Which languages should you learn if you want to be sociable in the peloton? In days gone by, French would have been enough to get you understood by the vast majority of riders. But in the post-war years, it’s become more complicated. In 2014, the cyclist riding alongside you is more likely to be a native English-speaker than a native Italian speaker. And you might want to spend some time studying Scandinavian and Slavonic languages as well….
This chart attempts to show the percentage of native speakers for each language and as such is far from perfect. Several countries are multilingual which presents a particular difficulty. I’ve attempted to distribute Swiss riders equally between French, German and Italian, for example. Canadian riders are nearly always classed as English-speaking unless they have a very obviously French name. Here’s the list I used for each language:-
DATA SOURCE: WWW.CYCLINGARCHIVES.COM