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