The Dictionary of Roadie Slang started as a compilation of the "Call For Slang" that was posted to rec.bicycles.racing early August 1995. This page was first compiled by Geert van Oosterhout on 09 August 1995. Since then numerous words have been added by Glenn & Geert. Any relevant addition is most welcome. Updates will appear when new mail containing slang is sent to Geert.

Hammerheads: Keep the posts coming!

-Glenn & Geert-

Warning:The following list contains some profanity. (After all, it is slang...) Those prudes offended by profanity should go back from whence they came.


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z 

The Dictionary:

- A -

Abdou', Doing an Abdou' -- Crashing while sprinting. (After 1991 final stage of the Tour).

all show and no go -- A not so good rider with a state of the art bike and gear.

animal -- Unhuman rider. Someone who rides up mountains in a 100 inch gear.

ate straw -- Lost the line in a tight corner.

Auld Wart -- (Pronounced: "Owwld Waaaaert.") Referring to the old, tough, wizzened guys who have been going out and doing 150 miles at a constant 8 mph every Sunday for the last 70 years. Believed to have been derived from "Old Stalwart", rather than warts of the carbuncular type!

Autobus -- In the big tour mountain stages, the group of poor climbers, whostick together and help each other finish inside the time limit.  Also called the gruppetto or the laughing group.

Azurri -- Members of the Italian national squad.

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- B -

back to basics -- No heart rate monitor or computer. When a roadie says: "I'm back to basics!" his handle bar should be clean.

bagwell -- A region of debris at the intersection of two roads. The debris is swept into a triangular shape by vehicles going ahead, across, and turning right. Bagwells are a hazard to Roadies, but are often mined by Freds for tools, coins, hardware, small parts, and recyclable materials. Bagwells are named after Bryan Bagwell, the Arizona, USA bicyclist and philosopher who first studied and classified them.

bake, baked -- Overtrained.

ball tearer -- A very steep though short hill.

BANG! -- According to Stephan J. in Oz, this one had its origins with his mad opera singing roadie mate. It is used to emphasise an action that occurs quickly, i.e. "When I got to the bottom of the hill, BANG!, I attacked." Mulitple BANGS! are used quite often in roadie speak.

base mileage -- You only got on the bike twice this week, and your weekly total is less than 50 miles.

battle scars -- Permanent road rash souvenirs.

bed stick -- What happens the morning after a biff.

bed suck -- When your bed pulls you under and won't let you get out to train.

biff -- Crash.

big meat -- Large chainring.

billy goat -- Superb climber.

bit-a-bit -- See: chaingang.

bloater -- A rider with more muscle than you. See: Fat boy.

blow, blow snot -- Put a finger to a nostril, turn head and BLOW!

blow your ring -- To go too hard and end up cooked, especially in the middle of nowhere. "I ended up blowing my ring and having to grovel about 60 km home."

bonk, bonked -- Running out of energy while riding.

Bowling for Dollars -- A rider crashes and takes down most or all of the Peloton.

box someone in -- Move sideways such that your opponent can't pass. Used in sprints.

brain bucket -- Helmet.

brick -- Bad climber, good descender. Opposite of: kite.

bubba -- (Southern USA) A rude driver, usually in a pickup truck. Can also be used to describe probability of encounter, i.e., "That loop is about a 2 bubba ride." When encountering a bubba, the best response is to smile and wave - that irritates them more than any other response without increasing the odds they will come back and make a road pizza out of you...

bug gulp -- Swallowing a flying insect whole, without chewing.

bug gag -- The bug is too big to go down easily.

bunny hop -- Jump over railroad tracks, potholes, curbs, or other riders.

burger -- Crash. "He really burgered..."

bushed -- completely exhausted.

bust a gut -- To ride hard, especially when trying to keep up. "I was busting a gut to keep up with that hammerhead!"

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- C -

Campag -- (Brit. Abbrev.) Campagnolo. Gruppos from God! (All except for that Athena crap...)

Campy -- (U.S. Abbrev.) Campagnolo. Gruppos from Gawd! (All except for that Chorus crap...)

campy -- Crass, flashy, garish, gaudy. (Sort of like Campy!)

