After being on the road more than a year and a half, we began to notice something: we seem to have developed our own “language” in regards to our life on the bikes. OK, so it’s not really a language… it’s all in English, but along the way, we’ve coined terms for different objects or activities that are a part of our life while cycle touring.

Kilo Logger: (n) the cycling computer/odometer we each have that is mounted on our front handlebars; this critical piece of equipment lets us know how fast we’re going, how far we’ve gone in a day, total trip distance, maximum and average speeds, etc.

Example: “Do you know how far we’ve been today? My kilo logger stopped working for a while and I only have us at 65K.”

Dave's kilo logger on the day we hit 100 miles (162 kilometers).

Dave’s kilo logger on the day we hit 100 miles (162 kilometers).

Rocket Boost: (v) to assist a touring cyclist by pushing their heavy-laden bike from behind when going up an incline

This activity has become a regular part of our lives as we work our way into and out of stealth campsites. It is also helpful when getting on board or unloading from ferries, which often have steep ramps.

Example: “Why don’t we do one bike at a time? I’ll rocket boost you up the ramp.”

Towel Trick: (v) to wring as much water as possible out of clothes by using the towel provided by the hotel or hostel, shortly after hand-washing the clothing in the sink; this method involves laying the clothes out on the open towel, then rolling the towel up and twisting it as tight as possible

Example: “If you towel trick the clothes once I finish washing them, I think they’ll be completely dry by tomorrow morning.”

Step one: lay out the clothes

Step one: lay out the clothes

Step two: roll the clothes into the towel

Step two: roll the clothes into the towel

Step three: twist the towel as tight as possible, wringing out the water

Step three: twist the towel as tight as possible, wringing out the water

The Flow Bag: (n) our wallet; origin—cash flow.

When we started the in US, we just had “the flow,” which was Dave’s normal wallet. When we moved to Central America, we opted for the super tourist neck strap wallet bag, which is much more convenient with its multiple pockets. So we changed our terminology  from “the flow” to “the flow bag.”

Example: (before leaving a hotel room)
Bethany: Do you have the flow bag?
Dave: Yep, and I made sure it was stocked with what we need for dinner.

Strap Together Strap: (n)  the small Velcro strap used to attach our handlebars, which provides increased stability when the bikes are propped up against each other

Example: There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to lean our bikes… want to just prop up and use the strap together strap?

Strap-together strap in action... when there's nowhere else to lean.

Strap-together strap in action… when there’s nowhere else to lean.

Look-for-a-Spot Mode: (n) the state in which, at the end of the day, we begin to look for a place to free camp for the night

Example: “It’s about 5 p.m., and I think it’ll start getting dark in 45 minutes. We should probably be in look-for-a-spot mode.

Scope it Out: (v) to inspect a potential free campsite to see whether it will be suitable for spending the night; factors considered include the levelness of the ground, visibility (or should I say invisilbility?) from traffic or nearby houses, accessibility from the road, protection from the elements, proximity to traffic noise (or other potential disturbances), etc.

Example:  “I think we could tuck away into those trees over there. If you hold my bike, I’ll go over and  scope it out.”

A successful scoping leads to awesome free campsites like this one.

A successful scoping leads to awesome free campsites like this one.

Juan Carlos Cold: (adj.) the standard for cold when it comes to cold showers

Juan Carlos is a random guy who lives on the island of Chiloe in southern Chile. He opens up his yard for backpackers and cyclists to camp, and you have use of his kitchen and bathroom. There was no hot water… and since the weather wasn’t hot, we can’t say it felt “refreshing.” It was downright cold, the coldest we’ve ever had. So now, every time we take an unusually cold shower, we use the Juan Carlos standard.

Bethany: The shower doesn’t have hot water… it’s a bit chilly.
Dave: Is it Juan Carlos cold?
Bethany: Definitely not, but you’ll want to make it quick in there.

Magic Coke: (n) a Coca-Cola consumed in a moment of particular tiredness or weakness, the result of which is increased energy and endurance; best consumed when making distance is a necessity or when sleep the previous night was poor

Example: “I’m struggling today… it would be great if we could take a break and have a magic Coke.”

Tunage: (n) the act of listening to music (tunes) on one’s iPod

Example: “I think I’m going to do some tunage to help motivate me on this long climb.”

The Rice Meal: (n) our most common meal on the Tour, comprised of rice and vegetables; throughout South America and Asia, we almost ate it every night we cooked; vegetables vary depending on the region and availability

Example: “I’m probably just going to make the rice meal tonight because I doubt I can find anything else in this small town’s market.”

The rice meal: a typical dinner (already half-consumed).

The rice meal: a typical dinner (already half-consumed).

Well, this is by no means an exhaustive list… but it’s a start! As we began making this list, it just kept growing, and we realized we’d just have to stop it somewhere. So I hope you enjoy this little taste of what living and traveling with one person–every hour of every day–can do to you!