“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Glossary of BAK terms

I hope to be able to keep this blog up to date as I ride the BAK this year. For the non-bicycle touring readers I've included the following definitions of terms :

bent a contracted form used to refer to a recumbent bicycle. Riders of bents are called “bent riders”. This term is an oxymoron, however, because “bent riders” ride in a reclining position while riders of upright bicycles (DF or diamond frame) ride bent over.

bonk – to run out of energy. This condition usually happens from lack of carbs when the body runs out of fuel. It is similar to marathon runners’ experience of “hitting the wall”.

Canus Chaseus - a small dog only interested in trying to bite your tires or any dog you can outrun. Not to be confused with the Canus Biteus which is a dog fast enough to catch you and wants a piece of your leg.

captain – the lead rider of a tandem bicycle.

century – riding 100 miles in a single day.

chamois butter – also called “bum butter”. A salve used to help DF riders cope with the chafing of their “bum” on the saddle.

cleats – special shoes with metal inserts to snap into clipless pedals. Cleats and clipless pedals lock a cyclists foot to the pedal enabling him to pull up as well as push down. The foot is unlocked by twisting the heel to the side.

clipless pedals – special pedals made to lock in bike shoes with cleats.

cold – the water that comes from the showers.

crash – falling to the ground while riding your bicycle. Opinions vary as to what constitutes a crash. Most agree that any road rash, bleeding, or bruising as a result of falling is a pretty good indication that you did in fact crash. However, if you fall while barely moving and don’t have any marks to prove it, you probably didn’t experience a crash.

DF – abbreviation for a “diamond frame” or “upright” bicycle.

drafting – riding close behind a rider or group of riders so that they break the wind, allowing you to maintain the same speed as the lead rider with much less effort. To accomplish a good draft you must ride with your front tire about 12" behind the rear tire of the rider in front.

flat – a word non-Kansans use to describe Kansas if they haven’t ridden a bicycle across it. Flat is what Kansas residents use to describe a bike tire with no air.

gym rats – people who sleep in the school gymnasium.

hot shower – a mythical legend told by long-time BAK riders. Some veterans claim to actually have experienced one of these, but the claims have never been proven.

overnight town – town where BAK spends the night.

paceline – riders riding in a tight line so that the person in the lead provides a “pull” or a “draft” for the riders behind. Air resistance is the greatest barrier to speed for a bicycle, so riders in a paceline expend less energy and go faster. The members of the paceline usually take turns “pulling”. The disadvantage for riding in a paceline for the BAK is that you only get to see the rear tire and butt of the person in front of you.

pie – premium fuel for all BAK riders.

pulling – taking the lead to break the wind and provide a “draft” for a rider or riders behind.

railroad tracks – if you don’t ride across perpendicular to the rails, see “crash”.

Rashus Ouchem - the pain that one experiences for many days when one does not wash all the soap out of their riding shorts.

saddle – what a rider of a DF bicycle sits on.

SAG – rest stop where you can get water and snacks. The most common explanation is that it means “support and gear”, but it could originate from the posture of tired riders when they dismount their bicycles.

SAG in – to ride the SAG wagon to the next overnight town.

SAG wagon – vehicle that picks up riders who are unable to go on because of being too tired, injured or experiencing mechanical breakdowns.

seat – that the rider of a bent bicycle reclines on.

stoker – the rear position on a tandem bicycle: also called rear engine, rear admiral, she who must be obeyed.

tent city – what the green space around the school or community center in the overnight town becomes.

toe clips – bicycle pedals that have a plastic or metal bail allowing the riders toe to be held to the pedal, allowing him to pull up as well as push down. Not as effective as clipless pedals and cleats.

wheat field – large restroom facility. This definition applies to any field of tall crops.

wind – air moving from Missouri to Colorado. Not to be confused with “tailwind” which is air moving toward Missouri.


Elan said...

I hope your bent stays in good working order and I hope you don't bonk. Take plenty of chamois butter so you don't get rashus ouchem. Enjoy the pie from the SAG ladies and sleep well in the tent city. Take advantage of every wheat field and tailwind. Draft as long as you can so you go a century. Finally, I hope you find the ever elusive hot shower. (Would that be the holy grail of the BAK?)

Florence and Gary Deeter said...


Great definitions. I especially enjoyed the tale of the mythical hot shower. I remember when Elan arrived at Joe and Mabel's infamous beach house, which had minimal facilities and no hot water. Elan, a fanatic for showers back then, took the garden hose and showered in the back yard every day.


Dana said...

Haha. Thanks for the laugh! Some of those are quite funny!

And I LOVE Elan's comment!!! haha!!