Camp Granola -- Campagnolo, frequent incorrect first reading of the trademark.

cannibal -- Inhumane rider. Eats 'stiques for lunch.

Cannonwhale, Cannonsnail, Cannonball, Crimp-and-fail, Cannonwheel -- Cannondale.

carpet sprint -- What happens when you ride off the rollers.

carrot choppers -- Spinergy wheels.

cat and mouse -- Vying for sprint position.

Cat. 5 tatoo -- Grease mark left on the calf from an inexperienced racer (or spaced veteran) leaning up against his chainring. (This is a popular dis in Miami.)

Cat. 7 -- Synonym for Fred.

Cat. 7 move -- A move so inherently stupid and/or dangerous that even a beginning racer or a squirrel wouldn't do it.

caveman -- Someone who's going well.

cavemanned it -- Rode hard.

chaingang -- Very fast training where everybody goes through the line. A large scale team time trial.

charcoal -- Carbon fiber frame.

chewing handlebar tape -- (Brit./Wirral) This occurs when you are suffering so much that you find yourself head down over the handlebars and you are chewing the tape on your handlebars (in the vain hope, I think, that you might find some energy from it.) Usage: "When we got to the climb I was chewing my handle bar tape".

the chop -- The arrangement whereby riders help each other during a race and share any prize money won. Also called the "joke". One is said to be "in the chop". Illegal, but usual in a country (= Australia) where legal teams are rare.

chopping block -- In a handicap race, the riders who start just ahead of the scratch bunch. (The term comes from their usually hopeless position. They are too far back in the field to win and not fast enough to get the fastest time award).

College Boy -- Anyone that doesn't work 40+ hours per week.

compound disappearing hill -- A hill where no matter how long you climb, you're never more than half the way up.

computer geek -- Anybody that spends more than thirty bucks on a cycling computer.

cooked -- Running out of energy while riding.

coffee klatch -- See: tea party.

corncob -- A 13-18 or 12-19 'straight block' fw/cassette that is the gearing of choice for die-hard roadies, (in Nebraska!)

creamed -- Cream crackered. Knackered. Very tired.

Cramp-and-go-slow -- Campagnolo.

crayon -- A crash that results in major road rash.

crit twit -- Criterium ace.

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- D -

DAL -- Dead-ass last, next best thing to DNF.

DFL -- Dead fuckin' last.

DNF -- Did not finish.

dancing on the pedals -- What you do when you ride away from everyone else on a climb.

dangle 'em off the front -- Keeping a breakaway within sight but not closing the gap so as to let them fry themselves up front.

danseuse, "a la danseuse" -- (French: Like a dancer.) When you get out of the saddle on a steep incline.

Deathmaster -- (Brit./Wirral) Referring to clincher tyres that were fine in the dry, but as soon as it rained, everybody using them fell off on the first corner.

dead turn -- A time trial turning where you just do a U-turn in the middle of the road. (Banned in most of the UK.)

death ride -- Training ride so hard that everyone is incoherant afterwards.

deep-dish wheels -- Aero disc wheels.

degueuler, "faire degueuler sa bouillie" -- (French: To make someone barf his/her gruel.) Riding hard to try to drop someone.

Delgado, do a Delgado -- Show up late for a race/ride.

devo -- Developmental team rider.

dime roll -- See: corncob.

dine off the big plate -- Use the big ring.

In the dining car -- sitting at the back of the peloton.

dinner plate -- The big ring. (As opposed to the salad plate.)

doggin' it -- Sitting on and getting paced for a later attack.

double -- Measure of distance. "I did a double bottle (or) double bonk."

double clanger -- English for double chainring.

drag strip -- A very fast TT course , usually a traffic assisted dual carriageway.

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- E -

Eddie Bullshit -- Coaching tips of dubious worth. "He learned it all from E.B."

Elvis -- "I was seeing Elvis!" I was hurting real bad out there. (Stolen from Clara Hughes on CBC during 1994 TdF Femme coverage.) Opposite of: Tesh.

