Glossary of Terms

These are phrases that you may see referenced in some of our posts. (More user-generated content is welcome.)


Butt Boy – male rider (typically) whose worn-out bike shorts have reached the point of transparency; common usage: “I am NOT riding behind Butt Boy for the next hour!”

Glasses and Gray Goatees – facial description of a disproportionately large number of male bikers; common usage: “I once counted 35 Glasses and Gray Goatees within eight miles on a Northern Virginia trail.” (Seriously.)

Howling Teeth of the Wind – a sudden turn into even the slightest breeze; common usage: “Great, we’ll be riding into the howling teeth of the wind the whole way back.”

Major Production – multiple steps necessary before actually starting on a bike ride (e.g., unlock and remove bikes, check/pump tires, set and affix odometer, fill water bottles, strap on bike bag, put on gloves and helmet, and about 10 more things); common usage: “It’s not like we can just hop on our bikes and go; with Kellie, it’s always a major production.” 

Pay-off – something that we fervently hope awaits us at the conclusion of a long climb or ride; common usage, “The payoff better be frickin’ unbelievable.”

Put in – a boating term we’ve borrowed to describe parking lots beside trails; common usage “We like to put in at a trail-side brewery; that’s the payoff at the end of the ride.”

Root Heave – the teeth-rattling bumps on trails caused by tree roots erupting through the pavement and years of inadequate maintenance; common usage: “Jim went ass-over-teacup when he wasn’t paying attention and hit a huge root heave.” 

Special Hell – a place reserved for those who steal bikes; common usage: “My only consolation is that there’s a special hell for the #&!% who stole my bike.”

Steepest Incline in North America – any size hill, typically at the end of a bike ride; common usage: “F**k, this must be the steepest incline in North America.”

Tailwind  – urban myth. 

Wind Tunnel – The feeling of battling a stiff head wind when not even the skimpiest stalk of grass alongside the trail is waving; common usage: “How is this possible? I’m pedaling my head off in this wind tunnel.”

Zen Trail –  Rail-trails with little visual variety, typically cut through miles of forest. Can be described as either tranquil and serene or boring; common usage: “Every mile looks exactly the same on this Zen trail.”