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Cycling: Terms to Know

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A sudden acceleration to elude other riders.


In mountain biking, an artificially created bank that allows a corner to be taken at an exaggerated angle and therefore at higher speeds.


Getting in the way of other riders, usually to prevent them from chasing a teammate.

Break, breakaway

A rider or group of riders that escapes the main pack.


To escape one group of riders and join another group ahead.

Bunny hop

An advantage technique that involves a mountain biker lifting both wheels off the ground by crouching and then springing up with the bike. A bunny hop enables a rider to clear obstacles such as holes in the ground and fallen branches.


The number of times the pedals revolve in a minute.

Chase group, chasers

Riders trying to catch a breakaway.


Mechanism that moves the chain from one gear to another.


An electric bike that sets the pace in the keirin event

Disk wheel

A solid wheel with aerodynamic qualities, usually used in time trials.


A team rider who will sacrifice his own results for those of a designated teammate.


Riding in the slipstream created by another rider or riders, enabling the rider to ride faster with less effort. Also called sitting in.


An obstacle in mountain biking where the trail drops vertically. It may only be a few inches or considerably more. Drop-offs differ from jumps in that the riders gain no height in negotiating them, but literally drop off to the lower level.


A staggered line of riders, each downwind of the rider immediately ahead. An echelon can move considerably faster than a solo rider or a small group of riders.

Feed zone

A designated area along the race course where support crews may hand food and drink to competitors.

Field Sprint

A sprint to the finish by the main group of riders.


A surprise attack, usually done alone.

Forcing the pace

When a rider or team rides harder than the pack.


A sprocket that drives the rear wheel, but that also can run free without the pedals being turned.


Mountain bikes with suspension at both the front and rear wheels.

Granny gear

The lowest gear on a mountain bike, used on long, steep climbs.


In BMX, the rider who gets off to the best start got the "holeshot"


To ride off the saddle, standing on the pedals to gain more power.


A sudden sprint in an attempt to break away from the main part of the field.


A sacrificial tactic in which one rider sprints with a teammate in tow, providing the initial acceleration for the teammate's sprint.

Massed-start racing

Another term for road racing.


A line of riders who share turns in the lead position.


The main group of riders, also known as the pack, bunch or field.

ole line

The innermost line on a velodrome surface, used to measure the length of the track.


To take a turn at the front of the group, maintaining the same speed of the group.


A heat added to a race that has the sole purpose of allowing losers from an earlier round another chance to reach the next stage of the competition.

Rock garden

A patch of rocks placed in a part of a mountain bike course to make it more technically challenging


The seat on a bicycle

Scratch races

Track races where all competitors start on equal terms.


In mountain biking, a path or trail wide enough for only one rider at a time.

Sit in

To stay in the pack to avoid setting the pace of a race.


The area of least wind resistance behind a rider.

Sprinters' line

A line marked distinctively in red, placed 35 inches from the inside of the track; sometimes referred to as the safety line.

Suspension fork

Innovation where the front fork is sprung like a motorcycle so as to absorb trail bumps.


Balancing in place on the track. Usually happens in the sprint when a rider tries to force his or her opponent to take the lead.


The acronym for Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body of cycling.

Up the banking

The position near the top of the corner banking where the sprinter is able to develop an attack.


A bicycle racing track with banked turns and flat straight-aways.


A sharp-sided trench that criss-crosses a mountain bike descent.


A sprint that develops from a gradual acceleration. A wind-out is usually initiated with more than a lap to go.

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