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Shadow riders - What to do when a stranger drafts you?

Old 11-10-15, 12:48 PM
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Rudebob
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Shadow riders - What to do when a stranger drafts you?

So I am not a seasoned rider with lots of road experience but I had an interesting encounter this last weekend and was wondering how you would handle it. I was solo riding on a fairly active MUT. I had just passed a small group of cyclists and was holding a quicker pace to put sufficient distance on them before returning to my normal pace. In my periphery I noticed a shadow and glanced back to see another cyclist had followed with me. I waved him past but his reply was “Thanks, but I am just going to draft you a while”. I did not know the rider and thought he was kidding at first, but he tucked in behind me. I figured maybe he was winded from the extra effort needed to overtake the other group of riders so I figured it was no big deal if he stuck to me for a minute to catch his breath. However, I pulled him for more than 3 miles to which I finally told him I was breaking off. He laughed and said “Thanks for the ride” and then rode on with no offer to reciprocate the draft.

I thought this encounter was kind of strange but maybe it is normal in the cycling world. So to my question: Is this normal behavior and if it happened to you how would you handle it?

Maybe this question belongs in a different forum but I fit the demographics and this was definitely a "get off my lawn" scenario.

'bob
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Old 11-10-15, 01:01 PM
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If I am just out for a solo ride and someone gets on my wheel I appreciate when they let you know they are there. Other then that they can stay behind me as long as they like, chances are they are not ready or able to pull. If they are able I believe most would ask if you mind if they take a turn sometimes people do not want to draft but do not care if someone is on their wheel. my 2 cents
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Old 11-10-15, 01:13 PM
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It's happened once and I was flattered that he thought I was worth drafting. Especially as he turned out to be a bike courier.

Perhaps it's not good cycling etiquette but doesn't slow the puller down, and doesn't happen often, so not a great problem. Although it would be a bit sleazy if it was a man drafting a woman he didn't know.
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Old 11-10-15, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Gerryattrick View Post
It's happened once and I was flattered that he thought I was worth drafting. Especially as he turned out to be a bike courier.

Perhaps it's not good cycling etiquette but doesn't slow the puller down, and doesn't happen often, so not a great problem. Although it would be a bit sleazy if it was a man drafting a woman he didn't know.
Actually, it's better than that. The lead cyclist actually gets a 5% boost.

That said, I really don't like when strangers draft me. I know that if we cross wheels, they are the more likely person to fall, but I do like the freedom to ride as slow or fast as like, to stop and take pictures or fiddle with something or other, and that is all no bueno when you're being drafted.

Funny you would mention this, because it happened to me today. I had a guy on a steel commuter bike, fenders, and giant seat bag on my wheel for a while. I guess I must have given off a negative vibe, because he eventually passed me and said something to the effect of:

"Just thought we could take turns into the wind."

To which I replied that I felt like taking my time. As it was, I wasn't very far behind him for the next several miles, and eventually, he slowed down and I caught up with him. Rather than pass, I said hello, and we rode side by side for a few miles, chatting about this and that. Turns out he teaches math to middle school kids and has a similar commute to mine.

We talked about touring, commuting, and all kinds of stuff. I actually went past my turnoff so we could keep chatting.

So I guess that's it. I guess I'd rather chat.
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Old 11-10-15, 01:49 PM
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I can't remember the last time someone tried to draft me without being part of my group.
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Old 11-10-15, 02:01 PM
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I have personal space issues and would likely bounce a little flatulence off their forehead.
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Old 11-10-15, 02:28 PM
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In some ways I guess it would no be a big deal, however, the rider said nothing to me until I happen to notice him and motioned him to pass. The reason I usually ride solo is that my riding style is different than most as I try to maximize the cardio benefit of riding which I treat similar to HIIT, so I ride hard then back off at frequent intervals. If pushing hard and am huffing and puffing, I may not hear or sense another rider behind me which means if/when I back off we can both be in trouble. I would expect someone to at least introduce themselves and their intent before they jump on your backside. I guess I was just wondering what the etiquette is here.

'bob
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Old 11-10-15, 02:40 PM
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I do not like it. If that person asks if he can draft, that's one thing, but to just silently do it? You are not welcome on my wheel. Why? You are asking me to ride with you in mind and putting me at risk if I don't. I do find it sometimes amusing that folks will do this when I am riding fixed. I wonder if they have any idea how fast I can take them out if I get surprised (say by someone stepping into the street).

Minor point: Oregon law specifically prohibits drafting. Bicycles are, by law, vehicles and are subject to the same laws except where noted explicitly. Nowhere is tailgating excepted.

