5 Terms Every Rider Needs to Know

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Cycling can be an interesting sport and hobby to take up. One needs their bicycle and they can go on the road, right? Yes, in a sense, but once things start going wrong, one should be familiar with the many terms that cycling has. 

Every sport has its own specific terminology and lingo. Cycling is not different in this regard. Here are the most common terms you should be familiar with if you plan on taking up cycling.


This is a rather important term that has to do with how many pedal revolutions you make per minute. It can also be explained as revolutions per minute or RPM, shortly.

This term is one which is used in other sports and industries, so it should sound familiar.

The ideal cadence is the one you feel most comfortable maintaining for as long as you ride. Some people have a really high cadence while others are on the lower end of RPM. You have to find your own pace.


When you cannot go any further, or you start feeling really sad, lethargic, or even what some would describe as depressed, it means that you are low on glycogen levels and your body is depleted.

Glycogen is stored in the muscles and it can be replenished by eating or drinking something which is high in carbs. The simpler the carbs, the better, like dextrose. Carb gels are common cycling and running supplement because they are high in carbs and can be digested very quickly.


These things are tricky to pronounce and tricky to maintain, particularly if you are prone to crashing or riding rough. Derailleurs are used to shift your chain from one sprocket to another when you change gears.

Most bicycles have rear derailleurs while some have fronts. Mountain bikes tend to only have a rear derailleur to save weight (fewer sprockets means less weight), while road bikes and non-racing/non-extreme mountain bikes have both the front and back ones.


Drops are the curved parts of handlebars on road bikes. They tend to be less comfortable than using straight parts, but they give more aerodynamics, leading to another important cycling term.


Everything in cycling is about being as aerodynamic as possible, hence this term. From your hair to wearing cycling gear, to your riding position, cycling requires being as aerodynamic as possible, especially if you plan on racing.

For the average rider, being as aerodynamic as possible should not be the goal, unless they are planning on longer trips (saving energy), or going downhill quickly (it gives you more control and less drag).

These are 5 interesting cycling terms that every cyclist should know. There are many more, but discovering them on your own is part of the journey.


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