Cycling Lingo

Last Updated on March 7, 2021 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

You have taken up biking, and now you want to be cool and speak the cycling language.  Here are some common terms to help you fit in with the cyclers.

29er – mountain bike with 29” wheels.

Aero – short for aerodynamic.  Some bikes are designed to be more aero and it also refers to riding position. 

Bibs – cycling shorts that are held up with suspenders, not the thing you put on a baby for mealtime.  That mistake would really make you sound ridiculous.

Bidon – not the current president, this is bike lingo for a water bottle. 

Bra – strip placed inside the rim to protect the inner tube from nipples.

Cadence – pedaling revolutions per minute.

Campy – short for Campagnolo, Italian road bike component manufacturer.

Century – the 100 mile bike ride.

Cooked – tired after a long day of riding.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Derailleur – device used to shift gears.

Dork Disc – plastic disc on rear wheel that protects the spokes from the chain.

Drops – curved part of road bike handlebars.  You are in the drops provide a real aero position when riding.

Hoods – refers to riding on the tops of the brakes/shifters on a road bike. 

Pile up – crash during a cycling race.

Ride on – typical phrase to inspire other riders to keep going.

Segment – a stretch of a ride that is timed. 

STI – integrated brake and shifters.

Trainer – used to ride a bike indoors for training.

Tarmac – the road.

Watts – measurement of power produced at the pedals.

Weight weenie – cyclist concerned about having the lightest bike.

Wrench – bike mechanic

Published by FAB Jim The Cyclist

Jim has over 40 years of experience with bicycles and loves road and mountain biking and just going for calm cruises. He is a mechanic who has built custom bikes and is also very interested in bike history.

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