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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 10-01-06, 11:35 AM   #1
BearsPaw
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Drafting Etiquette

I rode in the MS150 a couple weekends ago with a group of people. Thousands of people ride in this event. We split up a bit during the actual ride, but there were a couple of people from my group that I stuck with most of the time. While riding, we would occasionally come upon people we didn't know, going a comfortable speed (for us), and start drafting them. Is it considered rude to do this without asking permission? I felt like asking them, but I thought it would get confusing if I started yelling at the person in front of me in the line.
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Old 10-01-06, 12:33 PM   #2
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You don't need to yell. You ride up alongside them and ask if they mind if you ride with them for a while.

As for the "rules" - you'll find plenty of people who don't mind this at all, but also plenty who'll get mighty steamed about it. Definitely better to ask if you care about courtesy.
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Old 10-01-06, 01:49 PM   #3
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If you don't ask and they don't know you are there, if they slam on the brakes you have no possibility of stopping in time.

Always ask, you should not draft someone unless you trust them anyway. They need to know what to do when you are behind them. Look around the road bike or road racing forum for a lot more info. Drafting strangers is dangerous.
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Old 10-01-06, 02:33 PM   #4
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You're talking about a pretty major group ride, and it will be normal for groups to link up at various stages during it. Usually a "Howdee... mind if we tag on behind?" will do the trick, but you should really ride up alongside to ask... a yell from behind, especially if you have crept up without gearchanges and stuff, or the riders are deep in conversation or concentration can frighten the living daylights out of them.

As mentioned by others, your speed might be the same, but their skills might not match yours. Things like standing to pedal in a pack to relieve the butt can cause serious problems if a rider doesn't get it right (gearshift down and stand while maintaining exactly the same speed is an art). Even retrieving and replacing a water bottle will give a clue to group riding skills.

It might be worth discussing about pulling, too. One rotation will pretty quickly determine if there are any skill deficiencies in this area... if there is a trend for the new front rider to speed up at all, forget it. Communication with hand signals or by voice about obstacles ahead, or changes in direction and speed, is vitally important.

The most important thing to remember if you do tag on is that *you* will be the one who goes down if someone up front makes a bad move. So you will need to concentrate very hard on wheel-to-wheel distance and avoid overlap until you are satisfied you can be comfortable with the group you have joined. If you aren't comfortable, pass, or drop back a bit.
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Old 10-03-06, 12:18 AM   #5
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Related newbie question....

Was out on Saturday for my regular solo 50k, there was a strong wind (by Singapore standards) and a group latched on behind me, ( I am big and round so must make a decent windbreak ).

I had no problem with them being there - and no they didn't "ask"....

Problem was - when I wanted to slow down and let someone else take the lead, I wasn't sure how to communicate this - Just slowing down gradually just slowed us all down - tried waving someone forward but they all just stayed on my tail... is there a universal signal that I don't know?

(When I ride with my friends things just tend to work themselves out as we read each other well enough.)

(When I ride with my wife I always stay behind, she's much fitter than me and even after all these years, I just love looking at her legs!)
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Old 10-03-06, 01:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollin
Problem was - when I wanted to slow down and let someone else take the lead, I wasn't sure how to communicate this - Just slowing down gradually just slowed us all down - tried waving someone forward but they all just stayed on my tail... is there a universal signal that I don't know?
Usually a flick of the elbow outwards is used to let people know you're peeling off the rotation and falling back to the rear. Bear in mind that this isn't always understood... especially by newbie or unseasoned riders who haven't had experience in a paceline.

If you're simply braking or slowing down then you can use the left-arm out with forearm angled downwards to signal braking or slowing. And of course you can also shout out "braking" or "slowing".
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Old 10-03-06, 01:11 AM   #7
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Thanks - guess it's my fault for living here for 6 years and not learning the Malay, Hokien and Tamil words for "I'm Done!"
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