Pedal-Pedal Cycling Glossary

40mm valveThis would be a ‘standard’ valve length for wheels that don’t have a deep aerodynamic rim.

700C – The ‘size’ of most hybrid/road bike wheels. The number refers to the approximate outside diameter of the tyre, in millimeters. The “C” indicates that it has an inside (or bead-seat) diameter of 622mm. Got that?

7075 – Aluminium alloy 7075 is an aluminium alloy, with zinc as the primary alloying element. Its strength is comparable to many steels. It also has less resistance to corrosion than many other Aluminium alloys although it is relatively expensive. Another popular alloy for bicycle frames is 6061 aluminium which also has properties to endure many thousands of miles of riding. 7075 aluminum alloy, is not being much different from 6061 aluminum alloy, but is both more expensive and more likely to corrode than 6061. 



AA Batteries

AAA Batteries



Allen Key

Altura – Altura have been making high quality cycle clothing for some years and have a large range of affordable cycling jackets, shorts, overtrousers, gloves and base layers. Always improving their range and developing versatile, affordable high quality cycling clothing year after year, Altura are a favoured brand for many cyclists. Synonymous with value and performance Altura can be seen everywhere and being used by all types of cyclists. See products HERE



Axa Basta – AXA and Basta cycle accessories are manufactured by Stenman Holland B.V. and the Basta Group A/S. And no, they are nothing to do with the French insurance giant.  Everything, from product development and production to sales and marketing, are carried out by Stenman Holland and Basta Group themselves.


Basta – Dutch manufacturer who make dynamo systems for bicycles (amongst other things). If you need to change your bulb in you Basta 425 or 825 headlamp then click here.

Bar ends – short extensions fixed at the end of straight handlebars to allow for multiple hand positions – usually found on mountain/hybrid bikes.

Belt drive – An alternative to the chain-drive which has been used by cikes since the beginning. They have been slow to catch on but if toothed belts can be used on motor bikes then there is no reason that these quieter, lighter drives shouldn’t be used on bikes.


Bike Shepherd – Bike Shepherd is a free, non-profit, global bike registration and  recovery service. Their mission is to register every single bike on the planet. Why? Because they love our bikes and hate bike thieves!

BMX – BMX bikes come from the sport of extreme racing in motocross style on bumpy tracks with sharp banked bends. Became an Olympic sport in 2008 Bejing. BMX bikes have small frames on 20-inch wheels, with raised handlebars, a front and rear brake, freewheel hub and low seats.

Bottom Bracket – This is the bearing system that the pedals (and cranks) rotate around just between your feet. It contains a spindle to which the crankset is attached (the pedal arms and cogs) and the bearings themselves. There is a bearing surface on the spindle, and ones on the cups that thread into the frame. The bottom bracket may be overhaulable (an adjustable bottom bracket) or not overhaulable (a cartridge bottom bracket). The bottom bracket fits inside the bottom bracket shell, which is part of the bicycle frame. On more modern machines the bearings can be positioned outside the bottom bracket shell so that they can be made bigger and, hence, more robust.

Boris Bikes

Bottle Dynamo

Braze on – Found on steel, aluminium and titanium frames, a braze-on is a fitting protruding from a frame to provide attachment, typically for cable housings or tyre pumps and similar accessories. As ‘brazing’ is a metal-joining process, you clearly won’t find the same thing on Carbon-fibre frames.

BS 6102/2

Busch + Muller – A well-known German manufacturer who’ve been making bike lights (and car and motorbike lights) since 1925, and have a very interesting website – which unfortunately looks as if it was made at around the same time the company was formed.



Case Hardened – This is a steel manufacturing process frequently used in making chains and locks where mild steel has the surface hardened after it has been shaped to create a tough, cut resistant surface. The softer, more compliant steel inside makes it harder to fracture the toughened steel.

Carrera – Global brand since 1956 making helmets and eyewear for all sorts of sports from motor racing and skiing to cycling. See products HERE

Cassette – the group of stacked sprockets (cogs) on the rear wheel of a bicycle with a rear derailleur. They are the different gears. Sometimes called the cogset.

Cateye – This is one of the biggest manufacturers of cycle computers, lights and reflectors in the world and you will see their lights everywhere. Their bike light range includes rechargeable lights battery head lights, and front rear and safety lights. Founded in 1946 in Osaka Japan, they’ve always been  leaders in innovation and technology.

Chainstay – There are two of these frame tubes that run horizontally from the bottom bracket shell back to the rear dropouts; one on each side of the rear wheel.

