air n. space between the tires and the ground. (Both
tires must be off the ground or it isn't "air".) Said to be caught or gotten.
babyheads pl. n. roundish rocks which tend to be
found in a loose jumble on hairpin corners or other dificult-to-negotiate sections of trail.
bail v. to jump off in order to avoid an imminent
beartrap 1) v. to slip off a pedal, causing it to
slam one in the shin, when one gets kracked with a pedal. 2) n. the toothlike scars resulting from being beartrapped.
bomb v. to ride with wild disreagard to personal
bonk v. to run out of energy or grow exhausted on
brain bucket n. helmet.
bunny hop v. to lift both wheels off the ground by
crouching down and then exploding upward, pulling the bike with you. Useful for clearing obstructions, such as curbs, potholes,
carve v. (from skiing) to ride with great speed around
the corners of a twisting fire road.
chainring tattoo n. the dotted-line scar you get
from gouging your shin on the chainring.
chainsuck n. condition when the bike chain gets jammed
between the frame and the chain rings, or when the chainring is so worn that it holds onto the chain and lifts it up to meet
the incoming part of the chain.
clean v. to negotiate a trail successfully without
crashing or dabbing.
clipless adj. misleading name for a pedal-and-shoe
system where the clips or
cleats clip onto the soles of special shoes. Called "clipless" because they
replaced toe clips.
corndog v. to become covered in silt, usually after
curb grind n. expensive erasure of low-hanging, shiny
parts of the bike on a curb or rock.
dab v. to put a foot down in order to catch your
balance on a difficult section of trail.
death cookies n. fist-sized rocks that knock your
bike in every direction but the one you want to proceed in.
dialed in adj. when a bike is set up nicely and everything
works just right.
doubletrack n. a dirt road used by four-wheeled vehicles
rarely enough that their tires have made ruts that became parallel singletracks.
endo n. the maneuver of flying unexpectedly over
the handlebars, thus being forcibly ejected from the bike. Short for "end over end".
face plant n. hitting the ground face first.
first blood n. credit to the first rider in a group
who crashes and starts bleeding as a result.
front wheelie n. what endo used to mean in BMX: a
trick where the rider applies the front brake and lifts the back wheel off the ground; this is the basis for many BMX tricks.
freeriding v. n. a unique form of mountain
biking that requires a wide variety of cycling skills to negotiate obsticals of varying difficulty that are both natural and
man made, including but not limited to; roots, rocks, drops, gaps, jumps, steep slopes, low and high skinny structures, ramps,
stairs, loose dirt/gravel, water, trees, hikers and small furry creatures.
gear masher n. someone who always rides in too high
a gear, stomping on the pedals.
granny gear n. the lowest gear available on a bike,
which only a grandmother would need to use; designed for steep uphill climbing, but extremely easy to pedal in on flat ground.
grinder n. a long uphill climb.
grunt n. a very difficult climb, requiring use of
the granny gear.
half-track n. a trail so narrow and/or overgrown
that you'd hesitate even to call it singletrack.
hamburger n. the condition of skin when geological
contact was made with sharp rocks such as on a shale skree slope.
hammer v. to ride fast and hard. n. someone who hammers.
hardtail n. any bike with front suspension but no
hiker log n. an obstacle (e.g. a log or boulder)
placed in trail by biker-hostile trail users.
IMBA n. International Mountain Biking Association.
An organization for trail advocacy.
jet v. to accelerate quickly; to go very fast.
JRA n. acronym for "Just Riding Along," a phrase
universally uttered by people bringing both halves of their frame and the remains of their fork in for warrantee replacement.
LBS n. acronym for Local Bike Shop.
lid n. helmet.
line n. the desirable path or strategy to take on
a tricky trail section.
Marin n. (muh RINN') the county in Northern California
where MTBing is said to have been invented. Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
mojo n. charm or icon worn by a biker or attached
to the bike.
mud diving n. what happens when a bike slows abruptly
in mud, throwing the rider into wet goo.
nipple n. the nut at the end of a spoke that nobody
knows the real name for.
nirvana n. the state of being in absolute control
and totally in tune with your bike, the trail, and your physical strength.
