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  1. #1
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    Why so upset about drafting?

    Can someone please explain why some folks get so up in arms about drafting (aka wheel sucking), while using a heavily traveled commuting trail? He's the deal. Today and also a month or so ago, I was passed by someone while commuting on a trail. After passing me they pretty much continued at tempo to what I was riding. So, I draft off of them assuming the are my level and we could take turns. But, no less than a mile later each individual started to get all pi$$ed off, try to waive me off and yell and scream.

    What's the deal? Am I crazy? They passed me and then basically plopped right in front of me. Am I to stop dead, wait a minute so they can get far enough ahead of me? I mean what gives. I've been a commuter for close to 12 years now, and I NEVER have a problem with people on wheel. It's just common courtesy, with the knowledge that some day you'll need a pull.

    PS, I ALWAYS thank folks who give me a pull and to a man/woman they appreciate being able to help.

    I'm confused.

  2. #2
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    on MUPs (or really anywhere for that matter) i won't get closer than 5 bike lengths behind a stranger.

    drafting is a relationship built on trust; i don't trust strangers.

    if a rider is holding me back, then i pass.

    if a rider is trying to draft me, i'll slow to let them pass.

    i generally ride fast enough that i rarely encounter either situation.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 07-10-12 at 09:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    If they passed you and then slowed down I don't know. If you sneak up behind them and then latch on without them knowing you're back there, I could sort of see it because if they don't know you, you could be a danger to them if your wheels overlap and then they make a sudden move to get around a pothole or road debris without knowing you're back there (or suddenly break and your ride up on them). But if they pass you then slow down, they should know you're back there.

    In general though, I think the drafter is at more risk than the draftee.

    Some people also just like their personal space and if you've invaded their comfort zone, they may just want you out. A lot of us ride for the alone time (if I commute by public transit instead I'm packed in like a sardine in a bus, train or subway most of the time; I interact with people all day at work; and I'm busy with the kids as soon as I get home). For some of us, cycling isn't a social activity, it's a time to decompress.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  4. #4
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    Fair enough Steely. I'll use your rule of thumb from now on. It just all seems so petty to me really.

  5. #5
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Also, unless you're doing 20 mph or so, the benefits gained by drafting are minimal at best, so there's no point for drafting me (or me drafting someone) on most of my commutes unless there's a great wind.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  6. #6
    Senior Member jmccain's Avatar
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    I had a guy draft me commuting to college. I came to a stop (at a stop sign) and he plowed into me slicing my leg. Since then I've been wary about draftees. Maybe something like this happened to your guy.

    The odd thing about my incident is the guy went down. As he was laying on the ground, I asked him what he thought he was doing when some girls gave me a hard time for harassing him.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    My point exactly himespau. And yes he knew I was back there. And yes, it was clear I was not threat to him. But, like mentioned before, I'll just gap it from now on. But, it's still seems silly to me.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    And also, yes, I was going b/w 20-22mph. So, there is something to be gained there. But, I really don't care. It's just that we were both essentially going the same pace. If the guy had some issue with me behind him how about he get behind me. Like I said, I have no issues with pulling.

    Anyway, thanks for the other side of the fence perspective. I may either keep my distance from now on or at least ask if ppl are cool with me sitting on for a while. But can now appreciate what may be going in these ppl's heads. Though I still don't fully understand it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Yeah I don't want some stranger all up my butt either. Same way on the highway in my car. Pass me dammit! Don't ride on my damn bumper!
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  10. #10
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Around here, commuter drafting is a pretty common practice and accepted by most. If someone indicates they don't want you there, pass or back off. If drafting is in any way unsafe or unwelcome, cease and desist. If someone gets all aggravated about it, which is extremely rare, it is indicative of a personality disorder. The only time I don't like being drafted is if the drafter has a really bright light that casts a shadow in front of me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    As a newbie I can say that the draftee may not know the difference between drafting and tailgating...
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  12. #12
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    But Patrick, in all fairness, he passed me and sat down in front of me. It was clear he was pulling some kinda ego trip and when he saw I was behind him he got all upset that he couldn't "drop me". Like Alan said, it seems more like a personality disorder. But, again like I said. I'll take all these points under advisement.

    PS, this was in the DMV area, so Alan just confirmed my point.

  13. #13
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spagball View Post
    But Patrick, in all fairness, he passed me and sat down in front of me. It was clear he was pulling some kinda ego trip and when he saw I was behind him he got all upset that he couldn't "drop me". Like Alan said, it seems more like a personality disorder. But, again like I said. I'll take all these points under advisement.

    PS, this was in the DMV area, so Alan just confirmed my point.
    I understand your situation, but I was saying under normal circumstances I wouldn't want someone on my tail.
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  14. #14
    Randomhead
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    I wouldn't draft on someone I didn't know for fear they might have a personality disorder

  15. #15
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Drafting is generally a race or group-ride activity, IMHO.

    If a stranger starts drafting me and hugging my wheel for a while, I start to get peeved - and here's why:
    When you're not expecting a drafter, having one back there is like having a deer fly constantly buzzing around your head... Always there in the peripheral.
    What If I need to brake suddenly, or dodge an obstacle? Having some stranger right behind me is very unnerving - did they see me stop suddenly? How good are their brakes and reactions?
    So what was a nice bike ride is now occupied with thoughts of this person creaming me from behind if something runs in front of me.

