Un tour de bicyclette (A Bicycle Tour) Posted by on Dec 2, 2010 in News, Sports, Vocabulary

It’s no secret, French people are just enamored with their bicylettes in general, perhaps only behind les hollandais (Dutch people) in Europe in that respect!

First of all, whether you hear someone say in French bicyclette or vélo, don’t get confused: These two words mean the same thing. It’s like you would say in English bicycle or bike. They are in general synonyms in French (Even though, strictly speaking, you could say that “bicyclette”, as the prefix indicates, must have exactly two wheels, whereas a vélo can have more or less than two.)

Today, we’ll get to know how different kinds of bikes are called in French, as well as how you would call each bike component en français.

1- Plusieurs types de bicyclettes (Different types of bikes):

  • –  La bicyclette de course (road bicycle)
  • – Le vélo-cross (Cyclo-cross bike)
  • – Le vélo tout-terrain, or “VTT” (mountain bike)
  • – La bicyclette de ville (city bicycle)

And more unconventional ones, like le sociable or le tandem:

An example of la bicyclette sociable


Here’s, by contrast with the video above, a poignant example of a “not so sociable” bicycle!

2- Les composantes du vélo (Bike components):

– The more obvious components are:

  • – Le guidon (the handlebars)
  • – Les roues (the wheels)
  • – La selle (the seat)
  • – La chaine (the chain)
  • – La pédale (the pedal)
  • – Les freins (the breaks)
  • – Le phare (the headlight)
  • – Le feu arrière(the rear light)

–  Less obvious elements of a bicyclette are:

  • Le dynamo (Generator)
  • La valve (Valve)
  • Les pneus (Tires)
  • La jante (Rim)
  • Le câble de frein (Brake cable)
  • La tige de selle (Seat post)
  • Le catadioptre (A bike reflector)
  • Le porte-bagage (The carrier)

And of course, don’t forget the important accessories, such as le casque (helmet) for your own safety, and un antivol (an anti-theft lock) for your bike’s safety!

Why it’s always good to wear un casque when you’re riding your bicylette !

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