If you feel like a fish out of water when hanging out with your mountain biking friends and want to get down with the lingo, then this is the blog for you! Mountain biking is one of those sports with an entire language of its own, and with the uniqueness of Kiwi-isms thrown in the mix… It’s hard to understand at the best of times.
We’ve got your back! Read on to get up to speed with your trail buddies and mountain biking terminology.
Chur is a classic expression of gratitude or appreciation that is quintessential to the Kiwi. Chur directly translates to thank you and besides that, it can also mean “sweet as” or “that’s awesome.” For instance, “chur, mate!” said Bob, using the Kiwi slang “chur” to express his gratitude.
She’ll be right
“She’ll be right” is a popular phrase in Australian and New Zealand culture. Often followed by a friendly term of address such as “mate”, it expresses a (sometimes overly) optimistic belief that whatever you’re embarking on will turn out fine. So next time you’re friend is feeling apprehensive about rolling down a trail, you can respond with a “she’ll be right, mate” and you’ll fit right in.
“Hero dirt” is a stoke-generating description of optimal riding conditions when the soil or loam is grippy and fast. This usually occurs a day or two after rainfall where the moisture helps to bind the terrain. Brown pow and hero dirt are often used interchangeably. For example: “The trail conditions were perfect today,” exclaimed Tom. “We were riding on hero dirt all morning!”
The term “bonk” refers to running out of steam while biking on the trail. For instance, “I ran out of energy halfway through the ride, I totally bonked and had to take a break.”
A “dab” occurs when you put a foot down while riding up or down a technical section, but don’t stop the bike. It generally happens when you lose balance, but it does not halt your effort. “I almost bailed on that section but I managed to dab and keep going.”
The term “roost” refers to kicking up dirt and sand from the back tire when whipping around loose turns and berms. It’s pretty mountain bike cool to kick up a roost when riding through loose corners.
Armor refers to protective gear worn by mountain bikers. It includes neck braces, torso armor, knee and elbow guards, or spine protectors. Every mountain biker has their preference in what to wear, it also depends on the nature of the terrain you ride. Safety first!
The B-line is an alternate, easier route to the main trail. It usually avoids more complex features such as a drop or technical features. The term “line” is often used interchangeably with the B-line. “I took the B-line on that last descent to avoid the big drop.”
A “berm” is a corner formed out of smoothed dirt and/or rocks, creating a curved walk-like feature to ride through. Bermed turns allow riders to ride faster and smoother than flat corners because there is less chance of washing out. Most flow trails consist of bermed turns so that you can really let your inner smooth operator shine.
Enduro is a popular mountain bike racing style that involves a combination of uphill climbs and downhill descents. Enduro racing includes multi-stage and sometimes multi-day segments with timed descents and untimed climbs. Enduro racing has had a fast uptake in the mountain biking scene due its accessibility, sociability, and some good old fashion competition. We’ve written a whole blog on the mechanics of an enduro race, check it out here.
A “pedal strike” occurs when a pedal hits the ground or a rock/obstacle while riding. It could be harmless… or cause the rider to go flying into the bushes! Never fear though, as your mountain biking skills progress, you’ll gain spacial awareness around your pedal placement as you’re riding, it’s all part of it!
Sandbagging involves saying that something is easier than it is or racing in a category below your level to increase your chances of winning. It’s a bit cheeky! We reckon honesty is the best policy.
“Send it!” is an expression used when a mountain biker jumps into a trail feature, such as a jump or drop with little inhibition or pause. It’s a term used often, and mostly with a tinge of mockery. It can sometimes be used as an encouragement. Where Nike says “just do it”, mountain bikers say ”just send it!”.
There’s much more where that came from, but we feel like we’ve covered the basics here so that you can slick up on your bike slang and roll into MTB banter with more ease. You’re welcome!
If you’re wanting to get some practice in and meet more like-minded people, Bike Glendhu has tonnes of events, races, and social practice rides to bring people together through riding. Check out our upcoming events here.