Chainring – present on all bikes, the chains ring is the big cog that sits between your feet and turns the chain whcih is connected to the rear wheel. Some bikes have more than one chainring (so they can have more gears).

Chain wear – Chains don’t actually stretch…the links just wear and effectively move further apart. But the affect is the same. If you ride with a stretched chain you will prematurely wear out your chainrings and/or rear cogs. If you let it really go, it can slip – this will of course happen when you are putting a lot of force on the pedals or hitting a bump, and can easily cause a crash.

Clincher – A type of tire that uses a bead around the edge of the tire to attach to the rim of the wheel when inflated. The inner tube is separate. The alternative is the ‘tub’ or tubular tyre which is glued to the rim and used in track and racing (they won’t last so long on the road)

Crankarm – Another of the things that come in twos; these are the two straight levers that connect the bottom bracket spindle (axle) to a pedal

Criterium – A type of cycle race held on a closed short distance course with multiple laps. Often, but not always a 4-cornered course and often includes primes (short for premiums and rhymes with ‘seems’) which are points or prizes for intermediate laps. Course length can vary from 800 meters to 5 kilometers.

Chrome Vanadium – Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. When mixed with steel it produces a very strong metal (first used in Ford T chassis’ in 1927). Adding chromium makes it shine a bit more..

Chromoly – A type of steel containing chromium and molybdenum which is used to make strong, lightweight components such as bicycle frames.

Cleat – Clipless pedals (also clip-in or step-in) require a special cycling shoe with a cleat fitted to the sole, which locks into a mechanism in the pedal and thus holds the shoe firmly to the pedal.

CNC – Computer Numerical Control – it means that the piece of metal is milled by a computer controlled machine rather than a human operator – so it should be more accurate and easier to reproduce. Plus, it doesn’t take Mondays off.

Clipless – Clipless pedals (also called clip-in or step-in) require special cycling shoes with a cleats fitted to the soles that locks into a mechanism in the pedal and thus holds the shoe firmly to the pedal.

Commuting by Bicycle


CREE XPG – Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs and the XP-G is one of their three LED products. Many LED bike light manufactuirers use CREE LEDs

CR EN 1078

CR-V – This is a type of steel in the category generally labeled as alloyed cold work tool steel. High hardness, toughness and wear resistance. It’s not just a Honda. Used for tool making.

Co2 – Carbon Dioxide – who said bicycles were green when we can fill the tyres with the one gas we’re trying not to produce. Use a pump!

CTC (Cycling Touring Club)

Cyclo Sportives


Delrin – The real name is Polyoxymethylene – a sort of ploymer (plastic) that is a good sealant for bearings and is used in some pedals.

Degree of float (pedals) – “Float” is defined as the amount of sideways movement offered by the cleat within the pedal before it come out. This can be highly important to prevent damage to knees, as most peoples’ legs do not remain in a single plane as they pedal. 4.5 – 6 degrees is fine for most riders.

Die cast – Objects that have been die-cast have been made with a metal casting process that is characterised by forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mould cavity. The mould cavity is created using two hardened tool steel dies which have been machined into shape and work similarly to an injection mould during the process. Die cast pieces are notable for their good surface finish.

Dropout – a bicycle rear fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain – when the bolts are undone or the quick release mechanism undone, the wheel will quite simply ‘drop out’.

Dynamo – A dynamo (originally a Greek word, dynamis, meaning power), is a generator that produces direct current with the use of a commutator. A bike may have a bottle dynamo or a hub dynamo to generate power for the lights.

Dynamo Upgrade


EN 13356 – This EU standard specifies the optical performance requirements and surface area requirements for reflective accessories intended for non-professional use, and intended to signal the user’s presence visually when illuminated by vehicles on dark roads. The accessories can be worn, attached to or carried by persons. Got that?


Exposure Lights (USE) – Exposure is a quality manufacturer of beautifully designed bike light products. Designed and manufactured in Petworth Sussex by Ultimate Sports Engineering Ltd. they’ve been riding and racing bikes in the dark since 1997.


Fixed Gear – Is what it says; a fixed gear bike is one with only a single gear that does not have a freewheel – so you can’t stop pedalling when going downhill. Used on the track (that’s all the track riders can use) but also used in town and cities as low maintenance alternatives. Not recommended for hilly terrain.

