Are you a ‘Fred’? Score two or more here and you’re doomed

Posted on: October 17th, 2014

Recognise yourself in two or more of our ’10 signs you’re a Fred’? You need to have a word with yourself.


The recession may have seen the economy wiped out and people plunged into financial hardship, but as Ireland’s economic fortunes have flagged the bike game has rocketed.

Alas, with the massive growth in the sport has come an increase in ‘Freds’; those riders who care little for their appearance and take to the roads without kitting themselves out up to the standard of established riders.

Football shorts over lyric are a common sight these days as are riders who wear trainers with old-style toe-strap pedal set ups.
Are you a dreaded Fred?

If you recognise yourself in any two characteristics in our Fred Bingo we’re afraid you’re in the club and need to have a good hard, honest look at your life!

(Disclaimer: This piece is very much tongue in cheek. We don’t care how you ride or what you look like, just as long as you’re giving it socks on two wheels.)


You don’t have clipless pedals yet

Most Freds don’t have the confidence to ride clipless pedals and don’t realise how much harder they are making the sport on themselves. Old-style toe-strap set ups are generally used by riders wearing trainers. If you recognise yourself in this point, take the plunge and get proper pedals and cycling shoes. You’ll get used to them in a week and you’ll never look back.


Your helmet has a visor on the front

Who invented that little plastic visor at the front of most mid-range helmets? It looks awful and offers zero protection from the sun. You’ll know you’re moving up in the cycling world – and will be perceived differently by your peers – when you remove the plastic peak.


A luminous yellow jacket is your most stylish item of clothing

Three sizes too big, it usually hangs down over the back of the saddle like the vestments of a priest. The luminous yellow jacket is usually the first item of clothing bought by riders trying to move into doing a bit of serious cycling. It’s best to go for something more stylish and a jacket that fits better. Wearing a bright yellow sail is a dead giveaway you don’t really know what you’re doing. Grand for a lollipop man, not for bike riders. Sort it out!


Tool kit still in the wrappers

Freds are appalling bike mechanics and if the bike isn’t 100 per cent they’ll take it to the shop and probably get grossly overcharged for simple jobs. Freds will render their bike ‘broken’ if they’ve a puncture. They’ll have the saddle bag with all the necessary equipment to repair the puncture, just not the know-how. Don’t be afraid to get stuck into some jobs. If you don’t try, you’ll never learn.


Your bike fit is atrocious

The single most important consideration above all others when buying a bike is the fit. Buying a mount that’s too big is perhaps the single most common mistake of those new to the sport. Seek advice from those around you on what to buy and don’t base you decision on a few go faster stripes. And when you’ve bought a bike that fits, get someone experienced to set up your position properly; focus not just on saddle height but handlebar height and stem length.


Buying jerseys miles too big

This is a classic Fred trait. Jerseys are supposed to be tight so you can benefit from their aerodynamic properties. They are not supposed to look like tarpaulin that’s come loose in a storm. Jerseys five sizes too big are generally stuffed with goodies in the pockets, even for the shortest and easiest ride. A bit of advice; go for a small jersey and a small snack on the move. It’s the only way.


Your legs are frightfully unkempt

Nothing makes you feel more like a cyclist than shaving your legs. But Freds are slow to bend to the sport’s ancient traditions. It’s probably a fear of being laughed at by a significant other or having to tog out at the five-a-side next week in front of lads that don’t understand your new world. But if you’re going to do any kind of serious cycling and really buy into the concept of being a cyclist, get the razor out and get to work. You know you want to.


Hating those slicker than you

Freds really resent the skinny, fit guy who whips past them on a sportive. ‘It’s not a race’ they’ll shout, half-jokingly. But as you move further into the sport, don’t be afraid to take advice from, an even become, one of those in the ‘clique’ you resented when you first started out.


Coffee and cake after 20km

Nothing goes down better after a hard 100km in the hills than a good chunk of carrot cake and a large Americano. But Freds believe a big feed is warranted after, or in the middle of, a flat 20km spin. If you’re spending more time eating and drinking indoors dressed in your cycling gear than you are sitting on your bike, have a word with yourself.