The American Bicycle Association, the world's largest sanctioning BMX organization.
A trick where the rider goes straight up the ramp and while they are still facing forward they tap the back tire to the coping/obstacle, then drop back down the ramp riding backwards or fakie. The rider's body faces the same direction through the whole trick.
A multi-discipline team race that varies in length and distance from a few hours to several days. Involves multiple sports such as cycling, running, orienteering, boating, rappelling, etc.
(Say: air - o) - Slang for aerodynamic, streamlined. Anything that helps a cyclist cheat his main opponent, the wind. Aero devices include handlebars, bullet-shaped helmets, even windshields.
Handlebars or bolt-on (often called "clip-on") bars made for road riding that put you in a streamlined position for more speed with the same effort. These usually include elbow pads, which support your weight. The bars place your hands in front of the body, where they poke a hole in the air, which decreases wind resistance. Using aero bars and finding an aerodynamically optimum riding position are the best ways to reduce your time in time trials, triathlons, even centuries. Many riders like and use aero bars not for speed but because they provide a relaxed position for cruising the flats.
A special helmet with a streamlined shape to reduce wind drag and offer an advantage in races against the clock. Often pretty funny looking.
(say: air - o - bick) - Cycling or exercising at a pace that allows breathing comfortably because you're getting enough oxygen. Think of it as a "conversational" pace. If you're breathing too hard to talk, the pace is too fast.
A component or accessory that wasn't intended to be used as original equipment on stock bicycles.
If you like to leap over obstacles or fly off ramps, this is what you're trying to put beneath your wheels, as in, "I got big air." Also, it's what you put in your tires and some suspension forks and shocks so you have nice, soft landings.
As in all-mountain bicycle, this means a bike or ride that encompasses all types of off-road terrain, climbs, descents, technical and jumping.
A hexagonally shaped tool for turning the ubiquitous recessed bolts found on bicycles. There are L-shaped Allen wrenches, ones with screwdriver handles and ones with ball-ends so that you can turn bolts in tight spaces. Get a set for your toolbox and on-the-road/trail kit that includes at least 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm wrenches, and you'll be prepared to fix most things.
A legendary Tour de France climb to the French ski station of the same name, Alpe d'Huez is renowned for its brutal steepness and 21 switchbacks, each bearing the name of a past Tour stage winner. The Alpe became the Tour’s first mountaintop finish when the then-unpaved climb was used in 1952. Fausto Coppi won the first stage to use the 8.6-mile, 7.9%-grade climb with a time of 45 minutes and 22 seconds. Now paved, debate remains as to who holds the record for the fastest ascent of the climber’s crown jewel. Marco Pantani is generally acknowledged to be the fastest at 37’35” with Lance Armstrong a close second at 37’36”.
(Say: aloo - min - um) - A super-light, durable and affordable material that's widely used for bicycle frames and components.
(Say: an - air - o - bick) - Cycling or exercising at a pace that causes labored breathing because you're struggling to get enough oxygen. Obviously, you can't keep at it for long.
The bolt on brakes and derailleurs that is tightened to hold the cable in place.
A bicycle track term that refers to the transition area just beneath the racing/riding surface of the track. Also referred to as the "cote d'azur" due to its blue color, it usually represents about 10% of the track's surface. It's not illegal to ride on the blue band but if you use it to get around another rider you'll be disqualified. Plus, it's dangerous to ride there as you're more likely to strike your pedal in the corners.
Once America’s most revered cycling celebrity, Lance Armstrong was renowned for his prolific victories in 7 straight Tours de France and numerous U.S. races after surviving a near-fatal bout of cancer - and also for creating the cancer-fighting Livestrong Foundation. Sullied by extensive documentation and his own admission of using banned substances and bullying others into doing the same, Lance was stripped of most of his titles, and is now a polarizing figure in the cycling community.
(Say: ash - ta - beau - la) - Also called a one-piece crank, this is a steel crankset found in some cruisers and BMX bicycles. It's simple, heavy, durable and named after a town in Ohio.
(Say: A - T - B) - For All Terrain Bike (another term for a mountain bike).
Or "auger in," this is slang for crashing, usually head- or shoulder-first.
This stage racing term (the Tour de France is the most famous stage race) is used for the group of racers riding near the back who work together to finish the stage just before the time limit expires.
In mountain biking, this is a section of trail with loose rocks about the size of a baby's head.
Slang for scabs, cuts, scars and other scrapes and abrasions from crashing. See also: road rash.
To ditch (toss away) your bike before a crash, oftentimes done mid-flight during a jump.
Fun and nicely descriptive name for the extra-long, narrow and curved seats that first became popular on the 1960's kids' bike called the Sting-Ray (viewed from the side these seats are shaped like a banana). They are so long that they attach in front to the seatpost and are supported in the rear by a strut. Today these seats are still found on high rise-style kid's bikes, called that because of their high-rise handlebars (sometimes these bikes are called "chopper bikes").
A sloped embankment under 90 degrees. Found on dirt (MTB and BMX riding) and paved and wood tracks (track racing).
Sometimes called "bar cons" (short for bar controls), these are shift levers that mount in the ends of the handlebars so that you can shift without removing your hands from the bars.
Little caps that are pressed into/onto the ends of handlebars to seal them and for protection from puncture wounds should you crash and land on the bars.
A trick where the rider releases and spins the handlebars. The standard bar spin is one full rotation of the handlebars, however riders can spin the bars twice, even three times, etc. This trick is often coupled with other tricks to add to the degree of difficulty.
Short for handlebar(s).
A mountain bike accessory that protects the chainrings/crankset from damage should you run into a rock, log, etc. when you're riding over it.
In races with laps, like criteriums which typically race around city blocks, or cyclocross, which follows a fixed route, the bell lap is when the official at the starting line rings a bell. This is done either to signal a one-lap race within the race to contest a mid-race prime (the winner of that lap gets a prize), or as a signal that you're on the final lap and it's time to do your best to win.
A small or large raised embankment usually in a corner that allows you to maintain speed without losing traction and sliding out.
A common affliction for all cyclists, this is slang for when you covet new bicycles, accessories or anything cycling.
(Say: byen - der bolt) - Found on stems and frames, a binder bolt is what tightens a seatpost in a frame and a handlebar in a stem. Usually, binder bolts are Allens.
The part of a hydration system that holds liquid. Bladders are made from polyurethane or similar materials, are often antimicrobial to fight germs and bacteria, and come in various sizes up to 100 fluid ounces.
You have to pace yourself on rides, especially hilly or long ones, or you might blow up and tire yourself out so much you have to stop, or find another way to get home. You can blow up due to riding too hard, too far and by not drinking or eating enough.
Bicycle Moto Cross. A popular type of racing, trick riding and jumping usually done on 20-inch-wheel one-speed bikes.
A tire patch. Place it between the tube and tire to cover a gash in the tire's casing that otherwise would not contain the tube. Almost anything can be used as a boot, even paper money and roadside trash.
Not the guy(s) running the show, bicycle bosses (also called "braze-ons") are the posts attached to frames and forks to accept components and accessories. For example, the brake bosses on a fork are where the brakes are attached. And, water-bottle bosses are where the bottle cage is attached.
A common feature found in skateparks, stunt demos and competitions. It consists of two ramps separated by a 10-foot "deck" (flat section) in the middle (top).
