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Drafted by a stranger....is this common?

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Drafted by a stranger....is this common?

Old 08-15-15, 06:37 PM
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m00nset
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Drafted by a stranger....is this common?

Hello BikeForums folks,

Today I was on my typical commute from work. Panniers on the back, casual clothing etc. I ride a road bike and commute regulary, I'd call myself a fairly casual commuter. Not super fast, not slow either.

So I'm on the home stretch (I'm within 2 miles of home) and pushing a bit. I pass a fellow cyclist on an uphill. Middle-aged guy in kit, looked fairly serious. I gave a smile and wave as I passed on the uphill. I crested the hill and start cruising down the other side, pushing a bit as I'm getting close to home. I get to the bottom of the hill and the road levels out. At this point, I look behind me (car check) for the first time since passing the guy. I am surprised to see this guy LOCKED IN behind me about a foot off of my rear wheel. I was really surprised, but I went with it!

Finally, only a half mile later I signal and make my left turn on to my road and the guy continues ahead. I give a nod and a "have a nice ride", but barely get a nod in return.

Is this commonplace? Have you experienced this before? I thought it was strange, but maybe I'm just overthinking something that isn't that out of the ordinary. If anything, I thought it was pretty funny for some odd reason!
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Old 08-15-15, 07:00 PM
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It happens but I think it's pretty rare that someone would draft a commuter with panniers. Think of it as a compliment.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:15 PM
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It happens a lot. But, never draft anyone you don't know, or who does not know you are there. If the front rider slams on the brakes you will hit him hard, before you get your hands to squeeze the brake levers.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:23 PM
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Asswipe move. Period. You don't know who he is, and he doesn't know who you are. Skill levels are unknown. Maybe you're gassed or otherwise don't want the responsibility of riding carefully because there's someone inches off your rear wheel.

Just latching onto a stranger's wheel is imposing yourself on that person's ride. Ride your own damn ride.

I predict that there will soon be some self-identifying in this thread...
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Old 08-15-15, 07:26 PM
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Maybe he mistook your smile and wave for The Look, and was just saving energy to drope the hamer on you, but you foiled the plan by turning off.

Kinda creepy close to home though.
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Old 08-15-15, 07:33 PM
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I've read about this kind of stuff a lot on this forum, but I've never, ever had that happen to me. I'm not sure what I'd do I that did happen.
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Old 08-15-15, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
Asswipe move. Period. You don't know who he is, and he doesn't know who you are. Skill levels are unknown. Maybe you're gassed or otherwise don't want the responsibility of riding carefully because there's someone inches off your rear wheel.

Just latching onto a stranger's wheel is imposing yourself on that person's ride. Ride your own damn ride.

I predict that there will soon be some self-identifying in this thread...
+1
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Old 08-15-15, 09:09 PM
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Happens all the time around here in certain areas where it is safe to ride in a small paceline.
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Old 08-15-15, 09:33 PM
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Totally not cool.
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Old 08-15-15, 09:37 PM
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I never draft a stranger. But, I have had people do me like that. It irks, and I give it my all to drop those people.
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Old 08-15-15, 09:55 PM
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Yes it was strange. It was definitely startling to turn around the dude is RIGHT THERE haha!!
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Old 08-15-15, 10:07 PM
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I've had this happen to me many times on my daily commutes. I generally try to turn my commute into a pseudo-workout, so I'm usually cruising much faster than most other people on the road. The occasional ******* will grab my wheel, just as the OP described, and even try to slingshot off of me. This usually does not end well and I pass them again in a couple hundred feet.

My worst experience was when one guy (silently) grabbed my wheel after I passed him, and gave me a surprise sprint attack out of nowhere. I caught back up to him, only to have him grab my wheel again and give me ANOTHER sprint attack. This happened about three more times. The last time I caught back up to him, he looked at me and said he was doing intervals... At that moment I wish I had a pair of nunchucks to hit him square across the face.

Totally not cool.
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Old 08-15-15, 10:21 PM
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Not common. Getting passed, that's common
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Old 08-16-15, 01:41 AM
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Happens to me all the time but mostly in the summertime when the newbs come out. On my commuter I have a mirror and I'll see some guy I just passed on a serious road bike with platform pedals draft me - a commuter hybrid bike with dual panniers. I ride a steady pace so I'm not too concerned but it is a bit annoying to always see them behind me when I'm checking for cars.
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Old 08-16-15, 02:24 AM
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A bike with panniers sounds like a decent bike to draft if you're winded. Perhaps he was taking a breather. And as you said, you were gassing it a bit. Or maybe you hurt his little feelings by saying hello! Hehe. A lot of bikers out here are like that. I say hello and they say nothing back. As if a friendly gesture is suddenly a challenge because we're both on bikes... Weird.

Personally I don't mind if someone drafts me. I always try to push myself on my commutes, so being able to compare my fitness level to someone else's on my daily ride is kinda cool.

