Full fred


My elder son Hans and I went for a Stealth Fred Ride yesterday. He had come home after three years in college, all bulked up from weightlifting and soccer, and found a teaching job where he could put his degree to use and retire some of his school debt. The only catch was that at 22 he still didn’t have a driver license.

So he started commuting to work every day on his younger brother’s bike and has done so for a year. Every day he climbs from sea level to our apartment up Hawthorne Blvd., about a 900-foot climb, toting a 15-pound backpack. One day Aaron W. ran into him and snapped this pic, all fredded out.


Hans and I have ridden together a few times. Our best ride was to Santa Monica one day where we had tacos with The Sherri. His vocabulary expanded a bit that day.

Since none of my kids like cycling, that thing where we work, eat, sleep, and exist in order to zip around in our stretch underwear while drinking 100% butter-laced coffee out of 100%, full-carbon coffee cups, Hans wasn’t about to spend one stinking nickel on bike stuff.

“I’ve got these boots,” he said when I inquired about perhaps upgrading his pedals and shoes. “They work just fine.”

Since he wouldn’t cyclo-sportif up, I fredded down, slapped on flat pedals, bought a pair of Vans and a pair of thick socks, and got those capris riding pants for men who haven’t yet made some important decisions but are leaning decidedly in one direction.

I forgot to mention that after a year of commuting Hans lost all his bulk and has gotten beastly, stupid strong, with the finesse on a bike of an angry farm laborer tossing hay bales. It’s not cycling endurance strong, where he can climb like a goat, time trial like a locomotive, and jump like a kangaroo. It’s just ordinary 22-year-old fit dude strong. Dumb as a coffee shop, game as a banty rooster, happy as, well, a kid on a bike.

When you pedal full fred you find out why people dislike cyclists. Hans likes to wave and say “Hello!” but cyclists for the most part pretended we didn’t exist. Except for eagle-eyed riders like Arik and Rachael K., who spotted us going the other direction, Beppe from LaGrange, the Big O. pals we ran into, and the occasional happy rider, when you ride full fred you realize how much much better cyclists think they are then everyone else.

The biggest d-bag was an old man in a Team Nater jersey who sprinted by us on Admiralty then tried to drop me, and was surprised and angered when he couldn’t. Runner up was the other cyclist who chopped us at 40 descending Via del Monte and then almost killed himself on the 180-degree turn when he spilled out across the yellow line in front of oncoming traffic. Skilz.

Hans towed me up Mandeville and we passed half a dozen people on the way. He said “Hi” to every one of them. We got to the top and chatted with a nice trio from Brisbane. Then one of the guys we’d passed arrived and pedaled over to Hans.

“Dude,” he said, grinning, “that’s the most demoralizing thing that’s ever happened in my life.”

“What’s that?”

“Getting passed by some dude with no shirt wearing construction boots. Good job!”



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24 thoughts on “Full fred”

  1. He’s got the Wanky legs, good thing for all of us he doesn’t know that…..yet.

  2. You are so right about how d-baggery has supplanted courtesy for most bikey-racer-type-cyclists…I was once called a Fred by a woman racer who will go nameless, but who is undoubtedly reading this. She has about 20 years of riding and racing in (and lives in LA),so I got her beat by about double. I kinda laughed (but a genuine ‘chuckle’ kind of laugh), and she got pissed, told me to F off and then rode away. I’m glad I’m still young enough to remember this shit, because I chuckled again just now…

    1. Way I figure it, if you’re not getting paid to race, you’re a Fred. If you are getting paid, you’re secure enough not to denigrate your fans.

  3. Gee, same BS here in Awesome (Taxus!), the Live Music and Bicycle Riding Capital of the World. “Training” on the bike path? Dipsticks.
    Including the guy who only said “On your left” because I heard him at the last second (headwind) and he couldn’t sneak by and shave me, as he was planning. And then rode off with his female companion (both dressed in Full Lycra with sponsors & club logos etc.) dangling ten yards behind, obviously having trouble keeping up.
    I don’t know what this guy expects for “later” but at best he deserves a few nights of “Is that all you have, big boy?” when it’s her turn to lead.
    It’s like the elections, you know? People just don’t use their brains.

  4. I just finished a six day road trip with the fam. Old skool style in the car with the dog. Got to take my bike with and did at least three group rides in two different towns. Felt welcomed at each ride, got dropped, picked up, allowed to sit in, etc. There are always D bags, but I found a really nice group of riders both racers and wannabes like me. Pretty much fun all around.

  5. I try to always say hi to follow cyclists going by because I feel their in my “club”. Unfortunately, they are often zoned out. I did have a discussion once with someone and we both agreed that many cyclists (me included) use our ride time as our “meditation time”. We are just in our own heads so much that we don’t notice people around us. I also realized that I don’t say hi to people not in “kit”, “pseudo kit”, “wanna be kit”. I think I don’t because I have a feeling that they secretly hate “us”. Now I’m realizing they are probably thinking the same thing!

    I realized a long time ago that the strand and bike lanes (what few bike lanes we have) are only there and kept up as well as there are because of Freds. I feel blessed that there ARE so many Freds out there making my world better.

  6. You say Brisbane and I think of my current place of residence in Australia, but I knew that couldn’t be right, they had to have been from the much closer suburb in San Francisco.

  7. That’s what I’m doing wrong, I even wave and say hi to, wait for it, pedestrians!

    I understand and can be very much accused of being in the zone and not waving, but there is a distinct difference to being in the zone and the few complete El ducharino grandes playing I’m a serious cyclist. I’ve even been told not to wave by such a pro while riding on a group ride.

    Contrast this to the two times I’ve seen a bunch of the surf city guys rolling through, you get multiple waves.

  8. Tons of happy friendly Fred’s in Bend Oregon everyone drinks beer seems happy 😎That pic of Hans w Aron is priceless ! Glad he finally put a helmet on!

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