Below is my list of MUni terminology. Some of the expressions are serious and
some are for fun. Much of what’s there comes from mountain biking or other
sports. What’s missing? What special words or expressions do you use where you
ride? I’d like to add all the good ones.
GLOSSARY OF MOUNTAIN UNICYCLING TERMINOLOGY: Adjusting Handlebars: An expression
used for taking a restroom break along the trail: “Excuse me, I have to adjust
Adjusting deraileur: Female version of adjusting handlebars. So named because it
is more complex and less likely to happen.
Bonking: Too much redlining or dehydration.
Breaking point: The spot on the trail where your unicycle breaks and you have to
walk back. Usually at the furthest point from the car. Also known as turnaround
point and walk-home point.
Butt plant: Hurts, usually happens when someone is looking and photographing.
Cliffside retrieval: Having to climb down off the trail to retrieve a dropped
unicycle. Sometimes a rope is needed.
Catching air: Riding over any obstacle that leaves you momentarily airborne.
Dabbing: Dismounting or putting a foot down.
Dead spot: When the cranks are vertical and you have no power.
Doing a Brett: Riding up ahead, doubling back, riding up ahead of the rest of
the group. Named for Brett (Bloodman) Bymaster, who’s got too much energy to
ride with a group of normal riders.
Doing an Andy: Tasting the local flora, fauna or dirt. Named for Californian
Andy Jennings, who has been known to not only sample water and plants, but to
taste the trail dirt (on purpose)!
Doubletrack: Trails that should be ridden by two or more unicycles.
Fall line: Direct line down or up an obstacle or hill.
Flailing: Wild arm movements used to keep the cycle on the trail, often used
when riding along the edge of cliffs.
Getting forward: A particularly important concept in MTU, it means getting way
out front of the wheel to ride up and over obstacles and steep slopes.
Geek: Beginner (or any rider who is a geek anyway).
Getting launched: There are many varieties involved here - clean ones, crooked
ones, face first, knee first,etc.
Gnarly: Any terrain that requires hopping or pecking.
Head dab: Nice name for a faceplant.
Hip thrust: Used to flick the unicycle to a new pedal level position.
Hopping: On the saddle and springing up.
Hovering: Temporary zero rolling while weight or mind is collected to survey
for, or make a new move. Also known as Twisting.
Invisible Bump: An excuse for falling off, usually told to fellow riders. Also
known by UK riders like Mini Mansell as “Hitting a big lump of nothing”. Also
known as “Cosmic rays” by Santa Cruz riders Lloyd Tabb and Bruce Bundy.
Jammed: Like stalling but more abrupt.
Micro-focus: Seeing and responding to what is immediately going under the wheel
Pecking: Using hopping movements to get over obstacles. Can be several hops, or
just one. Named for George Peck, master of rough terrain. Pecking is very hard
on axles, so use with caution if your axle is not strong.
Pedal strike: Very bad. Instantly causes lots of air between saddle and
Power position: When the cranks are horizontal.
Really stupid: Not wearing pads after you’ve already hurt yourself.
Redlining: Reaching or passing one’s anaerobic zone, usually while riding uphill
Rolling the pedal: When a bump causes the pedal to flip under your foot and your
foot stays on it. With luck you can correct the foot position without dabbing.
Shooting the pedal: Foot tripping off the pedal.
Shrake: The sound made by unseen tree branches scraping the top of your helmet.
Also “Ouch”, when the branches poke through the helmet’s air holes, or if you
aren’t wearing one.
Side dabbing: Using a tree, rock or other trailside obstacle for support.
Singletrack: Trails that should be ridden by unicycle.
Stalling out: Getting stuck at an obstacle with pedals in the dead spot.
Stupid: Not wearing pads appropriate for the activity.
Snake bite: Double hole in tube caused by low tire pressure and edge impact.
Spinout: When the tire looses traction and the wheel spins in place.
Tire poppers: Sharp-edged rocks that can do you-know-what.
The tool you didn’t bring: The only one you need to keep from walking.
Unicycle bowling: When the unicycle catches air or rolls over multiple times
while falling down the hill (with or without rider aboard).
Unweighting: Very important for getting the pedal to a new power position. As in
a curb…you flick your weight forward and up, unweighting the cycle as it lifts
up the curb.
Yee Ha!: A sound uttered by North American unicyclists when riding on really
fun trails, usually while going downhill. Synonyms: Wheee hoo, whooo, whooee,
Yeeeeah!: A throaty sound uttered by North American unicyclists upon reaching
the top of a very difficult descent, or after a stretch of nearly impossible
trail. See above for variations.
Zoom: Getting speed up for an obstacle.
“Never two tired”