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How to handle a secret wheelsucker?(30 posts)

How to handle a secret wheelsucker?Alan B
May 16, 2001 10:11 AM
This is part suggestion and part seeking advice. I commute 40 miles RT a couple days a week and frequently find other riders busting it to catch up with me. At first I thought they were hunting me down to pass. Fine, go ahead. Turning 40 did something to my competitve spirit and now I'm satisfied riding my own ride. But no -- they silently slip into my draft without making a peep and take the pull until we part ways or come to a stop. But I use a glasses mounted mirror, so I know they're there. These guys will just suck along forever if I let them, and frankly I think it's rather dangerous to not let someone know you're inches behind them. So what to do? I started by saying "Hi" immediately upon arrival so they know they're busted. But this didn't get anyone to share the pull, so today, after about 3 miles of pulling at about 25mph, including a stoplight where wheelsucker dropped back so as not to have to take the lead, I waived him up with me and announced "your turn," and he dutifully took over. We parted at the next light with him explaining he wouldn't normally sit on for so long, but he was still recovering from an "epic ride" on Monday.

How do others handle this? Am I being too sensitive? After all, my ride is no harder with the sucker on board, but it violates my sense of fair play.
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?Pumper-man
May 16, 2001 10:24 AM
Just start wobblin' around a little - soon shift them leaches.....
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?grr
May 16, 2001 10:30 AM
swerve or slam on the brakes or slow down or feign mechanical, let them pass, and blow by... I like the rockets idea
tell them to F off.climbo
May 16, 2001 10:31 AM
recovery from a long ride? no excuse, what would he do if you weren't there?

A. They should announce themselves.

B. If they won't pull, turn off and let them go by, then double back and watch them suffering up ahead of you.
Just ridemr_spin
May 16, 2001 10:40 AM
Wheelsuckers bother me, but they don't slow me down. And I definitely take comfort in the fact that I am stronger than they are. It makes dropping them more fun. What I won't do in these situations is the standard paceline ettiquette of pointing out stuff in the road. A "missed" pothole or two usually drops them back.

I'll tell you what wheelsuckers really make me mad. I was recently descending on a twisting mountain road, coasting at 25-30 mph. I turned around at one point to do a car check and found a guy directly on my wheel. He was stuck on me like glue for the next 2 miles or so. I still don't understand why he was there--I was COASTING at 25-30 mph! What advantage did he gain by being there? All he did was make me very uncomfortable on a descent that I had never done. What an idiot. First time the road went up, I dropped him hard. Never saw him again. Probably still waiting for someone else to drag him home.
This is an exagerated problem..vram
May 16, 2001 10:55 AM
It never bothers me when folks draft off my back. Unless someone is rubbing wheels or doing something dangerous I wouldn't even bother saying "Hi." If you have raced you will have experienced far more dangerous situations than someone drafting on your wheels. Drafting per se is not dangerous but the lunatic on this forum who suggested braking sudenly, or snot-rocketing will make cycling VERY dangerous. In that event, it is not the wheel-sucker who is doing something dangerous but the guy in front.

If I was behind someone and they willfully unloaded their snot on me, I will bring that guy down and smash his face on the road. Do you want to risk that? Would you rather have a physical confrontation or some harmless drafting? Think about it.

Unless you are riding on your drive-way, the road you ride on is a public place and the guy drafting you has as much right to be on the road than you.

Why think about petty things when cycling? The whole point is to enjoy the moment rather than geting worked up about some guy behind you who wants to take it easy.
There are at least 2 types...MikeC
May 16, 2001 11:03 AM
...of wheelsucker. Some are jerks who should know better. Others are riders who don't have the confidence to take the pull. I've found that if you can maintain a conversation with someone you're dragging, you can often find out if they're a newbie, hurt, or weak, and that helps you decide on how to handle it. But if someone can stay with you at 25 mph for three miles, they're probably strong enough to pull for a while, even if you drop down a notch!
Three Options:Greg Taylor
May 16, 2001 11:14 AM
You can --

(1) Ignore them (of course, signal if you are slowing/stopping/turning or see a hazard)

(2) Crank it up and make him or her work to stay there (this can be great fun, treat it like a game -- if you drop them you win!)

(3) Ask them to pull through, or move over (after signalling that you are coming off the front) and make them pull through.

