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This chainring tattoo immediately identifies a bicyclist—and come off with soap and water.

Reprinted from September 2018^p

That ride you did this week didn’t go unnoticed. My trips let me see just how many of you are using the two-wheeled steed to get around. There are a lot of you.

I saw some with panniers maybe headed to the store. A couple with fishing poles on the bike. Quite a few bikes parked at the pickleball courts. Ice cream seems to be popular as a lot of bikes were at the ice cream shop. Many of the businesses had several bikes behind the store—presumably employees saving gas money or maybe even eschewing a car.

Certainly cycling is a rapidly growing transportation mode for many residents in our county—and, if the reports are accurate, around the country as well. Like anything else, cycling has some lingo specific to the activity, and as more of you take up the sport, it can be helpful to actually know that phraseology to understand what other riders really mean when they utter some incomprehensible words or sentences. Here is a short and not at all comprehensive list of common words and phrases you might hear or use when out on your bike.

“What a wheelsucker.” This is a road cyclist who stays behind other cyclists’ wheels so that he can draft behind them, and thus conserve his own efforts.

“Heading over to the LBS to pick up some stuff.” LBS is an acronym for “local bike shop.” While online products are convenient, it’s important when possible to utilize the services of the local bike shop. Often a good mechanic can save hours of work for a reasonable price.

“We’d better hammer if we want to beat the rain.” This is choosing to pedal hard in the big gears, which have the greatest resistance and pack the most power, hence the most speed.

“Nice chain-ring tattoo you have there.” That’s the grease mark some cyclists get on their legs from accidentally bumping the chain. Soap on a washcloth will easily take care of the temporary tat.

“Going to do a century tomorrow.” A century ride is 100 miles. There is also a metric century, which is riding 100 kilometers (62 miles).

“I had to bunny hop that debris in the road.” A bicycle trick in which you use your arms and legs to jump and lift the bike off the ground to avoid an obstacle or hop onto a curb.

Sometimes heat, lack of nutrition and water can cause a rider to “bonk,” synonymous with hitting the wall. It means you’ve run out of energy due to glycogen depletion (glycogen is the fuel that’s stored in your muscles). Side effects vary but can be anything from muscle cramping to mental fogginess.

“Change the tube,” “fix a pinch flat” or “snake bite.” A flat often happens because the tire is underinflated, causing the tire to pinch the tube inside the tire against the wheel when striking a hard object. The flat is identified because there are almost always two holes in the tube that look like a snake bite.

Nascent riders are often called “squirrels.” This refers to a nervous or unstable rider who can’t be trusted to maintain a steady line.

Finally, because it can be tough to ride and use a hanky, most riders when necessary will fire off a “snot rocket.” Holding one nostril closed and forcefully blowing out the other will clear a clogged nose while sending out a nasal projectile. Please only do this when positioned behind of a group of riders.

Did you ride your bike today?

Court Nederveld owns his own computer consulting and fixit service — Bits, Bytes & Chips Computer Service — and is an avid bicyclist. You can reach him adakeep@hotmail.com or 941-626-3285.


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