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Old 10-15-07, 09:09 PM   #1
p1jrevely
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Etiquette of drafting a rider

I have a two week old í07 Specialized Tarmac Comp that Iím still getting used to. I have never participated in a group ride. On the bike path that I frequent, the faster roadies just pass by and disappear in the distance. This is fine with me as I ride alone anyway. Iím still getting used to riding in the drops so I prefer to be on my own. Tonight I had a shock when a faster rider caught me and decided to draft behind me for a couple of miles. This startled me to say the least because I didnít hear him come up nor did he say anything. I didnít realize that he was there until I was passing a riding duo and looked back. There he was way too close for my comfort (his front tire was half way up my rear tire).

So my question, whatís the etiquette of drafting a rider that see out on the road / path? If you donít know the person, should you announce your presence? I announce which side Iím passing when coming up on pedestrians or other riders. I would think you would announce your intent to draft so if you come across a newbie (i.e. me on a road bike) the front rider isnít startled. Further the front rider would be able to communicate if they are comfortable with someone drafting them. I donít know how long he was back there before I looked back. I was concentrating on the road ahead, my position form, and pedaling form and honestly didnít hear him come up.

The bike path that I ride is heavily wooded with a lot of deer and geese that are bold enough to come on the path or dart across in front of you. It was for these potential panic stops that I added a set of brake levers to the tops of my bars because thatís where I do most of my riding. I also have a few side-streets with solid fences at the corners taller than me standing on my pedals. The path has a constant layer of leaf debris and wetness. Iím still not confident with the tires gripping so I do slow for the tight and blind corners because Iíd rather error on the caution side. I fell once on my other bike (lapse of concentration and said debris / moisture) and donít want a repeat. The Tarmac costs enough and is too sharp.

On another note, I must be improving because a faster rider decided to pace with me.
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Old 10-15-07, 09:20 PM   #2
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I would not overlap my wheel with anyone I did not have 100% confidence in and and even then would announce myself well in advance. Most folks in my area announce themselves, even when passing you. Some pull up and visit before dropping back. The best offer to take a pull.

If you do a search over on the Road forum you will find lots of irritations on this subject.
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Old 10-15-07, 09:22 PM   #3
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...whatís the etiquette of drafting a rider that see out on the road / path? If you donít know the person, should you announce your presence?
Quoting from a Road cycling Etiquette thread in another forum:
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DO NOT draft off a faster rider without asking permission. Many riders, myself included DO NOT want inexperienced riders drafting from us. It is just a safety concern. I have been taken down by inexperinced riders (couldn't keep his speed under control and hit my wheel going downhill) and broke several ribs and had blood in my right lung due to it and had to sit out the whole race season.
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Old 10-15-07, 09:34 PM   #4
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One other thing, if you are pulling, warn of any noxious gas emissions, unless the drafter is drafting off of you and you don't want him/her to If THIS is the case, let fly
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Old 10-15-07, 09:42 PM   #5
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just wave them by you
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Old 10-15-07, 09:44 PM   #6
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I don't think there's any written requirement (we're all in some sort of fraternal order because we're cyclists after all), but it's just nice to ask "Mind if I draft awhile?" Then open up, "Hi, my name is...". Drafting is a fundamental part of cycling.

However, drafting, if effective, does involve someone's wheel within inches of yours. I wouldn't worry about it, if his front wheel touches your rear wheel, he's going down, not you--you won't even notice
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Old 10-15-07, 10:24 PM   #7
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My biggest concern was if I had needed to take evasive action suddenly. I didn't know he was there. Further he decided to stay half way up my rear wheel without making any annoucements to his presence. Granted after I saw him, I could tell that he was an experienced rider when I finally made him go around me. Still with the congestion and critters on the path, I consider this way more risk than I'm willing to take. This was not a race event for money or prizes, just people out riding on a public path. I would like to keep my bike looking nice and new for as long as possible.

For those of you who like when people draft you, once I knew he was there. . I held as quick a pace for as long as I could. Once he saw how I passed other riders and slowed on some of the turns, he dropped back to a bigger distance that I was more comfortable with. He probably realized that I might be prone to panic stops. I did see that he was way more experienced and faster so I did feel pretty good that he would pace with me. That was the only reason I tried to go as fast for as long as I could. However after reading some of the other threads in the Road section, I will be waving everyone off while on this bike path. Now race events on full sized streets, it's game on with announcements.
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Old 10-15-07, 10:57 PM   #8
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+1 on announcing yourself. In my experience most cyclists are happy to have you around, and will be willing to take turns on the lead position. If someone would rather ride alone they'll tell you.

Keep up the good work on the racing.
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Old 10-15-07, 11:08 PM   #9
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I would not overlap my wheel with anyone I did not have 100% confidence in and and even then would announce myself well in advance. Most folks in my area announce themselves, even when passing you. Some pull up and visit before dropping back. The best offer to take a pull.

