Cycling - Common Terms


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Here is a list of some common terms frequently used in Cycling −

  • Bike − The bicycle used in the racing is also known as the bike.

  • Jersey − A colorful bicycle shirt usually representing the nation or the team of the racer, identity of the racer, and the sponsor’s label.

  • Cadence − The cyclist’s rate of pedalling the bicycle calculated as the feet revolutions per minute to pedal the bicycle.

  • Tuck − The cyclist riding position during the races for best aerodynamics and to improve the speed.

  • Sprint − It is referred to as a racing tactic applied by the racer in high speed to reach the finish line before other competitors.

  • Drafting − To ride closely behind another competitor in order to reduce the rider’s pedal effort.

  • Block − A racing strategy applied by the racer or team of racers. They slow down their speed right in front of the competitors to disrupt the other racer’s speed.

  • Attack − When a rider suddenly accelerates his bicycle to move ahead of the nearest competitor in the race.

  • Jump − A racing technique of quick acceleration applied by the rider to keep up the pace in the race.

  • Kick − A quick burst of acceleration just before the finish line to compete and finish off first.

  • Crosswinds − Due to the wind conditions in the course, a crosswind situation occurs when the shadow position of the front rider is altered and the competitor takes advantage of the crosswinds in drafting the rider.

  • Paceline − A group of cyclists riding at a very high speed draft together and take turns to resist against the wind.

  • Echelon − A line of cyclists positioned downwind and diagonally to the side of another rider. The line of riders is referred to as Echelon.

  • Peloton − The main group of racers in a race are collectively referred to as peloton or a pack.

  • Gap − The distance between a rider and another competitor is termed as gap.

  • Stage Race − A bicycle race format with several races or stages of the same race held on different race courses in the same place for a couple of days is termed as Stage Race. The racer with least cumulative time of all the stages is the winner of the stage race. The events such as Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour of California and other similar tours are stage races.

  • Criterium − Referred to as a cycle race on a closed circuit with a short distance course and multiple laps.

  • Time Trail − Another format of bicycle race in which the cyclists start off individually at certain intervals and race a set distance against the time.

  • Cyclo-cross − A relatively challenging form of bicycle racing on short distances with varying surfaces like on wooden trails, hills, grass, mud, and the rider has to pass through all the difficulties to win this race.

  • Keirin − It is another form of track cycling group event where the group of riders follow the motorized riders until certain distance and pull off the track. At this point of time the cyclists should maintain the same speed and sprint to finish line.

  • Abandon − When a racer quits the race abruptly due to any mishap or accident and cannot race further, the racer abandon’s the race.

  • Sitting in / sit on the wheel / sitting on − When a rider is riding the bicycle very closely behind other competitor to save his energy. If the judge notices that the rider is sitting on the wheel, the rider gets penalized.

  • DNF − “Did not finish” is a code to indicate the rider’s status in the race.

  • DNS − “Did not start” is a code during stage races. If the racer opts for DNS then they are not allowed to continue the racing further on that day.

  • Off the back − When a rider is not able to keep up with the pace of the main group and lag behind in the race it is called of the back.

  • Off the front − Indicates to a situation when a racer moves quite forward or break’s away with the main group.

  • Wipe out − At the time of mishap or crash, the rider is said to be wiped out.



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