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  1. #1
    Senior Member Virus610's Avatar
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    Slang, lingo, and all those words that alienate newbies like me

    I've been searching the forums trying to make sense of a lot of the posts people are making, but I can't seem to find one spot with all the funky terms that stump people unfamiliar with biking. What say you guys to a cycling lingo compendium?

    I tried using http://www.roadbikerider.com/riding-...on-terminology as a reference, but I keep encountering terms that I don't immediately understand.

    Some examples of these being "MUP" (I searched for that one, found a thread with countless joke replies, but I think the right answer was 'multi-user path'.), "Fred" (I think it's an unlikely looking cyclist?), "Muppet" (No idea), etc.

    Have I just failed at locating such a list here? If not, I'll gladly update this post with any terms that someone thinks would be worth adding to a list of newbie helping words.

    Edit: Well, looks like in my searches, I failed to try the word "Terminology". http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ora-of-newbies is what I was looking for. Thank you Machka.
    Last edited by Virus610; 10-20-11 at 08:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hey there Virus610!

    I just want you to know that everytime, I see your username, I start feeling kinda sick!

    Anyway, don't feel so all alone, I'm still trying to figure out what "41" means...and this ole man beens ridin' all his life!

    - Slim

  3. #3
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Howdy howdy MUP is indeed multi-use-path, fred is whatever you want it to mean pretty much, bike snob, bike idiot etc.. how about you keep asking and I'll keep answering honestly to the best of my ability.

    edit: MUPpet is pretty obvious if you start to understand some peoples attitudes on the site.. tool<puppet<MUP-user<Muppet
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    I think it's been done a few times. I don't object to useful jargon. Every field has its own, and it can save lots of time. I think we've developed what I might call 'exclusionary jargon', whose purpose is to make us feel a little smarter than some outsider. Anyone know the difference between sprockets and chain rings? Want people to think you're really dumb? Get around some cyclists and try to discuss "seats". That'll get you cut down to size right now, nevermind that the saddle (big technical term) connects to the seat post, which fits inside the seat tube, which is supported by the seat stays. Now, everyone tells me it makes sense because there is a distinction between a real saddle and say, a tractor seat. I've yet to see an lbs with an inventory of tractor seats, so the distinction is fairly unimportant.



    Oh, never mind. Remind me of the difference if I ever slip up and say "cross bar" instead of "top tube". I'm sure we'll all communicate better.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Virus610's Avatar
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    So a MUP user is a muppet? This word seems incredibly derogatory, but riding a bike on a path designed for multiple things (I assume that includes cycling) doesn't seem like something that should be frowned upon. Especially if one is courteous when riding, not hogging the path and such.

    And yeah, I totally refer to the thing I sit on as a seat, even though it's less comfortable than most seats, and more comparable to something with the sole purpose of bruising your butt.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virus610 View Post
    So a MUP user is a muppet? This word seems incredibly derogatory, but riding a bike on a path designed for multiple things (I assume that includes cycling) doesn't seem like something that should be frowned upon.
    Yep ... it is.

    Most MUPs aren't designed for bicycles ... and bicycles are vehicles of the road.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Here are some sources for other cycling-related terms ...

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ora-of-newbies

  8. #8
    Senior Member Virus610's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Most MUPs aren't designed for bicycles ... and bicycles are vehicles of the road.
    What about the ones with a line down the middle, and a picture of a bike painted on one side? I'm not a bad person for riding on that, am I?

  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Muppet is actually a widely used derisive term in England. It's applied to MUP users because of the MUP root and because you see a lot of people doing unpredictable things on MUPs. The ones here in Vancouver aren't so bad as they're hardly used, but get into Porltand on a sunny day and they're downright dangerous to ride at anything over 8 mph. Lately I've begun to commute on the Portland MUP @ 6am and that's not so bad since pretty much everyone on at that hour is a pro with someplace to go. 15mph is relatively safe at that hour.

    The 41 is code for the Road Cycling subforum. From the main page you can hover over the subforum links and discover all the codes.

    Here's the url for Road Cycling:

    Code:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/41-Road-Cycling
    We are currently posting in the 7.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    When I returned to cycling after a long hiatus I thought "fixie" was short for fixer-upper. I kept seeing all these people buying and selling parts for their "fixie" and thought, wow, there must be a ton of people into bike restoration these days.

