Ok what the hell is a Fred and what is Chip talking about. The above image makes sense to my five loyal readers but to this generation probably not. I was going to add a Right Said Fred image but that probably would scare more of you off than Fred and Barney. So a "Fred" if you are unfamiliar is a derogatory word elitist (read: Roadies) used to describe the general cycling public. It was usually a thinly veiled fat joke. Fred was certainly better than wanker I suppose which could have caught on but thankfully didn't. We all stopped being "Freds" when Lance came along. Sorry not sorry. Y'all may get triggered by Lance and I am not defending him and his cohorts but he made cycling cool. At least in 'Murica. Cipo is not cool. He is up there with Right Said Fred. Some kind of euro freak show. America likes Nascar. And Kid Rock. You do the math. But anyway. Around the time Lance got vilified and blamed for a entire culture of doping cycling become uncool. Like really uncool. I was there when lots of super smart people tried to make cycling like surfing culture. Nope. Never gonna happen. Cycling is about the proletariat it will never be cool.
So yeah from the photo above you can see I am 100% Fred. I mean seriously. Total ridiculous fanboy. I am co-DS of a faux Belgian anti-team. I almost got in a fist fight with an actual PROfessional cyclist over a Lion of Flanders flag and my Belgie Nationals kit. I blame that Vet on that though. He started it. And almost had me "finish" it. Although pretty sure I would have lost that fight. But who knows. Just cause you are pretty don't mean you can fight. Right? Anyhow. I am happy about being a Fred. I have always been an outsider. A dork. You name it. Nerd. Geek. Those used to be insults. Now they are badges of honor. Its great the kids can take their freak flag and fly it high. We got in legit fights over that shit. You want to fuck with my leather pants? Bring it. I hope you are actually ready for a fight. But nerds and Freds have taken over. Which is "good" I guess. I love that my kids don't want to go to "liberal" arts schools. They want science and biology. The future is bright. I came from a generation of slackers.
Ok so where is this going? I get it. You want a magic bullet to protect you. My good friend Mr Surly Wrench once said "Death comes ripping" And it does. It feels like it does more so for us on a bike and exposed to all these distracted drivers. I almost died today. Literally. A few weeks back I got lectured by a nice gentleman *cough STALKER *cough about how no one could see me in my HUP kit. He was of course wearing hi viz and had a blinky light. It was fucking noon. And sunny. Old Chip would have punched this mansplaining freak in the throat. Sure I may have pulled out a few tricks to ensure mister Hi Viz Safety Officer got that I am not his bitch and he was not going to pass me on the inside of some high speed turn. But I have mellowed with age. Kind of. I did want to punch him in the face. I also wanted to educate him. So we had a chit chat. I think he was confused that I was able to keep up with him on my CX bike on the road while he was riding a 10k Titanium Dentist Bike. I had my say and peeled off. But it has been stewing. I am not mad but as Mikey would say DEATH COMES RIPPING. You think if you stick to some "rules" you will mitigate your risk. No. Sorry bro. Only one thing mitigates that. Skill. Luck. And awareness. If some douche is texting and drives off the road they will drive through you and your high viz kit.
If someone is drunk they will just run over you. Plenty of drunk and high drivers plow into State Police cars on the side of the road with their lights on. Some say they are attracted to the lights. For the record. I wear high viz orange during hunting season. I ride ALL year round. Not just the Century season. I have a high viz Gore jacket and blinky lights. Again. It won't do jack shit to save your ass with a driver who is fucking updating their status or texting their girlfriend. You want to mitigate risk? Move to VT. Ride off road exclusively. But I like roads. I refuse to concede them to this cult of distracted drivers. I talk to so many people who would love to ride bikes. But they are scared. I don't blame them. They should be. I am terrified every time I ride with my wife. No disrespect to my friends who I love but I could not handle my wife being hurt on the bike. I just couldn't. Sorry if this is sort of a bummer. I want you all to be safe. If putting a strobe light on your bars and wearing a high viz kit makes you feel safe great. If rolling with a blinky light makes you feel safe great. If packing a Glock is for you godspeed. I don't wish any ill will to drivers. I know most are just uneducated. But we have to do more. We HAVE to figure this out.