Do you have friends out there who own more than one bike, call themselves a cyclist (not a biker) and seem to have a language all their own? It's a little like Spanglish... you know, when you hear English sprinkled through the sentence but much of it leaves you grasping for meaning.
Thank me now because today I am here to school you on some (because I am still learning) of the "Language of the Cyclist".
1. Cyclist: A person who rides a Bicycle regularly, for fun, to commute, for money(only a few, for the rest it's only a dream) for exercise, for the adventure(that's me!)
2. Biker: Be careful not to call a Cyclist a Biker. A Biker rides a Harley Davidson.
3. LBS: local bike shop
4. Spandex: Cyclists actually like wearing it. And if you look close, which I suggest you don't, you will notice that there's a lot of bulk in their sitting area. That will be discussed in #5.
5. Chamois: Often referred to as the diaper. Chamois is cushion placed in the sitting area of the spandex to make those tiny bike seats a little more comfortable. Chamois also has a way of causing Spandex to quadruple in price.
6. Century: You only thought you knew... A Century is a 100 mile bike ride. Unless you live in a metric state of mind, then a Century is a 100 kilometer bike ride. Maybe I should move to Canada because that's only 62.5 miles.
7. Pelaton: the main group of cyclists in a race.
8. Break Away: the lead group of cyclists in a race. This usually consists of about 3-6 riders who take off ahead of the Pelaton. Watch the Tour de France this summer and you will hear this talked about a lot.
9. Bonk: When you run out of gas on a ride, hit a wall.
10. Jersey: Of course you do, but a cycling jersey is a little different. Made out of fabric that both breathes and wicks, a cycling jersey is very light weight. It zips down the front anywhere from 1/4 to all the way down. It has a snug fit. My favorite thing about a cycling jersey is that it has pockets in back. Great for cell phone, chapstick and an extra gel. Also good for keeping pepper spray close, you never know when a ferocious dog will try to attack causing you to crash, break your shoulder and miss your first opportunity for a double century.
11. Bibs: This has nothing to do with babies. These look a lot like spandex overalls and are worn under the Jersey. I've heard that the main purpose for wearing this type of shorts is to hold an oversized gut out of the way.
12. Cycling Socks: The most comfortable socks you will ever wear. Ever. These amazing socks fit like magic, wick away sweat, rise about an inch above the ankle and never slip around in your shoe. I love cycling socks. Except when Cycle Guy tries to talk the boys into wearing the Jolly Roger ones to church. Click here.
13. Kit: When jersey, shorts, and socks all come in a matching set. This normally has a team name and logo. Sometimes it also includes shoes, helmets and water bottles but that's pretty much only for the guys who are lucky enough to get paid for riding. Cycle Guy swears he will never wear matching everything while riding a bike, uh huh we'll see.
14. Clipless pedals: Bike pedals that cyclists clip the bottom of their shoe into. These are often the cause of new cyclists tipping over when coming to a stop because they forget to 'unclip'. Really, your foot doesn't just slip off and this is the longest "crash" you will ever experience. What? No! That's just what I've heard.
15. Platform pedals: The flat pedal that everyone else has on their bike.
16. Cleat: The thing on the bottom of a cyclists shoe that clips into the clipless pedal.
17. Cadence: How fast your legs are moving the pedals around in a circle.
18. MPH: How fast your pedals are moving your wheels around in a circle causing your bike to propel forward. So, is it KPH in metric?
19. Draft: when riding closely behind another cyclist, the draft is the protection from wind the back rider has. The back rider doesn't have to work as hard as the front one.
20. Paceline: A line of cyclists one in front of the other. Intermittently the riders rotate position so that they each take their turn leading the pace line and enjoying the draft. A group of riders in a paceline move much faster than when each cyclist rides on their own because of the "rest" they get when not in the lead position.
21. Wheel Sucker: A cyclist who won't take his turn at the front of the paceline; always hanging back taking advantage of the draft from the others.
22. Derailleur: A device for shifting gears on a bicycle by moving the chain between sprocket wheels of different sizes.
23. Sprocket Wheels: thin wheel with teeth that engage with a chain. Depending on the bike, there are 2-3 sprocket wheels in the front and several smaller ones in the back.
24. Triple: When a bike has 3 sprocket wheels in the front. This gives you another set of easier gears. 'True' cyclists claim 2 is enough but I like having a triple.
25. Granny Gear: Using that 3rd sprocket. Love it!
26. Onyerlef: On your left. What people say when passing you from behind. It's important because bikes are so quiet that you often don't hear them coming. Unfortunately, unless I'm on a trail where there are people walking I don't get to say it.
27. Rail to Trail: When a former section of railroad is removed and replaced by a paved trail. These are often several miles long and great for a quiet "no motorized vehicle" bike ride. They are also good for teaching children to ride and a beautiful place to walk. (Just remember if you are teaching a child to ride a bike on a trail that they need to stay on the right side of the path and to watch out for other cyclists. Oh and call your kid a cyclist, they will love it.)
28. Ascent: to climb up a hill. Often done in Granny Gear.
29. Descent: to fly down a hill. Often done without remembering to change out of Granny Gear thus causing you to spin out of control at the bottom. They (you know They have opinions about everything) they say that you're not going fast enough if you feel in control. Nope. Jenny must always feel in control. Cycle Guy doesn't just have to wait for me at the top of a hill but at the bottom also.
30. Trainer: This is a piece of equipment that you set your back wheel on thus turning your road bike into a stationary bike. Not nearly as fun as riding outside but helps keep you in shape so when you do go outside you are up to the task of riding beyond your own neighborhood block.
31. Spinning: Riding a stationary bike for long periods of time. You may have heard of spinning classes at your local club.
32. Rollers: A piece of equipment that you set your bike on to ride indoors. Your bike is not connected to rollers and you still have to balance. Much like a treadmill that only moves when you ride the bike. I've heard it is more like the real thing than a trainer but like I said, you still have to balance and I couldn't even get that far. Yay for trainers!
33. Gel: I think I mentioned gel in #10 as something you should keep in your jersey pocket. Gel is a wonderful pudding like invention that comes in a small packet similar to a ketchup packet. It has magical powers that when you feel yourself getting weak, you suck one of these down and the carbs, sugars, and electrolytes enter your bloodstream for long lasting energy. Warning: They do not curb hunger. When riding a long bike ride don't depend on these as your sole sustenance. Bring along some kind of energy bar or better yet stop at a taco truck and eat something truly delicious.
34. Chamois Cream: AKA Butt-er. Remember #5? I know that was a long time ago and I have given you a lot to remember. Don't worry it's an open book test. Well, Chamois Cream is a cream that you rub anywhere there might be friction in the chamois (sitting) area of your body. Makes a world of difference, try it. (Lance Armstrong uses shaving cream. No rubbing needed, just spray a bunch into the spandex for that fast non friction ride. Never tried it, never will. I'll just trust him that it works.)
There is only one more I will give you today. This list is far from complete but it will give you the ability to amaze your friends at parties with your extensive knowledge of cycling terms.
Here it is last but not least. Well, maybe least...
35. Shooting Rockets: I have heard this also happens on the farm or at the Father/Son campout. This is done by holding one nostril closed while blowing vigorously out the other nostril. Two things are very important when doing this on a bike. 1. make sure no one is directly behind you. And 2. make sure you have plenty of clearance over your shoulder or under your arm. (it's a guy thing, nice lady cyclists don't participate in this kind of behavior.)
~Scan through every day or so and add a new cycling word to your vocabulary. The test won't be for a few days