Cycling slang you need to know

Sign of a bike on the road
From MAMILs to derailleurs and sportives to saddlebags, cycling involves a whole different language. Even with a pretty thorough knowledge of cyclospeak, there are always more words and phrases to learn and for you to use. There are things you probably do everyday on your ride yet didn’t realise there’s an “official” name for it. Here’s a small selection of some of the more inventive and fun cycling speak.
A couple of these come from the excellent Bike Snob NYC, while the rest were chosen as our favourites from the excellent dictionary of bike commuter slang at Bikehacks. Some might make you laugh out loud, others you’ll raise an eyebrow at, and some might just make you go “huh?”
Any new ones you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments?

Bike salmon (Bike Snob NYC)

A bike salmon is when a rider “swims up stream” – by cycling the wrong way down a one way street. Something I must admit I do myself each day for about ten seconds – but it does chop about 8 minutes off my journey.


You can probably work this one out. I see it far too often – cyclists who fail to clip in or out and end up having a little bit of a wobble before saving themselves just in time. We shouldn’t laugh, but

The Chameleon

A cyclist who uses the pavement to turn when the lights are red. In the process annoying pedestrians, unless they dismount. Can also be found riding on the pavement.


A rider with excessively expensive equipment, equipment that is really designed for professional cyclists.  A Fred’s ability/experience will never catch up to the technology purchased...
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