Richard Fries is one of America’s best known cycling evangelists. He is one of the few individuals who can navigate the disparate tribal elements of bicycling: sport, industry, culture, and advocacy. We are excited to have Richard lead our One-Day Story Ride: Battle Road Bike Tour.
A native of Pittsburgh, Fries started road cycling as a young teen. As a student at the University of South Florida he began to race, climbing from Category 4 to Category 1 in just 18 months. While well known for winning several races, including three state championships, Fries also lived by bicycle. He received a bachelors in History and then competed at the pro level in Spain. Afterwards he moved to Boston, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University, graduating magna cum laude. Fries worked as a reporter and editor at The Daily Evening Item in Lynn, Mass., earning awards during his 10 years there. Throughout his tenure there, he maintained his passion for cycling. He contributed to Velo-News, Bicycling, Winning, The Boston Globe and Bicycle Dealer Showcase. In 1990 he started to cover all facets of cycling through desktop publishing, which lead to the formation of the The Ride Magazine in 1993. During the following 14 years, this acclaimed regional bike pub gathered thousands of subscribers. Fries found himself in demand as a commentator on cycling, first at live events, and later on television and radio. He spent seven years working for the Outdoor Life Network as a field reporter and assistant producer, covering cycling through North America and Europe. But his reputation is best known as a live race announcer. Having announced countless national championships and professional events Fries rose to the highest level of the craft, serving as the UCI’s English announcer at both the cyclo-cross and road world championships since 2010.
With this background in media, production, and promotion, Fries gained a reputation as a promoter and event consultant. He has also served as the marketing director for the Best Buddies Challenge rides. Working with Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Fries helped steer that organization to quadruple its revenues. Through sponsorship and rider recruitment, he helped generate more than $1.5 million for this non-profit organization.
He also worked as a development advisor for People for Bikes where he helped form Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington, which generated more than $300,000 and 100 million media impressions for bicycle advocacy.
After co-promoting six national cyclo-cross championships, Fries helped to create the Providence Cyclo-cross Festival in 2009. Fries presently serves as event director, which is regarded as America’s most prestigious cyclo-cross. Outside Magazine declared the event as “The Best” cyclo-cross event in 2014. In 2014 Fries was inducted into Society of the Woolly Mammoth, America’s de-facto cyclo-cross hall of fame. Behind the Barriers TV also named Fries America’s best promoter. He consistently has raised more sponsorship funds than any other cyclo-cross promoter.
In 2015 his career took another turn when he was selected to serve as the executive director of MassBike, the non-profit cycling group working to improve bicycling in Massachusetts. During his three years there he doubled the number of regional chapters, vastly expanded the social media presence, re-located the organization to a collaborative work space alongside other transportation advocacy group, guided implementation of Complete Streets policies, helped secure significant increases in state funding for bike path design and construction, and worked to pass the most comprehensive bicycle legislation in the history of the organization.
In 2018, Anthony Shriver urged Fries to return to Best Buddies International, this time promoting him to director of cycling experience, providing logistical, training and promotional guidance for the organization’s several charity rides, camps and adventures.