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Columnists play the cycling name game

Pedal Pushers

Question: I'm confused. I went to my local bike store and the staff there seemed to be talking a foreign language but the words sounded like they might be English. Can you help me understand? All I wanted was a tune up.

Answer: So you didn't understand the bit about your need for new drop bars, a new head badge, new ferrules and welding repairs to your down tube, a replacement crank set, chain rings, cassette and master link? How about new jockey wheels, a rim inspection and new skewers? All we gotta say is, if that is truly what your bike needs, they didn't look hard enough. What about your braze-ons, and the condition of your cups, cones and spoke nipples? I see your eyes glazing over and thinking of piercings and tattoos. We guess we better explain some terms.

Drop bars: No, not the place to break up with your partner. Rather, they are the curved handlebars the Randy Racer types use on their fancy racing bikes so they are bent over and more aerodynamic.

Head badge: Bet you think of some fancy apparel, maybe a tie-dyed scarf perhaps? But no, the head badge is the nice little label that goes on the tube right at the front of the bike below the drop bars that displays the manufacturer's name.

Ferrules: The metal or plastic sleeves on the ends of the brake cables, not a group of rabid cyclists. (Feral mountain bikers are a different issue).

Down tube: This could be a subset of YouTube for only negative videos, but on a bike it's the frame tube from the handlebar area down to the pedals.

Crank set: The assembly that your pedals and the gears for the chain are connected to - not a mindset.

Chain rings: Chain rings can be a body decoration to go with your piercings, but on a bike, they're the gears connected to the crank set, which the chain runs on.

Cassette: Your music storage system after you realized eight-tracks were passé and before CDs were invented, also the set of multiple gears on the rear wheel of your bike.

Master link: A senior golfer who can shoot their age, or the special connector link to mate the two ends of your bike chain together into one continuous loop.

Jockey wheels: These should logically be a really big set of training wheels you put on a horse to keep it steady so the new jockeys don't fall off. We like that description so much we're not going to tell you what they are on a bike except to say they have to do with the derailleur - another weird word.

Enough for today, in a future article we promise to explain braze-ons, cups, cones and spoke nipples as well as skewers, really we do.

The Pedal Pushers are Dan Campbell, Antje Wahl, Anita Leonhard and Heather Drugge, four North Shore residents who use their bikes for transportation.