    My tandem has handlebars, my road bike has a handlebar.
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Muppet is actually a widely used derisive term in England. It's applied to MUP users because of the MUP root and because you see a lot of people doing unpredictable things on MUPs. The ones here in Vancouver aren't so bad as they're hardly used, but get into Porltand on a sunny day and they're downright dangerous to ride at anything over 8 mph. Lately I've begun to commute on the Portland MUP @ 6am and that's not so bad since pretty much everyone on at that hour is a pro with someplace to go. 15mph is relatively safe at that hour.

    The 41 is code for the Road Cycling subforum. From the main page you can hover over the subforum links and discover all the codes.

    Here's the url for Road Cycling:

    Code:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/41-Road-Cycling
    We are currently posting in the 7.
    Thanks Lester!

    - Slim

  12. #12
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virus610 View Post
    What about the ones with a line down the middle, and a picture of a bike painted on one side? I'm not a bad person for riding on that, am I?
    Well, I don't think that you're a bad person for riding on any MUP, so long as you ride in a manner that is respectful of other trail users, but there is a portion of the cycling population that believes that anyone who rides on an MUP or (God(s) forbid) a sidewalk is hurting the entire cycling community and as such is doing a bad thing. Because (according to some) every time a motorist sees a cyclist on the sidewalk or on an MUP, said motorist's belief that bikes don't belong on the road is re-inforced; further, by using any cycling-specific infrastructure like MUPs (despite what Machka states, every MUP that I've ever encountered has been wide enough to accommodate bicycle traffic) and bike lanes, a cyclist is complicit in the 'ghetto-ization' of cyclists and the removal of their road rights.

    In my experience, motorists can't be forming opinions when they see cyclists on the sidewalk or on an MUP, because they don't see cyclists when they are on the sidewalk or MUP. Seriously, by riding on the sidewalk/MUP you've removed yourself from the traffic flow that a motorist concerns him/herself with, and have essentially ceased to exist to the motorist. As far as motorists are concerned, I'm either in the way or I don't exist. Seeing as how I don't care about either and know how to deal with both, that frees me up to ride where ever I want.

    So ride on the MUP, but know that some cyclists will think that you're doing a bad thing (no biggie, since you won't encounter any of these cyclists on the MUP), and know that whenever you cross a road/driveway, motorists won't see you (some might, but just assume that none do for safety's sake), so cross with caution. Bicycles are vehicles of the road... and more than the road. That's part of what makes them so awesome.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virus610 View Post
    What about the ones with a line down the middle, and a picture of a bike painted on one side? I'm not a bad person for riding on that, am I?
    They may look like they should be able to accommodate bicycles ... but very few are actually designed for bicycles.

    I work in the Engineering department of a shire that is putting in MUPs everywhere theoretically designed for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. The engineers walk these trails so they know them from the perspective of a pedestrian, but they don't consult with cyclists or horse riders to get their perspective. So the trails are designed for pedestrians ... with the idea that if a walking person can use them, perhaps other methods of transportation might be able to use them as well.

  14. #14
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    ^^^
    So you're implying that a trail designed for pedestrian traffic is incapable of accommodating bicycle traffic? Even though a bike takes up no more of a width profile than a ped (less if the ped is pushing a stroller), and a bike can safely travel at ped speeds?

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GriddleCakes View Post
    ^^^
    So you're implying that a trail designed for pedestrian traffic is incapable of accommodating bicycle traffic? Even though a bike takes up no more of a width profile than a ped (less if the ped is pushing a stroller), and a bike can safely travel at ped speeds?
    Nope. I'm not implying that a trail designed for pedestrian traffic is incapable of accommodating bicycle traffic. Some coincidentally work for both pedestrians and cyclists. I'm just saying that these paths are designed with pedestrians (with a usual top speed of about 6 km/h) in mind.

    For example, when you're travelling at 6 km/h or less, you don't need particularly long sightlines. But if you're travelling at 26 km/h ... you do, because you need more reaction time.

