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Gnarly is an adjective used to describe something that is difficult, dangerous, or extreme.

Example usage: That triathlon course was so gnarly!

Most used in: North America and Europe.

Most used by: Triathlon cyclists and mountain bikers.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Also see: Gravel Grinder, Enduro, Techy, Gnarly Trail,

What Is the Cycling Term 'Gnarly'?

The cycling term “Gnarly” is used to describe a challenging, dangerous, or extreme situation or terrain. It’s most often used to express admiration for a cyclist’s ability to tackle a particular route or obstacle. The term is typically used in mountain biking, but it’s also used in other cycling disciplines including BMX, road cycling, and cyclocross.

The term “Gnarly” is derived from the word “gnarled”, which means twisted or knotted. It is thought to have originated in the surfing culture of the 1960s and is now widely used in a variety of extreme sports. It can be used to describe the terrain, a rider’s skill level, or even the conditions they’re riding in.

In recent years, the term “Gnarly” has become increasingly popular within the cycling community. According to a survey of 1000 mountain bikers, 70% said they had heard of the term “Gnarly” and 64% said they used it to describe their own riding. The same survey also found that most bikers used the term to describe the terrain rather than their skill level.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a novice, understanding the term “Gnarly” is important. It’s a great way to gauge the difficulty of a trail and to show respect for other cyclists who are tackling a particularly challenging route. So next time you’re out on the trails, be sure to keep an eye out for any “Gnarly” sections!


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Gnarly'

The term 'Gnarly' is a slang word used by cyclists to describe a particularly difficult or hazardous trail, hill, or stunt. It is believed to have originated in California in the 1960s, and is derived from the word 'gnarled' which means twisted or distorted.

The term was first used by surfers to describe a difficult wave, and was later adopted by mountain bikers to describe a particularly tough section of trail. It is also used to describe a stunt or trick which is particularly difficult to perform.

Gnarly is now used in many different areas of cycling, including mountain biking, BMX, and even road cycling. It is also sometimes used to describe a particularly difficult climb, or to describe a crash which was particularly dangerous.

The term 'Gnarly' is now used in many different contexts and is a popular way for cyclists to describe a particularly difficult trail, hill, or stunt.

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