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Old 01-20-09, 10:12 AM   #1
woodway
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Suddenly, he was sucked onto my back wheel

I was commuting home the other night, cruising down the asphalt trail at my usual pace. It was a very nice evening, maybe 40 degrees, clear, no wind with a nice crescent moon out. I was really enjoying the quiet and the ride.

Ahead, I notice the blinkie of another biker and saw that I was overtaking him. As I came up behind him and was preparing to pass, he increased his pace as to not let me by. "OK", I thought, "that's a little weird, but I'll just ride here behind him for a while". So I stayed behind him for about a mile. My headlight is really bright so I did not want to ride right right up on his wheel and wash out his night vision, therefore I was not pulling a draft off him, rather just cruising along probably 20-30 feet behind him, a little annoyed that my solitude had been interrupted. He was riding slightly slower than my usual pace, but not so much slower that I felt like putting out the extra effort to pass him.

We came to a small hill on the trail and I heard him shift gears which caused him to slow down. Not needing to shift myself, I power past him and up the hill and then resumed my normal pace.

After about 20 seconds, he comes up behind me and the next thing I know he was sucked onto my back wheel. He was not inches away, but probably five to ten feet behind me. Now I was a little pissed, but I just kept riding along at my normal pace, trying to enjoy the evening. He stayed with me for about three miles when we came to another small hill and I finally dropped him.

When he was on my wheel, I thought about turning around and asking him to back off, but I did not want to provoke any kind of confrontation. I could have stopped and let him get down the trail, but when you have a nice pace going, who wants to stop?

The whole thing was not a huge deal, but it was annoying.

What would you have done in a similar situation?
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Old 01-20-09, 10:18 AM   #2
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To me 10 feet is still a respectable distance. I'd ignore it personally.

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Old 01-20-09, 10:23 AM   #3
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Yeah if he is further than three feet he isn't sucking your wheel. I would have done nothing.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:27 AM   #4
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I'd have stopped and let him pass. My solitude in that situation is paramount.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:30 AM   #5
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Agree with other responders, 10 feet is riding in the same direction not wheel sucking. I am learning that passing other cyclists seems to constitute a challenge lately. On my commuter bike I don't care who passes me or who I pass. I'm just traveling from point A to point B. Sometimes someone will say hellow or strike up a conversation, other times not, no big deal.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:32 AM   #6
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It's the Sammamish River Trail. Things happen, people are constantly coming on to and off of the trail at all the parking lots and intersections. I've learned to just deal with the fact that on a nice day, eventually, someone will be close behind me or I'll be close in on someone else.

Just last week I zipped onto the trail at Wilmot Gateway Park and found myself keeping pace with a guy who was coming down from the Bothell end of the trail. Granted, he was really haulin' arse and I couldn't hang for very long, but I at least did my share of the work and took a pull for a while.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:34 AM   #7
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buy a mirror.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:43 AM   #8
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I have a mirror. That was part of the issue, the glare from his headlight was bothering me.

I ignored him, but it was slightly annoying.
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Old 01-20-09, 10:50 AM   #9
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buy a mirror.
A mirror makes no difference in the situation the OP described. It wasn't that he was startled to find someone on his wheel. He knew the guy was there, but was annoyed with the guy's persistent efforts to stick with him.

Wouldn't be surprised if the guy I described in my earlier post thought similarly of me: "OK, so he took a 21mph pull for a little while, but why is Chunk-Lor of the Fenders trying to hang with me on my super aero Ridley? Let's see what he does with 23mph."
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Old 01-20-09, 11:39 AM   #10
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Does it bother you when other cars drive behind you too? How about when they walk behind you?
Get over it - at 5-10 feet he wasn't drafting or putting you at risk in any way. If his light bothered you, you could have either dropped him, stopped and let him pass, or adjusted your mirror a bit. T'aint nothing to get all hot and bothered about.
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Old 01-20-09, 11:41 AM   #11
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Sounds like it could have been a fun, impromptu bike race!
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Old 01-20-09, 11:42 AM   #12
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He wasn't hurting anything but your solitude, and you were doing as much to his.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:05 PM   #13
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I thought this thread was going to be about a squirrel or something like that. Oh well, live and let live and try to enjoy the ride. While the other rider wasn't all the way in the hassle zone, he was close, but was probably just looking for a temporary ride partner to pace along with and get a break from the monotony (sp?).