Erwin, doing an Erwin -- When a rider riding at the front sets a heavy tempo that the rest of the bunch don't wanna do, hence he tends to roll off the front on his own. The Erwin came about from the 93' Tour when Erwin Nijboer from Benesto was setting a heavy tempo in the front of the peloton. Big Mig rolls through the bunch up to the front called out "Erwin, Erwin" then flicks his head back to indicate "Slow down, I don't want you to set this tempo."

EWD -- Extreme Wiener Discomfort, (aka: penile numbness).

Eyeballs Out -- Going very hard, generally up to a break.

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- F -

fat boy -- A rider with more muscle than you, (especially above the waist.)

4-H training -- Headwinds, hills, heat and humidity; all at the same time!

February legs -- That heavy, stoney feeling in your thighs.

feeling the chain -- A good pull; a good burn. "I was feeling the chain after that pull."

filcked, flicked -- Dropped from the group.

flat liner -- A rider who is good on the flat, but as soon as the road goes up, gets shelved .

flathead calves -- Legs that are in fatless form.

fork plant -- What happens after you realize that your front skewer wasn't as tight as it should have been...

foxing  --  Deliberately riding badly, in the hope of getting a better handicap.  An ancient Australian tradition in the weeks before a big race.

Fred -- Anyone who is marching to the beat of a different drummer. A newbie.

Freida -- Female Fred.

friction -- Forget all that integrated indexed crap, good old friction this is the system of choice for retro-grouches.

fridge magnet -- a wheel sucker, someone who does no work at the front.

fried -- Overtrained.

funmeter -- heart rate monitor.

furry frisbee -- Road kill; road pizza; flattened fauna.

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- G -

gapping someone off the back -- Riders in a break take turns creating a gap at the back and bridging, with a non-working break member on their wheel, forcing the non-working member to jump repeatedly.

Garanimal -- A novice, devo animal.

gentle jaunt -- See: noodling.

ginchy -- A bike part that is new and pretty cool. "Nice ginchy stem!"

ginzooed -- What happens to your leg or knee when a spoke on a Spinergy wheel delaminates from the rim.

girlie -- (Aust.) Aussie term for Trixie.

go till ya' blow -- Self explanitory.

going like... a donkey/a bag of shit/a girl -- Riding badly. (Ed: obviously not all roadies are PC!)

gone, he's gone -- A roadie that doesn't join the bunch ride at 7:00 am Sat/Sun Morning because of either: a) a new girlie, or b) pressure from the Mrs. (Usage: "Where's Mark?" "He's gone!")

goo, goop -- Carbo gel.

good set -- Several good waves in close succession. "I got spat out one good wave and caught a second straight away, good set!"

good wave -- A truck that you managed to catch just right and clocked up 50 km/h following for a few minutes before you lost them or blew up - "That was a good wave, if only I hadn't been spat out." (See: surfing.)

goose, goosed -- Nudged off balance; knocked off your sled.

granny gear -- a very low gear, say 39 x 28.  (So low your grandmother could turn it).

gravity tattoo -- The scar on your skin that is a permanent reminder of a serious crash.

greased out -- See: biff.

grid -- a bike.

grind -- Pedal slowly in a big gear.

grovel -- A hill you end up in your lowest gear for. "That hill was a real grovel." Also used on the flat when you have blown your ring.

grovelling -- Riding badly.

gruppetto -- In the big tour mountain stages, the group of poor climbers, whostick together and help each other finish inside the time limit.  Also called the autobus or the laughing group.

gut spray, gopher juice -- What gets splattered over your legs when a truck runs over fresh road pizza.

gutterball -- Strung out in the gutter in a crosswind.