    I don't race, and I don't participate in group-rides or any cycling activity where drafting is a concern - I suspect most people I see commuting on the paths don't either, just my two cents worth, but probably a lot of people don't like someone they don't know riding very close to them due to this, and they may not even realize you're "drafting" and not just trying to be a jerk and ride their wheel.

  16. #16
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    Some people are just jerks. That being said, I usually don't come across situations like this when I'm (rarely) on a MUP. If I'm coming up on someone and I'm nearly maxed and barely catching them, etiquette tells me to drop speed a bit and hang off at least until I'm ready to sprint past and put some distance between the two of us. Sometimes when people ride really close behind me (I rarely go fast enough on a MUP commute home/to work to benefit from drafting) it's aggravating. Sometimes I just want to cruise along and having someone that close makes me feel the need to push it. Sounds like that one guy is just being silly though. Some people feel like they always HAVE to be in the front so odds are he busted it out to pass you and then realized he couldn't sustain without realizing you were hauling at a sustainable speed for your abiilty. ? Who knows!

  17. #17
    Senior Member scorch's Avatar
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    I dont see it as a big deal either. I think people are extremely territorial and need their space. Ive been drafted tons and i actually like the fact im helping other riders out. It makes me think im a good rider and i try a little harder. But some people are on the other side of that thinking, i can see why someone thinks its rude. But its hardly worth getting your panties in a bunch over.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    1.) Try pulling for a change, you'll see why it pisses some people off.

    2.) If I know you even at least a little I probably wouldn't care, but I've had total strangers who were yo-yoing down the road suddenly jump on my tail when I passed them. The first time it happened, I couldn't figure out why it felt like I was riding through cement, until I looked back and found that I was dragging the yo-yo brigade behind me, at a much high pace than they seemingly could maintain on their own.

    Planned Group rides?, fine, I'll take a turn pulling, but if I'm riding solo for a purpose, like trying to beat a time or distance, OR even getting getting someplace before a deadline, I don't feel like dragging a boat anchor behind me.

    3.) Plus, I don't expect to get a bicycle enema from an unknown rider when I'm out riding. At least have the courtesy to announce yourself if you don't have a standing arrangement.
    Last edited by SteamingAlong; 07-10-12 at 10:34 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Did the person that passed you actually slow down, or did you speed up slightly.
    Sometimes ego is on the other shoe.
    I know I have an urge to step it up if someone passes me, and have to restrain myself a bit.

  20. #20
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    Is it possible that at first you were going slower than he and once he passed you you picked up pace THEN drafted off him? I have noticed that I sometimes will speed up a bit once someone passes me, subconsciously but it does happen. If you were both going the same pace then how did he catch and pass you?

    For me, I would not be too thrilled if someone latched onto my wheel. I ride alone all the time so I may not remember someone was back there and not announce my intentions so clearly then it could be a huge wreck. Besides I am cruising at 13 mph or so no big benefit to draft me.
    Last edited by ckaspar; 07-10-12 at 10:43 AM.
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  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    PS, I ALWAYS thank folks who give me a pull and to a man/woman they appreciate being able to help.
    if you end up on the same streets & route with familiar faces, daily,

    then take a turn at the front..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-10-12 at 02:17 PM.

  22. #22
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteamingAlong View Post
    1.) Try pulling for a change, you'll why it pisses some people off.

    2.) If I know you even at least a little I probably wouldn't care, but I've had total strangers who were yo-yoing down the road suddenly jump on my tail when I passed them. The first time it happened, I couldn't figure out why it felt like I was riding through cement, until I looked back and found that I was dragging the yo-yo brigade behind me, at a much high pace than they seemingly could maintain on their own.

    Planned Group rides?, fine, I'll take a turn pulling, but if I'm riding solo for a purpose, like trying to beat a time or distance, OR even getting getting someplace before a deadline, I don't feel like dragging a boat anchor behind me.

    3.) Plus, I don't expect to get a bicycle enema from an unknown rider when I'm out riding. At least have the courtesy to announce yourself if you don't have a standing arrangement.
    1.) Like I said earlier, I don't have ANY problem pulling. In fact I end up doing at least 2-4 times a week. And as other's mentioned I actually take pleasure out of the feeling I'm helping someone.

    2.) I again point out, in this situation I was riding tempo he passed and then got upset I was behind him. HE PASSED ME. If he has some issue with unknowns behind him then stay behind. Like someone said, some folks just want to in front all the time. To continue with the flawed car analogy ppl are using, it's like sitting in the left lane going 55 only after having passing someone going 65.

    3.) It was clear the dude knew I was back there, b/c again...he passed me. I did not sneak up on him.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Stealth drafting on a commute? Get off my butt. Not on a MUP. You are in someones personal space.

  24. #24
    Junior Member Spagball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    if you end up on the same route with familiar faces, daily ,
    then take a turn at the front..
    Believe me I will and will continue to do so.

    But, I bet he'll just get all pi$$ed. And also 9 out 10 times I don't see these same riders again, b/c it's only day or week of the year they came outside b/c it's either too hot or cold all the other months of the year. But, this has gotten so out of control.

    It's all really silly. But, the lesson I've learned here is that there are some really fragile egos out there and it's best to just sit up and leave these folks alone to ride in there nihilistic existence. It'll be much easier on my constitution.

    Again thanks to all for their various opinions. I'm done.

  25. #25
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    There's a guy I see every so often on the CCT riding at about my pace or slightly faster. He starts spitting if you come anywhere near. Definitely steer clear of these types.

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