Slang for "cyclo-computer," a small handlebar-mounted device that measures current, average, maximum and top speed. Plus, trip distance, total distance and often other things (depending on the model) such as cadence, temperature, elevation, even heart rate.
A horseshoe-shaped add-on sometimes used on older mountain-bike rim brakes to increase braking power by eliminating flex from the brake posts (what the brakes mount to).
The small diameter tube on the frame that runs between the two seatstays and on road bikes, where a rear sidepull brake is mounted.
Usually caused by wear or improper adjustment, this is when the brakes lose power while you're braking. Bad brake fade can be scary and dangerous.
Small fittings (also called "bosses") that are usually brazed on (a type of welding) to frames for holding parts of the bicycle such as the water bottle cages, pump, rack and fenders.
To ride away from the peloton in an effort to win a race. Because the peloton can ride much faster than an individual, breaking away is often a futile effort and leads to exhaustion, with the peloton eventually catching the rider. However, sometimes the attack pays off and the rider captures a dramatic win.
(Say: bruh-vay) - A brevet is an official randonneuring ride of at least 200 kilometers usually completed to qualify for longer and major events, such as Paris-Brest-Paris and Boston-Montreal-Boston. Just as on the longer events, in order to officially complete a brevet you must ride the entire route and stop at checkpoints along the way between certain times to get your route card signed. Failure to do this means the ride doesn't count.
Slang for dual-function road bike levers that both brake and shift. Comprised of the "br" from brake and "ifters" from shifters.
When a bike mechanic says a part is brinelled, it refers to components with bearings inside, like headsets or hubs. If they are brinelled, they've worn out over time and there's a pattern of dents in the bearing track.
The last vehicle in a race caravan, that "sweeps" the course and picks up crashed, broken-down and off-the-back riders who can't continue.
Or "the bunch," this is used to refer to the main group of riders sticking together in an event or race.
The part of the front derailleur the chain passes through. Also, that thing that holds your bottle, which is called a bottle cage.
A trick where the rider removes a foot from the pedal, extends it over the top tube and to the side of their body and then returns it to the pedal before landing. There's also the "no-foot can-can." It's the same as the can-can except when the rider's one foot crosses over the top tube, the other foot comes off the pedal, and both feet are kicked out together.
(Say: cant - ee - lee - ver brakes) - A type of brake comprised of two arms that bolt to posts attached to the frame and fork with a crossover cable that connect the two. Common on mountain and touring bikes, cantilevers provide excellent braking power.
What the front person on a tandem (a bicycle built for two) is called.
The motorized "circus" that accompanies most major professional stage races and even some amateur events, the caravan is composed of officials' vehicles, motorcycle police, team cars, medical vans and photographers hanging precariously off the back of even more motorcycles.
One of the lightest frame and component materials, carbon fiber (also called just carbon) is unique in that it's a fabric, not a metal. This allows gossamer weights, incredible strength and impressive frame/fork compliance (vibration damping) because the fibers can be oriented in myriad ways.
(Say: Card - ee-o - vask - you - lar) - Having to do with the heart and blood-supply system.
A bicycle-component bearing that is self contained and pressed in place. It's designed to be easier to replace when worn out. Sealed cartridge bearings have covers to keep dirt and grit from getting inside and contaminating the bearings and grease inside.
Not jumping the total distance of an obstacle and coming up short causing the rear wheel to tag the landing in an awkward, un-smooth style possibly resulting in a crash.
(Say: kay - sing) - The material that makes up tire sidewalls.
The cluster of gears on the rear wheel of a bicycle. A cassette differs from a freewheel (which is also a cluster of gears on the rear wheel) in that it fits onto a splined interface on the hub. Freewheels are screwed onto threaded hubs. Also, cassettes do not include the drive mechanism while freewheels do.
Or Cat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, these are designations used by the governing body of USA Cycling to rate racers' abilities and determine in which group they race. Cat I is the fastest ("Cat" is short for "Category"). Cat V is the entry level. You graduate to the next category by earning upgrade points racing in enough events, and/or placing in and winning races.
Any 100-mile ride. It’s been considered prestigious to be able to ride a century in a day since the 1880s. Today, many clubs hold century rides, which include a great route, rest stops at regular intervals with food and drink and a bunch of great folks to ride with. There are also "metric centuries." They cover 62.5 miles.
An accessory usually on a bicycle with one chainring and derailleur gears, that is mounted over the chainring to keep the chain from dropping off. Often found on downhill bikes.
A small device that's usually attached to the frame to keep the chain from falling off the small front chainring when you shift onto it. This is sometimes an issue with compact cranksets that have a bigger difference in the chainring sizes.
A device that keeps the chain tight on singlespeed and one-speed bicycles that weren't specifically designed for a given chain length (those bikes don't require tensioners). There are many types. The most common ones are mounted at the rear axle or on the derailleur hanger. Axle-mounted tensioners typically use bolts to pull the rear wheel back and tension the chain, while derailleur-hanger tensioners use a sprung arm with a pulley.
Also called a "rivet extractor," and a "chain breaker," this special tool drives pins in and out of the chain. It's used for installing, removing and repairing chains, and is a good tool to carry on long rides.
The path the chain takes from the chainrings (in front) to the cogs (in back). Check chainline by placing a straightedge between the chainrings and seeing where it lines up on the cogs. Ideally the chainline will be in line with an imaginary line that bisects the chainrings and cogs. That will ensure a smooth, quiet-running chain and smooth shifting. If the chainline is misaligned it can cause shifting problems and even possibly throw the chain off.
Also called a "chainwheel," this is the sprocket(s) attached to the crank. Multiply the number of chainrings by the number of cogs (on the rear wheel) to determine the total number of gears on a bike. For example, some modern road bikes have 3 chainrings and 11 cogs for a total of 33 gears!
The short small-diameter frame tube that runs between and connects the chainstays.
Anything applied to, or wrapped around the right chainstay to protect it from the chain, which has a tendency to strike that chainstay (and can ding the finish) when you ride over bumps.
The twin smaller-diameter tubes on a bicycle frame that run from the bottom bracket to the rear axle. They’re called chainstays because they’re close to the chain.
An annoying ride-ruiner, chainsuck is when the small or middle chainring snags the chain beneath the chainstay and pulls it upwards (where the "suck" part of chainsuck comes from). This sometimes jams it between the chainring and the chainstay bringing pedaling to a grinding halt. Chainsuck is usually caused by mud, worn components and/or lack of lube.
Also called a "chainring," this is the sprocket(s) attached to the crank. Multiply the number of chainwheels by the number of cogs (on the rear wheel) to determine the total number of gears on a bike. For example, some modern road bikes have 3 chainwheels and 11 cogs for a total of 33 gears!
(Say: shammy) - The pad found inside most cycling shorts that cushions, wicks and breathes to ensure top comfort and protection. It also reduces friction and is seam-free to eliminate pressure points and chafing. Interestingly, the chamois was originally made of a thin leather just like the chamois you might use to dry your car. Today there are still leather ones but most are made of synthetic material, which often even includes antibacterial properties for additional protection and comfort.
(Say: k - rome) - A plating treatment that leaves a super-hard mirror-like finish.
(Say: k - rome - molly) - Short for chrome-molybdenum, a high-quality type of steel tubing.
Loose trail debris, rocks, roots, etc.
Usually a multi-lap road race around a course that exceeds one mile (versus criterium races that are held on shorter courses).