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- H -

habble to the gallop -- (Scots.) When you want to do a muscle popping sprint. "Habble to the Gallop, Lads!"

half-wheel hell -- Riding with a hammerhead.

hammer, drop the hammer -- See: throw down the hammer.

hammerhead -- Someone who refuses to EVER ride easy.

hammerfest -- A brutally fast ride or race.

hill -- Anything you have to change down a gear for.

hill, big -- Anything you have to change down more than one gear for.

hit list -- These are the riders that have attcked and dropped you when you have been down on form, or comming back from an injury. Usage: "When I get back in form, those pricks are on my hit list."

hit the wall -- (1) Bonking. (2) What happens after you depart from your rollers very unexpectedly.

honking -- Getting out of the saddle.

horse -- Bicycle.

hot stuff -- Disenfectant to heal tar burns. "Give me the hot stuff."

human crayons -- Cat. 5 racers.

human lung -- A rider who doesn't need to breathe while everone else is gasping.

hunger knock, hunger flat -- Bonk.

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- I -

"I'm at the end of a hard training session." -- What you say when an MTB rips past you on a hill.

"I'm at the end of a hard training session." -- What you say when an MTB dusts you on a flat.

invisible hill -- A headwind.

iron, ironclad -- A steel bike.

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- J -

Jaboffo, Jaboff -- An ancient term (mid 70's) used when describing a Fred.

jam -- Keep a fast pace.

joke -- See "the chop"

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- K -

kicked down -- Rode really fast. "We kicked down on our race last Saturday."

kicking, getting a kicking, getting your head kicked in -- (Brit./Wirral) This occurs when you are up against a rider or group of riders who are going far better than you. You end up getting your proverbial head kicked in. Usage: "Those guys were going so well! They gave me a right kicking" or "They kicked my head in on that last climb". (Chris Boardman uses this one a lot -- displaying his roots perhaps?)

kite -- Good climber, bad descender. Opposite of: brick.

knackered -- Running out of energy while riding.

knock -- Run out of energy while riding. "Got the knock."

knocking and pinging -- Running out of energy while riding uphill.

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- L -

lantern rouge -- (French: Red light.) Awarded to last rider in. (From the red light that hangs on the last car of a train.)

laughing group -- The guys just trying to finish the race.

left -- Front. (Left shift lever controls front D.)

light at the end of the tunnel -- DFL. "I saw the light at the end of the tunnel!" (Usually the lantern rouge.)

limit -- The group receiving the biggest start in a handicap. (Australian).  Those who ride off the limit are the limities.

Lloyd -- A triathelete.

long thin line -- A pagoda dragon just waiting to happen.

lost the remote -- When your Mavic Zap goes nuts.

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- M -

Masters -- Those that work more than 40 hours per week.

melon -- Head.

minute man -- The man in front of you in a time trial.

mission -- Ride. "I know where THAT is... That's a long fucking mission from here!"

mobile -- Bicycle.

moocher -- Somebody that never has his own tools.

more yammerin' than hammerin' -- An easy ride.

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- N -

Newton's First Principle -- Fruit Newtons never stay whole for more than 20 miles on any ride!

No cop... no stop! -- (Come on, we all know this one...)

nobodies -- Riders who are not worth chasing when they attack because you know you will catch them a few klicks down the road. Usage: "I don't chase nobodies."

noodle, noodling -- Out for an easy ride; recovery ride.

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- O -

off from the blocks -- Meaning as soon as you get the go ahead to start, you attack.

on the gear -- A roadie that is allegedly taking performance enhancing substances.

on the juice -- As above.

organ donor -- A helmetless rider.

Ouch! -- What you say when you cut yourself while shaving your legs.

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- P -

pace line -- The line of people going through at the front of the bunch.

pagoda dragon -- The snaking motion a long line of racers forms in a straightaway as each guy tries to hang on to the wheel of the guy in front of him.

pack fodder -- What you are when you can't crack the top 20 in a race.

parade -- Slow part of race.

the pea -- the rider chosen by his team to win the race by sprinting.

peg -- The scratch mark in a handicap. (Australian).

pegging the funmeter -- reaching max heart rate on a tough ride.

perf -- Flat. "Too bad, right perf!"

permafour -- A rider who will be a life-time (permanent) Category 4.

piano -- Going very slowly in a road race. "They rode the first 20 miles piano."

pisser, "faire pisser le chien" -- (French: To take the dog out for a leak.) To have an easy ride.

played speed bump -- Biffed at the front of the pack.

poacher -- A person that rides with the participants in a charity ride but does not pay the entry fee.

podium pose -- What the sponsors pay you for.

pooch polo -- This is the time-honored tradition of using a frame pump to dissuade the pursuing dog from having your leg for lunch. (Midwestern USA term.)

popped -- Blown.

potty stop -- That short break you sometimes need to get rid of your superfluous fluids.

