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Drafting Etiquette?(20 posts)

Drafting Etiquette?sixbillionethans
May 3, 2003 1:06 PM
I was on a solo road ride when I met up with 2 other cyclists at an intersection. I pulled out and they sat on my wheel for about a mile into a heavy head wind.

One guy pulled ahead of me so I sat on his wheel for a bit. Although he didn't point out any obstructions (like rocks and cracks) it was nice to get a rest from the wind. The other guy was basically half wheeling me the whole time to stay out of the cross wind.

I felt it was my turn to pull so I came out to the front and proceeded to pull for the next 5 miles.

It was good motivation for me to haul ass (I finally dropped them in a 20 mph headwind), but it would have been nice to get some cooperation from these guys. What is etiquette when meeting up with random people that do a lousy job pulling, then don't pull at all?
How about talking with them?purplepaul
May 3, 2003 1:16 PM
Perhaps they're unaware of what they should be doing. Although it's questionable that he would have been open to your advice, the guy who was half wheeling you should be told that is not acceptable. If he can't take the criticism, who wants to ride with him? I've found that very inexperience riders often take exception with being told that their etiquette needs to change. I just shrug and make sure I'm nowhere near them in the future. Others will be glad that you're willing to teach them something that will serve them well.
How about talking with them?peter1
May 3, 2003 1:29 PM
Yes, you should have communicated better. Maybe the guy half-wheeling wasn't a strong rider but still wanted to keep up. I've found that such ''casual'' drafting and pacelining is much more fun if you establish right away how far you're going and what you expect. One of the best experiences I had was with an obviously fit couple on a tandem...they pulled me for five miles into a headwind, and were happy to do so. I felt like I was roped to them!

If you don't talk, it can be dangerous, esp. if people are used todifferent hand signals or verbal cues.

I do think they should have pointed out obstacles. That's just basic group riding etiquette...
Did you draft that Tandem at the Windmill Classic last July?GeoCyclist
May 4, 2003 2:20 AM
My wife and I pulled a solo rider for about 5 or 6 miles last July at the Windmill classic. That ride was the first time we had rode our tandem with a large group of riders, and we were much happier to be pulling than drafting. The solo rider tired to pull us for a while, but it was like an elephant trying to draft behind a pony!

Ride on!
I always thought...filtersweep
May 4, 2003 6:36 AM
I always thought the "back seat rider" experienced the full benefits of drafting while pedaling a tandam... ;)
What IS the rule on "half wheeling"?Matno
May 3, 2003 2:13 PM
By that I assume you mean that his front wheel was overlapping your rear wheel? In my experience (mostly riding with smaller riders like myself), if my front wheel isn't overlapping the one in front of me, I might as well not be drafting. With a small rider pulling, I hardly get any benefit if I ride directly behind him. Back when I had a regular riding partner (just the two of us most of the time) we would usually ride so that we just barely stayed off each other's heel. Is that not normal? I've never crashed doing that, but maybe I'm just lucky (or too focused on the wheel in front of me).

On the other hand, I wouldn't even consider overlapping wheels with a total stranger. Way too much risk of a stupid misunderstanding...
Risk is with the half-wheeler...Spunout
May 4, 2003 3:07 AM
The lead doesn't have eyes on the back of his/her head, so its all up to the people behind to keep the rubber down.

But, the lead does have the responsibility to pick a smooth line, steady, and well, 'lead'.
Risk is with the half-wheeler...and the 5 guys behind him...russw19
May 4, 2003 7:06 AM
If I see a guy half wheeling in a pack and he's ahead of me.. I am getting outside of his envelope. You know what I am talking about... I am getting far enough away that if he goes down, he's not taking me with him, and I will try to be aware of him as I move up the pace line to pull through. I usually don't yell at them as they may be talking to a friend or team mate in a race (plus when I race I keep my mouth shut and let my legs talk for me... I hate riders that talk smack or just general chatter all race long...)
But if that guy is someone I know and it's a group ride of locals, I may say something to him after the ride letting him know that if the guy in front of him swerves to avoid a dead armadillo or pot hole (we don't get those in Florida, but I lived up north) then he is better off being fully behind the guy.

For those who may read this and not know why half-wheeling is bad, it's mostly because your wheel is right next to the guy you are riding with. Sudden moves buy that guy and he puts his rear wheel into your front. If that happens, the guy who's front wheel gets clipped is the one most likely going down... and the 5 guys behind him too. I heard some people in this thread say that they are little guys and can't draft behind people otherwise... that' not right! If you are off to the side you are catching wind. More importantly you are catching the "dirty" wind off the rider in front of you. You will catch the swirling vortex wind off his tire and his arms and head...it's worse aerodynamically than catching "static" or "clean" wind by itself. This is why planes try to stay out each others path... it's called jet wash for them. Only very highly trained precision pilots do this. And on another note... it is much harder for a big guy to draft than a small guy. Bigger guys punch bigger holes in the air. If you are punching a bigger hole in the air than the guy in front of you, you need to be an inch off their wheel, but for little guys, you can ride like 7 to 8 inches off someone's wheel like me. I punch a pretty big hole these days.... thanks Donuts!

