top of page

The Bamboo Batalya

Buwan ng Wika and the slang of the Filipino Cyclist

August is the National Language Month of the Philippines, or “Buwan ng Wika”. To commemorate the event, let us take a look at the uniquely colorful vernacular of the Filipino cyclist. Like other subcultures, local biking communities have adopted colloquialisms, borrowed words, and unique terms that provide a fascinating insight into the social aspect of pedaling in the Philippines. Here are some select words that make the language of “Siklista philipinesis” quite unique:

Budol – Although it does not have a direct translation in English, “budol” can be roughly defined as “the act of being persuaded by another to purchase an unneeded product”. Among Filipino cyclists, “budol” often refers to being convinced by peers to ride for longer and further than one originally intended.

Example: Bryan’s “budol” had us pedaling all the way from Makati to Bulacan today.

“Na-budol kami ni Bryan pumedal mula Makati hanggang Bulacan.”

Lagitik – This is a word that Pinoy bikers dread. “Lagitik” refers to ticking or creaking sounds that often emanate from faulty bearings or unwanted friction. The word itself is an onomatopoeia of the sound it describes.

Example: I think I am hearing a “lagitik” from my bottom bracket.

“May naririnig yata ako na lagitik sa bottom bracket ko”

Tono – Literally translates to “tune”, this is used to describe the act of derailer and shifter adjustment and maintenance. One tunes a drive train to shift smoothly, as one tunes a guitar to the correct key.

Example: After a quick “tono” from the bike shop, my Luntian 2.0 is shifting like new!

“Pagkatapos ng sandaliang tono, parang bago ang pag-kambyo ng Luntian 2.0 ko”

Kabyos – if its been a while since your last “tono” then “kabyos” might be a problem. Kabyos roughly translates to being out of alignment. In pinoy cycling, it is often used to the describe the phenomenon of dropping your chain or ghost shifting as a result of poor derailleur tuning, a worn chain ring, or a stretched chain Example: I hope this “kabyos” can be remedied by a simple “tono”.

“Sana maayos itong kabyos na to sa simpleng tono”

Bengkong – Literally translates to “warped” or “crooked”. This word is most often used to describe a warped wheelset in need of spoke tensioning. Although, “bengkong” can also describe other bike parts that are bent out of shape like crank arms and forks. Example: My front wheel is “bengkong” after that chunky downhill. “Bengkong yung gulong ko sa harap matapos dumaan sa chunky downhill

Jempoy – refers to cyclists who are generally, uncouth, rude, and generally inconsiderate to traffic, pedestrians, and other fellow cyclists. Please do not be a “jempoy”. Example: Running red lights like a “jempoy” is rather unsafe.

“Delikado tumakbo sa pulang ilaw ng parang jempoy.”

Some common bike parts in Filipino cyclist vernacular:

Batalya - frame Rayos - spokes Kambyo - shift lever/grip/remote Plato - chain ring Tinidor - fork Pito -valve Boha / bowa - hubs

Tapalodo - fender/mudguard

Do you know any words or phrases that are unique among bikers in your locality?


Recent Posts
bottom of page