PowerBarf -- Maybe that Berry bar wasn't such a good idea after all...

pray the rosary -- What you do when you suddenly realize that the line you're on will bisect the bale of hay/car/wall in front of you.

PREEM! -- What you yell at the Cat. 4 who rhymes "prime" with "time".

Prime-Madonna -- Obnoxious prime racer.

pump the big meat -- Push a big gear.

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- R -

Real Cyclist -- You are only a Real Cyclist when the net worth of your cycling equipment exceeds the net worth of your automobile(s) by a factor of >= 3!

retro-grouch -- A roadie with a friction ironclad and not a gram of titanium anywhere.

rice and potatoes -- What the College Boys eat. (Why waste money on food when you need a pair of Ti skewers!)

rig -- Bicycle.

got the rig -- When you run out of gas in a sprint.

right -- Rear. (Right shift lever controls the rear D.)

rivet, put to the rivet, on the rivet -- Pace is so fast you think you're gonna see Elvis. (This is a reference to Brooks Pro saddles which have copper rivets.)

road pizza -- Road kill; furry frisbees; flattened fauna.

road rash -- Abrasion from sliding on pavement after a crash.

roadie -- Cyclists that like to put their rubber on something HARD!

roadie mate -- A cycling buddy. The person who calls your significant other after a really bad crash. (Significant others are seldom roadie mates...)

rough stuff -- Gravel, shoulder of the road.

rubberband -- When your attack fails, the pack catches you and spits you out the back.

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- S -

S.K. -- Schwanz Kompression. (German: numb nuts.)

salad plate -- The small ring. (As opposed to the dinner plate.)

saucer -- A track

sawed off -- Stuck in the back group when the pack splits.

selle, "avoir la selle dans le trou du cul" -- (French: To have the saddle in the asshole.) To go at one's maximum. See: rivet.

shat out -- Dropped.

shelled out the back -- The most violent form of being dropped.

shit -- The ever versatile slang word:

Shit-mano -- Shimano, used by riders who discover that last year's thingamagig is incompatable with this year's whatyamcallit.

shoot the gap -- Trying to go from the pack to catch the break.

single -- a tubular tyre.

singled out -- No, not an MTV game show... (Yes a couple of programs even made it to England!) When the bunch has become a single pace line.

sit 'n spin -- Those practice sprints in your 42-19.

sitting on -- following a group of riders purely to save energy.

sitting on the sofa -- Sitting in during a large group ride or race.

sketchy -- A dangerous rider or riding style.

slap your melon on the tarmac -- Hit your head on the ground.

sled -- Bicycle.

slinky, caught in the slinky -- What happens in a mixed category race to the riders in the back of the pack when the middle of the pack slows and forces them to sprint back on... in every corner. As in: "I got trashed when I got caught in the slinky."

sloth -- Early season body type.

skid lid -- Helmet.

snake -- Sprinter who knows how to come out of the pack to win a field sprint.

snot  -- In northeast England, a very steep short hill.

snot rocket -- see blow, blow snot.

snot shot -- To catch someone's blow. "I got snot shot."

spent -- See: cooked.

spin and grin -- Having a fun time in a low gear.

spit -- Dropped by the pack.

spit out -- A more violent form of getting spit. "Spit out like a sour grape."

sponsor cloth -- The wet washcloth you keep zip-locked in your kit bag. For cleaning up before a podium pose.

spuds -- SPD pedals/cleats.

spun out, hyper-spins -- What one does on downhills in the spring.

squirrel -- That rider who always seems to be in front of the crash that he causes by his obnoxious riding. The one you aim for with your car after the race to make into road kill.

squirrel cage -- A track

stealth -- Composite frame. "His sponsor put him on stealth this year."

steed -- Bicycle.

straight block, blitzkrieger -- See corncob. A 12-18 or 13-19 freewheel.

