Bicycle Vocabulary in Chinese


This is the term I’ve always heard for spoke. Never heard anybody say 輻條.


Ok, I’ll look into this because when cycling friends and I chat, we always refer to spokes as 輻條. I have to assume that 輻條 is some sort of slang.

Will update the list with both terms for now! Thanks guys.


輻 is the correct term for spokes. It is called that (or at least written that way) since people first wrote about chariots in Chinese characters.

The term for radioactive 輻射 is derived from how the spokes spread from the axis. This is also the Latin etymology for the radi- part from radioactive.

輻條 refers to the individual wires. 鋼絲 would be the slang here.


Exactly. When I see 輻, I think of ancient wagon spokes. Not something I’ve ever heard in an actual conversation. :grin:


Thanks @hansioux

I did a Google search for more reputable Taiwanese cycling news websites and they mostly use 輻條

Nonetheless, I think we can conclude there’s no right answer here. Both work. Just the cool kids are all using 輻條 nowadays. So if you wanna be a cool kid…


The impression I get is that the correct term is 輻條鋼絲. It’s way too long, so people either just say the first part or the latter part.


Not specifically related to cycling, I suppose, but I’d love to know how to say:

“Why can’t you just wait a second, you dozy, selfish, ignorant t**t^^?”

(^^or whichever Taiwanese expletive works best :wink: )

Why is everyone in such a hurry to get to the next red light while unnecessarily increasing the risk to others?


In all seriousness, can you bit a bit more specific? What’s the scenario here?

They’re running red lights at full pace?


In Taiwan, the expletive goes first.

Mandarin spelled in Pinyin. Taigi spelled in Tailo Romanization, so ph → english p, p → english soft b, kh → english k, k → english g, you know the drill.

khàu-pē oo, you kou beiqi, ni jiu buneng dengyixia ma?


You’re kidding me, right?

Red lights, any junction, at the checkout, getting out of a lift, getting off a train, walking along a narrow path to a pinch point, etc, etc, etc.

Everyone is so polite (hahahahaha), but nobody will think two steps ahead and figure out that waiting a matter of a couple of seconds and the problem/issue/danger will have passed (in almost any scenario I can think of). What is the hurry? It seems to be embedded in Taiwanese culture and, frankly, it baffles me. :stuck_out_tongue:


A question about passing etiquette around Taipei: if you’re descending a hill on a narrow road and there’s a slower rider ahead who is in the middle of the lane and you want to pass, and you also want to let the rider know you’re coming up next to them so they’ll move over, what’s the Chinese equivalent of “on your left”? Or do most people assume that it’s too confusing to give a warning and it’s better to just pass as quickly as possible?


Hey @Scupper , welcome! Noticed you’re posting in the cycling forum for the first time. Feel free to add yourself to the LINE group if you have any other questions about cycling in Taiwan.

As for your question about passing etiquette, the translation of “on your left” is

主意右邊 / Zhǔyì yòubiān = Attention to your left

I normally go with the two below:

小心後面 / Xiǎoxīn hòumiàn = Careful behind you

不好意思 / Bù hǎoyìsi = Sorry

Just as long as your tone of voice is not too loud, sudden or in a bad tone, all the above are polite ways to say “on your left”


I use a lot of 小心 at varying volumes and degrees of tonal accuracy, depending on situation: oncoming cycling phone readers straying into the wrong lane, for example, or two riders abreast leaving little room to pass. So that’s an ok phrase then? I’m not confusing or insulting people?


Small correction.


Yeah, I think it’s perfectly fine. You’re just warning them. I normally add an “喔” at the end and prolong the “喔” to make it sound a bit more friendly and polite.

小心後面喔 / Xiǎoxīn hòumiàn ō

I would probably stay away from:

  • 走開/Zǒu kāi
  • 閃開/Shǎn kāi
  • 滾/Gǔn


I think I sometimes say 小心一點, serving (in my head) to soften things and balance the panic/fear that may be in my voice. Is that spectacularly unidiomatic?


That actually sounds like a threat!

你(最好)給我小心一點 is often used as a threat or warning.


I think it really comes down to the tone of your voice, but as the Doctor has stated, might want to change it up to: 小心後面


Ha! Cool! I’m gangster! (Picture that said in the uncoolest voice imaginable.)

The thing is, I’m often saying this on the cycling paths to people I’m approaching head on - the oblivious ones, meandering along the paths and into my lane, so the 後面 isn’t going to apply.


Thanks, @ranlee. I’m not at the fitness level to take on a lot of your challenging rides, but I’ll look for some easier ones when I’m around and can get a hold of a decent bike.