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Old 07-18-12, 09:21 PM   #1
john4789
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Fast Rollerblader Drafted Me Home

So, today was a head wind heading home on the trail. To boot, my work building is renovating so I have to lock up on the street these days. This means riding the used/beater mountain bike instead of my normal FG touring bike.

I mention these things as they add up to unusual slowness.

My average speed checking endomondo was 16-17mph. Not bad for a head wind. ALL THAT EXCEPT A ROLLERBLADER WAS ON MY ASS FOR 4 MILES! I could not believe this guy's speed!

The guy was drafting me and we passed all of the cyclists on the trail today. I thought he was going to pass me if I didn't keep pushing it!

This got me thinking, have any of you been passed by a rollerblader commuting? It happens, no shame, there are some seriously fast guys on skates....
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Old 07-18-12, 09:26 PM   #2
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A friend on a nice tandem with a speedometer measured how fast I can go on blades once... With a smooth concrete footpath I was able to maintain about 40km/h for a few minutes (and then we reached a section with not-so-smooth concrete and had to slow down).

And I don't even have proper high speed skates. I've heard of people hitting 100km/h down steep hills.

With good bearings/wheels, it's possible to get a lot of speed on these things - especially if you know how line them up just right (at those speeds, the slightest angle will send you face first into the ground).
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Old 07-18-12, 09:48 PM   #3
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A friend on a nice tandem with a speedometer measured how fast I can go on blades once... With a smooth concrete footpath I was able to maintain about 40km/h for a few minutes (and then we reached a section with not-so-smooth concrete and had to slow down).

And I don't even have proper high speed skates. I've heard of people hitting 100km/h down steep hills.

With good bearings/wheels, it's possible to get a lot of speed on these things - especially if you know how line them up just right (at those speeds, the slightest angle will send you face first into the ground).
Day-em! That is fast! I've never encountered a speed skater before but I guess it wasn't all that fast. I won't feel so bad for not dropping him quicker next time
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Old 07-18-12, 09:54 PM   #4
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This is funny - in the sense that I saw someone doing this on the weekend behind a cyclist, going the opposite direction of me on the MUP. Shortly after I saw a fairly slow cyclist being "chased" (hard to call it drafting at that speed) by a very fast runner/jogger (sorry, off a bicycle I don't run or jog unless being chased, I can't tell the difference). We where talking about this earlier today and my wife mentioned when she first started commuting she was passed by a roller-blader at one point. She's much faster now.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:06 PM   #5
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I would like to submit for the official record that no cyclists passed me during this ordeal. No-pass, must-pass rules were in effect and followed the rules for the duration of 'the chase'.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:32 PM   #6
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Never had a rollerblader draft me, and if I ever did, I know of some nice loose gravel trails to take to put an end to the drafting issue.
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Old 07-19-12, 02:36 AM   #7
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A year or two ago, on a night ride, I had a rollerblader draft me for a couple of laps on Hains Point in DC. He asked first, and I was cool with it. I kept to about a steady 19mph pace, and he had no trouble keeping up. I was probably going too slow for him
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Old 07-19-12, 02:59 AM   #8
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Rollerblades still exist?
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Old 07-19-12, 05:53 AM   #9
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Never had a rollerblader draft me, and if I ever did, I know of some nice loose gravel trails to take to put an end to the drafting issue.
Why the animosity for a drafter? If I was riding and someone on roller blades was drafting me, I would have no issue with that.

That said, on flat ground, I've averaged 12 mph on a park trail (probably 10 years ago)
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Old 07-19-12, 06:00 AM   #10
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One way to compare road bikes and roller blades is as wheeled vehicles with the same engine but different transmissions. The main advantage of a road bike is that it has substantially more efficient gearing than a guy on roller blades. A way to put the point is that a roller blader is, transmission-wise, the rough equivalent of a cyclist on a fixed gear machine with a low gear, or, at least, a lower gear than is used by faster road bikers pushing along the flats.

Still, roller bladers are capable of some impressive speeds on the pavement, definitely.

A quick look at the world records for inline speed skating on the road here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inline_speed_skating#Road

The world record for 1k on the road is 77 seconds, which is 29 mph. The world record for 10k comes out to 27 mph.

These records are a little bit slower than the equivalent records for ice skating, which are 1k at ~33 mph and 10k at ~29 mph, but not by as much as I would have guessed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ng_records#Men

Good roller blades must be pretty efficient to come this close on pavement to blades on ice.