If he really was bothering you then either out pace him, or lift up off the seat and pass a little gas, either will often get you some breathing room (so to speak).
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Old 01-20-09, 01:18 PM   #14
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At 5 -10 feet behind me, I would wonder why he did not pull close enough to benefit from a draft.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:30 PM   #15
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what would I have done ?

rode him off my wheel immediately and be done with it. and then, continue to increase my speed
to make him wilt and wonder why he even tries to ride a bike....I'd have done this for 5 miles continuous
until I was long gone.

why wait for a hill ?
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Old 01-20-09, 01:37 PM   #16
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Does it bother you when other cars drive behind you too? How about when they walk behind you?
I get a little miffed when cars walk behind me.

To the OP--I would have stopped while he was still ahead of me, viewed the crescent moon for 60 seconds, then continued merrily on my solitary way, well behind him. Problem solved before it becomes a problem.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:59 PM   #17
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Does it bother you when other cars drive behind you too? How about when they walk behind you?
You bet. I 'bout popped some kid in the mall the other night who was pacing me. I gave him the look a time or two, and just when I was about to drop the hammer his mom turned the stroller into Baby Gap.

He got lucky.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:07 PM   #18
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Dial it up to 400W and ride him off my wheel.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:17 PM   #19
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You annoyance is totally understandable. I really enjoy those solitary evening rides, sometimes just I don't want to be bothered either.

If I were on my geared road bike I'd put the hammer down and ride him off my wheel, then resumed the solitary moment. But since I generally commute on a single speed, dramatic and sustained accelerations can be difficult to achieve, so in that case I'd probably sit up and let him get out in front for a minute or 2 and resumed my ride.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:21 PM   #20
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Get over it. People can ride 5-10 feet away from you. It's a public road.

(Now if the person had actually been drafting you, and you were annoyed for whatever reason, my post would be: What the hell's wrong with you? Haven't you heard of politely asking a person to stop?)
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Old 01-20-09, 02:28 PM   #21
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Racing ... you are doin' it wrong.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:40 PM   #22
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Not trying to hijack the thread, but I had a simalar thing happen a couple of years ago. This guy was drafting me and I didn't know it. A new spur on the MUP opened up that I wanted to try and I grabbed some brakes and BAM. He hits me and I ride out a front wheel wheelie and he goes down. He was pissed at me at first but then calmed down. I didn't know this guy at all, I had seen him a while earlier behind me about 20 yards. I assumed I dropped him.

I guess I should get a mirror. I don't like someone I don't know or ride with drafting me. Anyone else have this happen? I guess if you see it what do you say? I don't draft riders I don't know and I expect the same.

Just wondering what is the consensous.

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Old 01-20-09, 03:32 PM   #23
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Well, the whole thing before you passed was a bit weird and with that in mind it would be annoying to have him start drafting.

That being said, I've never seen what the big deal is with people behind you. If you come in ahead of somebody and your pace is about the same it's an effort to NOT draft them. It ends up being an effort to go around, but if you maintain your normal pace, you're in the slip stream and tend to run up on them. I see no reason to hit the brakes. Drafting someone I don't know worries me, being drafted doesn't.

That being said, I don't seem to get in nearly the tight scrapes most folks around here do. JoeyBike has 5 close calls every day. I have 5 close calls in 2 or 3 years.
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Old 01-20-09, 03:43 PM   #24
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I'd have made a joke or struck up a conversation with the guy. I like solitude, but I also like hearing myself talk.

+1 to mirrors.
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Old 01-20-09, 03:45 PM   #25
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I think sometimes "ego" takes over and some guys will speed up a bit when they're about to be overtaken just so the other rider won't think they're so slow. As for him being about 10 feet or so behind you, like the others have said, I wouldn't count that as actually drafting. Maybe the guy isn't a very experienced rider and he wanted to draft but was afraid to get any closer.
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