Guest blog: Bonking, Grunts and Grinders by JL Merrow

Like many pastimes, mountain biking has a terminology all of its own.  And oh, what fun for the writer discovering this fresh seam of innuendo-ripe jargon!

Take bonking… You probably already know the British slang meaning of the verb “to bonk”

Small Bridesmaid: What’s bonking?
Scarlett: Well, it’s kinda like table tennis, only with slightly smaller balls.

–                  Four Weddings and a Funeral

But in mountain biking, it has quite a different meaning:

Expression used by cyclists to describe exercise induced low blood sugar levels; being a feeling of light-headedness and weakness in all limbs. Similar to ‘The Wall’ in running. – Urban Dictionary

Here’s Tim’s introduction to the term in Hard Tail, shortly after he’s been drafted in to manage his injured brother’s bike shop:

“I was about to close the magazine when a title caught my eye: What Really Happens During Bonking. I did a double-take and looked around furtively, wondering for a moment if one of the porno mags had slipped inside this issue… I still sniggered as I read the article, with its useful tips on how to avoid a bonk.”

Poor Tim. He could probably have done with that advice during his ill-fated marriage to Kate!

Here’s a couple of other terms that may (or may not) be of use:

Grunt: a very difficult climb

Grinder: a long uphill climb

Condom:  the little plastic or rubber thing that protects your tube’s valve stem from rim damage

Nipple:  the nut at the end of a spoke that nobody knows the real name for.

crotch-testing: sudden impact between a male rider’s private parts and something very hard and pointy, such as a handlebar stem or seat.

And, of course, Hard tail: a bike with front suspension but no rear suspension.

Obviously. 😉

Definitions courtesy of the entertainingly-written Dictionary of Mountain Bike Slang.


Mountain biking can’t be the only sport/pastime with slightly dodgy jargon!

Do any of you have the sort of hobby where, if you talk about it in public, you get funny looks – even if what you’re saying is entirely innocent?

All commenters will be entered into a draw for winner’s choice of an e-book from my backlist, PLUS a gift certificate for $25 from Amazon (or the e-book retailer of your choice). The more blog tour posts you comment on, the more chances you get!  See my website here for full itinerary.

Finding love can be a bumpy ride.

His job: downsized out of existence. His marriage: dead in the water. It doesn’t take a lot of arm twisting for Tim Knight to agree to get out of London and take over his injured brother’s mountain bike shop for a while. A few weeks in Southampton is a welcome break from the wreck his life has become, even though he feels like a fish out of water in this brave new world of outdoor sports and unfamiliar technical jargon.

The young man who falls—literally—through the door of the shop brings everything into sharp, unexpected focus. Tim barely accepts he’s even in the closet until his attraction to Matt Berridge pulls him close enough to touch the doorknob.

There’s only one problem with the loveable klutz: his bullying boyfriend. Tim is convinced Steve is the cause of the bruises that Matt blows off as part of his risky sport. But rising to the defense of the man he’s beginning to love means coming to terms with who he is—in public—in a battle not even his black belt prepared him to fight. Until now.

Product Warnings: Contains an out-and-proud klutz, a closeted, karate-loving accountant—and a cat who thinks it’s all about him. Watch for a cameo appearance from the Pricks and Pragmatism lovers. May inspire yearnings for fresh air, exercise, and a fit, tanned bike mechanic of your very own.

Hard Tail is available from Samhain Publishing at a reduced price for a limited time only.

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35 thoughts on “Guest blog: Bonking, Grunts and Grinders by JL Merrow

  1. So what you’re saying, is that mountain bikers are dirty minded 12 year old boys? LOL I do find that the wide-spread existence of sexual terms has tainted my life. I nearly started snickering in a meeting when someone brought up a “snowballing session”. Ooops. Oh, but it makes life more fun. 😉

    Congrats on the new release. I’ve read some good things from readers on GR so I’m looking forward to picking it up.

  2. Well you live and learn! I do ‘do’ mountain biking but I’ve never heard of bonking before – though crotch testing is equally as tear inducing for a girl!
    Apart from the biking (which I do with a bunch of other girls), my sports are more girly so there’s not much innuendo in netball, and basketball has its full court press, lay up and dribble!
    Yoga must have a few goodies in there somewhere though!

    • Suze – oh, yes, I seem to remember getting into the dog position quite a lot when I used to do yoga!