Shooting snot or Gatorade, or (worse yet) locking up the brakes is just bush league.
one morejester
May 16, 2001 2:06 PM
ignore them... crank it up a bit (make them suffer)... ride straight at the biggest, baddest pothole you can find... bunnyhop it... when they pound into the pothole, say "sorry dude, didn't know you were back there"... ride away
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?MalandMo
May 16, 2001 11:15 AM
As a parent of two small children, I get so tired of the selfish "mine, mine, mine" attitude. I hope that when they grow up, they can lose it somewhere along the way. "This is MY draft, my road, go find your own" sounds a little like the elementary school playground. Who cares if someone uses yur draft? i pulled a guy yesterday for about 20 miles, and I am alive to see today...go figure. The 'elitist' cycling attitude makes me tired.
Go to Your Room!grz mnky
May 16, 2001 1:41 PM
Hey, that is a pretty accurate way to sum the whole thing up. It's a matter of maturity and explains a lot of puzzling behaviors. I gotta agree - who really cares if someone is drafting forever. Why is it that some in the "roadie" subspecies have such a fragile ego and easily feels threatened?

You're out there to ride, geet excercise and enjoy yourself. Either make it fun or ignore it - or maybe just go to your room and don't come out until you can deal with it. ;-) Now, about that PB&J stuck to my seat.....
NOT the brakes!TypeOne
May 16, 2001 11:22 AM
Damn, that's dangerous for both of you.

I have been in both situations. I don't mind someone pulling up to my wheel on my commute, since we will most likely be turning and parting ways soon, anyway. I'm too worried about cars anyway, and I figure there may be some strenght in numbers with that wheelsucker back there. There's usually a chance for conversation at some point, and sometimes they offer to pull. No big deal to me.

In one case, I caught a guy way up on a hill on my commute just to see if I could do it. When I reached him, I could tell he was struggling, and he tried to push it when he realized I was there. I held back about a bike length and didn't draft. But I didn't pass, because I didn't want him to think I was an ass who was trying to show him up. Besides, we were reaching the crest and the downhill shortly. The guy pulled over and started screaming at me to "just f**ing pass!!"
So I did. Pretty highly strung guy, I guess. I wasn't a secret wheelsucker, but it obviously irked this guy that I chewed him up on the hill! Just a misunderstanding, and he was hurting. I haven't seen the guy since, by the way.
May 16, 2001 11:34 AM
make sure you inform them that they need to announce their presence and why (the person drafting in secret may be someone new to the sport).

SECOND, why is having someone draft you a big deal? Even though someone may be drafting you, you still get an aerodynamic benefit compared to if they were not there. I do not like riding in the middle of groups, because I feel I get more out of a ride when I am not in a paceline. I ride with my wife who drafts me most of the time. If she took her turn at the front, then my workout would be minimum. By drafting me, she gets stronger, because she has to push herself a bit more and I get a better workout.
What's the Problem? Deja Vugrz mnky
May 16, 2001 12:21 PM
Sorry to say we just pounded this same topic very recently, but that's OK.

Sounds like your problem is really a personal one. It really doesn't matter as long as they're not doing something dangerous, you biggest complaint seems to be "fair play". Realize that life is "unfair" - learn to deal with it. If you don't want anyone back there seems you gotta speed up, slow down, pull out (for a lead change) or say something.
No big dealSteve Davis
May 16, 2001 12:33 PM
I don't mind the folks that grab my wheel when out riding. After all, it's not like a race where you have to be worried about them coming around you to beat you in the sprint.

I'd suggest you say hello and ask them to work with you if they can. Sometimes, I'd prefer to take the lead the whole way anyway (especially if I'm trying to get a good hard workout, or if they're new to riding in a paceline). To answer your question, I personally don't think they're violating any sense of fair play.
May 16, 2001 12:57 PM
lots of advice some I'd take, some I'd leave. The only advice I'll giv you is this. Ask yourself why it bothers you. Depending on why it bothers you will give you an idea of how you should handle the situation.
Hey, I'd feel flattered.Groucho Marx
May 16, 2001 1:19 PM
As long as its not a race, I always like hogging the pulls, unless someone asks to share, for fitness reasons. Its also flattering when someone thinks your fast enough that they'd be willing to sit in your draft.
What a pro said...vram
May 16, 2001 1:45 PM
As others have pointed out, for training purposes it makes beter sense to pull than to draft. I met Erin Hartwell (US olympic track rider and pro with Saturn) a few weeks ago and he said that if he ever goes on a group ride he prefers to pull rather than draft. Because drafting doesn't give him much workout. (That's why he prefers to train by himself). Drafting is OK for recovering but that's about it. So just as a headwind makes you a stronger rider so does pulling at the front.