Flat-head – A screwdriver designed to turn screws with a straight slot across the top (as opposed to the star shape on a phillips screwdriver)

FL1 – The FL1 Standard is where the flashlight industry recognized the inconsistency in communicating features and benefits of their products to the consumer and collaborated to write a set of standards for them.

Float – Float is the amount of free movement the pedal allows while remaining securely attached to the shoe.

Freehub – the ratcheting assembly onto which a cog or cassette is mounted that allows the bicycle to coast without the pedals turning. It is something that is definitely missing on a fixed gear arrangement.

Freeride – Freeride is a discipline of mountain biking similar to downhill cycling and dirt jumping which focusese on tricks, style, and technical trail riding.



Hardtail – A term used to describe a mountain bike that does not have rear suspension.

Helmet-Mounted Lights

HID Lights

Hiplok – Makers of cool wearable bike locks that are both comfortable and practical. Plenty of colours available so you can have one for every day if you wish. The Hiplok range are the result of two British designers – one, Ben Smith, lived in California and the other, John Abrahams, that lived in London. See products HERE


Hybrid Bike – The obvious choice for urban commuters, a hybrid will give you some of the best bits of mountain and road bikes – but all in one go. They have an upright, comfortable and stable riding position, and sturdy running gear.

Hub Dynamos – Largely pioneered by Sturmey Archer during the second world war, their heavy Dynohub dynamos were a common sight on bikes until the 1970’s. Sturmey Archer are probably better known for their three speed gear hubs (even the Raleigh Chopper used them), and they even put the two into some rear hubs – gears and dynamo – known as the AG – but they stopped making them in the 1980’s . Since then a lot of other makers have come to the fore in the UK including Busch + Muller, SON, Shimano and, most recently, Exposure Lights.

Hub Gears – This is where a gearbox is put inside the rear hub, 3-speed is common, 5, 7 are available (remember the old Sturmey-Archer three speed of yesteryear?) and Rohloff make a 14-speed hub. They are Cable operated by one or two cables.


In-mould – In bike helmet construction this is a manufacturing technique where the interior liner of the helmet is ‘blown in’ whilst the hard exterior shell is still in the mould. Helmets made this way tend to be lighter and have more venting. Becoming more common in mid-priced helmets whereas it used to be only high end.

Inner Tubes – Bicycle tyres are designed to be used with inner tubes are sausage-shaped balloons made from elastic synthetic rubber, to prevent air leakage and enable the tyre to be inflated to a sufficiently high pressure. The inner tubes are inserted inside the tyre. If you want to know which tubes are right for you, see our guide HERE

IP Ratings

IPX4 – ANSI standard indicating that a bike light is highly water resistant but not completely waterproof.

IPX7 – This indicates that a light is waterproof and can be submnersed in water for 30 minutes – we’re cyclists not swimmers!

IPX8 – Indicates that a lights is very waterproof and can be submersed in water deeper than a metre for over 4 hours – How long can you hold your breath?


Keirin – The keirin is a 2000 metre track event where the riders start the race in a group behind a motorised derny. The derny paces the riders for 1400 metres and then pulls off the track, at which time the cyclists begin a sprint to the finish line. Keirin racing has traditionally been practised in Japan, where it has been a professional sport for over 20 years, and in which Tote-type betting on the riders is permitted

Knog – A quirky Australian company that makes lots of wacky bike gear from small silicon covered lights to bags, cycle computers, tools, gloves, clothing and other accessories.

Kranium Helmets


Lawyers Lips – A strange name for a device that is there for safety reasons (so lawyers like them). They are found at the bottom of the front forks and prevent the wheel dropping out easily when not done up properly. Sounds a great idea but they render ‘quick release’ skewers a bit ‘slow and fiddly release’.

Laser Bike Lights


Legal Requirements for Lights

Lens Category 0 – European Standard Category EN1836 2003 Colour shade: transparent or very light Use: clear filter for greatly reduced solar radiation, used for wind protection and safety Light transmitted: 80%-100%

Lens Category 1 – European Standard Category EN1836 2003 Colour shade: light Use: for reduced solar radiation, comfort filter and cosmetic or fashion eyewear Light transmitted: 43-80%

Lens Category 3 – European Standard Category EN1836 2003 Colour shade: strong Use: High solar radiation for general use Light transmitted: 8-18%

Li-ion – For the high end light systems you would now expect to find the very latest Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries which are similar to ones found in lap-tops and mobile phones. Again these batteries are lighter and smaller than their predecessors and have even higher capacities – which makes them more than ideal for bike lights.