Traditionally, a single-day European road race on the professional calendar. Examples include Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San-Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Or "clean," this is slang for making it through a tricky section of trail without putting a foot down as in, "I cleaned Slickrock trail today."
The parts that are attached to the soles of cycling shoes that connect the shoes to the pedals for more efficient pedaling.
Climb categories are used in the Tour de France to rate difficulty. Climbs are ranked on a scale of 1 to 3, with Category 1 being the most severe. Riders are awarded points toward the King of the Mountains competition based on two things: their order over the top and the climb's difficulty. The harder the climb, the more points are available. There is also a "beyond category" climb called the Hors Categorie (HC). Its extreme difficulty makes it a big factor in stage races because better climbers can pick up more points here and make up time on their rivals.
(Or "click-in," "click-out") - To get in and out of clipless pedals.
Also called a "foot brake," this brake is found on many children's bikes and one-speed cruisers. It's built into the rear hub and applied by backpedaling. No skidding, kids!
An airplane or automobile term that is now sometimes (and confusingly) used for the parts making up the rider "compartment" on the bicycle, like the seat, seatpost, handlebars, stem and levers.
(Say: cole) - French for a mountain pass.
A double-chainring crankset designed to provide easier gearing by using smaller chainrings than found on standard cranksets. These typically feature 39- and 53-tooth rings, while compacts usually have 34- and 50-tooth rings.
Standard bicycle frames usually have top tubes that are parallel with the ground. Compact frames have sloping top tubes (lower at the seat tube). This can reduce frame weight, increase pedaling efficiency and speed handling. Compact and standard frames may fit riders differently.
(Say: com - paws - it) - A frame tube or component comprised of more than one material. For example, a carbon composite includes carbon, aluminum and other elements.
Also called a "cyclo-computer" or a "brain," this is a small handlebar-mounted device that measures current, average, maximum and top speed. Plus, trip distance, total distance and often other things (depending on the model) such as cadence, temperature, elevation, even heart rate.
French for "against the clock," and used to refer to time trials where it's the cyclist against the clock, no drafting allowed.
The top portion of the lip on a ramp or obstacle that is usually made of metal tubing, PVC pipe or rounded-off cement.
Also known as a "straight block," this is a cassette or freewheel on which every cog is one tooth larger than the preceding one (as you shift up the cassette to larger sprockets).
A bicycle track term that refers to the transition area just beneath the racing/riding surface of the track. It's the narrow blue band at the bottom of the track. Also referred to as the "apron," it usually represents about 10% of the track's surface. It's not illegal to ride on the cote d'azure but if you use it to get around another rider you'll be disqualified. Plus, it's dangerous to ride there as you're more likely to strike your pedal in the corners.
As in Crested, Butte, Colorado, this is a mountain biking mecca. It's also famous as one of the first places the originators of the mountain bike ventured for epic off-road riding.
(Say: cry - tier - ee - um) - Also called a "crit," this is a type of multi-lap road race held on a relatively short course often around a city block. It's an exciting venue because spectators can watch the riders come around lap after lap and get up close and personal on the difficult sections of the course such as the climbs and tight corners. It's a thrilling event to race because you're so close to others, must negotiate many corners at speed and have to be smart and tactical to compete successfully. Many races come down to sprint finishes, too.
This controversial, loosely organized monthly group ride takes place in large cities around the world, often during peak commuting hours. It's designed to promote cycling by reminding motorists that there are viable alternatives to driving. However, by impeding traffic, it may simply prejudice motorists against cyclists.
Participating in other sports for training besides cycling, such as running, hiking, swimming, etc.
(Or "cross-two, cross-four") - A spoke pattern on which each spoke crosses three others, or two, or four.
1. A bicycle made for casual riding. Features include a large, comfy saddle, wide handlebars and fat tires for a soft, flat-free ride. 2. A BMX bike with 24- and sometimes 26-inch wheels, often preferred by taller riders or adjusts returning to the sport. Cruisers race in their own separate class.
A wide, thickly padded seat, such as the type usually found on cruisers.
Or "curb riding," this is a tactic used when there's a crosswind. Say it's coming from the left. If you're strong enough and want to set the pace you could move over close to the right curb to prevent other riders from coming up on your right side where they would be sheltered from the wind and could save energy. You're trying to ensure that they have to work as hard as you do.
Also called a "computer" or "brain," this is a small handlebar-mounted device that measures current, average, maximum and top speed. Plus, trip distance, total distance and often other things (depending on the model) such as cadence, temperature, elevation, even heart rate.
A type of off-season bicycle racing (usually held October through January) around a loop course, which includes natural and man-made obstacles that force dismounting and running while carrying the bike. It was invented in Europe to keep racers fit through the winter.
A bicycle designed for the rigors of cyclocross racing with a light, responsive and rugged frame, fork and wheels, plus wide gearing, grippy tires and ample mud clearance. Cyclocross bicycles can be used for commuting, training, off-roading and training, too.
(Say: dee - ray - lure) - Also called a "shifter" or in England, a "mech," a derailleur is a mechanism that literally derails the chain moving it to another cog or chainring. There are rear and front derailleurs. The rear shifts the chain across the cogs. The front moves the chain between the chainrings. You must be pedaling to shift and it's best to use light pedal pressure when shifting.
Also called a dropout hanger, this is the tab beneath the right rear dropout (not all bikes have these), which the rear derailleur is screwed into.
Also called a "rotor," this is a component found on the front end of many BMX bikes and some freestyle mountain bikes that prevents the rear brake cable from tangling so that you can do easy bar spins and tailwhips (spinning the bars or bike 360 degrees). It splits the brake cable into two segments, which are joined at a rotor installed above, or attached to, the bike’s head tube. As the bars rotate, the top segment spins while the bottom stays stationary and full braking power is available at every point of the rotation.
French for "sport director," the directeur sportif is responsible for managing almost all logistical concerns of the racing team he/she is in charge of. At the highest levels of cycling, during races, the directeur sportif drives behind the peloton watching live race coverage on a dashboard-mounted TV and informs his team on proper race strategy via radio. He may also pass out drinks and help with medical or mechanical issues.
Also called a "linear-pull brake," these are the most powerful type of rim brake. They feature long parallel arms (greater leverage), inflexible brake-pad mounts and short cable paths. They are common on mountain bikes.
Also called a "dirt-jumper," a type of BMX or mountain bike built tough for jumping and stunt riding.
A type of brake system that uses discs (called rotors) that are attached to the wheel hubs and calipers attached to the frame that grip the rotors when the levers are squeezed. Discs provide maximum speed control and stopping power even in wet and muddy conditions. Plus, because they do not rely on the rims for braking, wheel damage can't compromise braking the way it can with rim brakes.
Used for an aerodynamic edge, mostly in individual races against the clock, like time trials and triathlons, these high-tech wheels feature closed construction making them disc-like and super slippery so they slice through the wind for free speed.
Short for Did Not Race. If you register for a bicycle race or a century ride and then for some reason can't be there to ride it, the officials will usually put DNR next to your name. DNS is also used, for Did Not Start.
Short for Did Not Start. If you register for a bicycle race or a century ride and then for some reason can't be there to ride it, the officials will usually put DNS next to your name. DNR is also used, for Did Not Race.
(Say: doe - mess - teak) - A racer who sacrifices his own chance of victory to help a teammate win. Tasks of a domestique may include: carrying extra bottles and food for fellow riders, chasing breakaway groups, and even giving their bikes to the designated team leader should he have a mechanical problem.
