Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yabba Dabba Do

A. 1) n. A man who spends a lot of money on his bike and clothing, but still can't ride. "What a fred -- too much Lycra and titanium and not enough skill." Female version is a “Wilma”.

I got into bicycling not for recreation, rather for transportation. By the time I entered middle school and through high school my bike liberated me, Instead of depending on a school bus, my bicycle allowed me to come and go when I was ready. To this day I still use a bicycle to run errands, travel around Philadelphia and commute. I rode in what ever was available; shorts, sneakers, white socks, and yes cotton t-shirts. This was the pre-spandex era, before clipless pedals, power taps (what ever those are) and I had the first commercially produced helmet for the consumer; a Bell Biker.

It wasn't until I moved to the Philadelphia did I discover bicycling clubs and century rides. It was also when I started encountering “serious” bicyclists. Clad head to toe in spandex with logos on it so they can pretend to be professional racers, high end bicycles with carbon or titanium frames, the trendiest components, and sucking on the latest performance enhancing gel. But there is the elite 1% within this group that gives the rest of us a bad name. And they are known as Fred's.

The problem is the their sense of ownership of the Schuylkill River Trail and how anyone who is in their path is an interloper. You see them all time riding two abreast in sections that don't allow for it and creating mini-pelotons that engage in high speed passing with no warning. Worse yet is the verbal abuse. I've heard from cyclists, joggers, and Rollerbladers about being told to get off the trail, called assholes and menaces or passes so close you could touch them as they went by.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are not training for the Tour de France, you won't receive a yellow jersey when you finish, and if you think you are then go out and do “A” rides with the hammerheads from one of the cycling clubs. Otherwise your not impressing anyone. The Schuylkill River Trail is multi-user path, not your personal race course.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking all of your sentiments for most of my ride yesterday,