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Cycling Glossary

Glossary of cycling terminology

29er: A bike with 29” circumference wheels. This is larger than 26”, the standard size for many years prior. There is also a 27.5” wheel available.

Arm-Leg-Knee warmers: Cycling specific removable sleeves useful in changing weather conditions. Leg warmers extend to the ankle, knee warmers extend just below the knee.

Bib shorts: Cycling specific shorts with suspender-like attachments.

Bonk: to completely run out of energy due to lack of food and/or proper hydration. Very bad feeling.

Call up: A privileged and guaranteed starting position in a race that a racer has earned by way of previous results in races. “He has the 8th call up in the Soph D1 race.”

Chamois (shammy): A pad sewn into cycling shorts to decrease chafing and sore spots in tender areas. In the distant past, these were made of chamois leather, hence the name.

Clipless pedals: Pedals that cycling shoes click into, similar to ski bindings. The name is derived from the advance in technology from toe-clips, like little cages for your feet, that were used in the 19th and 20th centuries to hold your feet onto the pedals. These newfangled pedals introduced in the 1980’s were “clipless”, yet you do clip/click into them. Sorry for the confusion!

Feed Zone: Designated area on race course where racers can get water bottles or food from designated feeders. Feeders are parent volunteers.

Fork: The two tubes that come down and secure the front wheel to the rest of the frame. There are a few examples of a single fork (Lefty), but most bikes have a double fork.

Full or Dual Suspension: A mountain bike with suspension in the rear as well as on the fork.

Hardtail: A mountain bike with no rear suspension, only suspension on the front fork.

Jersey: Cycling specific shirt made from synthetic fabric to wick moisture from body, zipper to adjust ventilation, and pockets to store food and extra gear.

Kit: Cycling uniform with team logos for cycling. Kit items might include jersey, shorts, arm warmers, leg or knee warmers, socks. All these come emblazoned with Drake team logo. Jersey is the only item required.

Multitool: A tool that has multiple allen wrenches and screwdriver heads that fold up. For repairs or adjustments to your bike on the ride.

Pit Zone: Designated area for each team. Includes food prep and serving area, seating for athletes, bag storage, waste management, and shade.

Trainer: A stationary mechanism that a bike is attached to, allowing riding while staying stationary. Trainers are used to warm up for races, useful when there are no trails or roads available for warming up. They are set up in the Pit Zone and are provided by the team.

Tubeless tires: In the beginning, bike tires had inner tubes that inflated inside the outer tires. When there was a puncture, the inner tube would be removed and repaired or replaced. Tubeless tires are installed without inner tubes. The tire seals directly on the rim, and a special fluid is put into the air-filled space. The fluid quickly fills any small puncture and seals it as the tire is rolling. Tubeless tires are lighter and less prone to flats than a standard tire/tube combination. Sometimes rims can be converted to tubeless, and sometimes not. Check with your local shop if you are interested in converting your wheels.