One time on my way home I had passed a profi looking guy on a souped up carbon cannondale with R-Sys wheels whilst on my wifes 2007 Trek 5000 with standard Bontrager race-lite wheels. He didn't like that so much so he and I were back and forth for a while. Never were we drafting each-other though. I always stayed next to him as I thought it safer and for sure more "fair." That was a fun ride. One of my favorites.
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Old 08-16-15, 02:37 AM
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Have been drafted by folks I don't know, and I have (on rare occasions) also drafted folks I don't know. I try not to make a habit of it. Fact is, when you have no idea who the person is, it's even money that person has no clue how to ride in train. Have had someone once ride far too close to my rear wheel, and it ended badly for him. Wouldn't be my preference to allow an unknown to do that. Would be less reticent if the person first sprung up a discussion and we later agreed to do it. Depends.
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Old 08-16-15, 04:40 AM
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Could the simple solution be to politely tell the guy to get off your wheel, that you don't want him doing that? Rather than trying to drop him or whatever. I dunno. As I said, never had that happen to me.
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Old 08-16-15, 06:13 AM
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Happens all the time to me on the Hudson River bike path in NYC. Soon as I detect someone on my wheel (spidey sense tingling), I talk to them, warn them about sudden stops because of people on the path, etc and continue.
To date, only one guy has come close to hitting me from behind. Usually the guys who latch on have pretty decent skills and I've had one guy latch on on several occasions ....

Personally, I would never draft behind a stranger.
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Old 08-16-15, 06:14 AM
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OP you're acting too nice, why smile and wave and nod at somebody who has invaded your commute, put you in danger, made you feel uncomfortable and literally forced you to be part of his imaginery race ??. If that happened to me I would of slowed down to annoy him and hopefully he would pass me. If slowing down didn't get that asshat off my back then I would of told him to stop drafting me and keep his distance.
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Old 08-16-15, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Totally not cool.
+1

Happens around here occasionally, on the road and on the MUP. In my experience, the individuals are usually pretty clearly pathletes or Cat 6 "racers" -- in other words, idiots.

I don't like being shadowed this way; I ride alone, by preference. My usual pace is certainly not fast, but neither am I particularly slow, so I do get the occasional leech latching onto my wheel. My response is typically to start slowing down -- and down -- until he/she finally gets the idea and goes past. The entertainment bonus is that my slowing down often initiates an amusing "sprint" pass from the drafter accompanied by 'the Look of Triumph' as he/she goes by. Turns an otherwise irritating situation into a comedy sketch.
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Old 08-16-15, 07:56 AM
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I've gotten to be the unintentional wheel sucker on a handful of occasions-- I'm headed where I'm headed, closing on a lone rider, and when I get within talking distance of them, their pace suddenly jumps up to match or even slightly exceed mine. They will not be passed. I've experienced it on hills, flats, wherever. I had one guy just absolutely tucker himself out on a long, ~2% grade where he just refused to let me by for about 1.5 miles. Then he just turned down a random side street because I think he was out of gas.

I ride solo 90% of the time, I'm not out to steal someone else's effort. But the roadie mentality is strong in most of the riders out there-- they refused to be passed by anyone, much less the old guy on a cross bike.
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Old 08-16-15, 09:11 AM
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It's male bravado.

I was heading home after work. I passed a gentlemen on an early 80s 10 speed. I said "passing on your left" and then "hey there" as I got abreast of him. A few moments later there was a downhill section. Now it was dusk, I had my headlight on and was going slower to be cautious about potholes.

This guy rips past me on the downhill. As the downhill became another uphill, this one much steeper, I passed him again announcing my presence. He yelled at me as I went by " not bad hey!?"
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Old 08-16-15, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for the responses! Interesting to hear different perspectives. I think based on this individual situation, I am inclined to take it as a compliment rather than anything else.

Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Maybe he mistook your smile and wave for The Look, and was just saving energy to drope the hamer on you, but you foiled the plan by turning off.
OH GOD!


Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
I never draft a stranger. But, I have had people do me like that. It irks, and I give it my all to drop those people.
Yeah, luckily I was close enough to home that I was able to drop off soon after it started.

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Could the simple solution be to politely tell the guy to get off your wheel, that you don't want him doing that? Rather than trying to drop him or whatever. I dunno. As I said, never had that happen to me.
Good suggestion for the people who can pass up the opportunity to mess with people. Sounds like some here can't let that opportunity pass

Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
OP you're acting too nice, why smile and wave and nod at somebody who has invaded your commute, put you in danger, made you feel uncomfortable and literally forced you to be part of his imaginery race ??. If that happened to me I would of slowed down to annoy him and hopefully he would pass me. If slowing down didn't get that asshat off my back then I would of told him to stop drafting me and keep his distance.
The smile/wave was when I passed him initially, before he started drafting me.
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Old 08-16-15, 10:30 AM
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I don't really mind on a nice empty road, but on a MUP it's despicable. I feel literally sick when I suddenly hear tires sliding behind me because I slowed down. I don't buzz pedestrians, or split the traffic going both ways, pass blind on turns, or time trial around little kids. Even though it's the guy drafting that's most likely to crash, it's not harmless.
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Old 08-16-15, 10:41 AM
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It happens to me once in a great while, and always creeps me out, especially when they have the audacity to criticize what I do.
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