Cycling Terms

French cycling terms
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Le cyclisme

For all the bike enthusiasts and Tour de France fanatics out there, here are some French terms to help you enjoy your ride and get the most out of the competition.

cycling, biking   le cyclisme
bicycle   une bicyclette
un vélo
cross-country bike   un vĂ©lo de cross-country
cross-country biking   le x-country
le XC
exercise bike   un vĂ©lo d’appartement
hybrid bike   un vĂ©lo tout-chemin
mountain bike   un vĂ©lo tout-terrain
un VTT
mountain biking   le cyclisme tout-terrain
racing bike   un vĂ©lo de course
recumbant bike   un vĂ©lo couchĂ©
road bike   un vĂ©lo de route
road cycling   le cyclisme sur route
track cycling   le cyclisme sur piste
Accessories and equipment
bike lane   une piste cyclable
bike rack (on a car)
(for parking)
  un porte-vĂ©los
un rĂątelier Ă  bicyclettes
bike shed   un abri Ă  bicyclettes
bike shop   un magasin de cycles
broom wagon   une voiture balai
feed bag   une musette
flat tire   une crevaison
un pneu crevé
handlebars   un guidon
helmet   un casque
number on jersey   le dossard
tire   un pneu
water bottle   un bidon
wheel   une roue
breakaway   un Ă©chappĂ©
chaser   un poursuivant
climber   un grimpeur
cyclist, rider   un coureur
un cycliste
group   un autobus
un grupeto
un peloton
last rider   la lanterne rouge
leader   la tĂȘte de course
manager   un directeur sportif
referee   un commissaire
rider   un cycliste
rider’s assistant   un soigneur
smooth and steady rider   un rouleur
sprinter   un sprinteur
support rider   un domestique
team   une Ă©quipe
Tracks and Courses
beyond classification (extremely difficult)   hors catĂ©gorie
downward slope   une descente
hill, slope   une cĂŽte
kilometer marker, ~milestone   une borne kilomĂ©trique
mountain   une montagne
mountain pass   un col
plains, flat land   une plaine
race   une course
red marker at one kilometer from finish   la flamme rouge
road   une route
route, course   un parcours
stage, leg   une Ă©tape
stage race   une course par Ă©tapes
track   une piste
upward slope   une montĂ©e
Scoring and ranking
bonus points   la bonification
standings   le classement
time trial   contre la montre
green jersey (most points / best sprinter)   le maillot vert
polka dot jersey (best climber)   le maillot Ă  pois
white jersey (best under 25)   le maillot blanc
yellow jersey (overall leader)   le maillot jaune
to accelerate   accĂ©lĂ©rer
to attack, spurt ahead   attaquer
to break away   s’Ă©chapper
to change pace   changer d’allure
to climb   grimper
to cling, hang on to   s’accrocher Ă 
to overtake   dĂ©passer
to ride   courir
faire du vélo
to shift gears   changer de vitesse
to slip, skid   dĂ©raper
to slow down   ralentir
to take the lead   prendre la tĂȘte
Et cetera
fall, crash   une chute
pedaling rhythm   la cadence
riding as hard and fast as possible   Ă  bloc
riding between two groups   chasse patate
standing up   en danseuse

 Le Tour de France literally means "the Tour of France," and its informal nickname is la Grande Boucle – "the Big Loop."

French listening comprehension Discover more about the Tour de France in these bilingual articles with audio:

If you’d like to learn some interesting trivia and history of the largest and most watched sporting even in the world, I recommend the very funny book French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France, by Tim Moore: |

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French cycling vocabulary

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1 Response

  1. NJH 7 July 2017 / 12:34

    Je dois vous remercier pour la clarification de « boucle » . J’Ă©tais familier avec le verbe « boucler » , qui veut dire « to come to the end of » , donc il me semblait Ă©trange Ă  l’utiliser au dĂ©but du Tour . Je suis plus clair maintenant .

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