NORBA n. National Off-Road Bicycling Association.
They organize most of the larger races.
pimp n. a Bike Store Guy who is always trying to
sell stuff on the trail.
Pirelliology n. the noble art of being able to identify
tires from the tracks they leave on the ground.
POS n. Piece Of Shit. The antithesis to real bicycles,
typified by Huffy, Murray, and any of a number of other bicycles that are poorly designed, manufactured, and assembled.
poser n. derogatory term for people with $7,000 bikes
that never see an actual trail. Usually found near a trail head and never dirty.
powerslide n. a two-wheel sideways slide, with the
foot opposite the direction of travel kept on the ground.
rag doll v. to wreck in such a way that one's person
is tossed like a flimsy scrap of cloth.
Ride On! n. a parting phrase used by riders with
out much else to say.
rigid n. a bike with no suspension.
roadie n. a rider who prefers riding on paved surfaces.
road rash n. contact dermatitis; an allergic reaction
of skin to moving asphalt.
rock garden n. Section of the trail that is completely
covered with grapefruit (baby head) size to basketball sized rocks.
roost v. to go fast or accelerate quickly. Or, to
schwag n. free stuff.
scream v. to bomb so fast one can't pedal fast enough
to make a difference.
singletrack n. trail just wide enough for one person
snake bite n. a double puncture of an inner tube,
caused by hitting an obstacle too hard or by under-inflation of tires.
spin v. smooth pedal motion.
spudded v. crashing as a result of not being able
to unclip from spuds in time to avert disaster.
spuds n. "SPD" (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) clipless
table-top n. a jump in which the rider throws the
bike sideways in mid-air.
taco v. to bend a wheel over on itself, in the shape
of a taco.
tea party n. when a whole group of riders stops and
chats, and nobody seems to want to ride on.
technical n. a section of trail that is difficult
to ride because of rocks, tree roots, steep drops.
teeter-totter n. a bridge suspended upon a pivoting
axle activated by alternating weight.
thrash 1) v. to cause severe ecological damage to
a trail, usually during the wet season. 2) adj. a damaged trail.
toe clips n. a clip-and-strap system that connects
a rider's feet and toes to her pedals. Toe clips usually don't require special shoes.
track stand n. (from road-cycling) a maneuver where
the rider stops the bike and attempts to remain standing.
trail swag n. equipment or accessories dropped by
other bikers and found on the trail.
tricked out adj. when a bike has the latest and hottest
tweak n. a jump during which the rider twists the
handlebars back and forth in mid-air, the more times the better. v. 1) to slightly injure a part of the body or the bike in
a crash. 2) to make a minor adjustment.
vultures n. spectators who line up at dangerous obstacles
in hopes of seeing blood.
washboard n. small, regular undulations of the soil
surface that make for a very rough ride.
wash out v. to have the front tire lose traction,
especially while going around a corner.
weight-weenie n. a MTB owner (not even necessarily
a rider) who is more concerned with how many milligrams a certain component saves off the bike's total weight than with how
to be a better rider.
wheelie n. lifting the front wheel off the ground,
usually with some combination of pulling on the handlebars, pedaling harder, and balance.
wheelie drop n. a combo of a wheelie and a jump,
used to negotiate a large drop with little speed due to a limited run-out.
whoop-de-doos n. a series of up-and-down bumps, suitable
wipeout n. a crash. v. ("wipe out") to crash.
wrench v. to work on one's steed, to adjust or repair.
n. a bike shop mechanic.
yard sale n. (from skiing) a horrendous crash that
leaves all your various "wares" -- water bottles, pump, tool bag, etc. -- scattered as if on display for sale.
The Zone n. a state of mind experienced while riding.
You don't think, you just do. A truly mystical experience that can't be fully explained, but when you get there you'll know
it and strive to reach it again.
zone out v. a state of mind where you think you've
reached The Zone, but you really just stopped paying attention to what you're doing. Usually used as an excuse for a particularly