a quick guide to cycling lingo


Image by Bernard Jaubert.

I love email back-and-forths with my writers. It’s the personal element of a job that can be solitary and screen-centric. Too many hours spent with words and ideas that live on an LCD monitor leaves me needing a downward dog. Or a lunch-hour training session in the sun and some human interaction. (Thankfully, my job allows some of both.)

With all the new ways to share (hello Vine, Instagram and Snapchat), personal emails seem like something from a past era. But my Gmail inbox has been a place for unexpected friendships—a place where business transactions have been transformed into something else. My freelancers have become some of my biggest cheerleaders, both professionally and personally, and I’m so grateful for them on days where my inbox feels more like a gaping maw than a quaint mailbox.

Every once in awhile one of them sends a little gem. Like this one from John Post, courtesy of Jonathan Vaughters, former professional racing cyclist and current manager of the Garmin-Sharp professional cycling team. Whether you’ve perpetrated or fallen victim to one of these, I hope they make you laugh too.

“I’m out of shape.” 

Translation: I ride 400 miles a week and haven’t missed a day since the Ford administration. I replace my 11-tooth cog more often than you wash your shorts. My body fat percentage is lower than your mortgage rate.

“I’m not competitive” 

Translation: I will win the line sprint if I have to force you into oncoming traffic. I will crest this hill first if I have to grab your seat post and spray energy drink in your eyes.

“I’m on my beater bike.”

Translation: I had this baby custom-made in Tuscany using Titanium blessed by the Pope. I took it to a wind tunnel and it disappeared. It weighs less than a fart and costs more than a divorce.

“It’s not that hilly.” 

Translation: This climb lasts longer than a presidential campaign. Be careful on the steep sections or you’ll fall over—backward. You have a 39×23 low gear? Here’s the name of my knee surgeon.

“You’re doing great, honey.”

Translation: Yo, lard ass, I’d like to get home before midnight. This is what you get for spending the winter decorating and eating chocolate. I shoulda married that cute Cat 1 racer when I had the chance.

“This is a no-drop ride.”

Translation: I’ll need an article of your clothing for the search-and-rescue dogs.

“It’s not that far.” 

Translation: Bring your passport.

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