Anyways, just wanted to bring up those two points and I hope they make sense to people.

Russ
Each to his own.....johnrg
May 3, 2003 2:22 PM
If someone want's to draft fine. I'm riding solo anyway. If they are strong enough to pull even better. Make a friend for the ride. Some folks can't pull at a certain speed but they can keep up in the draft. Have some charity and allow them to enjoy the ride. Too many attitudes in a variety of sports today.
No, that was a potentially dangerous situationpurplepaul
May 3, 2003 2:38 PM
The guy overlapping needed to be told that it was wrong. I once was riding with a buddy and some of his friends when some guy tagged along. Since I didn't know everybody well, I couldn't tell that he wasn't with us. Well, at one point we came to a fork in the road. We went left and this guy who put himself in the middle of the pack went right, nearly taking out everyone behind him. On top of that, he yelled at us as if we did something wrong.

So, if people join a rider, or the other way around, they need to know what their responsibilties are so they don't cause an accident.
Your right in that regard.johnrg
May 3, 2003 3:49 PM
Huh?filtersweep
May 3, 2003 4:47 PM
This isn't a race... do you mean to tell me you never overlap even a bit in an echelon (with a cross wind) ? You might as well not even draft. The issue is usually there is an established level of communication and NOT total strangers involved, but to categorically classify it as wrong?

I'd be interested in hearing others' opinions on this...
Huh?russw19
May 4, 2003 7:18 AM
I think we need a level of distinction between the two... periodically overlapping the rider in front of you's wheel so that you don't have to tap the brakes..... that's one issue.
But I think we are talking about someone sitting to the left or right of another guys wheel for several miles and working to actively stay with his front wheel axle in line with the other riders rear axle. That's a totally different situation. It's dangerous because if the guy next to him doesn't know the half-wheeler is there, he may swerve to avoid him and take him and the next 5 guys in line out. On top of that, the guy half wheeling is doing himself a disservice in his drafting technique... he's sitting in the dirty air of the rider in front of him, not the clean air of the draft. He hight as well pull right up next to the guy so he knows where he is and doesn't swerve into him.

That's my opinion.... I hope you see where I am going with it. In a race is different, in a race I always assume someone next to me is stupid... you stay out of crashes if you are completely predictable in the pack. Like I said earlier... riding up next to a guys wheel for a few seconds to avoid taping the brakes is one thing... sitting there for a few minutes is another entirely. And taping a brake in a pack is often worse than half-wheeling a guy for 10 seconds as your speed slows back down.

Russ
re: Drafting Etiquette?GregJ
May 3, 2003 4:35 PM
If you are on the front and you want someone else to pull, you need to pull off to the side and slow down, let the other riders come up and then jump on their wheel. A serious paceline working together will have the riders rotating through almost constantly, with 3 people, spending around 45 seconds to a minute on the front is plenty long.
A couple of thoughts...Dwayne Barry
May 3, 2003 11:15 PM
One man's half-wheeling is another's eschelon.

Why did you want cooperation from them? Did you think the break wasn't going to work, afraid they might out-sprint you at the finish with their fresh legs?
It also occurred to me...Dwayne Barry
May 4, 2003 10:28 AM
that you're mis-using (as is everyone else in the thread) the term "half-wheeling". This thread is discussing wheel over-lap, not half-wheeling. Half-wheeling is when two riders are nominally riding side-by-side but one of them pushes the pace just that little bit more than the other is willing to ride resulting in him riding ever so slightly (like half a wheel) in front of the other guy. The observant rider will realize this and back off the pace to one his riding partner is willing to keep.
echelon vs. "half-wheeling"philippec
May 5, 2003 12:55 AM
I agree that half-wheeling in a headwind is a bonehead move, but a lot of the discussion here seems to confuse half-wheeling w/ echelon riding. It makes perfect sense to ride in an echelon (even with wheel/bike overlap -- this depends on the force and direction of the side wind), whenever the wind is coming in from the side. In fact, here (in France) if you don't automatically move into an echelon as the wind changes, you will get flicked off the back -- even from recreational rides! Of course the width of the echelon depends on the width of the road and prevailing traffic conditions, but "half-wheeling" in this sense should be an automatic reflex for cyclists from sunday riders to racers.

A+

Philippe

"Half-wheeling" or echelon, depends on the direction the wind is coming from:


Yes, but here in America...Dwayne Barry
May 5, 2003 4:33 AM
people are anal-retentive about safety. God-forbid, that anything should ever happen that might possibly have been prevented. What to many is the obvious way one rides in cross-winds, to others is the increased risk of a wheel-touch and subsequent crash.
oh, and one other thing....philippec
May 5, 2003 5:05 AM
When did Robin Williams slim up and join the Postal squad? In this picture, he is second from the left (next to Ekimov).

A+

Philippe
re: Drafting Etiquette?morency
May 5, 2003 5:52 AM
Here in Belgium we just put our hand at shoulderheight and turn our finger in the air (pointing finger, yes). This means you want the guys behind you to take head too; if they can, they will.