    And in some cases the paths are designed to accommodate short (as opposed to long) users in the way the gates, barricades, and other aspects of the paths are designed. A walker can get through them hardly breaking his/her stride. But in many cases, cyclists have to perform some special manoeuvring to get through because bicycles are longer than a person ... and especially if the cyclists are riding something really long like a tandem or recumbent!

    Even path maintenance doesn't necessarily have cyclists in mind. Pedestrians can fairly easily negotiate weeds, large tufts of grass, etc. growing up in the middle of the path, or rough patches of large rocks. But those can be more difficult for many cyclists, especially for those with narrower tires.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Virus610's Avatar
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    Well, I have a number of years of driving experience under my belt as well, so I know all about keeping space, not imposing on others, and all that. I do mainly do my commuting and such on roads (Stopping at lights, and signs, and generally being as little off a nuisance as possible because road rage is a scary thing) but there are some parts of town where I can either bike up and down a whole bunch of hills, or take a more direct, and much flatter route on a MUP that runs right through town.

    I don't have the power or stamina to ride 20+km/h on anything other than downward hill, and I lack the faith in my bike's traction to take a 30º turn any faster than I can walk. By the time those things are no longer an issue for me, the hilly roads will probably (hopefully) also be considerably less of an issue.

    I never ride on a sidewalk, though. You can be fined 90 bucks for that here. Though I don't know how strongly enforced it is, I'm the type of person who gets pulled over for every infraction, so no sense in being defiant.

    I suppose, as always, there's no pleasing everybody, so I'll just practice being a not-jerk as I already do.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Here are some sources for other cycling-related terms ...

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ora-of-newbies

    Anyway, go to the link above. That thread is entitled: "Cycling Terminology ... especially for the plethora of newbies" and contains links to several cycling dictionaries which might help sort out what our words mean.

  18. #18
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    I don't think I'm and eliteist, but I do think it is kind of cool that it takes time to develop an understanding of cycling culture. I constantly learn new stuff and folks constanly come up with new way to talk about things. I'm not sure I like trying to expain every term to everyone. If it makes sense it's kind of like cheating and blowing through an RPG that is supposed to be immersive, with things like cultural nuances that require time and patience to understand.

  19. #19
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Muppet - schmuck who likes to race people on the MUP who don't know they are in a race

    Muppie - a muppet posing as a roadie

    Fred - general term for anyone on a bike who doesn't conform to roadie norms

    Poseur - cyclist who dresses the part of a roadie but doesn't have the legs to back it up

    What's a roadie? Buy the book.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  20. #20
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
    .. blowing through an RPG that is supposed to be immersive...
    ?? rocket propelled grenade?

    Here's one that bothers me. Hockey jersey. Hockey players wear sweaters, not jerseys. Why don't people know that?

    PG

  21. #21
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post
    When I returned to cycling after a long hiatus I thought "fixie" was short for fixer-upper. I kept seeing all these people buying and selling parts for their "fixie" and thought, wow, there must be a ton of people into bike restoration these days.

    My tandem has handlebars, my road bike has a handlebar.
    Which side, right or left?

  22. #22
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    ?? rocket propelled grenade?
    Not rocket propelled grenade and not really even MMORPG. 11-11-11

  23. #23
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virus610 View Post
    What say you guys to a cycling lingo compendium?

    Lingo compendium??? Perhaps you mean glossary? No thanks. It would be counterproductive to use of slang and lingo to alienate newbies like you.

  24. #24
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Which side, right or left?
    Yeah, why is it plural when there is only one? It's one bar. The only other thing that quickly comes to mind that is plural for a single item is pants. Or better yet, a pair of pants, which really makes no sense. I guess it's from back in the day when one legging was a "pant" . . . pantaloons? I'll have to do some research on that now . . . .
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

  25. #25
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    My interpretation of cycling jargon is colored by the fact that I started riding in the '70s when many of the terms had a slightly different meaning. Like back then, at least among the folks I mixed with, "Fred" was a semi-derogatory term applied to any non-racers, particularly tourists, and especially those who blinged out their bikes with all manner of gadgets that the racers wouldn't be caught dead with, like stands, bells, compasses, mirrors, thermometers, lights, racks, panniers, etc.

    And in my experience, the difference between a sprocket and a chainring is back and front, respectivley. Gear clusters are made up of sprockets, while chainrings are attached to the crank spiders.
    Craig in Indy

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