1. Short for a double-chainring crankset. 2. A jump with a gap between the take-off and landing. 3. Short for double century (a 200-mile ride).
A 200-mile road ride, usually completed in a day. Just like there are lots of popular organized centuries, there are also many organized doubles.
A suspension fork that features two crowns, one above and one below the head tube. Usually, it's a long-travel fork and the additional crown reinforces the fork legs to improve suspension, control and handling at speed.
The frame tube that runs from the head tube to the bottom of the seat tube.
Shift levers that attach to the bicycle frame down tube. Once standard on bikes, they're now rare.
To ride closely behind one or more fellow riders so that you are shielded from the wind, thereby saving considerable energy. The drafting effect increases as the size of a group grows, creating the potential for a number of riders to travel much faster than an individual cyclist.
Aerodynamic forces that make you have to work harder and slow you down. In cycling, drag is the result of a number of things, including the wind speed and direction, plus the bicycle, equipment and clothing that all catch the air to some degree. This is why so many companies use wind tunnels in their bicycle design and testing process.
It's comprised of the crankset, chain, front and rear derailleurs and pedals.
Also called a derailleur hanger, this is the tab beneath the right rear dropout (not all bikes have these), which the rear derailleur is screwed into.
A spring-loaded mountain-bike seatpost that can be lowered or raised while riding so that you can dial-in the perfect seat height for a given section of trail without having to stop and get off the bike.
Chain lubricants that don't attract grit and grime and are best suited to dry riding conditions. They often include paraffin.
An exciting mountain biking event where two racers compete on side-by-side downhill slalom courses.
Slang for a bicycle with dual suspension. Also called a "full suspension."
A bicycle (usually designed for off-road use) with front and rear suspension.
Another word for "generator," a dynamo is a device that produces electricity as you pedal to power your bicycle lights. Usually they are either attached to the bicycle frame and rub on the tire or they are incorporated into the front or rear hub and built into a wheel. As the wheel turns, electricity is generated.
(Say: esh - el - on) - An echelon is a riding formation used by a group of cyclists when there's an oncoming side wind. Riders stagger themselves forming a diagonal line across the road to best find shelter from the wind, save energy and maintain their pace. Riding in this formation is called "echeloning."
(Say: ee - last - oh - mer) - A type of spring used for bicycle suspensions. It's usually cylindrical and elastic. Elastomers are lighter than coil springs and offer some built-in damping (suspension control), too.
A nutritious bar eaten before, during and after riding to keep your energy up and speed recovery.
Also "epic," this is any ride that turns into a memorable adventure, or one you'd like to forget!
(Say: erg - om - met - er) - An indoor cycling device used for training and/or testing fitness.
Coming up short on a landing of a jump so that the rider essentially lands on their bottom bracket. This is unsightly, uncomfortable and can ruin the landing.
1. A surprisingly difficult section of road that looks flat but is actually slightly uphill. Usually, no matter how hard you pedal you go way slower than you think you should be going. 2. A stretch on a long hill that looks flat and tricks you into thinking you've reached the top when there's still more climbing to come.
As in "fan the pedals," this term describes a rapid pedal cadence (your pedaling speed).
Not to be confused with "fat-tire bikes," which is a moniker for mountain bikes, fat bikes are a new type of all-terrain bicycle that feature super-wide frames, wheels and tires (often over 4 inches wide), that make it possible to ride over snow and sand with ease.
A trick where the back peg of the bike is grinding/stalling while the front tire is on top of the obstacle.
(Say: fair - rules) - Metal or plastic caps that fit on the ends of cable housing. There are several types. Some are used to provide a perfect fit between the housing and stops the housing fit into on the frame. Others customize the end of the housing to fit in the brake and shift levers (but ferrules aren't used on certain components so always read the directions to be sure).
Or "the field," this is used to refer to the main group of riders sticking together in an event or race.
Although there are different designs, most fixie bicycles are among the simplest two-wheelers on the road and trail. They're usually comprised of a frame, wheels, bars, stem, seat, seatpost, crankset, pedals and chain. There are no derailleurs and often no visible brakes (you slow/stop by holding back on the pedals). These elegant bikes are called "fixies," because the distinguishing characteristic is having only one fixed gear (it's attached to the rear wheel in such a way that you can't coast, the pedals always go around when the bike is rolling).
A back flip combined with a 180-degree spin in which the rider lands riding forward going back in the direction from which he came, often done in a half-pipe or on a tall vert lip.
(Say: flan - j) - What the spokes fit into on hubs.
A handlebar that does not have any rise or drop. Flat bars are typically found on mountain bikes designed for cross-country riding and road-style hybrid bicycles.
A trick that combines a backflip and a tailwhip.
A bicycle inflator for home use (versus the one you carry on your bicycle). The best floor pumps have built-in gauges making it easy to check tire pressure.
Slang for many cyclists' favorite post-ride "energy bar," the burrito.
Usually shown on the frame or bicycle geometry chart (or found by measuring), frame angles help you understand a bicycle's riding characteristics. The angles used are the head-tube and seat-tube angles expressed in degrees. So, for example, a road bike might have a 74-degree head tube and a 73-degree seat tube. As a broad, general rule, as the angles steepen the ride stiffens and vice versa.
The barrel-shaped and splined part found on the drive side of a rear-wheel cassette hub. The freehub contains the mechanism that drives the bicycle when you pedal. The cassette (cluster of gears) slides onto and is attached to the freehub so you can't see the freehub until the gears are removed.
A cluster of cogs that's screwed onto the rear wheel. It includes the bearings and drive mechanism. "Freewheel" also means to "coast." Note that a "cassette" is also a cluster of gears on the rear wheel. But a cassette slips onto the splines on a cassette hub and does not include the bearings and drive mechanism (they're part of the cassette hub in a piece called the "freehub").
Also called the "main triangle," this is the part of the frame made up of the top tube, head tube, down tube and seat tube.
A trick where the rider goes straight up a ramp and while they are still facing forward they tap the back tire to the coping/top of the lip, then turn back toward the direction they came as they drop back into the landing. Similar to an abubaca except they do not ride the trick out backwards (fakie).
A skid lid that offers more head protection than conventional bicycle helmets by including a reinforcing piece(s) that covers your lower face. It provides additional protection and is often used for downhill runs and extreme riding.
A four-sided box jump with a ramp on every side. A common feature in skateparks.
1. The distance between groups of riders or a breakaway and the pack in a race. 2. The space between jumps or ramps, often where riders throw tricks while airborne.
For General Classification, "GC" is used in stage racing for the current overall rider standings. Since stage races are comprised of several races, there are results for each race and also results for each rider's cumulative time for all stages. The person with the lowest time overall after all the races is first on GC and the winner of the race.
This is used to compare gearing. For example, on a road bike with 18 gears, there are 2 chainrings and 9 cogs. To check the gearing, count the teeth on the cogs and chainrings and create a chart with the rings on top and the cogs on the side. Then, to calculate each gear ratio, divide the chainring by the cog and multiply by 27 (rear wheel diameter). Put the numbers in the chart so you can compare and understand. The larger the number, the harder it is to pedal the gear. By comparing the numbers, it's possible to find overlapping gears and gaps that you might want to change to improve the gear ratios.
General Classification (or GC), is used in stage racing for the current overall rider standings. Since stage races are comprised of multiple races, there are results for each race and also results for each rider's cumulative time for all stages. The person with the lowest time overall after all the races is first on GC and the winner of the race.
