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Drafting/Paceline Question(14 posts)

Drafting/Paceline Questionheckman
May 5, 2003 6:27 AM
A while back I posted a question about leading group rides and got some great responses. Now I have another question. We have a guy who, basically, is afraid to ride close enough to someone's wheel to gain the advantage of the draft. He's a big reader/analytical type of person, and I'd like to point him toward some reading that might give him some knowledge of drafting and paceline riding. Can anyone please share some advice/experience that might help? Also, if you know of any articles/links that pertain, could you please share them? I've done a search on the board but did not really find anything that would be good to send. Thank you for all of your help.
re: Drafting/Paceline QuestionDougSloan
May 5, 2003 6:37 AM
Do a Google search for "bicycle paceline." Here's an example of an article; there are lots.

Thanks for the linkheckman
May 5, 2003 7:56 AM
I did a Google search as you suggested an found a number of other good links. Also found this one, which has a number of good articles. Thank you again.

May 5, 2003 6:40 AM
If nothing else in a paceline, there has to be trust. You have to know how the others are going to act/react in a given situation. It has been my experience that the optimum distance is 6" to 2' following distance. If you get beyond 2' you lose the advantage of the draft. Work on hand signals as well as voice. The lead puller should only be out in front at most 4 minutes. This has been my experience. Others may have different experiences. Above all, training and trust!
Keep the rubber side down.
1. trust 2. communicationDougSloan
May 5, 2003 6:45 AM
You're right, and communcation is a close second. Doesn't hurt to kindly tell the rider to "close it up," "keep it smooth," or something like that, if he is susceptible to a little advice.

Ditto, communication...Spunout
May 5, 2003 7:05 AM
My club did a 100 km ride at 36 km/h (60 miles at 22 mph) with about 40 in our group. A core group of 8-12 were working the front in an echelon, it was crosswinds all day.

Good to have communicators, with the safety of many relying on the behaviour of the front, we quickly spat out the lesser experienced/willing riders to fight for wheels at the back. I rode at the back for awhile(yo-yo-ing), and in a crosswind, it is much easier to be in the front group than in a gutter!

We managed to always ease off upwind, so that those directly in the crosswind were not working and sheltering the other line. I mean, this changed from clockwise to counter-clockswise while zig-zagging county line roads. Very efficient, and very fast! But, someone has to holler and keep things in order. Having a core group that is familiar with each other helps too.
He needs a Tutorbigrider
May 5, 2003 6:59 AM
The posters above are right about trust. Most people fear the potential crash of riding in a paceline. They either don't trust themselves or the person they are drafting.

A large group ride is not the place to learn how to draft. The best way to learn is to ride with an experienced rider by yourself and learn the basics. A void of inconsistent behavior of the leading rider enables the student to concentrate on learning how to maintain small gaps from leader's rear tire, how to slow down without braking etc.

I challenge you to take him for a ride and ride consistently on flat uneventful terrain and then progress to roads with other variables. Teach him what hand signals mean and verbal messages used in pacelines. After you tutor him he will feel comfortable enough to draft in the group rides.
Great ideaheckman
May 5, 2003 7:59 AM
I'll try this one our ride next Wednesday. Thanks.
Right on targetTNSquared
May 5, 2003 1:05 PM
Someone did this for me Saturday and I posted about it. It was only one ride but it made a world of difference.

In my case, it wasn't so much a lack of trust in myself or the people in front of me. It was simply reluctance to push the envelope in a group process where I didn't know know the ground rules. I didn't know how close is close enough or how close is too close. I didn't know the signals and patterns of the group.

I really appreciated the tutoring, and I bet just about any inexperienced rider will.
If he isn't a good friend, let him learn the hard way.MR_GRUMPY
May 5, 2003 7:15 AM
You've already talked to him. Maybe he's just a big Chicken. Let him dangle off the back. Maybe he does it bacause he knows you'll wait for him........Don't.
Sometimes people learn to draft because of desperation.
If he lets a gap form, someone should jump into it.Spunout
May 5, 2003 7:48 AM
Don't flick him though. I guess it is a learning curve thing, comfort at close quarters.
And having been jumped in front of ...Will Ross
May 5, 2003 1:01 PM
I learned the hard way, and it worked ... fast. I didn't think the gaps I was allowing were that big, but people kept jumping around me and grabbing the wheel in front of me until I was at the back, hanging onto the draft for dear life. I quickly figured out it was easier to hang onto a wheel near the front for dear life. Desperation bred a sharp learning curve. Of course, some riders don't warrant being followed too closely, but that's a separate issue.
True, Darwinian effect on the peleton..Spunout
May 6, 2003 3:39 AM
but thats a good lesson. In our group, a rider on the windward side (resting towards the back) would usually jump into the working line to fill the gaps.
May 5, 2003 9:06 AM
If he's not comfortable riding in close quarters, you don't want him to ride close quarters with ya, unless you like eating pavement.