If you do a search over on the Road forum you will find lots of irritations on this subject.
yea when i come up to others i make sure they know im there. sometimes people get startled when i tell them im there. imagine if they did that and i had my front tire halfway into them, bad news!!!! where i ride there is alot of good riders. if i have any doubt ill wave them on or let it be known if im uncomfortable. many of my friends half my size draft me all the time so normally it doesnt bother me. BUT if im not up for the chit chat ill accelerate and hold that pace for a while until they no longer want to try to draft and fall off. but then again this is usually when i pass somebody and they attempt too fast of a pace.
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Old 10-16-07, 03:42 AM   #10
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I don't expect anybody to draft me at my slow speed, but I would expect them to announce themselves if they did. Sometimes I slow down suddenly to relight my cig!
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Old 10-16-07, 01:48 PM   #11
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I normally announce when I'd like to draft behind some faster rider/s. I'll pull to his/her side and see if the rider lets me draft. I also take a pull if someone asks me to draft behind me. But un-announced drafting puts somewhat of a stresser on me as I'm trying to avoid sudden moves so the rider behind me doesn't crash into me. I normally slow down so they eventually pass me or if I have the juice I'll pick up the speed quite a bit so I can drop them.

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Old 10-16-07, 01:55 PM   #12
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im slow compaired to the other roadies so i normally dont have people draft me without me knowing it but usally if i do draft once im rested ill try to take the lead and hold it as long as i can to return the favor.
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Old 10-16-07, 02:01 PM   #13
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Draft at your own risk. Period.

It's courtesy, but not exactly required, to ask "Mind if I hop on your wheel?" or "Want to trade pulls?". If you're a man and want to trade pulls with a woman, chivalry and her need for safety should dictate that you take a first and generous pull.

If you're more than one bike length back then it's not drafting. That's actually a bit creepy for me. Too close, but for no advantage.
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Old 10-16-07, 04:00 PM   #14
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Anouncing is best. Some do not do it because they are shy. People love to draft behind me, due to uhm my wind cross section. I feel so used!
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Old 10-16-07, 04:40 PM   #15
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I have a two week old ’07 Specialized Tarmac Comp that I’m still getting used to. I have never participated in a group ride. On the bike path that I frequent, the faster roadies just pass by and disappear in the distance. This is fine with me as I ride alone anyway. I’m still getting used to riding in the drops so I prefer to be on my own. Tonight I had a shock when a faster rider caught me and decided to draft behind me for a couple of miles. This startled me to say the least because I didn’t hear him come up nor did he say anything. I didn’t realize that he was there until I was passing a riding duo and looked back. There he was way too close for my comfort (his front tire was half way up my rear tire).

So my question, what’s the etiquette of drafting a rider that see out on the road / path? If you don’t know the person, should you announce your presence? I announce which side I’m passing when coming up on pedestrians or other riders. I would think you would announce your intent to draft so if you come across a newbie (i.e. me on a road bike) the front rider isn’t startled. Further the front rider would be able to communicate if they are comfortable with someone drafting them. I don’t know how long he was back there before I looked back. I was concentrating on the road ahead, my position form, and pedaling form and honestly didn’t hear him come up.

The bike path that I ride is heavily wooded with a lot of deer and geese that are bold enough to come on the path or dart across in front of you. It was for these potential panic stops that I added a set of brake levers to the tops of my bars because that’s where I do most of my riding. I also have a few side-streets with solid fences at the corners taller than me standing on my pedals. The path has a constant layer of leaf debris and wetness. I’m still not confident with the tires gripping so I do slow for the tight and blind corners because I’d rather error on the caution side. I fell once on my other bike (lapse of concentration and said debris / moisture) and don’t want a repeat. The Tarmac costs enough and is too sharp.

On another note, I must be improving because a faster rider decided to pace with me.
When drafting the best thing to do, is let the other person know, you are doing so, and be ready and willing to change places after a while. The draftee can then notify you of pending hazards, that you might not notice. Of course if they don't know you are there, they can't tell you about that bike eating pothole, until it's too late to take evasive action.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:58 PM   #16
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I like to pedal silently up behind other riders, then stop pedaling and scare the crap out of them with the incredibly loud freehub on my Fulcrum wheels - BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Just kidding. He should have announced himself.

If somebody grabs your wheel that you don't want, just start riding erratically - wander all over the place, speed up, slow down,sit up and coast a bit, aim for a giant pothole and pass within an inch of it - they'll stop.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:26 PM   #17
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Drafting without the other person knowing seems like a pretty dangerous thing to do. When I am just out riding, I am not exactly concentrating on making a perfectly straight path. I might zig or zag as I wipe sweat from my eyes, grab a drink, avoid some dog poop, or just for the heck of it. I am not sure if I have my physics right but it is probably more dangerous for the guy in back but I would still be ticked off if we crossed tires.

I do have a mirror, though, so not too many people are going to be able to sneak up on me.
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Old 10-17-07, 06:51 PM   #18
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Drafting is something that I do with those that I know and trust. 1/2 way up your wheel is way up there and not someplace I go or want others to be. My worst wreck so far was somebody that I got too close to and I hit the inside of their tire. I went down...not them. I dont usually hop on somebody that I dont know. I have drafter on ladies that can really pull. I take my turn as well. I get sort of creeped out following a girl that I dont know, especially when they are wearing those see through shorts!
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