Ben
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Old 11-10-15, 03:30 PM
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The only time wheel sucking bothers me is when I'm on my aero bars and I don't know they are behind me because I can't see them in my mirror. Otherwise, it doesn't bother me in the least. When I jump into a line or behind an individual rider, it's usually for a short time to rest my legs. I have made it a habit to let them know I'm behind them. If they object, I drop off.
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Old 11-10-15, 03:40 PM
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It depends on my mood and whether the drafter looks safe. If I don't feel like being drafted, I'll just sit up and stop pedaling. The drafter usually gets the message pretty quickly.
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Old 11-10-15, 04:23 PM
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I pity the fool.
First of all, fast for me is 15 mph.
Second, I may have gas. The kind that gives a turbo boost incentive to anyone behind me.
Other than that, don't care. Pull up beside me and we'll chat about whether the TV adaptation of The Man in the High Castle does justice to PKD's sense of metaphysics as well as simple dystopian musings.
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Old 11-10-15, 04:31 PM
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Just look back and say, "Don't worry little feller, there was a time that I wasn't strong enough to pull either..."

He would likely give him an aneurysm trying to get past you at that point
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Old 11-10-15, 04:42 PM
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I would pick up the pace and see what he's got and head for a hill... If he managed to keep up I would say good job man... Chances are he wouldn't be able to tho, I have an E-Assist bike...
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Old 11-10-15, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Rudebob View Post
What to do when a stranger drafts you?
Ride your bike.
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Old 11-10-15, 04:48 PM
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No big deal. They should let you know though they're back there.
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Old 11-10-15, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post

Minor point: Oregon law specifically prohibits drafting. Bicycles are, by law, vehicles and are subject to the same laws except where noted explicitly. Nowhere is tailgating excepted.

Ben
Interesting thought about tailgaiting (i.e. drafting) technically being a violation of state driving laws if we do actually define a bicycle as a vehicle except for differences written into the law. Never thought of that.
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Old 11-10-15, 05:11 PM
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I believe it is a safety factor, as well as a courtesy to ask if it is ok to draft, to take turns pulling. If I dont know someone is behind me, I may make a sudden stop or turn
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Old 11-10-15, 05:18 PM
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I either sit up and put it on the small ring or ramp it up hard and drop them. Strangers do not sit on my wheels.
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Old 11-10-15, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Ride your bike.
+1 I'm out for my ride, you're behind me and causing me no pain, no big deal. I typically opt to not draft other riders.

I'm a little impressed when somebody wants to draft off me. Most riders "good enough" to draft are "too fast" for my pace.
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Old 11-10-15, 06:35 PM
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Etiquette? What's that? Who enforces it??

Though I have never had a stranger grab my wheel, it wouldnt bother me if it happened. It's my ride, my wind and if the drafter wants to ride my pace for a while, that's cool with me.

Now, if it were me wanting a pull, I'm introducing myself and will offer a pull in return. It's just the nice thing to do. Too bad not all are as cultured as we are.
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Old 11-10-15, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I can't remember the last time someone tried to draft me without being part of my group.
I'm not sure how anyone COULD draft you.
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Old 11-10-15, 07:25 PM
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I get drafted a lot. I'm a pretty fast rider, and I usually have panniers on.

I once pulled an entire collegiate cycling team. It was a really windy day, they were headed back towards campus, and looked like they needed a rest. I didn't mind, because I knew it would be a story I could tell someday. About a mile later (3 minutes or so), they peeled off and went by me, saying thank you.

In the winds last week, I passed a guy while going to work, (hence the panniers). A few yards later I looked in the mirror and there he was on my wheel. I called back, "This rig throws a hell of a draft, don't it?"

"Sure does", he shouted back.

I maintained speed, but even in my draft he couldn't. He fell off after a half-mile or so.

Living, working and riding in the city, I have plenty of opportunity to draft lots of stuff. I usually take it. Sometimes it's so automatic that, well, one time I realized that drafting a patrol car probably wasn't a good idea.

In any event, when I draft cyclists, I always tell them I'm back there, and always offer my turn at the front.

When they draft me, I always offer them a turn at the front. Usually just by flicking my elbow and pulling off. No negotiation. Gets the message across.
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Old 11-10-15, 07:36 PM
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A lot said about the "Draftee vs Drafter"! LOL!

A few years ago I was on a long river trail here and a guy on a all carbon everything passed me. I watched as he crossed a bridge with wood surface - thought his bike might come apart. I was riding my touring bike with Brooks Flyer so wooden roadway no problem. I decided to catch up with him not having any intention of drafting and as I pulled closer and closer I finally reached 25 mph and was gaining. Had no intentions of drafting! He slams on his brakes in the middle of the trail and I slammed on mine sliding right up to his rear wheel. Dang I forgot to clip out! Slow motion fall over sideways.

The guy apologized saying that his gps had said he had reached his training ride limit and was going to turn around, which was the reason for his abrupt screaming stop.

OK!

Now back to to drafting a stranger!
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Old 11-10-15, 08:03 PM
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Old 11-10-15, 08:45 PM
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No wheel suckers. If I'm going fast, I back off the power very slowly. I will continue slowing down to the point that they no longer will follow me, and eventually pass. Works every time, and I never have to say a word.
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