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Talk the Talk, Ride the Bike: Your Cycling Lingo Glossary

Talk the Talk, Ride the Bike: Your Cycling Lingo Glossary

Cycling seems to become more popular with each passing year. Back in 2015, 36 million Americans ages seven and up rode their bicycle at least six times during the year. But if you're wanting to become a more serious cyclist, you're going to have to pick up on some of the lingo to get by. That's why we've put together this fun glossary that may include some new jargon you need to know.

A: Aero

Short for aerodynamic. Used to describe bikes, helmets, clothing, and other gear that are designed with minimal wind resistance in mind.

B: Brakes

What makes your bicycle stop or slow down. To come to a stop, squeeze both brakes evenly; to slow down, gently pull and release to gradually drop your speed.

C: C Series

C series bike saddles, also known as carbon fiber bike seats, provide lightweight comfort for cyclists. It took over a decade to develop the C series bike saddles we sell today.

D: Drafting

How riders reduce their wind resistance and effort, which involves riding closely behind another rider to take advantage of their slipstream.

E: Endo

Meaning "end-to-end," this happens when a cyclist flips over the handlebars or when a bike's back wheel lifts off the ground.

F: Fixed Gear

A single-speed bike, also known as a "fixie," that doesn't have brakes and cannot coast. To stop the bike, the rider must pedal backward.

G: Gears

Teethed metal discs that help cyclists adjust to different environments. Most road bikes have two sets -- one in the front, called chainrings, and one in the back, known as the cassette.

H: Hit the wall

Also known as "bonking" or "the knock," this describes the sensation of totally running out of energy on a lengthier ride.

I: Individual time trial

A race in which cyclists start at fixed intervals (anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes apart) and race against the clock to complete a course. A solo race event.

J: Just riding along

Referred to as "JRA," a term often heard by bike mechanics. A vague, often untruthful turn of phrase attempt to have repairs performed under the manufacturer's warranty.

K: Kit

A complete cycling outfit that often includes shorts, a jersey, socks, shoes, and a cap. Committed riders may coordinate their outfit to their bike.

L: Leather

Leather bike seats are among the most comfortable bike saddles available and will prevent perineal pain. While C series bike saddles are made of newer technology, leather bike seats have been a traditional choice for decades.


An acronym that stands for "Middle-Aged Men in Lycra." In the wild, you may see a MAMIL riding a very high-end bicycle.

N: No one else in the picture

This occurs when a solo race winner manages to strike a victory pose with no other riders in view.

O: On the rivet

If a cyclist is riding at maximum speed, he or she is "on the rivet." The rider may perch on the front of the saddle.

P: Peloton

A term that refers to the biggest pack of riders in a road race. These packs allow cyclists to take advantage of drafting in order to save energy.

Q: Queen stage

In a multiple-day road race event, this is the stage determined to be the hardest.

R: Road bike

A bicycle specifically designed for road riding, this bike is typically more lightweight and additional features made for speed.

S: Saddle

Another term for bike seat. If your saddle is uncomfortable, our leather or C series bike saddles can make for a much easier ride.

T: Trail angel

An individual who provides acts of generosity and kindness for outdoor cycling events or on biking trails. They may provide food, drink, or transportation to those making their way on the trail.


Short for under-seat steering, this is a feature some recumbent bicycles have. The handlebar is found under the seat.

V: Vultures

Another name for spectators at a bike race who gather specifically at an area that has a high risk of a crash.

W: Wheelsucking

When a cyclist rides close to the rear wheel or a group or individual, benefitting from the draft without putting the work in. Also known as "leeching."

Y: Yellow jersey

The color of jersey worn by the leader and winner of the Tour de France.

Z: Zip tie

Although they have other uses, many cyclists use zip ties to attach race numbers, keep cables in place, and more.