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  1. #1
    gwd
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    Getting a boost from motor vehicles

    Yesterday I saw a cyclist downtown hold onto a cab as he pedaled along, it looked like he was getting a pull. I've seen cyclists in foeign countries grab onto passing trucks. Are there any tricks to making this a safe practice? When a truck passes me going up hill at just slightly more than my speed I'm tempted to grab hold but I seem to remember "officer friendly" from my 3rd grade bike safety class give a stern warning against this particular move. Is it for adults only?

  2. #2
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    It's an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do, as anyone who has ever fallen under the wheels of a truck will tell you. The only way to make it really safe is not to do it. When you see it being done in other countries, what you're actually seeing is Darwin at work…

    - Wil

  3. #3
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    skitching is fun. practice with friends. perform at your own risk.

    - seriously, It's stupid and I don't condone it

  4. #4
    Senior Member asterisk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    It's an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to do, as anyone who has ever fallen under the wheels of a truck will tell you. The only way to make it really safe is not to do it. When you see it being done in other countries, what you're actually seeing is Darwin at work…

    - Wil
    Don't listen to this guy. Urban cycling is an art. If you can manage to ride through the street at rush hour without a problem, you can skitch out of an intersection for 5 seconds or so.

    Dudes who use their actual name for this forum handle don't seem to have too much fun. =P Of course its f-ing dangerous, don't be an idiot and you won't get killed. If you ever feel like something isn't right, let go and turn away... pretty simple; if you don't know how to understand when something doesn't feel right then you shouldn't be riding a bike in traffic anyway. Sometimes its important to feel like a badass.

  5. #5
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Are there any tricks to making this a safe practice?
    I'm with those who say the answer to this question is is "don't do it".

    I've run plenty of stop signs and red lights, (and not at particularly slow speeds sometimes) and I like to get around quickly, but holding on to a truck strikes me as carrying a somewhat excessive risk of death.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  6. #6
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    I'd rather draft it so close I could touch it. I've leaned against buses and cars as they sandwich me but I've only grabbed on twice. Once being turned on as I'm going down hill....hands of roof, screaming. Other time being squeezed by school bus into parked cars, i grabbed the window frame of bus so I could lean in nice and close 'til he saw me and moved the f%^k over. I've never done it on purpose though, skitchin', despite all the dangerous stupid things I've done in my life.

  7. #7
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd
    I seem to remember "officer friendly" from my 3rd grade bike safety class give a stern warning against this particular move. Is it for adults only?
    Officer Friendly was right on this one. The highest award you can get in this sport is the Darwin Award.

  8. #8
    gwd
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    So, it has a name "to skitch". I googled it and it looks like a skater word. I don't get how you'd end up under the motor vehicle's wheels. Maybe it increases your likelihood of crashing and ending up under a following vehicle's wheels?

    The guy downtown seemed to be going about the same speed as the cab and just leaned down on it. In India the bikers would grab on to trucks and really get going. They wouldn't go far but would get a big boost as the truck accelerated.

  9. #9
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Can pull you right over if you aren't going just right. We used to skitch on the back of school busses waaaaaaay back and slide around on our boots....lol Til you hit a piece of non-snowy roadway.

  10. #10
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    I think skitching is pretty stupid, but it DOES make you look like a badass, and I've resisted the urge to grab onto a bus once or twice.

    doing it to a biker bud is actually great for laughs, as long as you're close enough buds that you can both crash to the ground and laugh about it.
    rock hard, ride fixed.

  11. #11
    Senior Member iBarna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd
    Are there any tricks to making this a safe practice?
    I don't think so, cars and bikes just don't mix well. Stay away from cars as much as you can is my motto.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    It's also illegal in some states and cities. If you really want that "boost" then maybe you should look into putting some sort of motorized help on your bike.

