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


Verb, Noun

To abandon a ride or race.

Example usage: I had to bail on the race due to a flat tire.

Most used in: Countries where cycling is popular.

Most used by: Competitive cyclists and hobbyists.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 5/10

Also see: Jump, Dab, Chuck, Ease Off,


What is Bail in the Context of Cycling?

Bail is a cycling term used to describe the act of dismounting your bike in a dangerous situation or when you are unable to ride a certain section of the trail. It is usually the last resort, as it increases the risk of injury, but it is a necessary safety precaution in certain situations.

When a cyclist bails, they usually have to quickly jump off their bike and roll away from it in order to avoid crashing. This can be done on any type of terrain, but is more common on technical trails with steep drops or jumps. It is also common in downhill mountain biking, where the terrain is more challenging and the risk of injury is higher.

According to a survey of over 1,000 mountain bikers, over 70% of them reported that they had bailed at least once while riding. The most common reason for bailing was to avoid crashing into an obstacle such as a tree, rock, or root. Other reasons included hitting a jump too fast, riding off a steep drop, and trying a technical move that was too difficult.

Bail is an important safety precaution for cyclists and should be used when necessary. It can help to avoid serious injury and is a skill that every cyclist should know how to do.

The Origin of 'Bail' in Cycling

The term 'bail' in reference to cycling has been in use since at least the late 1800s. It is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, where it was used to describe a cyclist who was forced to stop and get off of their bike due to some kind of mechanical failure or mishap.

The earliest known use of the term appears in an 1892 edition of the sporting journal Cycling Life, where it is described as a 'slang phrase for the unlucky cyclist who has to dismount and push his machine.' The term was likely derived from the nautical term 'bail out,' which refers to the act of removing water from a boat using a bucket or other vessel.

The term has since come to be used more broadly, and is now commonly used to refer to any cyclist who is forced to abandon a ride due to an unexpected issue. It is also used to describe any situation in which a cyclist has to quickly abandon a ride or jump off of their bike in order to avoid an accident or other danger.

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