Today I was scanning some cycling blogs, wondering how the throngs celebrating Golden Week were coping with the extreme weather, and I came across a term I hadn’t seen before: ロコサイクリスト (roko saikurisuto), or “Loco Cyclist”. As an American West Coaster the first thing that came to mind was “crazy cyclists”, but it turns out that is not it at all. The “loco” is apparently short for “local”, since the definition I found for this term was 地元の (jimoto no), and it appears to refer to people who are natives of a given region willing to share local knowledge and guide newcomers around.
Here are some other English-derived terms which might be misinterpreted by native speakers of English:
パンク (panku), “punk” = flat tire (from “puncture”)
マイペース (maipeesu), “my pace” = describes a person who does things in his/her own (self-indulgent) way or at his/her own pace (usually inconveniencing others!)
ジャージー (jaajii) = jersey
メット (metto), “met” = helmet
ピットイン (pittoin), “pit in” = pit stop or SAG station
Recently I came across a cycling-related word which I didn’t initially understand:
Once I looked it up, I realized that I actually have experience with this thing, but I just didn’t know its proper title. In short, it is another of those portmanteau katakana terms, created from “bike” (baiko-) and “escalator” (-reetaa). I have also found them referred to as 自転車コンベア (jitensha konbea), from the native Japanese word for “bicycle” (jitensha), added to an abbreviation of the English word “conveyer belt” (konbea).
The image above left is made by a company called 協栄システム (Kyouei System) in Saitama Prefecture. To use it one places the wheels of his or her bike into the groove on the right, and the conveyer belt begins to move. The rider then walks up the stairs along side, steadying the bike as it rises. While from a cyclist’s point of view this may seems an unnecessary extravagance, I remember it being wonderfully helpful at late in the afternoon as I headed home on my one-speed mamachari, with a heavy load of groceries in the front basket!
What does in some ways seem to be a complete luxury is the more elaborate system pictured here. it is made by 横浜特殊船舶株式会社 (Yokohama Tokushuu Sempaku) in Yokohama, and it carries the bike up for you, without any need for help from you, the rider!