What do we call it when someone rides a bicycle or a motorcycle and suddenly stands on only one wheel (usually on the back wheel) for a short period?
This trick is called a wheelie:
A trick or manoeuvre whereby a bicycle or motorcycle is ridden for a short distance with the front wheel raised off the ground.
A boy cavorted around on a dirt bike doing wheelies.
Here's a picture of a motorcyclist performing a wheelie:
And riding on the front wheel, apart from being called a stoppie, can also be referred to as a nose wheelie. This was suggested by the user Matt Menzenski in the comments section.
- wheelie: the only term I use
- wheely: An alternate spelling according to Wiktionary
- wheelstand: A synonym according to Wiktionary.
- mono: Listed on Wiktionary as UK and Australian slang.
For a verb or a verb phrase:
- pop a wheelie: the only version I use
- wheelie: according to Wiktionary
- do a wheelie: according to users
- wheelstand: according to Wiktionary.
- perform a wheelie: seen on the Wikipedia page
You can also use the verb phrase in the plural if you're doing the stunt multiple times.
Wiktionary lists these nouns for a wheelie on the front wheel
- nose wheelie: I'm guessing on the meaning of this one based on an image search.
Example sentences from various parts of Wiktionary:
- I learned how to let the clutch out slo-ow-ly so my tractor wouldn't pop a wheely and go hauling over backward.
- Jim fell off his bike when he was trying to do a wheelie.
- Popping wheelies with your bike was really cool as a kid.
- You can also feather the clutch to keep from wheelying over, as wel as using throttle control.
- The other possible problem with uphill, downhill and crested roads is that bikes tend to wheelie over them.
I'd recommend reading the Wikipedia page, too, because that shows a whole vocabulary of technical distinctions that I never imagined. Most fun you can have on your computer.
In Australia you are 'doing (or pulling) a mono'. Interestingly, the meaning of 'wheelie' now depends on whether you are on a bike or in a car. It used to be that if you got the front end of a car in the air it was a 'wheelie' (short for wheel stand), but this required tremendous amounts of power. 'Wheelie' eventually came to mean spinning the rear wheels- something much tamer. On a bicycle, however, you can still do a legitimate, old-style wheelie, or mono.
When talking about the trick in BMX for example:
Manual, a bicycle technique similar to a wheelie, but without the use of pedal torque.