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Watt are they talking about?

A-Z of Cycling Terminology

Do you ever feel that you are missing some of what the “cool’ cycling kids and talking about? Well, read on for an A to Z of cycling terminology.

A – Aero

A position on the bike that makes you more aerodynamic or reduces the effect of air drag. The faster you go the more effect aerodynamics has.

B – To Bonk

The cyclist version of “hitting the wall”.

C – Cadence

The number of revolutions per minute (rpm) that you pedal

D – Drafting

To sit closer than ¾ of a wheel behind another rider means you benefit from the pocket of low-pressure or no wind that is created behind the back wheel. You can use 20-40% less energy in this position, a higher percentage with higher speeds and being closer to the wheel.

E – Endo

The graceful act of flipping over handle bars, end over end!

F – Fixie

A fixed gear bike. Found in the velodrome and common in Holland. The bike moves directly with your legs so you must keep pedalling to move forward and slow your pedalling to slow and stop.

G – Granny Gear

The smallest gear you have which is your saving grace for those big climbs when you have tired legs.

H – Hammering

Those blissful moments when you are on a descent or have a tail wind that mean you can power along in your highest gear

I – Indexing

Is to tune your gears so that they shift smoothly between positions.

J – Jersey

Not to be confused with a cosy jumper. This is cycling specific long or short sleeved top, usually made from technical material to aid wicking away sweat and often has pockets at the back for your mid ride snacks or puncture repair kit.

K – Kit

All the gear that makes you feel like you go faster, no actual increase of speed is needed to feel the benefit!

L – Lid

Also known as your helmet.

M – Mechanical

To “have a mechanical” is when you have a mechanical fault that may need you to stop or will impede your performance in some way.

N – Neoprene

A synthetic rubber that is great for keeping your hands and feel warm and dry in those long wet winter months… or many British summer days.

O – Overshoes

Worth their weight in gold. These are often neoprene sock type articles which can be zipped around your shoes to keep the wet and cold out and your tootsies warm and dry.

P – Peloton

Essentially a herd of cyclists saving energy from drafting off each other. Ideally there will be order and control within the group, with a regular rotation of who is on the front doing the most work. A lot of skill and practice is required to keep a close and mutually beneficial peloton.

Q – Quick Release

The easy to use handle to undo the pin holding your wheels to your bike.

R – Road Rash

The unfortunate loss of skin from sliding across asphalt following the separation of you from your bike. Frequently post endo.

S – SPD

A brand of cleats that clip your shoe to the pedal. The most common used are SPD-SL for road cycling. Other common brands are Speedplay and Keo.

T – TT or Time Trial

A road cycling race which can be done most commonly as an individual but can also be done as a team.

U – Unicycle

A bicycle that is unlikely to win any Tour de France.

V – Velomobile

A human powered vehicle that is essentially an enclosed recumbent bicycle.

W – Watt

A measure of power. A power meter is a great way to monitor your training, it is an independent measure so factors such as wind, incline etc wont affect your numbers. If you use your average speed as a measure of progress this will be dependant on many variables. So you may feel you are having a really good day because you are going fast but actually you have had a tail wind.

X – X-ray

A scan of a bike can check for an electric motor within the bike that may give you an unfair advantage.

Y – Yellow Jersey

The leader of the tour de France wears an honorary yellow jersey while they are in the lead and this jersey will pass on to a competitor if they overtake with their overall time.

Z – Zwift

A computer software that can be paired with your indoor trainer and bike to give you the visuals of an outdoor ride as well as altering the resistance to make your training session more realistic.

Useful related articles:

3 Essential Stretches for Cyclists

3 Essential Stretches for Cyclists

Why is shoe wedging so effective?

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Very knowledgeable physio Team! Was in London on a business meeting and ended up visiting James for some urgent treatment on my lower back. Delighted with the service. James put me at ease straight away. His treatment was paramount in getting me through what was a hectic weekend. Could not recommend enough. Will definitely be back when in London again!
Funky Inflatable Co.
Funky Inflatable Co.
17:29 11 Sep 18
Went to "Flawless Physio" two weeks ago for back pain that I'd been carrying for months. Three sessions later, it's all gone! The staff was very pleasant, professional and gave me a series of simple exercises to do at home. I definitely recommend them. I'll be back, hopefully not too soon ;)
Charles Muzard
Charles Muzard
13:04 24 Sep 18
I was recommended to see James by my consultant following surgery to my ankle. He was extremely professional and knowledgable. He motivated me throughout the process and I have now returned to long distance running thanks to his help. I would recommend his services to anyone
David Burns
David Burns
19:32 08 Sep 18
Awesome team. I ended up having to seek out treatment when my back went into spasm (on going problem) whilst down visiting friends. I saw James and he was very professional and through with his treatment. More importantly he gave me a better understanding about what was going on and how to manage my injury in the future. Highly recommended!
James Tatham
James Tatham
08:03 20 Sep 18
I received treatment from Vicky for a very stiff and painful neck, possibly brought on by tension. I felt confident that my therapist was knowledgeable. The service was very friendly and professional and I felt good progress from the first session already. Vicky recommended some exercises and explained how to do them with very clear diagrams and instructions. I would highly recommend Vicky
Tiziana Guffanti
Tiziana Guffanti
17:23 29 Aug 18
I would highly recommend Flawless Physio. Excellent knowledge/treatment and also brilliant customer care - following up and giving advice. Tailored rehab to suit the type and level of sport as well as lifestyle. My wife & I have been treated by both James & Victoria and they have both been great. Will continue to use for any future injury & rehab.
Joe Gomes
Joe Gomes
19:11 30 Mar 19
I saw Victoria for my dodgy shoulder, and she was brilliant. Very professional And knowledgeable, she really took time to explain what was going on and to treat it. She followed up with me to check I was getting on well with the exercises. She is also really accommodating with timings for appointments. I couldn't recommend more highly, thank you Victoria!
Fiona Hall
Fiona Hall
08:35 27 Mar 19
First class. Had 4 or 5 appointments with Victoria that were always late in the evening, although you wouldn't know it. She took her time, whether that be on soft tissue work, explaining how to do an exercise, or the purpose behind it. A genuine person that wants to help and she clearly knows her stuff.
Jamie Moles
Jamie Moles
21:14 20 Jan 19
Went to flawless physio and vic was great! Training for a marathon and she was very understanding and helpful. Living in the Twickenham area so was in great location! Her specialist knowledge in knee injuries was able to get me back running in two weeks 🏃🏼‍♀️
Ruth Herlihy
Ruth Herlihy
23:44 25 Jan 19
I injured my leg (ITB) training for the Berlin Marathon and then made it far worse it by trying to run it. Victoria has been essential in my recovery, helping me understand how to strengthen the right muscle groups and get back to running. I have been very impressed by the depth of knowledge and insight. This weekend I will run the Cancer Research 10km. Thank you!
Paul Carpenter
Paul Carpenter
17:02 28 Jan 19
Really impressed with the service provided at Flawless Physio. Vicky was knowledgeable, professional and her invaluable treatment and advice got me to the start of this year’s marathon when I’d had to stop running with 8weeks to go. Without the advice and care I received at Flawless Physio, at best I’d have limped my way round the course and at worst, not been able to take part at all. Definitely recommend!
Katy Gomes
Katy Gomes
11:03 30 May 19
James helped resolve a hamstring injury that had troubled me for the best part of a year. I'll certainly use Flawless Physio for any future issues. Highly recommended.
Sandeep C
Sandeep C
18:02 30 Apr 19