A device that usually attaches to the bicycle frame and rubs against the tire to produce electricity to illuminate your lighting system via pedal power rather than batteries.
Geometry is the key technical description of a bicycle frame that helps you understand how the frame will fit and ride. Usually it's provided on a chart with an illustration making it easy to understand which measurement is which. Common geometry measurements include: seat-, top-tube, chainstay and wheelbase lengths; head- and seat-tube angles; fork rake and trail measurements; bottom-bracket height; and often more.
In English, the Tour of Italy, this is the country's grand tour and the second most important stage race on the professional calendar after the Tour de France.
(Say: greece) - A bicycle lubricant that's used for components, which include ball bearings, such as the hubs, bottom bracket, headset and pedals. Grease is the consistency of pudding, so it stays put and lasts a while.
A BMX term for sliding along the edge of an object such as a handrail with only the axle pegs in contact.
Short for "grommet," and used in other sports too, a "grom" is any young, up-and-coming rider, usually under 15 years-old, who may already possess considerable skill.
1. Or "the group," this is used to refer to the main group of riders sticking together in an event or race. 2. Sometimes called "groupo," this is a complete set of bicycle components. A group usually includes: hubs, crankset, bottom bracket, derailleurs, shift levers, brakes, headset and sometimes the seatpost. Wheels are sold separately.
Rides with more than one person, usually a lot more. Before joining an established group ride find out what type it is so you go on one that you'll like. Some are conversational and fun, others are hard-core training rides designed to simulate tough, race conditions.
An ingenious inline brake-cable device, usually installed on the headset (steering mechanism) of freestyle BMX bikes, that makes it possible to spin the handlebars and front wheel 360 degrees without tangling the cables.
A bicycle or tricycle that's pedaled by hand, usually with a special crankset/pedal arrangement located in front of the rider.
A hard-packed trail.
The frame tube that the fork fits into.
The bearing mechanism attached to the head tube and fork that makes it possible to steer. It's comprised of a fork race that's pressed onto the fork crown, two cups that press into the head tube, bearings and a top cone, spacers and a top nut, clamp or stem (the stem locks the adjustment on threadless headsets).
Or "helmet head," this is the awesome hair you get after wearing a helmet for a period of time. Usually involves many spikes of hair sticking straight up matching your helmet's vent pattern.
First used in motorcycling and then BMX, "getting the holeshot," is when you get a great start in a race and are the first person through the first turn. Since BMX races start with riders lined side by side, the first racer to the turn often has to find a hole between other racers in order to do this, which is where "holeshot" comes from.
Also called "hub gearing," or "internally geared hubs" these rear hubs (the centermost part of the wheel) have the gearing system inside. Small "planetary gears" hidden inside the hub change position as you operate the control lever to shift and this makes it easier or harder to pedal. Hub gears are heavier than derailleur shifting systems but are less affected by weather and wear and tear. They are commonly used on commuting and city bicycles.
To attempt a jump with little forethought or concern about the outcome.
A trick where only the back peg is grinding or stalling while the front wheel is in the air.
(Say: ill - oom - in - nite) - A brand name for a highly reflective fabric used in high-tech cycling clothing.
(Say: im - ba) - International Mountain Bicycling Association
Also called "hub gearing" or "hub gears," these rear hubs (the centermost part of the wheel) have the gearing system inside. Small "planetary gears" hidden inside the hub change position as you operate the control lever to shift and this makes it easier or harder to pedal. Hub gears are heavier than derailleur shifting systems but are less affected by weather and wear and tear. They are commonly used on commuting and city bicycles.
The first and most famous triathlon. Held in Kona, Hawaii in October each year, it's comprised of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike race and 26.2-mile run. Competitors have 17 hours to finish the race.
More commonly called the "sit bones," these are the two bony points of the pelvis that rest on the bicycle seat. For maximum comfort you want a seat that is the right width to support and pad your sit bones.
The topmost small toothed wheel on the rear derailleur. It's responsible for moving the chain during shifting. The bottom pulley is called the "tension pulley." It creates tension on the chain to keep it taut during shifting.
(Say: Kay - rin) - Keirin is a mass-start track race which originated in Japan as a betting event (sort of like horse racing with humans) and is now also an Olympic event. In traditional Keirin lots are drawn to determine starting positions and 6 to 9 sprinters compete after a paced start. The pacer starts at a slow 15 mph and riders are required to remain behind him. The pacer gradually increases speed and leaves the track approximately 600 to 700 meters before the end letting the racers sprint to the line. The first person across wins.
Kevlar is a tough DuPont fabric. Beads are what's on the edges of bicycle tires and clings to the rim and keeps the tire on when it's inflated. Kevlar is used for the beads of most high quality bicycle tires (instead of wire) to save weight, improve ride quality and make it easy to fold the tires for portability. Tires with Kevlar beads are called "folding" tires.
Kevlar is a tough DuPont fabric. It's sometimes used beneath a tire's tread to create a nearly impenetrable Kevlar belt that prevents flat tires.
A type of jump that will typically propel you further vertically than horizontally.
Small pebbles and loose debris over a hardpack trail.
(Say: el - ay - bee) - League of American Bicyclists
A frame with a sloping top tube that makes it easier to mount and dismount.
(Say: el - bee - s) - Shorthand for Local Bike Shop.
The first American to win the Tour de France. He won it 3 times: 1986, 1989 and 1990.
Slang for helmet.
Also called a "direct-pull brake," these are the most powerful type of rim brake. They feature long parallel arms (greater leverage), inflexible brake-pad mounts and short cable paths. They are common on mountain bikes.
The take-off point of a jump and the top edge portion of a halfpipe wall.
A trail that's not quite muddy and not quite dry, but moss-like.
When a rider flips over backwards often due to pulling back and/or pedaling too hard while doing a wheelie or a manual.
Italian for "pink jersey," the maglia rosa is the jersey worn by the current race leader in the Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy), which is the second most important professional stage race after the Tour de France. "Maglia rosa" is also used to refer to the race leader himself. TV commentators might say, “The Maglia Rosa is riding well today.” The jersey's color comes from the Italian sports tabloid and race sponsor, La Gazzetta dello Sport, which is printed on pink paper.
(Say mayo - june) - French for yellow jersey, what the leader and winner of the Tour de France wears.
Usually a BMX or mountain-biking skill where you lift the front wheel and ride a wheelie to more smoothly and quickly get over obstacles or certain types of terrain like rollers.
This describes when a group ride or race commences with everyone leaving the starting line at the same time. Most road and cross-country races have mass starts, and most century, charity and fun rides do too.
(Say: Eddie Mer - ks) - One of the greatest road racers in cycling history, dubbed the "Cannibal" for how he devoured opponents often riding off the front seemingly effortlessly. "Eddie" as he is commonly called, won the Tour de France 5 times.
A 62.5-mile ride. Metric centuries are often offered along with the standard 100-mile century on organized group rides.
An elimination-style track race where the last rider across the line after each, or certain laps, is knocked out of the race. When the remaining riders reaches a certain number, they sprint for the finish to decide the winner. This race is also called "Devil Take the Hindmost."
(Say: mix - tee - frame) - A women's frame that features two small-diameter sloping top tubes. These make mounting and dismounting easier. And, because there are two tubes, lateral frame stiffness is not compromised the way it is with basic ladies' frames, which feature single down tubes.
