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Wheelsucker Q(27 posts)

Wheelsucker Qpitt83
Sep 3, 2003 4:52 PM
What's the problem here? I mean, I get it if someone doesn't take a pull, OK, but what is the harm in this? Does it cost you more energy / effort if someone is in your vortex? Is it a pride thing? There is vehement hatred for this behavior and I don't understand why.

PS: I'm not one. I always take my pulls before I'm soundly dropped 3/4 of the way through the group ride.
I think its becauseFez
Sep 3, 2003 6:03 PM
it annoys people for the following reasons:

1) they might be startled if they didn't notice the wheelsucker come up from behind
2) the drafter may creep up on one side and the leader may not be aware of it
3) the leader has to assume the drafter is paying attention. if the drafter is not, then there is a chance for a rearend collision
4) the leader doesn't want to assume the responsibility of pointing out road hazards.
Heres whystillridn
Sep 3, 2003 7:00 PM
Now you have to hammer this guy off your wheel our your pride will be hurt he caught you in the first place.My .02
I have some empathy for point (4), but the rest I think arebill
Sep 4, 2003 7:02 AM
weak, frankly, and I'm more convinced by some of the other points here, which are that the wheel behind creates increased pressure to perform (purely in the beholder, of course) and that there is some inbred derision for "wheelsuckers." The alone means alone thing I suppose has some validity, but it sounds as if both riders maintained their solitary status pretty well -- no communication to speak of.
People don't like it because they feel that they are being taken advantage of, when really it's almost exactly the same as riding alone.
I think it's because I'm core and you're a fred.NatC
Sep 3, 2003 7:06 PM
Somewhere along the line somebody told the offendee that you're not supposed to suck a wheel, kind of like how you're not supposed to use a Camelbak, a triple crankset, mtb shoes, etc. It's just the party line. That's why Fez got yelled at; because the guy that yelled at him was trying to show him he was better.

I couldn't care less if someone wanted to tag along behind me for their whole damn ride, as long as he or she doesn't gloat that they're stronger or faster.
Who you callin' Fred?pitt83
Sep 4, 2003 5:01 AM
I don't ride in a plaid shirt, in jeans, have a chainring grease tattoo, fenders, reflectors, MTB shoes, toe straps or a camelback. I do shave my lesg, color coordinate my gloves, team kit and bar tape, use matching bottles when I have 2 on board, wear shoes which can not be walked in on any man-made surface and obsess about my mileage.

Not a fred by any definition!
Dammit pitt...NatC
Sep 4, 2003 7:43 AM
but the person who yells at you for wheelsucking might still think he or she is a better cyclist than you, since they felt they had to yell at you in the first place. They're probably thinking, "Who is this guy? What a dumbass, sucking my wheel! He doesn't know what he's doing, I'd better yell at him."

This reminds me of these two Cat3 racers I once knew. They both were plenty fast and would often finish in about the same place in races. Talking to one alone, he said that he was at a whole 'nother level than the other guy. Talking to the other guy alone on a later date, he said the exact same thing about the other! Each thought he was so much better than the other.
The one time it bothered me was...pitt83
Sep 4, 2003 4:16 AM
We were coming back from a beach run. Three of us. We hadn't realized how much of a tail wind we had on the way out, but once we turned around, OMG! We were struggling back. Only problem was, one guy never would take his turn at the front. We asked, he says, "Oh, you guys are better than me, I'll catch up". Except he wasn't dropped. He was purely wheel sucking.

Obviously, we were fighting the wind and could have used a break from another pull. He just didn't get it and when asked said he couldn't. Needless to say, I don't ride with Chris anymore.
re: Wheelsucker Qfiltersweep
Sep 4, 2003 4:39 AM
I don't know that there is "vehement hatred for this behavior." Most club rides I attend have more than a slight competitive edge to them. Everyone knows who pulls and who doesn't. Usually the hills weed out those that don't/can't anyway.

What IS annoying is pulling for the bulk of a ride while a few other guys just hang on, then they hammer it home for the last two or three miles like they are winning the TDF!
re: Wheelsucker QJetSpeed
Sep 4, 2003 6:05 AM
WHAT/WHO EXACTLY is a Fred? I mean I understand the term, but I need an exact explaination.
because alone means alone.terry b
Sep 4, 2003 6:08 AM
I usually go out riding to get away from people. When someone latches on, they're changing that for me and sometimes I just don't like it. Other times it might turn into a conversation and once in a while it can be fun to chitchat with strangers. However, usually I'd prefer to be left alone and someone's presence on your wheel takes that away.

