You hate Freds with the hatred that only a disillusioned Fred could have. You sound like Michelle Bachman's husband talking about gay people.
That said, I don't know why you keep trying to say they aren't athletes. I mean, they are participating in a competitive physical contest. They're athletes. They might be gear obsessed dweebs, but they are athletes. Give them that much. The old ladies in swimaerobics are athletes too. It's not like you're crowning them the Sultan of Brunei for giving them that title.
March 27, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Firstly, as far as my own disillusionment, I'd say a more fitting analogy would be the ex-smoker talking about the dangers of tobacco. Secondly, on giving Freds the athlete thing, absolutely not. I refuse to call them athletes for the same reason I refuse to say that people "curate" their playlists on iTunes. They're (though I really should say "we're," since I too am a Fred) are not really athletes. What they're doing is working out, or exercising. They're athletes like the people you see sweating away in the window at Equinox are athletes. If a cyclist who's participating in an amateur bike race is an athlete then when I'm defrosting a Trader Joe's pizza I'm a chef. And sure, I can reheat the shit outta one of those bad boys and it will be delicious, and I might even throw some extra toppings on there just because (ham and Froot Loops baby!), but that doesn't make me Anthony Bourdain.
And if you really want to get technical about it, let's look at the dictionary definition of "athlete:"
Trained? Skilled?!? I don't think so. Nobody who's ever participated in an amateur bike race can possibly claim that any of these people are "skilled." Not falling down or making someone else fall down is not a "skill," it's just basic survival, and a lot of these people can't even manage that. And yes, Freds say they "train," but let's not confuse that with "being trained." An Olympic gymnast who flips fifty times through the air and then lands on a balance beam on her pinky toe has been trained, whereas an amateur bike racer has merely indulged himself extensively before an event. Freds train for racing only in the sense that the person "clearing the pipes" is training for a big date, or that the person with his face in a bong is training to listen to "The Dark Side Of The Moon."
There are numerous words in the dictionary that fit Fred far better than "athlete" does, and here's just one of them:
Nerd? Jerk? Yes, and yes.
Still, I admit that "dorks" is a bit harsh for use in cycling publications and bike-related marketing, and too many people aren't ready to admit that they're Freds, so I'd suggest replacing the word "athlete" with the politically correct yet still technically accurate "Physically Active Bicycle Consumer" (or PABC). So you ride a lot, talk about "embro," and spent $200 on bib shorts? Congratulations, you're a PABC. Good for you.
But while what you are when you're riding a road bike is debatable, there's no debate that when you're riding a folding bike you're a circus bear, and that's what I was when I rode over the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. Nobody with any brains rides a bike over the Brooklyn Bridge, and nobody with any dignity rides a folding bike, and the fact that I was doing both should tell you everything you need to know about me. And in case you don't know why it's stupid to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, it's because it's crawling with tourists who stand in the middle of the bike lane:
I like how the one on the left is explaining the engineering behind this modern marvel, and how the one in the middle looks like she wishes she was dead:
("I'm in New York City and I'm looking at braided cables. Kill me.")
But as stupid as I am, at least I'm not one of those idiots who rides across while indignity shouting "Bike lane, bike lane!" at everybody. Really, we should just surrender the bike lane to the tourists already. Actually, what they really need to do is close the Brooklyn Bridge to cars, give the wooden walkway to the tourists, and give the roadway to the cyclists. The drivers can take one of the other bridges, or suck it up and pay the toll for the Battery Tunnel. Fucking cheapskates. If you can pay for a car and pay for the gas then you can cough up a few extra bucks for a toll, and if you can't then lose the car and take the bus. Anyway, I kind of like the idea that I'm making my way into people's photos:
Note the camera angle:
Now whenever they want to remember their trip to New York City they'll have to look at some dork on a folding bike.
Meanwhile, in Brisbane, Australia, a reader tells me that a landmark legal decision will allow a Sikh to ride without wearing a helmenth:
As if mandatory helment laws weren't humiliating enough, the poor guy had to sit through a trial and listen to stupid questions like this:
This proved to be a brilliant tactic, since the spacial intelligence required to visualize the problem made the prosecution's brains hurt so much that they ultimately forfeited the case--but not before some perfunctory cross-examination:
Well, he did say he takes off the turban to bathe, so I'm surprised they didn't claim that before cycling he should take a bath, put on a helment, and then wrap the turban over it.
Anyway, after this profound waste of time, the poor guy is finally clear to ride with only one symbolic hat on his head instead of two.
At least until Nutcase starts making Sikh-compatible helments.