Our monthly delve into the world of cycle phrases takes in long-distance riding and
The granny ring is a phrase commonly used to describe the smallest ring on the front gears, use of which gives access to easier gears, which allows a cyclist to climb, especially steep hills. The phrase came about in the early days of mountain biking, when the smallest ring on mountain bikes were a lot smaller than on racers. One day on Mt. Tam Gary Fisher was going for a ride with the other pioneers of mountain biking when his grandmother declared she'd like to give it a go. She was damned fast on the downhill, great at getting air and smoothing out the really gnarly stuff. But going uphill was a struggle, so Gary had to design an even smaller ring on the front. And so the granny ring was born.
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Bonking is a term which means that a rider has lost all energy, usually through having taken in a lack of calories during a ride. It's origins are from the Tour de France when riders in the early days would stop in bars for a glass of brandy to wash down their amphetamines. It was often thought that sex also increased ability in the mountains, and so at the bottom of climbs the riders would also indulge in vigourous sex with barmaids. It wasn't until the 70s that it was realised that this 'bonking' actually used up energy and the riders suffered in the climbs because of it. Ergo, to 'bonk'.