Tour de France: Learn to talk cyclist

By Rob Virtue on July 3, 2014 12:50 PM |


Every wondered what your cycling-obsessed friends are going on about? Check out our bluffers guide to two wheel talk ahead of the Tour de France's arrival on Monday.

1. Bonk: To run out of energy. An essential experience to truly lower ones over-confidence.

2. A Lid: A helmet.

3. On the drops: The downward curving part of racing handlebars which facilitate an aerodynamic riding position.

4. Bidon: Cycling bottle.

5. Goo: Single serving energy food that provides simple yet sustaining carbs, sugar, electrolytes and often caffeine. People have been known to do literally anything for these towards the end of long rides.

6. Peloton/the bunch: The main group of riders near the front of a race.

7. The break: The rider/group that has broken clear in front of the peloton.

8. Grupetto: The group that forms behind the peloton, often on long and hard mountain stages. Its members have all been 'dropped' by the peloton and collectively ride en masse, often for moral support and to avoid time elimination. Most will be feeling the bonk.

9. Bridge or 'bridging the gap': To catch a rider or group that has moved ahead.

10. Drafting, 'holding their wheel' or 'sitting in': A technique for saving energy and staying out of the wind by slip-streaming the rider in front. A valid technique that is used by all, but benefitting the draft without yourself pulling 'on the front' will soon lead to you no longer hold the wheel.

11. Off the back: This describes one or more riders who have failed to keep pace with the group. You can also use 'off the front' to mean that riders went faster than you.

12. Cleat: The cleat is an attachment worn on the underside of cycling shoes that fixes to the pedal providing seamless power transfer. It is also the cause of the tap dancing sound that happens when riders walk.

13. Granny gear: This is the smallest gear available when trying to climb the steepest hill.

14. Jump: A quick, hard, acceleration.

15. Power meter: A measuring device that reports the absolute effort being made.

From Nuffield Health, which is sponsoring the Canary Wharf Tour de France Fan Park.