Next time someone sucks on your wheel, you should feel good about it--you are training harder than the slacker behind you.
I sayMel Erickson
May 16, 2001 2:39 PM
let 'em draft all they want. You aren't working any harder than you would by yourself, maybe a tiny bit less. It's pretty hard for someone on your wheel to do something dangerous enough to be a problem for you. Even if the drafter touches your wheel, they're likely to go down, not you. I would certainly say hi and would hope they would too. If they don't, so be it. Just so you both know what's happening. I think it's all psychological. Got to do with the "space" thing. You're in my personal "space" and I didn't say it was ok. Some people have a bigger "space" than others. Whatever you do don't do anything dangerous, including farmer blows, brakes, swerve, etc. Yes, I would still point out holes, rocks, etc. Not doing so can be dangerous. Why get down to the level you perceive the wheel sucker to be at by acting in a childish manner. Set an example and hope they follow. Ask them to pull but if they don't what's the big deal?
WOW! Lotta input!Alan B
May 21, 2001 10:09 AM
Thanks guys! While I really like some of the dastardly ideas, I'm quite certain that makes me more offensive than the wheelsucker (and more dangerous, too). I like the "feel flattered" and "better training" approach, combined with the approach I actually used (asking to trade off) only if it's significant, a headwind for example. Thanks for helping me sort this one out. (I realize we just addressed this, but the messages I saw were racing related, and a racer I clearly am NOT!)
wheelsucker tipsclub
May 16, 2001 4:00 PM
1. go hard on a rise to gap him, then put the hammer down. 2. swing left and coast til he is forced to pull thru. 3. ride real squirrelly.
Blow Them Kissesgrz mnky
May 16, 2001 6:07 PM
It works most every time, but sometimes they follow me home.
you could lay out some silent nasty farts. (nm)Kinglouie
May 16, 2001 7:18 PM
Loud ones work better! (nm)grz mnky
May 18, 2001 6:08 PM
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?merckx56
May 16, 2001 8:42 PM
simple enough!
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?sprint away........
May 17, 2001 4:35 AM
We sprint, and my coach uses his f.....g tricks to sprint away from us.
He stays on my wheel, but if I brake then, he will just swerve over and past me and win easy. If I stop, he will stop, and those who are not good to sprint comes up, and that is no fun. So he bursts away from my wheel with 50 metres to go, after a few seconds I am on his wheel, I sprint up on his side but by then we pass the line he is ahead of me. He doesn`t got speed or power, only his wheelsucking tactics! Frustrating!
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?JimF
May 17, 2001 6:26 AM
I always ask if it's OK if I plan to hang on for any length of time. If somebody drafting me doesn't do the same, it's NBD. Usually I just keep going at my own pace. If they screw up and overlap my wheel, they're going down, not me. If I'm not in the mood for company, I might pick up the pace and put a hurt on them if I can, or slow down, or look for a place to stop safely for a short break.
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?p3
May 17, 2001 12:49 PM
Bust a cap in his ass! It don't matter whether I taking the dirt road or cruising the hershey highway I'm alway packing a Glock 9mm with hollowpoints.

Mofo wheel sucka's best step off my wheel.

Peace Out
re: How to handle a secret wheelsucker?duckman91
May 18, 2001 12:13 PM
I also commute 33 miles 3 days a week and maybe every 10th time will come across a "wheelsucker". The way I determine how to react is to turn around and ask them how they are doing. If their face is beaded with sweat and they have a hard time talking, they have probably gone anaerobic and will not be able to hang with you even in the draft if you kick the pace up 10%. If they are cordial, I usually don't mind if they hang in the draft. However, if they give me that hard-core roadie snob look, I'll crank up the pace and do my best to drop them. The way I figure it, if I was going along at my normal pace and they had to waste themselves to catch me, there isn't much they can do if I kick up the pace a few MPH.
shake him offs-man
May 19, 2001 4:45 AM
perhaps take it real slow until they get discouraged and then they'll go
then you can resume your riding