MOUNTAIN BIKE LINGO / Dr Rosie Carey
“Don't know your berms from your bibs? Dr Rosie Carey, trail-runner and mountain bike aficionado unpacks all the jargon you need to know before you hit the dirt.
STARTING MOUNTAIN BIKING is daunting on all sorts of levels. Not only do you have to negotiate the gear and kit, and face the challenges of single track, bridges and steep downhills, but you also need to learn a new language.
Anyone who has started mountain biking as a novice will know exactly what I mean; mountain biking has its own language. It’s like a dialect of road-riding jargon, which in itself is a whole new language. So, before we progress any further, I am going to provide you with a useful glossary of terms to get you through this series of biking articles and then hopefully comfortably onto the trails.
If you’re serious about starting mountain biking, cut this article out and stick it on your fridge, take a photo of it or keep it handy on a clutter table somewhere – anything that allows easy accessibility, because you may find yourself referring to it often:
BERMS: built up embankments on a trail, usually on a corner. Riding the berm allows you to take the corner faster and keeps you flowing on the single track. Once you’re confident on single track, start playing with testing out the berms. Once you’ve got the hang, they are fun! BIBS: cycling shorts that don’t have a waistband but rather have straps that go over your shoulders (imagine something like old-fashioned braces, but you wear them under your shirt, not over). The benefit of wearing a bib is that it stays nicely in position ensuring a more comfortable ride and minimising chafe. Specialized makes fantastic Hook-Up bibs which mean that you don’t have to get completely undressed for a toilet stop. (Visit specialized.com to purchase.)
BUNNY HOP: a little hop or jump that you do on your bike to clear obstacles like rocks, logs and small streams without having to stop. Not too difficult to learn and gives you loads of street cred!
CLEAT: cleats are attachments on the base of your cycling shoe that clip into special pedals. When you start riding you will probably wear normal trainers and use standard pedals, but as you progress you may want to take advantage of the benefits that riding with cleats offers, like more power on the uphills, and more control of the bike. When you are ready to make the transition, you can take your bike to your local bike shop and ask them to change your pedals and advise which are the appropriate cycling shoes and cleats to buy. Cycling shoes range from comfortable trainer-like shoes to rigid carbon shoes. If you’re going to be walking a lot, I recommend the former; if you’re racing, the latter.
CLINCHER TYRE: a normal tyre with an inner tube. When you get a puncture with a normal tyre and tube, it’s a hack to fix. I strongly suggest that you convert to tubeless tyres if you are planning on riding more than once a year. Again, your local bike shop will be able to do this conversion for you.
DRAFTING: riding directly behind someone so that they act as a windbreak for you and you can ride at the same speed using less energy.
“ Anyone who has started mountain biking as a novice will know exactly what I mean; mountain biking has its own language. It’s like a dialect of road-riding jargon, which in itself is a whole new language. So, before we progress any further, I am going to provide you with a useful glossary of terms to get you through this series of biking articles and then hopefully comfortably onto the trails.”
LBS: local bike shop. Go there. Support them. The staff will get to know you and be able to offer you personal attention and service, you will be kept up to date with local knowledge about rides, routes and events and you will inevitably become part of a bigger bike family.
LUBE: lubricant to keep your chain well-oiled. You should lube your chain before every ride (run the lubricant onto your chain as you spin it around). A lubricated chain is a happy chain. On that note, you should also clean your chain after each ride.
QUICK RELEASE: the quick release lever allows you to remove the wheel from your bike quickly. Useful when you need to fix a flat tyre or fit your bike into your car.
SINGLE TRACK: narrow trail as opposed to jeep track, cane roads or gravel road. Single track can range from easy and flowing to very technical. Slime: the fluid that’s used inside tubeless tyres to seal small punctures. It does need to be replaced every few months.
SWITCHBACK: a single track that switches back on itself to make an almost 180-degree turn. It’s similar to a hairpin bend. Switchbacks can be uphill or downhill.
TUBELESS: tubeless tyres are tyres that are filled with a special fluid that self-seals small punctures as you ride. Tubeless tyres save you endless stress and I advise every beginner rider that I take out to convert to tubeless. You can still get a puncture with tubeless tyres, but its far less frequent than with a standard tyre and tube.
Remember that if you would like to start mountain biking but feel too nervous to take the plunge on your own, contact Matt to learn more about the beginner groups that I take out. Anyone is welcome!
CONCEPT CYCLERY BALLITO
032 586 3681