Cycling Jargon

Allen Key

Allen Key was one of the founding members of the Old Ports – he invented the tool of the same name – essential kit for any cyclist. Brother of Allen Lane who founded Penguin Books.

Ass saver

Expensive piece of plastic which proves that cyclists will buy anything provided it a) has a risqué name and b) a pro cyclist has been seen with one.


Small axe invented by Audrey Hepburn – actress and keen cyclist – and used to chop off spoke nipples

Base layer

A vest

Bib shorts

Shorts with a built-in bib designed to protect your jersey from stains caused by vomiting after eating gels. (See gels).


Ebay activity which is how all cyclists get their stuff.

Q: Where d’you get them wheels?

A: I bidon Ebay.

Bottom bracket

Thingamajig which stops the oojimaflop from coming off, only removable with a special tool which no-one owns.


Small principality between France and Spain which has produced a number of top cyclists. Capital is Cadiz.

Q: You going away this year?

A: Yeah, going to Cadence for a week.

Cat 4, Cat 3, Cat 2, Cat 1

Cycling widows keep cats for company when their partner is on their bike. A Cat 4 has 4 cats, a Cat 3 has 3 cats and so on. The optimum number of cats is N+1 where N is the number of times they’ve watched Strictly Come Dancing.

Chain gang

Ruthless crime syndicate infamous for locking rivals in chains and throwing them in the river.

Q: You joining the Dulwich chain gang?

A: No fear. I’ll stick with the Krays.


(Fr) Small furry animal from the hamster family used to make pads for cycling shorts.

Chamois cream

Toilet cleaner

Club run

Group ride where nobody gets left behind but someone always gets lost.


Weekly cycling magazine which tells you who won the Upper Sprocket District Wheelers invitational ladies tandem tricycle 10 mile TT, advises on the relative merits of gels v bananas as well as publishing the world’s least funny cartoon.


A type of chain-set used by Cat 2 and above riders.


The sound your rear derailleur makes when it falls off going down Pol Hill.

Deep section wheels

Carbon wheels worried about the meaning of life. Profound section are wheels are worse.

Disc brakes

Device to stop compact discs from spinning too quickly (obsolete).

Disc wheel

Small plastic disc inserted between the cassette and the hub to stop the chain falling into the gap.


Double Indemnity 2 – unsuccessful 1999 horror sequel to the original film: Walter comes back to life as a zombie insurance agent working for Direct Line


A cleaner employed by Peter Sagan to wash his hair and polish his collection of trophies.


Training method used by most top cyclists until they get caught e.g. Armstrong, Pantani, Ulrich, Riis, Rasmussen, Vinokourov, Basso, Contador, Miller, Landis, etc.

Down tube

Underground train going south of the river. An up tube goes north.


Electric Punk Orchestra – short-lived 27 piece punk band formed in 1977 by Andy Green and Iain Hawthorn which had a minor hit in 1978 with Mr Blue Sky Pro Cycling.


Type of bike ridden by men with beards and a little pony-tail.


Fat Training Partner – anyone who is lower than you.


Porridge made from gravel and the contents of vacuum cleaner bags, often eaten by time trial lists before a race.


Unbelievably revolting substance designed to provide an energy boost closely followed by an overwhelming desire to vomit. Can be addictive.

Gran Fondo

Fausto Coppi’s grandmother: often ridden but never beaten


Pose adopted by time trial lists resulting in permanent neck pain.

Q: How’s your head-set?

A: I’m in agony man. Needs adjusting.


Hate the French Underground. Pressure group which complains about the French underground system.

Inner tube

Underground train in Central London.

‘I got the inner tube to Oxford Circus.’


Keep on Munching – good advice for when on a long ride.


James Madison was 4th President of the USA and his portrait used to appear on a $5000 bill. A Madison is now a track event in which two riders hold hands while riding – the prize for the winners is $5000.

Maillot Jaune

(French) – a small rubber mallet used to remove cranks

Out front mount

Badgers having sex at the side the road.

‘Did’ja see that out-front mount?’


Pete Best – original drummer with the Beatles who left before they found fame – to do a ‘PB’ is to leave a race before it’s started.


a) Followers of the Brazilian footballer and keen cyclist Pele.

b) All the riders in a race who aren’t going to win.


Area where race winners stand so that they can be given a small bunch of flowers and get kissed by a pretty girl in a mini-skirt.

Power meter

Device which serves no useful purpose other than to show people that you have more money than they do.

Reliability ride

Cycling event where old men tell you it was better in the old days.

Road rash

Irritating and itchy rash caused by a failure to wash cycling shorts.

Q: How’s the road rash?

A: Getting better thanks. Just need to put the cream on.

Seat stay

People who refuse to give up their seats in favour of a pregnant woman on the down tube.


Stops People Dismounting – pedal locking system developed by Shimano to ensure that newbie cyclists fall off.


A cycling event which charges people to ride on public roads in return for a banana and a cup of water.

Spoke nipple

Phrase that gives male cyclists an excuse to giggle at the cafe stop.


The child (ren) of a cyclist.

Q: How many sprockets you got?

A: Just the two – boy and a girl.


Unpronounceable group-set which nobody uses.


On-line site that allows others to see how much of an attention seeker you are.

Through and off

Upset stomach caused by eating to many gels.

Time Trial

Cycling event starting at 6am where riders compete to cover a set distance (e.g. 10, 25 or 50 miles) in the shortest time without permanently injuring their backs. Pete Tadros always wins.


Series of on-line lectures on how to repair cycling components which nobody watches.

Track stand

The covered seating area at the side of the velodrome. The best and most expensive tickets are those in the Track Stand.

Training ride

A club ride where everyone gets left behind.

Triple chain-set

Type of chain-set used by newbie cyclists so that other cyclists can see how useless they are.


Unbelievably Corrupt Institution. Any governing body responsible for a global sport. See also FIFA, AAA, etc.


Q: What’s the difference between Chris Froome and you?

A: Watts.


A computer game used by cyclists who are too frightened to go out of the house.






















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