Cycling Lingo 101: 17 Terms Every Rider Needs to KnowBy Meghan Rabbitt - April 24, 2017
10. GRANNY GEAR: This is the third, smallest chain-ring, called the “granny gear” because it’s an extremely low gear that’ll help you move your pedals (Read: keep riding, rather than hopping off your bike to walk like your Grandma would) when you’re riding up steep climbs.
11. KIT: This is a fancy term for your cycling outfit. A kit typically includes shorts or bibs (special bike shorts held up by suspenders rather than an elastic waistband, to cut back on chafing and pain when you’re spending time hunched forward in the riding position), a jersey (cycling shirt), shoes, socks and even a little cap worn under your helmet.
12. PRESTA VS. SHRADER: Before you fill your tires with air, you should know if you have a Presta or Schrader valve. If you ride a road bike, odds are you’ve got a Presta, which are often found on the kind of high-pressure tubes used on road bikes. You’ll know it’s a Presta if air is released when you press on it. Keep in mind Prestas can be a little tricky to use, and can break at the rim or bend if handled roughly. Schrader valves are easier to use: Simply remove the cap, apply the pump and pump your tire full of air. You probably won’t find a Schrader on a road bike, but you will see them on some mountain bikes and beach cruisers.
13. PELOTON: This is a term for a pack of cyclists in a bike race. The cyclists ride as an integrated unit — similar to birds flying in formation — to reduce drag and increase their speed.
14. PULL: When you’re riding in a pack, the cyclist at the front works the hardest to ride against the wind, and everyone behind benefits from a draft. When you’re the rider at the front of a pace-line or peloton (a group of riders), you’re “taking a pull.” When it’s the next rider’s turn to take a pull, simply drift to the side of the pack and start pedaling again when you’re at the back so you can draft until it’s your turn to pull again.
15. ROAD RASH: If you crash and hit pavement, there’s a good chance you’ll have some scrapes, cuts and brush burns. Collectively, these are called “road rash,” and having it means you’ll probably spend some time picking gravel out of multiple layers of skin.
16. RPM: This is your revolutions per minute or the number of pedal strokes you take every minute you ride. If you’ve got a computer on your bike, it’ll give you your rpm. If not, you can calculate your rpm on your own by setting a timer and counting the number of times your right foot reaches the bottom of your pedal stroke for one minute.
17. SPD: This acronym stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, which is a design of clipless bike pedals where a small two-hole cleat on the bike fits into a recess in the sole of the bike shoe.
: Meghan is a freelance writer whose work is published in national magazines and websites, including Women’s Health, Dr. Oz The Good Life, Yoga Journal, Prevention, Runner’s World, Well + Good, Refinery29 and many more. When she’s not writing, she’s doing yoga, swimming or riding her bike in Boulder, Colorado.