These are the world records, of course, so even a well-trained roller blader you might run into on an urban path will be significantly slower than this. Still, a well-trained blader on good blades can be expected to keep up impressive speeds on pavement for quite a while, Abhibeckert's 40kph being a striking case in point. So, yeah, some bladers will be faster than recreational cyclists or commuters cruising along.
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Old 07-19-12, 06:53 AM   #11
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There was a rollerblader absolutely hauling alongside one of our group rides on a loop MUT a few weekends ago. She kept it up for over 14 miles, too, and it was stifiling hot out. Impressive. I was distracted just watching her. I cannot rollerblade for beans.
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Old 07-19-12, 10:42 AM   #12
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I could easily see a rollerblader dropping me when I'm on my loaded commuter. It has yet to happen, but once I was riding my road bike carrying nothing when I just inched by a young woman on rollerblades. As I passed, I remarked that she was going 17 mph. She laughed effortlessly and acted like it was nothing. I sure regretted passing her.
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Old 09-07-12, 03:29 PM   #13
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Back when I was a solid skater (hence the handle), I could keep up a good speed on my skates. I even passed a guy on a climb, I mentioned it was my first time passing a bike on my skates, he said it was his first time being passed. The gearing on skates uphill is the worst.

The only challenge I had when the super rare drafting occasion occurred (like twice in 10 years) was that of how to keep from crashing into the cyclist as I was pacing him if he slowed a little. Bearings in those skates are super efficient, and the worst drag would be rolling resistance which is better than a bike due to the solid poly wheels except over rough surfaces. So the draft of a steady biker is a dream for a skater, especially upwind!

I'd recommend telling the drafting skater to go ahead and put a hand on your back if they find themselves gaining, it'd be to both your benefit, and definitely better than the skater braking or standing up losing some draft to keep from crashing into you. It's relatively easy for a solid skater like that to end up straddling your rear wheel if they find you to be stable, and you don't have cargo there. I know both times I had a chance to draft someone, there were moments where I wish I could have just given them a little push to keep from crashing into them.
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Old 09-07-12, 03:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by john4789 View Post
So, today was a head wind heading home on the trail. To boot, my work building is renovating so I have to lock up on the street these days. This means riding the used/beater mountain bike instead of my normal FG touring bike.

I mention these things as they add up to unusual slowness.

My average speed checking endomondo was 16-17mph. Not bad for a head wind. ALL THAT EXCEPT A ROLLERBLADER WAS ON MY ASS FOR 4 MILES! I could not believe this guy's speed!

The guy was drafting me and we passed all of the cyclists on the trail today. I thought he was going to pass me if I didn't keep pushing it!

This got me thinking, have any of you been passed by a rollerblader commuting? It happens, no shame, there are some seriously fast guys on skates....
It doesn't take much if you are sailing in another's headwind-busting draft. It is amusing to see the recent rollerblade comeback though...I think I had a pair when I was 6 or so.
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Old 09-07-12, 04:16 PM   #15
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don think I would like that, I'm not at all sure how well the rollerdrafter would stop if I had to brake for something.
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Old 09-07-12, 04:43 PM   #16
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... ALL THAT EXCEPT A ROLLERBLADER WAS ON MY ASS FOR 4 MILES! I could not believe this guy's speed!... I thought he was going to pass me if I didn't keep pushing it!.
You should have let him take the lead and do the work for awhile while you got to rest and hang on his tail.
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Old 09-07-12, 08:01 PM   #17
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I did a century last Monday, and there was a rollerblader who was drafting his wife for the entire way. We averaged 16-18 mph. He said he's gone up to 125 miles at a time. Looked pretty effortless the way he was doing it.
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Old 09-07-12, 08:12 PM   #18
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At our local veloway skaters are allowed. Occasionally a rollerblade team will come practice. They tend to all be skinny, tall and very fit. They form a single line drafting each other and ABSOLUTELY HAUL ASS. The formation reminds me of a very fast snake. They are something else.

Don in Austin

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Old 09-07-12, 09:04 PM   #19
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Rollerblades still exist?
That's what I thought....did he have a mullet and leg warmers?
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Old 09-08-12, 09:55 PM   #20
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So, today was a head wind heading home on the trail. To boot, my work building is renovating so I have to lock up on the street these days. This means riding the used/beater mountain bike instead of my normal FG touring bike.

I mention these things as they add up to unusual slowness.

My average speed checking endomondo was 16-17mph. Not bad for a head wind. ALL THAT EXCEPT A ROLLERBLADER WAS ON MY ASS FOR 4 MILES! I could not believe this guy's speed!

The guy was drafting me and we passed all of the cyclists on the trail today. I thought he was going to pass me if I didn't keep pushing it!

This got me thinking, have any of you been passed by a rollerblader commuting? It happens, no shame, there are some seriously fast guys on skates....
That happened to me once in Bakersfield Calif. I was on the path cruising and saw this rollerblader cruising a long a great pace, so I cranked it up and got behind him for about two miles...he and I were doing 20mph! No head wind though, but still that's fast. So I pulled along side of him and asked he ever had any idea how fast he was going, he said no, so I told him, he was shocked! The weird thing was he looked like he was just loafing along and not trying to go fast. We actually talked for about 2 or 3 miles and he never got winded while talking.
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