I am a totally cycling newbie – I get that.
I don’t have a fancy bike. I am borrowing glasses from my friend. I have one cycling jersey, one pair of long ride cycling shorts, one pair of spin class cycling shorts, and a couple pairs of cycling socks that I’ve had since college. I’ve also been wearing my marathon jackets while cycling simply because I didn’t have anything else. So kill me.
A couple of weeks ago I thought I would be smart, not to mention safe, to purchase the Pearl Izumi cycling jacket. It’s a blinding bright green, super light and can be spotted from what feels like miles away. I was being a smart cyclist, right?
Well, maybe I was being smart but I was definitely not being cool. Apparently, I’m such a “Fred.”
Allow me to fill in the back story. I posted a photo on my personal Facebook page about my new jacket with the totally harmless caption, “If a car hits me, they can no longer use, "I didn’t see you" as an excuse.” Ha! Little did I know that this would cause a string of comments from some serious roadies (and for the roadies who said this, sorry I’m calling you out, but I still love you).
Still totally confused, I tweeted about this “Fred” character and thanks to a very information Twitter pal, I was sent the definition:
2) n. 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. This term is from road touring and, according to popular myth, "Fred" was a well-known grumpy old touring rider, who really was named Fred.
WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! I definitely am not spending a lot of money on gear so I’m going to knock option one right out. Option two? Yes. A mishmash of old gear and I don’t race. That would be me.
Sure we all have our noob phase, but what’s with the total intimidation? I’m not a pro cyclist, nor will I ever be, but can’t we just embrace the newbies and more people taking up the sport that these serious roadies love so much?
On second thought, why don’t I embrace this Fred phase? I’ll probably only have it once in my life and why not embrace whoever it is that I am. So this is me, standing up and saying, “I AM A FRED!”
I don’t have fancy gear.
I don’t have the power of a pro cyclist.
But you better bet you’re ass that I’m trying, so whatever that makes me, I’ll take it.
Happy Running (and Cycling)!