on Friday nights
He drove bulldozers and could fix anything
He had his recliner in the corner to relax after a long day
He never owned anything fancy or even much at all, but he had everything thing that he needed. It was a simple more relaxed way of life that included his own little piece of paradise – a field for vegetables, a few animals, a barn, his house, his machines.
It’s a lifestyle and way of living I think more of us should try to enjoy.
What if we embraced this kind of Fred?
First, the world would be a better place if we all treated people fairly and stayed true to our word.
But think about how cycling would change.
It would no longer matter if you have the latest carbon fiber thingy, or your suspension design was the latest fad, or your new shoes cost more than your first car. We wouldn’t have to work our buns off to pay for the newest and coolest parts.
What would matter is that you take what you have, ride, and enjoy the people and surroundings in the process. We could relax and finally take that multi-day tour we’ve dreamed about.
There will always be training and races. There will always be new products and bikes that we can dream over. But our main focus would be on riding bikes because that’s what we truly enjoy.
How to be a good Fred?
Get on your bike, ride, and have fun doing it. That’s it. Focus on enjoying cycling the way you did when you first got into the sport. Forget about what you look like. Focus on the adventures you’ll have and friends you’ll meet rather than getting the latest components.
Show up to a road race with your manly hairy legs.
Wave to all the cars and people walking as you commute by bike.
Race cyclocross on your mountain bike.
Quit trying to fit every cycling mold. Be yourself, relax, and enjoy the rides.
I know my granddaddy would approve. Well, he might not like the lycra, the goofy helmets, or the clicky shoes, but he would appreciate more of us living a simple, honest lifestyle and not worrying about how we look to other people.