Lighting Up Times Regulations

LR1 – Alkaline batteries also known as size N, MN9100, or AM5 and are 1.5v alkaline batteries used in small torches, LED lenser torches, photography devices, calculators, memory backup, pocket pagers, watches, car remotes and many more. The battery has a length of 30.2 mm and a diameter of 12.0 mm, and is approximately three-fifths the length of an AA battery and slightly fatter.

Lumen –  in laymans terms, a lumen is just about the amount of light seen by the human eye – so not quite all directions, whereas a candela is about the total amount of light emitted in all directions (like a candle). A Candela is measurable unit of luminous intensity; one candela is about the same luminous intensity as that given off by a common candle (see below) and Lumen is a unit of luminous flux.

Lux – The term Lux is used by some light makers to measure the area over which the luminous flux is spread – so it really depends on the angle of your light from the handle bars to the ground in front of you.


MTB – Abbreviation of Mountain Bike – the ones with the big nobbly tyres.


Needle Bearing – A needle bearing is a bearing which uses small cylindrical rollers, as opposed to ball bearings, to reduce friction of a rotating surface.

NF EN 14781 – The French test standard for testing racing bicycle frames for safety. Tests done by AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation).

Niterider – Founded in San Diego California in 1989, Niterider is a leading supplier of high quality bike lights and cycle computers with a large range from simple commuter bike lights to top-end mountain bike systems. They don’t make talking cars.

NM – This stands for a newton metre which is a unit of torque. One newton metre is equal to the torque resulting from a force of one newton applied perpendicularly to a moment arm which is one metre long. 1 kilogram-force metre = 9.80665 Nm. Got that?


Organic Pads – Also called non-asbestos organic brake pads, are made from natural materials liked glass and rubber, as well as resins that can withstand high heat. The high heat actually helps to bind the brake pad materials together. Kevlar is also an important component in many organic brake pads. An advantage of organic brake pads is that they’re made of materials that don’t pollute as they wear and they’re easier to dispose of, too.

O-ring – A rubber ring (called a gasket) that is compressed to make a screwed down joint water tight.


Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP)

Phillips Screwdriver – The Phillips-head or crosshead screw and screwdriver are named after Henry F. Phillips (1890–1958) from Portland, Oregon.  The main advantage over the flat-head crewdriver is their self centering ability which is useful on automated production lines.

Polycarbonate – It is very complicated, but put simply it is a type of plastic; it comes from a particular group of thermoplastic polymers that are easily worked, moulded, and thermoformed into a shape. The rest is just chemistry.

Presta Valve – Also called Sclaverand valve or French valve, the Presta valve is most often found in high pressure road inner tubes and,less often, in mountain bike inner tubes. It comprises an outer valve stem and an inner valve body. It is easy to recognise as it is long and thin when compared to the Schrader valve

PSI – Pounds per Square Inch – Over 100psi (very hard!) is for road bikes whereas Mountain bikes usually only need 60-75 psi; hybrid and tourers are in between the two.

Puncture – That moment all cyclists dread when the sound of hissing air accompanied by a juddering through the handlebars or the saddle as the unfortunate wheel rim descends to the road. Your journey just got longer.


Quill Stem – Considered old fashioned now, quill stems have been largely displaced as the industry standard on sport bikes. Unlike it more modern counterpart, the quill stem fits down into the inside of the top of the fork steerer tube to be held in place internally via either a wedge and bolt or cone shaped expander nut and bolt. The quill stem needs the fork to be threaded to hold the steering bearings.


Reflectors – It is clear from the UK Legal Requirements that all bikes on the roads in the UK should have reflectors – front and back and on the pedals. It is also clear, however, that most people don’t have them.


Riding Two Abreast

Rim Tape – If the inner part of the wheel rim where the inner tube fits has spoke holes, they are covered by a rim tape or strip, usually rubber, cloth, or tough plastic, to protect the inner tube from puncturing on the edge of the spoke holes.

Rowing Boat Lights


Sam Browne

Schrader Valves – These are more robust and universally used than the Presta type seen on most road bikes. They are generally thicker (so requiring a larger hole through the rim) and have an easily removable core.

Scothlite – A lot of the better quality reflective products contain Scotchlite. It was invented in 1936 by the 3M Company, and it’s a material made of millions of tiny glass beads covered with a metallic reflective layer on half of their surface (the back half) and this, combined with spherical shape of the beads, means that light gets reflected back to where it came from. So if it looks as if road signs are being illuminated when they’re not, it’s because the light from your bike or car is being reflected back to you.