strung out -- Fast pace.

sucking diesel -- Cycling very well / very fast (Irish expression). "Now we're sucking diesel !"

surf -- Synonym to "sittin on the sofa", hiding in the pack trying not to do any work, as in: "I don't care about this race, I'm just gonna surf."

surf cam -- Like car cam. What you call the people looking out of the back of the bus at you busting your gut surfing. "Hey look, we're on surf cam again!"

surfing -- To utilise trucks slipstreams for increased speed and decreased effort for short periods.

swag -- Any prime that isn't cold hard cash.

sweet one -- The high octane bottle.

swinger -- A rider who leads out the "pea" at the finish, then obstructs the rest of the field.

swingin' -- Hanging on for dear life. "I got into a break with Norm Alvis and Steve Hegg and I was swingin' at the back!"

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- T -

tail-ender -- DFL in the overall classification of a stage race.

tailgunning -- Technique for hanging on the back of the pack, allowing gaps but regaining contact whenever the pace slows.

tar burns -- What appears on your body after tar surfing. (If it was only as much fun as receiving carpet burns!)

tar surfing -- Crash on the tarmac.

targets -- Commuter cyclists, those who don't wear cycle shorts and travel at about half your speed.

target practice -- Cycling at rush hour, picking off commuter cyclists left, right and center.

tarmac -- Hard stuff, ground.

taste lung -- Go way anaerobic. Really hammer.

tater -- Collapsing a spoked wheel into that familiar potato chip shape. "Man! When I hit that big chuckhole I tatered my front wheel."

tea party -- See: yammering, coffee klatch.

Ten man/Five man -- The fast seeded men in British time trials. Seeding going in order, 10,5,1,6,2,7,3,8,4,9.

Technicolor yawn --Throw up, vomit.

Tesh -- "I was so Zoned, I thought I heard John Tesh playing." Opposite of: Elvis.

tester -- Term of derision for anyone that can ride faster than you.

Through and off -- See: chaingang.

throw down the hammer -- When those really strong guys let you know that they are strong.

Ti -- Titanium.

Ti guy -- Titanium-ophile.

tin can -- Any aluminum frame.

toasted -- Overtrained.

trailer -- A person in a breakaway who can do little more than hang on the back of the break for dear life. "I got in the break with Chad and Eric, but I was pretty much just a trailer."

tri-sport, tri-geek -- A friggin' triathlete.

Trixie -- A roadie's spouse.

truck boost -- Taking advantage of a truck's slipstream.

tubie -- Sew up/tubular tire.

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- U -

ugly -- Hurt. unobtanium -- The newest and most expensive alloy.

used and abused -- Got jumped in the break.

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- V -

Velo Snooze -- The journal of bicycle racing.

vulture -- To circle at the top of a hill waiting for slower "friends".

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- W -

wack, wacked -- Running out of energy while riding.

whack your bean -- To hit your head (as in, while falling...)

wheel suck -- Someone who sticks to your ass like snot to a fingernail.

wheel kiss -- The kissing sound made when a wheel suck gets too close and rubber rubs.

wheel fuck(ed) -- When your spokes end up attached to a wheel suck's wheel.

whiner -- Someone who fights the commissars over 19th place.

win hands down -- An easy victory.

wipe out -- To fail to catch a wave while surfing.

wipe out big time -- To crash while surfing.

wipe out really big time -- To crash up the arse of the bus or truck you are surfing.

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- Y -

yammer, yammering -- Chatting on the bike.

yard-sale -- An extreme biff; stuff scattered about like a yard sale.

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- Z -

Zoned, In the Zone -- When you're leading a pack of hammerheads and spinning fine and there's no where else on Earth you'd rather be!

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Glenn Mitchell Shirtliffe gms*searider.jpl.nasa.gov

Geert van Oosterhout G.vanOosterhout*bouw.tno.nl

All contents copyright © 1995-1997. All rights reserved. 

Last Revision: 21 August, 1997. 

URL: http://searider.jpl.nasa.gov/~gms/text/slang.html
URL: http://dutcu15.tudelft.nl/~geert/digicors/slang.htm