As in Moab, Utah, a mountain biking mecca, famous the world over for wonderful trails. Also, home of the Slickrock trail.
(Say: mon - oh - kok) - A structure on which the "skin" provides the support. Carbon-monocoque frames are hollow but plenty strong.
1. A single heat in a BMX race. 2. Slang for off-road riding.
Also called a musette bag, this pouch with shoulder strap is stuffed with food and handed to racers as they pass through the feed zone.
At a ride or race, neutral support means if you have a mechanical there is assistance on the course available to all riders (versus in racing where team riders receive support from their own mechanics who will not help other riders).
Usually reserved for racing, a neutral zone is a section of the course where you're not allowed to race and have to remain behind the lead vehicle(s). For example there might be a neutral zone for a few miles to allow the race vehicles and competitors to get across a strip of highway before getting onto the official racecourse. Once on the course, the lead vehicles will typically signal the field to start racing and then speed up the road.
A trick where the rider removes one foot from the pedal, extends it over the top tube and then takes the other foot off the pedal too and kicks both feet together out to the side before returning the feet to the pedals and landing.
1. The small tube the cable runs through right beside the brake arm on some linear-pull brakes. 2. To ride really easily, to just "noodle along."
(Say: nor - ba) - National Off Road Bicycle Association
Misjudging the landing of a jump and coming up short so that the front wheel of the bike tags the top or front of the landing. This often leads to the rider needing to bail out from the bike.
A trick where you remove both hands and feet from the bike simultaneously while in the air over an obstacle so that for a short moment no part of your body is in contact with the bicycle.
Falling off the pace so much that a gap opens up between you and the group. A quick way to end up riding home alone because the group travels more quickly than the individual.
Rolling away from the group on a training ride or race. Considered rude if it's an easy day or friendly spin and apt to turn any group ride into a race. It also means being well ahead of the pack in a race. So, if you attacked and no one stayed with you, you'd be off the front.
A track racing event in which riders compete against each other in five different disciplines including the 200-meter flying-start time trial, the 5-kilometer scratch race, the 3-kilometer individual pursuit, the 15-kilometer points race and the 1-kilometer time trial.
Cycling slang for one who rides without a helmet.
1. Short for, "over the bars," as in crashing in such a way that you go flying over the handlebars Superman-style. 2. And, also short for, "off the back," which means being dropped by the group.
A line of riders (all it takes is two, yet the more there are, the better it works) traveling closely together and taking turns in the lead in order to save energy, share the work and travel more quickly than possible riding alone. There are many types of pacelines, such as single and double ones, but the goal is always the same, to cover the distance more efficiently by riding closely together, sharing the work of riding in front and breaking the wind, while your riding partners rest and get ready for their "pull" at the front when the time comes. In racing, there are paceline tactics that come into play too.
Or "the pack," this is used to refer to the main group of riders sticking together in an event or race.
A bicycle racer's list of achievements, accomplishments or wins.
(Say: pan - ee - ers) - Also called "saddlebags," these are bags that mount to front and/or rear racks for carrying gear. They're great for touring.
Or "PBP," Paris-Brest-Paris is an historic, and today the most important randonneuring event. It travels from Paris to Brest and back to Paris, a distance of 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) that must be completed in 90 hours. While food and rest stops are allowed, riders must be self-supported carrying the spares and all equipment needed such as lighting, fenders, rain gear, etc. PBP goes back to 1891 and takes place every four years in August. To qualify you must complete a series of rides called "brevets," 200, 300, 400 and 600K in length. Riders who manage to qualify and finish PBP within the time limit get their names entered in the official records of the Audax Club Parisien, and have the satisfaction of knowing they conquered one of the toughest events in all of cycling.
PBP stands for Paris-Brest-Paris, an historic, and today the most important randonneuring event. It travels from Paris to Brest and back to Paris, a distance of 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) that must be completed in 90 hours. While food and rest stops are allowed, riders must be self-supported carrying the spares and all equipment needed such as lighting, fenders, rain gear, etc. PBP goes back to 1891 and takes place every four years in August. To qualify you must complete a series of rides called "brevets," 200, 300, 400 and 600K in length. Riders who manage to qualify and finish PBP within the time limit get their names entered in the official records of the Audax Club Parisien, and have the satisfaction of knowing they conquered one of the toughest events in all of cycling.
Pea-size rocks all over the trail or road making it very hard to ride over/through.
(Say: ped - ee - cab) - A pedal-powered taxi.
Found on some BMX bikes, pegs (or axle pegs) are heavy-duty, short tubular extensions that screw onto the axles making it possible to do tricks like grinding.
(say: pell - o - ton) - The main body or group of riders. Also called the "pack," "field" and "group."
A trick where you do a no-foot can-can in both directions before returning your feet to the pedals.
Or "pin it," this is to tackle a tough section of trail fast and clean. As in, "I pinned it down that rock garden!"
A feature found on many mountain bike shocks and some suspension forks. Platform damping stiffens the suspension for efficient pedaling, while allowing the shock to stay active to absorb larger bumps on the trail.
(Say: pree - load) - A suspension adjustment that's needed before your first ride to ensure that the suspension is set correctly for your weight. Because suspension designs vary, you should follow the directions in your owner's manual. Usually, preload is accomplished by setting the shock air pressure or spring tension or by replacing its elastomers with stiffer or softer ones.
"Taking a pull," is riding at the front of a group or paceline and breaking the wind to give the riders behind you a rest. Riders will say, "take a pull," or "that was a great pull."
Riding to the front of the pack on a group ride. You might hear a rider behind you say, "pull through," which means he wants you to keep going all the way to the front so he can follow you up there. "Pulling through" can also mean pulling off and letting someone else lead. For example, when a lead rider is tiring, it slows down the entire group. Then riders behind feel fresh and want him to pull through and get off the front so they can go to the front and pick the pace back up.
The small toothed wheels on the rear derailleur that carry the chain. The top one is called the "jockey pulley." It's responsible for moving the chain during shifting. The bottom pulley is called the "tension pulley." It creates tension on the chain to keep it taut during shifting.
A track cycling event where riders start on opposite sides of the track and race over a set distance (4K for men, 3K for women). The racer who finishes the distance the quickest wins. It's an exciting event to watch as you can see who is ahead and a rider might even catch his opponent.
(Say: quad - ri - ceps) - The large muscles on the front of the thighs.
A clamping mechanism used to hold on wheels and sometimes used to secure seatposts in the frame. Quick releases make it easy to remove wheels for storage or flat-tire repair. You'll also find quick releases on seatposts and sometimes other parts such as handlebars on some folding bicycles.
Used to refer to time trials where it's the cyclist against the clock, no drafting allowed.
1. To go fast. 2. A meeting or start time, as in, "Let's rally at 10 and ride!"
A cyclist who does long-distance endurance riding with no outside support, typically not for competition but to complete the course within a certain time limit. According to Randonneurs USA "friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring." Randonneuring goes back to the beginnings of cycling. The most famous event is Paris-Brest-Paris, a 746-mile test that has to be completed within 90 hours. Begun in 1891, it is still held every four years in August.
To rotate your crankset halfway to avoid striking your pedal on a rock, log, etc.
That part of a bicycle frame comprised of the seat tube, chainstays and seatstays. It's called a "rear triangle" because it's behind the frame's "main triangle," which is made up of the seat tube, top tube, down tube and head tube.
An energy drink for after rides to recover more quickly.
