Bike Acronyms: A Glossary

Acronyms can make for soupy conversation.

At a recent Roll Model meeting, one of the attendees leaned over and asked, ‘What is an LCI?” It made me realize that we can use a lot of acronyms around people who have no idea what we are talking about. So this week, let’s look at a few of the most common acronyms you might hear if you spend a lot of time around people who ride bikes.

WABA – Washington Area Bicyclist Association. We help to build better bike lanes, better bike laws, and ultimately better bicyclists. Hello!

MTB – Mountain bike. These bikes are design for riding rough off-road trails. They usually have flat or upright handlebars and very low gears for pedaling up steep trails. Many mountain bikes have some type of shock absorbers or suspension. Not to be confused with:

MBT – The Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs from Union Station to Silver Spring. Not to be confused with:

MVT – The Mount Vernon Trail, which goes from Rosslyn to Mount Vernon.

LAB – League of American Bicyclists. Created in 1880, the League represents bicyclists in the movement at the national level to create
 safer roads, stronger communities, and a bicycle-friendly America.

LCI – League Cycling Instructor. These instructors attend a rigorous course to be able to teach people to feel secure riding a bicycle, to create a mindset that bikes should be treated as a vehicle, and to ensure bicyclists know how to ride safely and legally.

MAMIL –  Middle Aged Man in Lycra.  Often used negatively to describe riders who emulate professional racers.

CAT 6 – Commute Racing. In an organized bike race, competitors are divided up by skill levels—Categories 1 through 5. “Cat 6-ing” refers to racing (often one-sidedly) in a transportational setting like a commute. Some people enjoy it, others find it annoying. WABA thinks you should have fun on your bike but not be rude to other road or trail users.

SAG – Support and Gear. A SAG vehicle follows a group of cyclists in a race, tour or recreational ride and may carry equipment, food, rider luggage, or mechanics. They may also carry riders who are unable to finish the ride.

TDF – Tour de France. The premier multi stage bicycling race held every July in France. Not be confused with:

TDF – Tour de Fat: The premier beer and bicycle carnival put on by New Belgium Brewing to raise money for local bicycling advocacy.

W&OD – The Washington and Old Dominion Trail. A very popular rail trial that runs between Shirlington, VA and ends in Purcellville, VA.

CCT – Capital Crescent Trail, A popular trail from Georgetown to Bethesda.

C&O – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, an unpaved trail from Georgetown to Harper’s Ferry and then on to Cumberland, Maryland. Popular for bike camping.

LBS–  Local bike shop

RT – right turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

LT – left turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

UT – U- turn (usually appears on a cue sheet)

n+1 –  A popular mathematical expression among starry-eyed bicyclists, n+1 = the number of bikes you should own, where n = the number of bikes you currently own. Not technically an acronym. Not technically true, either. But still popular.

You are now equipped to carry on conversations with your bikiest friends!



Women & Bicycles is proudly supported by The Potomac Pedalers Touring Club; hosts of the region’s most robust all-level group ride calendar and bike tailgates, Chipotle our delicious dinner party sponsors, and we’re supported by all our friends who donated through the Hains Point 100 ride.

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