Bicycle Slang

Bike Slang

Here is a short glossary of terms that should help understand the wonderful world of cycling. Note that (R) designates a road cycling term only; no designation means that this is a universal term.


Breakaway (R): Escaping from the peloton to take the lead.
Bridging (R): Closing the gap between you and a rider or group of riders ahead.
Drafting (R): Riding closely behind another rider to decrease wind resistance.
Drop: To leave a rider behind.
Gap: The mount of time or distance between one rider or group of riders and other riders or the pack.
Hoods (R): The rubber area of the top portion of the hand breaks in which a rider holds while riding.
In the drops (R): Holding onto the lower, rounded area of the handlebars to reduce wind resistance.
Leadout (R): A race strategy in which one rider rapidly accelerates, with a second rider (usually a top sprinter) following just inches behind, drafting at high speeds; the first rider pulls aside, and the sprinter then speeds on past to the finish line.
Peloton (R): The main pack or group of riders.
Pulling (R): Taking a turn at the front of the peloton.
Redlining: Pedaling at a faster rate than your heart rate can maintain.
Sitting in/on (R): A rider or riders getting protection from the wind from a rider or riders at the front.
Spinning: Pedaling at a fast cadence.
Working at the front (R): Pedaling at the front blocking wind rather than staying in the back having the wind blocked for you. The rider blocking wind works 33% harder than the others to maintain the same speed due to wind resistance.