Spin® Life Blog

The Cyclists’ Glossary: Part 1

The Cyclists’ Glossary: Part 1

Posted by Spinning® on Apr 18th 2018

By Kate Amos
From “mashing” and “hammering” to “bonking” in the “pain cave,” it seems that cycling has a language all its own. Here at Spinning®, we want to give you definitions of some of our favorite terms so that you’ll be speaking like a full-fledged bike expert in no time!

Blow up (verb)

Blowing up in a Spinning class won’t land you on the no-fly list—it’s what happens when you push yourself to your limits. Riders blow up when they can no longer sustain the high intensity at which they were riding.

Bonk (verb, noun)

Also known as “hitting the wall,” the bonk is universally feared by cyclists. Symptoms include loss of energy, sudden fatigue, dizziness, and the desire to curl up and whimper on the ground. Far beyond merely being tired, riders bonk when they deplete their muscles and liver of glycogen. Fortunately, the bonk is easily avoided by consuming adequate fuel for your lifestyle, including plenty of fluids and consuming enough carbohydrates at least two hours before any workout.

Chamois (noun)

A fancy French word for the pad in your bike shorts. It’s pronounced a lot like “shammy” and sometimes you may also hear “ShamWow.”

Clipless (adjective)

Class starts, you mount your Spinner® bike, then clip into your clipless pedals. Confusing, right? So-called because they lack the toe clip found on many traditional bike pedals, clipless peal systems allow riders to lock their shoes directly into their pedals, offering increased comfort and efficiency.

Hammer (verb)

Going all-out. Riders “put the hammer down” when they are attempting to ride away from their buddies, win a race or set a new personal best.

Mash (verb)

Not just for potatoes, mashers push a big gear slowly—that means high resistance and low cadence. While sometimes appropriate for hill climbing, mash sparingly as the increased torque can strain the knees.

Pain cave (noun)

Digging deep in a training session or race—you’ll know the pain cave when you get there.

Soft pedal (verb)

Turning the pedals lightly with little to no resistance. This technique is incredibly useful for keeping the legs warm while warming up, cooling down or resting between intervals.

Wattage (noun)

The power produced while riding a bicycle. Measuring and tracking wattage can be a helpful tool for making training and racing more effective and efficient.