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Drafting.(4 posts)

Aug 31, 2003 2:01 PM
At the moment I'm a bit strapped for time, but can manage 1 - 2 hrs max both morning and evening, so:

This mornings ride, caught up with a fellow cyclist, pulled alongside him, said hi, had a chat, as and when neccessary we'd drop one behind the other, then the one at the rear would pull alongside when it was clear. Very civil, very polite, after about 5 miles we said our goodbyes and went our seperate ways.

This evening I turned at a junction and saw a cyclist who had pulled over and was taking a drink, he didn't seem to have any mechanical probs, so I didn't stop, just waved and said hi as I passed. He gave me a steely look, I thought miserable git, he's going to chase me down.

I was soon aware that he was tucked in behind me, and he didn't seem to show any intent of coming past. I decided to sit up and take a drink and he burst past me. I had a quick chase of my own and then sat on his wheel for 0.1 of a mile max, his speed slowed from 24 to 23 (it's flat but we were into the wind), and I went past him, as I did so I said "I'll take a turn up front ."

Now I expected that as soon as my speed started to drop he'd come past and take a turn, but he sat on my wheel for about a mile as I ran out of steam and the speed dropped gradually down to 17 mph (did I mention it was into a headwind!), then he suddenly burst past and picked up the pace again.

Now for some reason that I can't explain, and perhaps I'm out of order, but this peeved me off. So I thought to myself"right buddy, your out there by yourself now and I'm taking a ride," I then sat on his wheel for the next 3 miles or so.

I know it seems ridiculous, that we didn't know each other, had agreed on nothing,that I'd gone out alone anyway and he owed me nothing etc etc. But how long is it considered acceptable to leave someone out front? I'd have thought untill you feel the pace drop.

And how do feel about some stranger drafting you? I never just pull up behind someone on the road and take a ride, I'll always pull alongside and say hi, unlees they're going too slow in which case I go straight past them (but still give a wave).

Don't know what I'm moaning at really, just that I thought the guy this evening was a bit impolite.

Moan over, enjoyed the riding anyway.

Some guidanceKerry Irons
Aug 31, 2003 4:57 PM
First, the subject of drafting with strangers comes up here all the time, with various preferences expressed ranging from "ride those suckers off your wheel" to "talk to them and see if they want to trade pulls." A lot of it depends on how much you're willing to trust strangers to ride in straight lines, at a steady pace, drop correctly, etc. If you're tight on somebody's wheel, it's a bad time to find out that they need to slow down and swerve just to take a drink. Further, if you're on your own "program" you may not want to change your ride pattern by conforming to the speed of another rider.

All that said, to your personal situation, you need to understand that neither you nor your wheel sucking/jumping friend seem to understand the "rules" of trading the lead. You DON'T wait until the other guy goes by because you've slowed down. You actively "drop" when you want/need to. There are a number of techniques, with and without signaling to the other rider. At a minimum, you take about three extra strong pedal strokes, move to one side, and coast or slow down. This way, you're moving out of the way AFTER you've insured that the following rider's wheel is not overlapping yours. Most people would say move into the wind, as the following rider will likely be drafting you on the lee side. Auto traffic may influence the direction. Some people signal their drop verbally by saying "dropping" or equivalent, while others flick the elbow (the pros do it this way) or with a small hand signal like a casual "chop" sign pointing toward the ground.

This strange game you're playing with "why won't that sucker come around" suggests both you and your shadow have some learning to do. For me, if someone jumps on my wheel, they're welcome to stay there as long as they want, since I'm riding my pace, which I do not change. If, after a few miles, I decide to drop, or they suggest coming to the front, or they simply come around, then I decide whether to follow their wheel. If they're into stupid games like "I'm all rested from drafting this guy, now I'm going to drop him," then it's my choice how to respond. Like I said, it's MY ride they've joined, so I can decide whether to jump on their wheel, counter attack and give them what they deserve, or just let them ride off, so proud of themselves.
Read you wife's Cosmo magazine...Scot_Gore
Aug 31, 2003 7:43 PM will tell you the secret to any good relationship is communication. Neither of you tried to express your needs, wants, or problems.

I suspect if he chased you down from a stop, he was out of gas and incapable of coming around for his turn in the wind, getting around you the first time was likely adrenalin, or testosterone, can't tell which.

You're out in the wind and tired of it, then, say so. Verbally, hand signal, whatever, but don't expect folks to read your mind. You don't assume you've read that driver's mind whose up ahead slowing for a left turn, so don't assume your attentions are any easier to read.

Hey here's a poll, what magazine has more depth, COSMO or Bicycling.

Glad you enjoyed the ride in any event, that's the most important thing.

Is Zap at Cosmo now? (nm)TFerguson
Sep 1, 2003 9:08 AM