      Fortunately I have a mountain biking brother to vet my jargon for me – apparently he does use the term bonking, but he sadly wouldn’t let me call a full susser a boing-boing! 😉

  3. Heh – I was shocked rigid in WHSmith when I was looking at magazines, and unexpectedly came upon the “Watersports” section! 😉

    And thank you! 😀

  4. LOLOL I can’t think of any hobby I personally enjoy with potentially embarrassing/misunderstood jargon, but I *do* have to say that occasionally, having kids leads to conversations that could easily be misunderstood by someone passing by . For example, I was teaching my 8YO son how to make a paper box the other day; & the first step was to fold his 8-1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper to make a square, & then remove the excess. I told him to make a really sharp crease where he wanted to tear it, and then use his tongue to dampen it. He didn’t dampen it enough so it was tearing, so I said, “Use more tongue.”

    • LOL! Yes, that could certainly be misconstrued by the casual listener! ;D

      Actually, I’ve never heard of that method of tearing paper. I was always taught to make a sharp crease, press along it with a fingernail and then just hope it tore okay!

      • After you do the fingernail, if you run it along the tip of your tongue just enough to dampen it, it tears very easily and cleanly. Of course, it’s not the most *hygienic* method, but…. I figure unless your immune system is extremely compromised, it’s no more an issue than, say, using a public toilet.

  5. I’ve always found hockey to be homoerotic as hell, and this is reflected in its jargon. It can be dull watching the guys on the ice dump and chase, but it’s worth it to watch them go two-on-one, or three-on-two. The goaltenders work really hard in the crease, and their defensemen are relentless in the slot. They also like to backcheck, and are generous with their bodychecking. There are rules against letting a third man in or hitting from behind, but sometimes the referees will let it go. And then you have announcers raving about the guys with good, soft hands who love to get their stick in….

  6. I have to agree with Trix about hockey being homoerotic, even my husband notices it. Have you heard the terms they use? Rimming and slashing are just two of the numerous terms that the broadcasters will say throughout a game.

    Anyway, I’d love a chance to win the giveaway, thanks!

  7. Any high school orchestra teacher will tell you it’s impossible not to get a round of snickers every time you mention the G string. But as a high school Latin teacher, there’s a whole separate set of issues. I recently found myself struggling not to laugh inappropriately at a student who pulled out his dictionary to look up the word for “hip” (coxendix) and then pronounced it with the emphasis on the first syllable instead of the second. He had to repeat it twice before I could get past what it sounded like he was saying and figure out what he actually meant to say. :)

    • Julia, that’s priceless! 😀

      Btw, my kids’ sex ed teacher is a Miss Hoare. Apparently they don’t get it in year 7, but by year 9 it’s the best joke ever! *g*

  8. There’s a lot of references to ‘erections’ in my job, which still makes me smile far too often.

  9. My name appears to have developed a stutter on that last comment. LOL. Guess I was thinking about erections and couldn’t control my fingers.

  10. I have a friend who spends his summers putting up teepees at festivals for a living. His official job title is “Chief Erector” – I kid you not!

    I’m afraid we used to get a huge amount of awful jokes about fudge-packing in when my husband was a confectioner. As for hobbies with suggestive vocab? Erm, nothing springs to mind right now. Oh, except for gardening which is rife with it. Pricking out, hardening off, etc.

  11. Oh this sounds like a good read.

    As for hobbies…not sure, but my kid wrote me a note the other day asking for Coke – and spelled it incorrectly….he spelled it ‘cock’ you can imagine the laughter I had to restrain as I corrected his spelling.

    • And how in the world could I forget about “high-sticking”? Sure, there’s a two-minute penalty for it, but even so…

  12. My mind always goes blank when asked these questions! 😀 Hmm. I used to fence, many many many years ago – all that thrusting and parrying and lunging… 😉

  13. LOL! Who knew mountain biking was so pervy 😉 I just bought Hard Tail – now I need to go read it!

    smaccall AT

  14. *lol* what a wonderful set of posts! This had me chuckling – especially the gardening stuff. I’d never thought of gardening as being full of inuendo.
    Besides gardening, I walk and knit – although not at the same time. Sadly, nothing comes to mind at the moment.

    The book sounds a hoot 😀 Another one to add to the list!

    • *g* I should probably learn to knit, as I hate watching TV without something to do with my hands! And there’s only so many macrame creations my daughter can offload onto her friends… 😉

      Thanks for your comments! :)

  15. Haha! This post was so funny and informative. I had no clue so many of those words had other meanings! I don’t have any hobbies like that although in my art history classes we look at some works that are frottage, ,meaning they are rubbings an artist has done onto the paper, but I always laugh out loud thinking of sexual frottage. no one understands my laughter!

    • I have darkest suspicions they’re only PRETENDING not to understand!
      What’s that you say? Not everyone’s as gutter-minded as me? I require proof of this! 😉

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