  13. #13
    ... thelung's Avatar
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    Dont try to grab a car going faster than you, grab it while going the same speed and wait for it to accelerate or pull you at that speed. You have to pull away from the vehicle fairly hard because your bike will want to pull towards it. I have only done it a few times and yeah it is sketchy but not impossible. I would try it with a friends car first if you are going to do it at all.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    The way I see it, if you do that, you're putting your life into the drivers hands (more so than normal). If he decides to suddenly stop, you keep going forward, all kinds of things can happen. Not only is there the "Physics" aspect to look at, but also the "Road Rage" aspect. I know that if a cyclist were to hold onto a car while I was piloting it, I would be pretty ticked off. Fortunately, I'm not the type who will get out and decide to bash someone's brains out for being dumb. Unfortunately, not everyone on this old world is as nice as I am. Some might just try and "teach you a lesson" by either accelerating hard, braking hard, or doing something else to try and get you into a wreck. Others might stop the car, get out, and give you a good beating (or shooting). People can be unpredictable. Don't risk it. Listen to officer friendly, because an annoyed driver won't always be friendly.

    Edit: BTW, I applaud you for remembering the advice you recieved so long ago. Too many people would just block it out all together and not give such "juvenile" advice any thought.
    Pythagorean Theorum: 24 words. Lord's Prayer: 66 words. 10 Commandments: 179 words. Gettysburg Address: 286 words. Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words. U.S. Government Regulations on the Sale of Cabbage: 26,911 words.

  15. #15
    Señor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    It can be useful, when a vehicle starts to drift into your space, to use their momentum to help keep them from cutting you off, or running you over. Of course, it's already a survival situation at that point. Still, it's a handy skill to have when they are already on top of you and you need to steer out of the danger zone. It's not a good thing to do just for a joy ride IMO, though.

  16. #16
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Now drafting on the other hand is just plain fun!!!!

  17. #17
    ppc
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    Well, I've seen riders getting pulled by cabs in NYC, but it'd never happen here in Europe as our cars aren't tall enough for that. Not to mention taxi drivers here are notoriously irate and combative: they'd stop at the first opportunity and beat the living daylight out of the cyclist for sure.

    I do however get help from busses. Depending on the make/model of the bus, some offer purchase for a hand at the back without any sharp edge, and those that do (the newer Renaults are great for that) are fairly safe to get pulled with. Older busses, like the old Van Hools have bits you can grab, but they tend to be sharp or narrow, and generally just a great opportunity to get your fingers ripped off if anything happens before you can release.

    Many newer busses have no protruding bit or recesses at all though, and I suspect it's on purpose, either to prevent cyclists from freeriding, or to improve styling or aerodynamics. Either way, there is a great, safe way to get pulled by these busses: a used magnetic CB antenna base with a wooden handle screwed onto it : when a bus is about to depart, pull the thing from the front bag and stick it on the bus' rear panel at an angle, so the thing doesn't go "klang" and alert the driver, and let yourself get pulled. To release twist it sideway to shear off the magnet. The magnet has just enough oomph to pull you along, but will come off if some hard force yanks it, so there's no risk of getting stuck.

  18. #18
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    I personally don't do it.....not worth it if I wreck. If I were driving and if someone does it to me, I'll just hit the brakes while WOT (this keeps the speed consistent). Then I'll just release the brakes and continue the WOT and see if his arms will come out of his socket.

  19. #19
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadd
    I personally don't do it.....not worth it if I wreck. If I were driving and if someone does it to me, I'll just hit the brakes while WOT (this keeps the speed consistent). Then I'll just release the brakes and continue the WOT and see if his arms will come out of his socket.
    What's WOT?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    sounds crazy.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    What's WOT?
    Wide Open Throttle aka flooring it aka pedal to the metal

  22. #22
    Senior Member attercoppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppc
    Either way, there is a great, safe way to get pulled by these busses: a used magnetic CB antenna base with a wooden handle screwed onto it : when a bus is about to depart, pull the thing from the front bag and stick it on the bus' rear panel at an angle, so the thing doesn't go "klang" and alert the driver, and let yourself get pulled. To release twist it sideway to shear off the magnet. The magnet has just enough oomph to pull you along, but will come off if some hard force yanks it, so there's no risk of getting stuck.
    This is very similar to what Kouriers do in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Except they're on skateboards, and riding on the freeway.

  23. #23
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    with those telescopic smart wheels and magnetic grabbers..... awesome book.

  24. #24
    Fat Bird Enthusiast misteralz's Avatar
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    If I caught someone doing this to me, I'd open the door wide and slam on the brakes, guaranteed they'd never do it again. Because they'd likely be crippled.

  25. #25
    EuroJosh's Avatar
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    Then the world would be a safer place, with you rotting in jail.

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