Fred McCarthy was a distinguished national and international amateur cyclist during the early 1900s and attended the 1908 Summer Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the team pursuit, 1,980 yards event and competing in several others. He was reclassified as a professional in July 1910 after participating in several cash prize races on the Vailsburg Velodrome in Newark, New Jersey. He raced that year in a six-day event in Boston, finishing eighth. He continued to race as a professional through 1914, but never reached the level of distinction that he achieved as an amateur, although he was still competing as late as 1926. Outside of cycling, he had a career as a candymaker.