August 2022 – I am a Fred Cyclist !

A what? A cyclist entrenched in Fredness !? What does this mean?

It’s been wet, windy, shitty cycling weather for most of August with plenty of time to sit around reading, planning, spending too much time on the ‘net and doing some shed work.

Early in the month Ken sent me the title of a new cycling book – ‘Cycle Zoo’ by Melbourne author, stalwart cyclist and tilting trike builder, Stephen Nurse . The book is all about Human Powered Vehicles (HPVs) – you know, those things that are not your bog standard, diamond framed 2 wheeled bicycles.

Intrigued I hopped on the Internet and started down the HPV rabbit hole. Along the way I found this quote, referenced by Stephen in his book :

“a Fred is a cyclist who has a ton of cycling gear, especially of the utilitarian “uncool” kind, like mirrors, powerful lights, fenders, bells/horns, heavy leather seats, racks, reflective gear, bags, baskets, etc. The gear and bike may be put together by kludgey homemade solutions, like duct-taped flashlights to the handlebar. This type of Fred is a bike geek who likes/needs lots of gear (even if it is modified stuff not intended for bikes) that a racer would never use, no matter what roadie cyclists or others think. Sacrificing some, or ignoring completely, concerns of speed or traditional roadie/sport cyclist style, these type of Freds are more concerned with practical concerns like comfort, safety, versatility, maintenance, being able to quickly transition to time and culture on/off the bicycle, etc. Freds of this type can be well aware of their fredness, once they are aware of the concept, and often embrace it wholeheartedly.”

This quote comes from Jun Nogami’s blog, Biking in a Big City where he mentions and links to the cycling term Fred . 

That had me chasing down “Biking in a Big City” and from there, several other pathways before emerging at tea time.

I am a cyclist riding a recumbent with an extra wheel, umpteen 3D printed accessories, lights, carrier, panniers and now a trailer. Not worried about speed, my setup is designed for comfort and touring.

I qualify as a cycling Fred !

The Burley and a hitch in the plan

The Burley trailer hitch arrived from the US just as I read in the Rohloff doco that it was not a good idea to bolt a hitch onto my gear hub axle. Two reasons. My hub does not have a through axle so you wouldn’t want to risk stripping the “axle” thread. Plus, Rohloff don’t like you attaching an axle hitch if you are using a click box – I am. Double Bugger.

But :

I decided to mount a bracket to the mudguard (fender) and rack attachment points. This would keep the trailer arm away from any Rohloff component and certainly from the ‘axle that doesn’t go all the way through’.

I made a 3D printed template then, when correct, transferred the detail to a piece of metal lying around the shed. Well, actually it was a spanner that had obviously been specifically made for some purpose now long forgotten. The metal was ground to size and the required holes drilled. True to form, Cullimore engineering ensured the holes weren’t quite in the right place but a bit of work with a rat-tail file fixed that. Let’s hope I won’t ever need the spanner for it’s original purpose.

If it works OK I might paint it !

I was worried that the metal would bend under load. It looked and felt tough enough and after a couple of test rides it has proved good – long may it continue to serve. The other concern was that the forces on the fitting would warp the rear frame at the attachment points. Not happened yet !!

So pleased to see them together again – misty eyes !

Here is a video I made to keep an eye on things during two test rides (Ken and Colin please note – video updated since original post) :

Two test rides towing Burley

Next Problem.

This little spindle is the quick release skewer holding the front part of the seat onto Magnum’s frame. The critical threaded sleeve had cracked and no longer gripped the thread on the rod – so, in turn, it no longer holds the seat in place. It pulled apart as I powered up a minor hill near the Village Green and the seat crashed out of place onto the frame.

Of course a standard QR wheel axle doesn’t fit but MRrecumbents in Melbourne had a spare and it was soon on its way to Longford. MRrecumbents main business is supplying schools with racing HPVs – a big scene on the mainland – and also market a trike of their own design. They decided to grab some Greenspeed spares when that business was sold – 4 container loads apparently. In one of the containers was a GS QR seat skewer with my name on it.

By the time all that had been taken care of we were nearing the end of August and the weather began to look (dare I say it?) Springlike. The occasional day climbed over 15°C at midday even though there were light frosts overnight.

To prove its getting Springlike – blossom on the Village Green

With the weather improving and trike ready to go I managed a few rides. One day, 3 of us retirees were riding together. Colin has a problem hip, Pete is just getting scheduled for a knee replacement and I am having some issues with something twanging in the back of my knee. Pete rides a road bike and still cycled twice the distance we did – going ahead and then coming back to see what was holding us up!

Then came more rain.

Back Creek – flooded away from Longford again

I took Ernie on a tour of the waterways to see what was going on. Yes, Back Creek had flooded once more.

I cycled out to Woolmers and the Macquarie River. Here the water had been across the road but by the time I arrived the road was passable.

The river was still high and was water running through the overflow drain
But not as high as it was when these fences caught all the debris
Many of these signs were out as I cycled down past Panshanger

There were signs all over the place warning of water across the road – and in some places the water was still flowing slightly. Yes. We had some rain.

The frogs were out and about and I managed to get a few recordings to send through to the Australian Museum Frog ID program. Citizen Science is being used to gather data re frog numbers across Australia. At one pond I was able to record what I think will be identified as Banjo Frogs. Instead of “rebit” they make a metallic sounding “Bonk” – like a banjo.

The Macquarie and South Esk Rivers both feed into Trevallyn Dam – a hydro power dam above Launceston. When the dam overflows, the water cascading down the Cataract Gorge can be quite a sight. The rain caused an overflow – so we went to have a look.

We missed the main event by a day and the waters weren’t as high as back in the 2016 floods but it was still quite a show.

The last week of the month brought some surprising warmth – up to 20°C at midday. Then it was back to frost and 13°C plus yet more rain. What a tease.

It was a sad month kilometres ridden wise. I am still ahead for the annual goal of 5,000 ks but the margin is narrowing. Must do better in September.

’til next time, wishing for fewer problems and better weather ………..

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. It is good!

6 thoughts on “August 2022 – I am a Fred Cyclist !”

  1. Great blog, Loved it, well expressed and the pics, of the floods too. Bluey looks very proud getting along with the Burley on the back. Roll on Spring and summer.


  2. I am very happy you have found the “Fred” term that you identify with. Don’t think I’m a Fred though. I don’t care about speed, etc, but I don’t really care about gear either – just enough so I can go ride. It’s good you were able to get in a few rides to test out all of the tinkering. August was crappy in Albury, too, so I certainly didn’t miss any great riding. And I note SAM is positive, too. That led to a lot of windy rides back in 2017! Here’s wishing you a better Sept and chance to get in some good kms for the goal.


    1. No Emily – you are definitely not a FRED. The last week has been quite nice. Cold overnight, little wind and the sun warms things up a bit (not the air but things on the ground).The Rohloff is a delight so this last week I managed to get a few ks in feeling good with the world. Pending root canal work soon casts a shadow though – trying not to think about it!


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