Here's my latest experience - I passed a guy going 2-3 mph slower than I was. About 10 minutes later, I discover (by looking at my shadow to the side) he's latched on. I let it go. We come to a stop - no "good morning," no "how're you doing," no contact. We start up, he latches on again. Another stop, another bout of silence. At this point, I'm letting it go just to see how quiet he can be. We come to some climbs, he falls off the back. Finally solitude. No, he hammers back on the flats and latches back on. Another hill, another drop, another flat, another hammerfest catching me. At this point, I'm getting tired of it so I sit up an ride at 12 mph. He stays behind. I take off, he follows. Finally, fed up I pulled over, waved him by and took off in the opposite direction. As we parted ways, no wave, no nod, no nothing.

Call me anti-social, too sensitive or what have you, that kind of wheelsucking is annoying.
Sep 4, 2003 6:26 AM
Point well taken. I usually solo ride and understand the desire to brain dump. Also, what gives with the silence? I was riding last week and I catch a guy. I say, "Nice bar tape". I have the identical tape; not many have red and yellow splash tape. He notices and says nothing. So, sensing anti-social or wanting to ride alone, I slow. He slows and stays. I ask, "How far are you riding" (seeing this a lunch break sneak out ride). No answer.

Some of us really want that alone time, I guess.
terry b is anti-socialCrankist
Sep 4, 2003 6:49 AM
...but at least not disgustingly so -as I can sometimes be. I still try to give the benefit of doubt to those who appear to be incredibly snobbish: they're distracted, immersed, or hard of hearing. But it can get under my skin sometimes and I'm just left shaking my head at yet another self-absorbed moron. In your recent experience though, I'm afraid you'll have to chalk up his behavior to a simple lack of breeding.
Which reminds me: perhaps we can sched. quarterly rides, next one just in time for the new bike- Chorus Corum due here ~9/12.
am not!terry b
Sep 4, 2003 7:04 AM
Corum - allright! let's hook up for a spin. We'll have to watch out for the one I described - shiny basketball shorts, nice bike, tank top and backwards baseball hat - odd. See you among the Goatheads!
That other guy gave you what you wanted, when you think about itNatC
Sep 4, 2003 7:48 AM
Since the other guy didn't converse with you at all, it's as if he wasn't ever there. He gave you the solitude you wanted in a way. Now if he had said, "Hi. How ya doin'?" then that would've been conversing. Why did you let his presence bother you? Strengthen your constitution and don't let yourself be annoyed.
my constitution is fine thank youterry b
Sep 4, 2003 8:54 AM
One element of the entire wheelsucking debate is "why do you let it bother you?" Frankly, that gets very boring. We all have things we like and we don't like and I don't think for a minute that "get over it" is a legitimate answer. I'm an individual, I'm entitled not to like someone crowding my space for an hour. Now, if I choose to not take action to get rid of the offending pest, that's my problem (see below.)

You're right in part - he didn't speak so I was able to remain alone. However, you're also incorrect - he was on my tail for half my ride and I'm not sure how you can interpret that as riding by yourself. Even if it's only a presence, it's still there. However, in this particular instance I let it go on (I could've pulled off much sooner,) so I really don't have much of a beef. And, I'm really not complaining - I'm sharing the results of my little social experiment.
Well terry, why didn't you just kill him?NatC
Sep 4, 2003 10:11 AM
Sure you're entitled to not like someone crowding your space, but that's your problem. He's only an "offensive pest" if you let him offend you. Kind of like if I were to call you a big sissy. Would you let it offend you, or would you just shrug it off as a troll from some stranger on the internet?

I like bill's example of the crowded versus nearly empty elevator. If you were taking part in a group bike tour, riding in critical mass rally, or biking in Beijing, I doubt you'd mind having other cyclists within arm's reach. But put one guy within several miles and suddenly you're all offended. What gives?
I know it's my problemterry b
Sep 4, 2003 11:12 AM
You'll notice I didn't say anything bad about him, I just described behaviors. I don't hate him, or even dislike him. I simply prefer that anonymous people stay off my wheel.

I can't begin to describe personal likes and dislikes. I'm sure you've got some that I would find interesting. Maybe your personal space is an elevator and mine is Montana. Not sure, but I know that personality quirks are our own, derived from who knows what and largely unexplainable.

I do participate in large organized rides, and frankly I do not like the crowding. The difference though is that I have chosen to do the ride and paid the money knowing full well that I will be riding in close contact. It's not the same as leaving my home to go off on a ride seeking some solitude and having that intruded upon by a stranger. My choice in that case is taken away from me unless I choose to find a way to send them on. If I don't take that action then I have no complaint.
Good enough. nmNatC
Sep 4, 2003 4:12 PM
context matterscommuterguy
Sep 4, 2003 7:15 AM
A group ride is just that. I have issues with some people who latch on during my commute. I ride along a heavily used MUT, which involves a lot of passing, and a lot of slowing down to wait until it is safe to pass. This year, the summer of my discontent, our tropical rain forest climate (DC) has downed so many trees and pieces of trees that the MUT is basically an obstacle course. In short, drafting just isn't a viable strategy. But still people try it.

