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A guide to essential cycling vocab

By Charlie Allenby

What exactly is bonking? No, not that kind...

‘Wheel sucker’ (noun)

Ever get the feeling you’re being… followed? That’ll be a wheel sucker – a rider who sneaks up close to your back wheel for aerodynamic #gains. Thanks a lot, science…

‘Fork’ (noun)

Cycling and stops for cake go hand-in-hand, but you wouldn’t want to tuck into your slice of vicky sponge using your bike’s fork. Found at the front of your machine, it’s the two-pronged thing that your front wheel is connected to. If it’s not, don’t set off.

‘Steed’ (noun)

This is another name for your bike, presumably cos – like a horse – it has a saddle and you ride it around. But if you’ve ever described a bicycle in this way, you don’t deserve to own one. That’s right, get off it this second – you can’t have nice things if you insist on calling them stupid names.

‘Bonking’ (verb)

Stop sniggering at the back. ‘Bonking’ or ‘hitting the wall’, is when you run out of puff. You’re more likely to encounter bonking on a tough, hill-laden jaunt to the city’s outskirts, rather than after dawdling up Pentonville Road, though.

‘Lube’ (noun)

Got a squeaky bike with a rusty chain? You’re going to need some lube. Don’t go reaching for your bedside table. Swing by a bike shop and try not to go red when asked if you want the ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ variety. Then you’ll be ready to smoothly cycle off into the sunset, leaving wheel suckers in the dust. 

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