Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Belfast's Fréd Festival celebrates everyday cycling

Rides, talks & mechanic training on offer in two-week bike bash

Just as the city calms down after going pink-crazy for the Giro d’Italia, Belfast turns its attention to celebrating less elite varieties of cycling this weekend with the annual Fréd Festival.

Organisers say the the Fréd Festival is aimed squarely at ordinary, everyday cyclists who want to make the city a better place to cycle, in contrast to celebrating the racing snakes of the pro peloton.

The festival runs from June 6 to 22, starting this Friday with free coffee at Established Coffee followed by a Lunchtime Lecture in The Mac by Carlton Reid on his soon to be published book, Roads Were Not Built For Cars.

Lunchtime Lectures continue the following Friday with Philip McAleese (inventor of the SeeSense light) and conclude in Bike Week with Andrew Grieve, head of the new Cycling Unit who will outline the Government’s vision for cycling in Northern Ireland and in particular Belfast.

Other events include three tailored workshops designed to take wannabe spanner-wielders from from maintenance noob to zen master in just three weeks. There’s a trip along the eight-mile Comber Greenway to The Tudor Cinema to see classic bike racing movie Breaking Away; a Bike Beach BBQ on the coast where a number of glowing barbeques will be waiting for all manner of  ingredients; the Ride on Belfast mass commute on the June 20; and The Fréd Awards will be opening for nominations.

Most events are free or have a small charge to cover costs.

Organisers say the festival’s name comes from the term ‘Fred’, “a derisive term used by ‘serious’ road cyclists to describe other cyclists who do not conform to serious road cyclists’ norms with regard to dress and equipment, and appear amateurish to them.”

Fred Festival organisers want to reclaim the term to mean “anyone with a deep passion for cycling” and have founded Fred CC to that end, an informal cycling club for folks who want to build a better, more vibrant bike culture and in turn encourage more people to use the bike.

All details can be found at

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment


_SiD_ | 9 years ago

Bloody marvelous!

Latest Comments