Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Knackered Redux

I want to assure our readers that all of us, or at least most of us, here at Team Two Wheel are sensitive to the world’s many cultures. Also, there may be some readers who bristle to the loss of family values in our society, and we are in no way a part of this societal problem. Except for when we are.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this.

Rider 3 has an excellent grasp of the English language, and is an impressive writer and grammarian. For example, I’m sure Rider 3 could explain why the statement “eats roots, shoots and leaves” could describe a marsupial, while “eats, roots, shoots, and leaves” could describe a porn star. But I digress. While “knackered” is indeed an often-used term by our team and cyclists in general, it has another very common meaning, especially in the land that birthed the English language: England. Over there, knackered typically describes a post-coital state. Look it up in the urban dictionary if you’d like more explicit examples.

When riding with people from other countries it is important to be sensitive to these cultural differences.

Knackered isn’t the only word that represents a dangerous double-entendre. “Bonking” is another. I’ll never forget the look on the face of an Australian athlete I had just recruited and hired, fresh off the plane, that asked me how one of his new teammates fared in a World Cup race. It went something like this:

“What happened to Racer X today? I thought he was in the lead group.”

“He was,” I said, “until he started bonking on the back side of the course on the third lap.”

The Australian looked disturbed and very confused.

“Racer X was bonking during the race? With who?”

“I don’t know for sure. He ended up with some Dutch riders. I guess he didn’t drink enough.”

“Didn’t drink enough? I thought drinking often led to bonking.”

“Haven’t you ever bonked during a race?”

“Are you daft? I’ve bonked in the back of my parents’ estate wagon, but never during a race.”

“What made you bonk in the back of a car?”

“Well, I was in high school and we didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

“What does that have to do with bonking?”

“We were having sex. What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about running out of energy during the race!”

“Oh, you mean hunger knock.”

Freaking Aussies. And don’t ever get an Australian going about “tuna fish.” I guarantee you’ll get a lecture about “hamburger cow,” “chicken bird,” and “pork pig.”


  1. Oh. I didn’t know. I had never heard that. My bad.

    Rider 3

  2. And here I thought "knackered" meant "ready to send to the knackers," as in, the place where they put horses to sleep forever. A really long ride can definitely leave you ready to be hauled off and rendered into glue.

    In my family of origin, "to bonk" meant "to pass gas." Introduce that meaning into your discussion with the Aussie and it gets even funnier.