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Beginner's Guide to Mountain Biking Terms

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  • Bail - This refers to the sometimes risky act of leaping off your bike to avoid an even worse crash. “I had to bail to avoid hitting that tree.”
  • Bonk - To suddenly run out of energy when riding a trail, forcing you to stop and get off your bike.
  • Flow - It’s what a lot of riders strive for. You achieve ‘flow’ when the trail’s corners, obstacles and downhill features fit seamlessly allowing you to ride with minimal pedalling while still keeping momentum. The result is feeling at one with the bike and the ground beneath so that you almost float down the trail at speed.
  • LBS - Short for Local Bike Shop; being a very important place for info, tips and bike gear.
  • Lid - Slang for helmet, an essential piece of gear for MTBs
  • MTB/s/ers - Abbreviation for Mountain Bike/s and Mountain Bikers. MTBs are built for durability and performance in rough terrain. They’re heavier than road bikes, have stronger rims and wider tyres and specifically designed for off road.
  • Pump - We all know you pump up your tyres but this term also refers to a riding technique.  It involves moving your body up and down on the bike at various moments, and without pedalling, to gain traction and speed.
  • Roost - This refers to the mud, dirt and dust your rear tyre sprays up behind you when you take a loose corner at speed. Think of it as a rooster’s tail spraying out behind you, so be mindful of ‘roosting’ your bike buddies if riding in a pack.
  • Shred - When you go super fast along a trail segment or ride fast like a pro, you shred it. But it also means to get on your bike and enjoy yourself.
  • Skatey - This refers to a trail surface being slippery due to loose gravel over a hard surface which can be like riding over ball bearings. Many trails in Western Australia can be a bit ‘skatey’ in summer.
  • Zone - This is when you, your bike, your riding and the trail all work perfectly together to produce maximum enjoyment. You get in the ‘zone’ when you ‘flow’ down a track leaving your troubles behind you.

Don’t worry if it takes you a while to grasp the lingo. The most important thing is to get on your bike and have fun.

Written by: Serena Kirby