A back-to-back series of jumps or rollers on a dirt track or trail.
A section of trail with so many large, immovable rocks, it takes skill to ride through it without putting your foot down or walking.
1. A series of small hills on a track or trail that are typically rolled (coasted) or manualed over (extended wheelie), not jumped. 2. An indoor training device comprised of a frame holding 3 or 4 rollers on which you place your bike to pedal in place. The rollers let you pedal in place and steer as you would riding outdoors. Unlike on stationary trainers, you must balance to ride rollers (unless yours are equipped with a bicycle support).
1. The "disc" part of disc brakes, rotors are the thin, flat circular metal plates that attach to the hubs. They're what the brake calipers grip to slow and stop you when you squeeze the brake levers. 2. A component found on the front end of many BMX bikes and some freestyle mountain bikes that prevents the rear brake cable from tangling so that you can do easy barspins and tailwhips (spinning the bars or bike 360 degrees). The rotor (also called a "detangler") splits the brake cable into two segments, which are joined at a rotor installed above, or attached to, the bike’s head tube. As the bars rotate, the top segment spins while the bottom stays stationary and full braking power is available at every point of the rotation.
For Revolutions Per Minute, this is how you calculate your "cadence," or pedaling speed. Simply count the number of complete pedal revolutions (one side) you do in 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to determine how fast you're spinning. A good target for fitness riders is to maintain 70 to 90 RPM.
(Say: six - fifty - see) - A designation for the wheel size found on many triathlon bicycles. 650c wheels are slightly smaller diameter than 700c wheels. Tires and tubes are not interchangeable.
(Say: seven - hundred - see) - A designation for the wheel size found on most road bicycles.
(Say: shray - der valve) - This is a type of valve found on bicycle tubes that's identical to those found on car tires.
(Say: sh - wag) - Also, sometimes called "swag," it's free bicycle goodies, such as posters, caps, bottles, stickers etc. you pick up at cycling events, races, shops.
A track racing term for a race over a given distance or a race in which all riders start on equal terms (from scratch).
Using your feet on the tires to scrub speed, maintain speed, or lockup the tire to cause the bike to stall.
A usually latex-based liquid with some type of small particle mixed in, that's put inside tubes and tubeless tires to fix flats before they can happen. The sealant particles seal the hole almost immediately so you can keep right on riding.
This is a term used when installing bicycle tires (car tires too). To "seat" a tire, or "seating" tires means getting the tire beads (the edges of the tire) sitting just right on the rim. When you spin the wheel and watch the bead lines on both sides, they should sit just above the rim all around the wheel. If they dip or bulge anywhere, let the air out of the tire and try again or the tire might come off.
The frame tube that the seatpost fits into.
The twin small-diameter frame tubes that straddle the rear wheel and run from the seat tube to the rear axle.
The adhesive applied to the rim and tire to mount a sew-up tire (also called a "tubular tire").
Also called a "tubular tire," (because the tire is shaped like a tube), this is a type of tire that's glued onto the rim and features a casing that's sewn around the tube. Professional road racers favor tubulars because the tires are extremely lightweight and have a round cross-section, which improves ride quality.
Also called "speed wobble," this is a dangerous side-to-side front-end oscillation while riding caused by a damaged or in-need-of-repair bicycle, or road/trail conditions. It starts off slowly and gets worse and can easily lead to losing control and crashing. To stop a shimmy, clamp your knees against the top tube and slow down. If it happens often have your bicycle checked for problems.
Also called the "sitz bones" and "ischial tuberosities," these are the two bony points of the pelvis that rest on the bicycle seat. For maximum comfort you want a seat that is the right width to support and pad your sit bones.
Short for quick-release skewer, the clamping device that allows you to remove and install wheels without tools. To be technically accurate, the quick release is the entire clamping device and a skewer is the rod-like part of the quick release that passes through the wheel's axle.
This is a symptom of a worn drivetrain. When a cog (or chainring) gets worn enough, it can't carry the chain properly. So, if you pedal hard when the chain is on that cog, you may experience a sudden and disconcerting lurch in the pedal stroke accompanied by a strange popping sound. What's you're experiencing is the chain riding up and over the teeth on the cog and slamming back down again. Skipping can also be caused by a stiff link that binds when it reaches the derailleur or doesn't seat on the cog. Either way, it's something to have repaired ASAP.
1. Large smooth swaths of rock, usually sandstone and great for mountain biking due to the excellent traction. 2. Slickrock is also the name of a famous trail in the riding mecca of Moab, Utah.
Tires with so little tread that they appear bald. Very fast and grippy.
A trick where the front peg on the bike is grinding/stalling while the back tire is on top of the obstacle.
(Say: S - P - D or spud) - Shimano's brand of clipless pedals. They're so popular that some cyclists refer to all clipless pedals as "SPDs," or "spuds."
Short for specifications and used to refer to the list of bicycle components or features found in catalogs and online.
Also called "shimmy," this is a dangerous side-to-side front-end oscillation while riding caused by a damaged or in-need-of-repair bicycle, or road/trail conditions. It starts off slowly and gets worse and can easily lead to losing control and crashing. To stop a speed wobble, clamp your knees against the top tube and slow down. If it happens often have your bicycle checked for problems.
An obstacle made up of two symmetrical lips placed back-to-back or coping-to-coping.
The usually metal rods that run between the wheel hubs and rims. Spokes come in different shapes, materials, thicknesses and lengths.
1. An all-out sharp burst of speed (usually covering no more than about 200 yards) at the end of a race to go for the win. 2. In track cycling, a sprint is a type of race in which two riders compete one-on-one. Unlike pursuits, the riders start next to each other in a sprint race.
One of the individual daily races that make up a stage race. For example, the most famous stage race, the Tour de France, is usually made up of about 21 days of racing, each one a separate stage.
Any race comprised of multiple races (stages). Usually won by the person who completes the entire event in the least amount of time. The Tour de France is the most famous stage race.
Or "stick," this is to land a jump or drop-off: stick the landing.
(Say: stick - shun) - A term that describes friction in a suspension that prevents it from operating smoothly. Ideally, suspension should be stiction free.
(Say: st - oh - ked) - To be excited about something; probably that great ride or new carbon frame.
Also known as a "corncob," this is a cassette or freewheel on which every cog is one tooth larger than the preceding one (as you shift up the cassette to larger sprockets).
A track term for the longer straightaway sections on either side of the velodrome that lead into the corners. This is where riders enter and leave the track.
A trick where the rider pinches the seat/frame with their legs and pulls back their upper body and throws back their arms releasing the handlebars and allowing the front end of the bike to drop away slightly mid-flight. A rather committing trick.
Slang for crashing in such a way that you go flying over the handlebars Superman-style.
(Say: sh - wag) - Also called "schwag," it's free bicycle goodies, such as posters, caps, bottles, stickers etc. you pick up at cycling events, races, shops.
Riding with your non-dominant foot forward or trying a trick in the opposite direction. Example: If you spin a switch three, you are spinning a 360 in the direction that does not come most naturally to you.
An off-road bicycle with 29-inch wheels.
1. A jump that is flat from the lip to the landing. 2. A BMX or mountain bike jumping trick where you flatten the bike out horizontally, like a table top, while you're flying through the air.
A trick where you balance on the handlebars, hold the front end stationary and then quickly whip the backend of the bicycle around (and around again, for the rare double tailwhip), before putting your feet back on the pedals.
