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On Biking: some bike slang for beginners

Posted by Your Town  July 2, 2010 02:13 PM

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Worried you won’t be able to follow the water cooler chatter as your co-workers talk about the Tour de France, which starts Saturday? Here’s a short list of bicycle slang for beginners:

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Animal is a strong rider.

Bail is to quit a race or a ride.

Bonk is to lose all your energy, usually from overexertion and a lack of food or fluid, it happens to the best of us, even Lance.

Broom wagon is a van that follows the race and picks up riders who are injured or unable to finish.

Cadence is how fast you pedal.

Cleat is the plastic on the bottom of your cycling shoe that clips into your pedals.

Crump is another word for bonk.

Cobblestones are roads paved with stones that jut out and look like cracked teeth, they are technically challenging to ride and usually result in a nasty crash.

Dialed in means your bike fits you perfectly.

DNF is did not finish, meaning you bonked, crashed or bailed.

Echelon is a line of cyclists that snakes across the road so that each rider blocks a crosswind for the biker behind him.

Domestique is a biker with no hope of winning, he’s only riding to assist the team leader.

Endo occurs when you crash and vault end over end across your handlebars, often you land on your head

Epic is a long ride that animals love.

Gap is the distance between you and the rider up ahead.

Grand Classification, or GC, is the overall winner, the rider with the lowest cumulative time; he’s the one he gets to wear the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey.

Green jersey is awarded to the rider who wins the most points for sprinting.

Grind is to use a hard gear and really push, it’s bad for your knees and you have to be built like a fullback to effectively ride this way.

Hammerfest is a ride where everyone grinds.

King of the mountains is the best climber of the Tour, he wears the polka dot jersey.

Lantern rouge is the last person to finish the Tour de France, like the red lamp on a caboose.

Peloton is a group of bikers riding together to block the wind for each other and make the pedaling easier.

Stage is a single day of a multi-day bike race.

Prologue is a short time trial that starts off a stage race.

Tacoed is when your wheel collapses and looks like a taco shell.

Toasted is when you are spent but you have not bonked.

Wheel sucker is someone who hangs onto your back wheel and uses your draft to get a free ride without sharing the load.

White jersey is given to the best young rider of the Tour.

Did we miss something? Add your favorite (G-rated only) cycling slang in comments below.

Jonathan Simmons is a Brookline psychologist and avid cyclist. Read his column about the Tour de France here.

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