Cycling lingo explained – 21 terms every cyclist should know
Roadies are a special breed and even have their own language. From 'blowing up' and 'bonked' to 'granny gear' and 'spinner', learn the lingo and you’re in. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro, how many of these bike-related terms do you know?
Short for aerodynamic, this term is used to describe everything from bike frames and wheels to helmets.
This word refers to the classic cyclist’s drink’s bottle. It’s also a French slang term for a load of old rubbish, so doubly useful.
3. Blow up
If you hear that a cyclist’s ‘blown up’ don’t panic. It means the same as ‘bonk’ - that they’ve run out of energy.
We all know this word has a second meaning; it’s when a cyclist runs out of energy.
Competitors who have raced ahead of the main pack/peloton. More importantly, a kind of chocolate biscuit bar.
The number of revolutions of the crank in a minute, and it’s an important concept when thinking about which gear to use.
A 100-mile ride or race: apparently there’s one through London and Surrey.
This is a word for a bog-standard tyre. ‘Clinch’ means to secure by bending a point or rim over another object; in this case a tyre over the wheel rim.
Sounds mysterious, but the crank is simply the bar of metal that joins the pedal to rest of the bicycle’s body and gears. There’s a tool for that.
This is a mechanism that moves your bike’s chain from gear to gear whenever you shift.
A rider who works for the benefit of his or her team and leader, rather than trying to win the race.
Otherwise known as ‘slipstreaming’, this technique is a handy way for cyclists to preserve energy when riding behind others. A cyclist moving through the air creates a flow of air behind them which helps riders in their wake.
14. Granny Gear
This is the third, smallest chainring: an extremely low gear that’ll help you move your pedals. It’s a gear that some people think grandmothers would choose, but that depends on the grandmother, of course. There’s a tool for that.
15. Gruppetto or Autobus
Coming from the Italian for ‘bunch’ and French for ‘bus’ respectively, these refer to the group of stragglers following behind the main body of riders.
16. KoM or QoM
These acronyms stand for ‘King of Mountains’ and ‘Queen of Mountains’, titles reserved for the best climber in a road race. Known as a ‘GPM’ in Italian cycling.
No, we’re not talking about ‘Parkour’ (fancy French free-running); ‘parcours’ means the race or stage route profile.
This French word for ‘small ball of wool’ describes the main group of riders in a race.
A roadie, or road geek, is a devoted road cyclist.
A cyclist who pedals at a fast cadence in smaller gears. Also a word for flying cars in science fiction films.
A mass participation cycling event where anyone can request a place and have a go. The Prudential RideLondon is the Europe’s largest.