A modern fork design where the base of the fork steerer tube is larger diameter than the top. This stiffens the front end without adding weight and improves handling and sprinting. Typically, tapered steerers measure 1 1/8 inch at the top and 1 1/2 at the bottom, but other sizes are available.
Also called "TTT," a team time trial is a race where all the rules of the individual time trial apply, yet instead of riding alone, racers compete as teams. To optimize speed, teams ride as units, trading positions at the front of their small group so no one rider has to break the wind by himself for very long.
Something challenging to ride. In mountain biking, it's a trail that's full of roots, rocks, turns, varying angles and/or other obstacles. On the road it could be a twisty descent with off-camber turns and/or rough, potholed pavement.
1. A steady, hard, but not too hard pace, set at the front of a group of riders. Sometimes a faster tempo will be set for the peloton to make up time. 2. A cycling workout effort level, tempo is below time-trial effort, but above aerobic pace. It's often the pace you can hold for an hour or so. 3. Tempo is also a type of track race where two points are awarded to the first person to cross the line each lap, and one point to the second-place rider. The rider with the most points at the end of the race wins.
The bottom small toothed wheel on the rear derailleur. It creates tension on the chain to keep it taut during shifting. The top pulley is called the "jockey pulley," and It's responsible for moving the chain during shifting.
Also called a or thorn-resistant tube, this tire inner tube is built extra thick on top to prevent thorns and other sharp objects from popping it.
Also called "time cut," this is a way to eliminate or penalize the slowest riders in a race or event. After every stage in a stage race, a time cut is established by taking the winner's time and adding 10 to 20%. Riders who finish in excess of this buffer zone are not allowed to start the next day. Time limits are common in road stage races, randonneuring and sometimes in other rides like centuries, usually as a way to ensure safety.
Also called a "TT," time trials are special events where riders cover a set course alone. Every cyclist's time is recorded and then compared to determine who went the fastest. Time trials are often held by cycling clubs since they're safe and easy to organize and run. They also are held in all the grand tour races and often play a major role in determining the overall race winner because the strongest riders go the fastest and gain time on those who can't go so fast when riding alone without their teammates to ride behind (see drafting).
A usually latex-based liquid with some type of small particle mixed in, that's put inside tubes and tubeless tires to fix flats before they can happen. The sealant particles seal the hole almost immediately so you can keep right on riding.
(Say: tie - tayne - ee - um) - An exotic and expensive metal frame material that's super light, lively riding and ultra durable.
The topmost bicycle frame tube.
Also called a "velodrome," this is an indoor or outdoor oval track for bicycle racing.
1. The point at which the lip/landing of a jump changes from a vertical to a horizontal surface. 2. In the sports of triathlon and duathlon, the transition comes between each racing leg, such as after the swim and before the bike leg. How quickly you "transition" (changing into your cycling clothes and mounting your bike and/or getting into your running gear) affects your time and result.
1. Short for triple chainring. 2. A bicycle built for 3 people, also called a "triplet."
A trick involving a regular 360 while simultaneously spinning the handlebars 360 degrees. A "double truck driver would be spinning the bars 720 degrees.
Abbreviation for "time trial," which is a special event where riders cover a set course alone. Every cyclist's time is recorded and then compared to determine who went the fastest. Time trials are often held by cycling clubs since they're safe and easy to organize and run. They also are held in all the grand tour races and often play a major role in determining the overall race winner because the strongest riders go the fastest and gain time on those who can't go so fast when riding alone without their teammates to ride behind (see drafting).
Abbreviation for "team time trial," a TTT is a race where all the rules of the regular (individual) time trial apply, yet instead of riding alone, racers compete as teams. To optimize speed, teams ride as units, trading positions at the front of their small group so no one rider has to break the wind by himself for very long.
The adhesive applied to the rim and tire to mount a tubular tire (also called a "sew-up tire").
A trick where you spin the handlebars into your lap/waist while tucking your upper body forward and simultaneously throwing your hands off to the sides.
Where a rider turns the handlebars and his body down toward the ground while the rest of the bike stays facing straight up.
(Say: yoo - na - cycle) - A one-wheeler. Surprisingly, they can be ridden on and off road, for short and long distance.
A humorous word for a bicycle frame material so light, lively, efficient and compliant it doesn't even exist yet, and might even be impossible to create. As in, "Your new carbon dream bike is really nice, but when I get my new SpeedKing with its unobtanium frame and ultralight wheels I'm going to ride like the wind."
Outward angulation of the foot, similar to supination. One of the things fitters look for in cycling shoes and cleat fine tuning.
Inward angulation of the foot, similar to pronation. One of the things fitters look for in cycling shoes and cleat fine tuning.
A dropout is the part of the frame that holds the wheel. Vertical dropouts are rear dropouts designed for easy wheel removal and installation because they face downward and offer usually one wheel position (for easy alignment).
A measurement long used to determine a cyclist’s maximum potential, VO2 Max measures the maximum amount of oxygen uptake during exercise per kilogram of body weight. An average healthy, untrained male will uptake approximately 3.5 liters/minute or 45 ml/kg/min. An average healthy, untrained female will uptake approximately 2.0 liters/minute or 38 ml/kg/min. Tour de France winning cyclists have some of the highest VO2 Max scores on record with Greg LeMond scoring a reported 92.5 ml/kg/min and Lance Armstrong scoring a reported 83.8 ml/kg/min.
In English, the Tour of Spain, this is the country's grand tour, and one of the most important stage races on the professional calendar after the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.
A gravity-defying trick involving jumping up to a vertical or almost vertical wall, maybe riding a little, and then jumping back off.
Usually a "balloon" tire (wide 26- or 24-inch size) that has white sidewalls. Somewhat common on beach cruiser bicycles.
Or "wicking," this is a feature of all good bicycle clothing. The fabric absorbs moisture and moves it away from the skin keeping you dry and comfortable.
Slang for when your bike's not working right.
An important tactic in cycling, working together means riding with at least one other person and sharing turns in front blocking the wind so you can both rest regularly and maintain a better speed than you could riding alone.
1. Slang for bicycle mechanic. 2. To work on your bike.
A trick involving rotating the handlebars halfway around while airborne.
A small Y-shaped bicycle tool usually with 8, 9 and 10mm sockets or 4, 5 and 6mm Allen wrenches.
In many cycling races and events this safety rule is intended to keep riders from crossing the yellow centerline on the road. Punishment for breaking this rule may include a time penalty, being relegated to the back of the pack or even disqualification.
Professional cyclist from Utah, Dave Zabriskie is widely regarded as one of the top time trialists in the peloton and is the only American to have won stages at all three grand tours (the Tour, Giro and Vuelta). He also held the Maillot Jaune as leader of the Tour de France for three stages in 2005.
Debuting in 1994, and invented and produced by Mavic, Zap was the first mass-produced electronic rear derailleur shifting system. Microprocessor-controlled and powered by a small 6-volt battery, Zap was for 7- and 8-speed drivetrains. Though still seen on some vintage bicycles, it's been discontinued by Mavic.
One of the first great American bicycle racers. In 1893, Zimmerman, who was dubbed "The Flying Yankee" and "The King of Speed" rode 41mph, won over 100 races, was the World Champion and earned over $20,000 in prize money.
An inexpensive plastic type of clamp that wraps around things and cinches in place without tools, and holds fast. Excellent for attaching race numbers, holding cables in place and all kinds of other applications.