Tour Down Under Translations

by Jamie Jowett

The official Tour Down Under website has a glossary of terms on its website that contains ultra handy explanations, like “QUADRICEPS – this is the large muscle in front of the thigh” and “ABANDON – when a rider quits the race”.

Personally, I can’t wait for them to post something even more useful, like “AIR = that stuff you can’t see, that you breathe”.

Anyway, there are bound to be instances on your group rides at the TDU where you get stuck alongside a rider spouting inane bike-related dribble that you don’t understand, or just plain bores the Cinelli out of you. Really, the TDU is a Star Trek convention for blokes with quads. So to help you out, here are some translations:

Aero = any cycling position less than 90 degrees.

Bidon = a $1 piece of plastic that you paid $15 for, simply because it has the logo of a Belgian floor tile manufacturer on it.

Bottom bracket = anything roughly below the handlebars on a bike that can be blamed for making a noise (as in “oh? that sounds like the bottom bracket..”).

Cadence = the number of beers you are able to drink per hour.

Campag = rare and expensive  bike parts, once used many years ago by the Pro peloton, and spoken about in hushed tones by old-timers, which also helped pay for the LBS owner’s Porsche.

Carbon bidon holder = a small piece of black plastic that has the magical ability to make a rider feel like King Arthur pulling Excaliber from the rock simply by grabbing a bidon. Awesome huh?

Cassette = something on your bike you never knew you had, until your LBS tells you it’s stuffed and charges you a lot of money for a new one. Not to be confused with your cassette ‘mixed tape’, which you stood holding the Play & Record buttons on once and is still the icon of awesomeness.

Chamois crème = a $50 tub of home brand moisturiser with a fancy label, sold by the same people who made your wife’s $150 tub of glittery anti-wrinkle cream (that you scoffed at).

Ceramic bearings = the yeti of the bicycle, which no one has ever actually seen, yet is spoken about in hushed and revered tones.

Checkers = a hill outside of Adelaide that is, like everything else in Adelaide, a lot smaller than it’s hyped up to be.

Chewing the stem = a psycho-sematic bodily response to a minor increase in Lactic acid. 

Cipo = a mythical creature who once ruled Europe, said to have the ability to impregnate women simply by staring at them.

Clenbuterol = marinated Spanish steak served with a sauce that tastes a bit like plastic.

Clincher = expensive piece of circular rubber that automatically punctures when you travel more than 60km’s from your house.

Drive train = a chain. Term usually used to confuse newbies or identify the speaker as a tosser.

Echelon = random collection of riders splayed all across the road, sucking the wheel of one or two decent riders.

Epic = generic term for any ride lasting longer than 20 mins.

Fingerbang = a mystical Spanish hand waving technique used to excites members of the same sex.

Going down into the drops = shifting your cycling position in an attempt to relieve pain from your aching back caused by your expanding gut.

Grimpeur = French word used to describe anyone skinnier than the fat person saying it.

Hammerfest = any ride longer than 20 mins with an average speed of more than 28km’s/hr.

Hard man = any Pro who raced prior to 1992.

Hunger flat = that 10 minute time period since you last stuffed a pastry in your mouth.

LBS = a difficult-to-get-to retail establishment, where you overpay at a factor of three for stuff you can otherwise get on the net, just so you can be made to feel inadequate by a surly guy who would rather be riding anyway.

Look = a once great bike, but now the bicycle equivalent of a middle-aged divorcee in a too-short dress who drinks too much and starts hanging all over you in a bar.

Lugs = the big stupid guys you ride with every weekend.

Monocoque = a single male with an unhealthy and unnatural interest in carbon fibre technology.

Paceline = line of people all sucking each other’s wheel, but because it’s in a race it’s called a “paceline…”

Pista = a sticker which adds $1,000 to a bike’s value on eBay (see ‘Fixie’).

Power Band = a small piece of cheap rubber jewellery sold for $50.

Power Meter = a $3,000 piece of handlebar jewellery that tells you what you already know, that you’re slow.

Pro (verb, ie. to “look Pro”) = the act of achieving cycling fashionista status (for tips, see here –

Radio Shack = a special Masters category team created for ageing Pro’s.

Recovery ride = any ride where you’re not pulling big turns on the front or where you have been busted wheel-sucking.

Rickshaw (Mark) = a two wheel vehicle used to carry short grumpy English tourists to the front of a race.

Rigid front end and excellent stability” = bike speak for “I didn’t fall off on my 2km tootel down to the pub on this one”.

Rouleur = anyone bigger than you, who can ride better than you.

Serotta = an expensive Italian bike only able to be sold to dentists.

SRAM Red = God’s way of telling you that you are spending too much on a hobby.

The Tour (as in “Yeh, I did the Tour”) = paying someone $6,000 to book your hotels, drive around for a week, riding a little in between, while consuming three times your body weight in cheese and chocolate, and watching a race on TV in a crowded French bar that stinks of BO and smoke, that you could otherwise have seen far better at home on your couch.

UCI = a local voluntary bicycle advocacy group that hands out race numbers.

Vertically compliant = a term used by fat bike reviewers to sound like they rode it. Means nothing.

Vino = a small, white, hairless beast known to take the blood from his prey after killing them.

Watts = specific scientific measurement of how weak you really are (see ‘Power Meter’).

Zabel (verb, to “do a Zabel”) = to celebrate too early. They make a nasal spray for that, apparently.