It's worst when the wheel sucker is going flat-out to stay on your wheel. I can sometimes hear panting and a poorly maintained drivetrain struggling to maintain the pace. Under these circumstances, I just don't trust the guy to pay enough attention to avoid an accident.

One additional point: I don't think anyone has considered the gender angle. Some people think (why I don't know) that they attract wheel suckers who just stare at the stitching on their chamois.
re: Wheelsucker Qtarwheel
Sep 4, 2003 7:29 AM
It all depends on the context. I don't mind someone hanging at the back when they're having an off day on a group ride. However, we have a couple guys who "participate" on weekend group rides that usually run 40-60 miles. They hang at the back and never, ever take a pull. Then when someone has a flat or mechanical problem, they continue along their merry way while the rest of us stop. They pulled this stunt a few weeks ago and we all blew past them several miles later. Then at the rest stop one of them says something like, "Hey, I thought this was a no-drop ride." I just about barfed on him. Another stunt they pull (when they're up to it) is to wheelsuck the entire ride and then blast for the finish in the last few miles. This is wheelsucker behavior extraordinaire.
I'm a Wheelsucking Fred who just Dropped his Yuppie Poser @SSbimini
Sep 4, 2003 9:16 AM
I'm a Fred and Proud of it. I've got a cheap UniVega with handlebar bags and luggage rack. I wear a cheap Walmart shirt with matching Walmart Bell water bottles, tailight, headlight and helmet.

My hobby is finding Yuppie Posers on the local loops that need to be passed. In general, I look for folks in the full Uniform. It really makes my day if they are on a TREK 5900 with HED or ZIPP wheels. Aerobars are gravy.

I lurk up on them from behind and suck thier wheel for about a mile. I then drop thier sorry yuppie poser loser @sses.

I then monitor this board during the day instead of working so I can hear them whine about the poor loser Fred that sucked thier over priced wheel the night before. They forget to mention that loser Fred caught up with them in the first place and then dropped them on a bike he bought from Goodwill.

They come here to calm down thier own self doubts about going into $10,000 credit card debit to buy a bike that they have neither the legs nor skill to be riding. Heaven forbid actually look at the situation for what it was. A guy caught up to you on a ride, he rested and then he took off again. He had slightly stronger legs. So what! The only thing that got hurt was a little ego.

PS: Please take this for what it is worth, Nothing since it came from a loser Fred on a UniVega ;-)
does it ever dawn on Freds..The Human G-Nome
Sep 4, 2003 9:42 AM
does it ever dawn on Freds that not everyone who's out there riding a bike is "racing" or trying to pass everyone else or even remotely worried about other riders at all. does it dawn on Freds that maybe they're actually training for something and the reason you were able to pass them on the hill was because they're staying in Zone3? well, does it?
does it ever dawn on Freds..bimini
Sep 4, 2003 9:50 AM

Did I pass you on a hill recently? I'll wave next time.

Best Regards,
does it ever dawn on Freds..MShaw
Sep 4, 2003 2:55 PM
Here on the coast in San Diego, I get the guys busting a gut to get around me all the time. Funny thing is, they get about 100' in front of me and slow down to the same pace I've been going for the last hour.

Even better are the guys on mtn bikes. I can just hear them talking to their buds later: "dude, I just passed this roadie like he was standing still!" as I'm riding my easy day ride at 25kph.

Just remember: its easy to win a one horse race!

I relish getting passed by Fredsterry b
Sep 4, 2003 9:51 AM
1) makes me feel even better that my hard work has resulted in a 7 figure portfolio

2) makes me feel righteous by offering some incentive to poor folk (everyone needs a dream if they're going to pull themselves up by their bootstraps)

3) makes me feel good that I've got nothing to prove anymore

Thanks for making my day!
generally I don't mind, but depends whocyclopathic
Sep 4, 2003 10:37 AM
if rider is too sketchy and/or inattentive it is crash waiting to happen.

The best wheel sucker I ever pulled was on PBP from Carhaix to Lodeac ~400mi+ into ride. I could still digest HammerGel so I was flying at 20-25mph. Section was pretty flat, and to say I felt good you don't drop tandems on flats that often :) Riders would hook to my wheel then drop in a few miles. I do not know were he came from, but I realized he was on my rear wheel probably 5mi later, casting double shadow from dying sun.

Granted I was easy to draft on, I was riding with constand power, but he was always in the same position; to the side with slight wheel overlap. No matter up or down out of saddle or in he was always there, 4 inches off my wheel. Very strong and experienced rider, turned out about 60-70lbs more then me, from Norway.

When he saw that I am aware of him, he came and offered to pull with appology that he won't be able to match the pace. He also said something alone the lines that if I don't like him he'll drop back. Since I didn't really mind the company and I didn't need help we end up riding together for the rest of the day and through the night. He did help alot with navigation, and when it got too cold at night (4C or about 40F) and I had hypotermia he scheilded and pulled me through last 5-6mi to Tinteniac.