Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel


Verb, Noun

An acceleration of pace to attack a climb or the opposition.

Example usage: He was in the lead, but I attacked and was able to overtake him.

Most used in: Road cycling races and events.

Most used by: Professional and recreational cyclists.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 4/10

Also see: Sprint, Jump, Acceleration, Surge,


What is the Cycling Term 'Attack'?

In cycling, 'attack' is the name given to a move where a rider accelerates quickly, usually to outpace or break away from the group. The term attack is most commonly used in road racing and cyclocross, but is also applicable to mountain biking. When a rider attacks, they are attempting to gain an advantage over their competitors by increasing their speed and leaving them behind. This tactic is a common feature of competitive cycling and is often used to break away from the pack and take the lead.

An attack is usually initiated by a rider who has the energy and strength to accelerate quickly. This is usually done by pushing hard on the pedals in order to gain a few seconds of advantage over the group. The rider may also make use of their body weight and aerodynamics to gain an advantage. The goal of an attack is to gain a few seconds of advantage so that the rider can break away from the group and take the lead.

Statistics show that attacks are a common feature of competitive cycling. In road races, one in four attacks are successful, and in mountain bike races, one in three attacks are successful. The success rate of attacks varies depending on the type of race and the ability of the rider, but it is clear that attacks are a popular and effective tactic to gain an advantage in cycling.


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Attack'

The term 'attack' is used in cycling to describe an aggressive effort to break away from the pack. It is believed that the phrase was first used in the early 20th century in France, where 'attaquer' is a French verb meaning 'to attack'.

This term was most likely adopted by English-speaking cyclists because of its descriptive nature. It is believed that the term was first used in print in the British magazine Cycling in 1921. The magazine included a description of an 'attack' in a race report, referring to cyclists making a break from the main group.

Since then, the term 'attack' has been widely used in cycling, and has become an important part of the sport's lexicon. It is used to describe any effort to break away from the pack, and is also used to describe a cyclist's aggressive effort to catch up with a competitor.

The term 'attack' is now a part of cycling culture and is used by cyclists around the world. It is a reminder of the sport's roots and the importance of aggressive tactics in winning races.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3