Seat Post – Also be known as any of the following; seatpin, saddlepole, saddle pillar, or saddle pin and is a tube that extends upwards from the bicycle frame to the saddle where we often attach lights to. It is usually adjustable and can be made of steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fibre, or aluminum wrapped in carbon fibre.

Sigma – Founded in 1981 in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany, is the global headquarters of SIGMA Elektro GmbH. Here the 100 staff develop their range of bike computers, lights and heart rate monitors. They also have offices in the USA and Asia.

Silicone – They might look similar, but silicon and silicone are significantly different; Silicon is a natural chemical element found in great abundance on Earth, primarily as a major component of common sand and is generally found in a crystalline form. Silicone is a man-made substance derived from silicon and other chemicals, and it may be a liquid or a rubber-like plastic polymer.

Sintered Pads – Sintering is a method used to create objects from powders. The word come from the German version of the word ‘cinder’.

Smart – One of the most popular makes of bike lights found in the UK, Smart was founded in 1993 by Kevin Chen in Taipei, Taiwan. With their European base in Germany, Smart have made a point of getting German approval for a range of their lights – and the German rules are deemed to be amongst the most stringent in the world!

Snell B-95 – this is a US helmet standard which is apparently more striongent thatn all the others that include ANSI (now withdrawn), CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission), and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) . The Snell Foundation mainly focusses on motor racing helmets but also tests cycling helmets and was named after Peter ‘William’ Snell who tragically died in 1956.

Sold Secure – This is a is a not-for-profit corporation owned by the Master Locksmiths Association in 1992. Each model of lock tested requires an initial test and an ongoing annual audit. In the U.K., a Sold Secure or Thatcham certified lock is usually required in order to insure a bicycle against theft and they certify locks with either a Bronze, Silver or Gold rating, corresponding to an attack resistance of 1, 3 and 5 minutes with various tools. What do you need if you’re going to leave your bike overnight?

Stainless Steel – Also known by metallurgists as inox steel or inox from French “inoxydable”, is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% to 11% chromium content. This means that it is less likely to rust – seawater will get it though.

Step-through frame – not as popular as they were years ago when women were more likely to be wearing longer skirts when riding a bicycle.


Time Trialling

Torx – Developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron and is the trademark for a type of screw head characterised by a 6-point star-shaped pattern. Supposed to be better than the flat head or Phillips screwdriver heads.

Tour de France – do we really need to explain? Worth mentioning, though, that the Tour starts in Yorkshire in 2014 – Yorkshire Festival of Cycling

TPI – Threads Per Inch

TPU – Thermoplastic polyurethane – fabrics coated in TPU have an inner rubber layer, a fabric reinforced layer (woven by polyester fibre) and an outer rubber layer. Used for waterproofing bike clothing and bags.

TR90 – Plastic titanium is a polymer material with memory, and is currently the most popular ultra-light material for manufacturing glasses fames from.

Track Pump – Big pumps (sometimes called Floor pumps) that are much easier to inflate tyres, especially high pressure or large capacity MTB tyres. They usually have a pressure gauge so you can make sure your tyres are inflated correctly. We wouldn’t suggest you take them on rides though.

Tubular Tyres

Tyre Boot – A simple device made of strong flexible material that sits inside your tyre if you happen to split it whilst out riding. Very much a temporary repair but should get you home.

Tyre Sizing – There are a lot of sizes of tyres so if you’re not certain, take a look at this list before you order to make sure you’ve got the right one.


USB – Stands for Universal Serial Bus which is a computing industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used in connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices. The ‘bus’ part is another computing term which is a subsystem that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers. USB is used for connecting mobiles, mouses, keyboards etc etc


V-Type Brakes – Named after Shimano’s trademark V-brakes, linear-pull brakes or direct-pull brakes are a side-pull version of cantilever brakes and mount on the same frame bosses. They are fitted to many Hybrid and mountain bikes.



Yorkshire Festival of Cycling 2014 – Unless you’ve been away for a long time then you’ll probably know that the first two stages of the 2014 Tour de France (the 101st edition of the world famous race) are starting in Yorkshire. As part of this extraordinary celebration of cycling in the UK, the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling is being held in the grounds of Harewood House from the 4th to the 6th of July. As the Tour passes through the grounds of Harewood on the 5th, visitors to the Festival will be able to see the riders and the sheer spactacle of the Tour from the closest of quarters…More