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The most foolhardy cyclist Iíve seen

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The most foolhardy cyclist Iíve seen

Old 10-16-22, 05:14 PM
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Cramic
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The most foolhardy cyclist Iíve seen

Here in Perth one of the main routes into the city from the western suburbs is Mounts Bay Road. Itís a 60km dual carriageway that runs next to the river and is a pretty awesome commute.

Next to it, even closer to the river is the cycle path. Itís shared, but given the length of Mounts Bay Road, with nothing really along it, itís left essentially to cyclists and you can move rapidly along it. Not even that many fellow cyclists and youíll usually see very few, if any pedestrians.

There really does not seem much reason to use the busy, fast dual carriageway at all if youíre a bike.

Often on the weekend youíll see large pelotons on it, travelling quickly, and this seems fair enough. Fast, easily seen, take up a whole lane, and wouldnít fit on the cycle path. And then you do rarely see the odd solo cyclists on it.

That is, in my opinion, foolhardy enough, but this guy I saw was another level.

I was on the bike path heading out of the city, mid afternoon on a weekday, when one of those mobile cranes passed. Think large, very heavy lorry. Not going 60km, but also not holding traffic up so at least 40kmh.

Inches behind him, right in the middle of the lane, was a cyclist using him as a windbreak. Maximum 1-2 feet. No way he could see anything ahead of the truck. If he looked up all heíd see was tailgate. And absolutely no way the truck could see him.

I was stunned. What was the point of putting yourself at so much risk? Just a weekday afternoon, trying to get the fastest Strava time? I mean I donít know how youíd even take pride in that KOM, you might as well have attached a tow rope to the lorry.

Anyway, I donít know, I worry sometimes about the amount of injuries I hear about for cyclists, but then remember guys like this probably make up the majority.
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Old 10-16-22, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
I was stunned. What was the point of putting yourself at so much risk?
I suspect he found it to be a lot of fun.
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Old 10-16-22, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
Here in Perth one of the main routes into the city from the western suburbs is Mounts Bay Road. Itís a 60km dual carriageway that runs next to the river and is a pretty awesome commute.

Next to it, even closer to the river is the cycle path. Itís shared, but given the length of Mounts Bay Road, with nothing really along it, itís left essentially to cyclists and you can move rapidly along it. Not even that many fellow cyclists and youíll usually see very few, if any pedestrians.

There really does not seem much reason to use the busy, fast dual carriageway at all if youíre a bike.

Often on the weekend youíll see large pelotons on it, travelling quickly, and this seems fair enough. Fast, easily seen, take up a whole lane, and wouldnít fit on the cycle path. And then you do rarely see the odd solo cyclists on it.

That is, in my opinion, foolhardy enough, but this guy I saw was another level.

I was on the bike path heading out of the city, mid afternoon on a weekday, when one of those mobile cranes passed. Think large, very heavy lorry. Not going 60km, but also not holding traffic up so at least 40kmh.

Inches behind him, right in the middle of the lane, was a cyclist using him as a windbreak. Maximum 1-2 feet. No way he could see anything ahead of the truck. If he looked up all heíd see was tailgate. And absolutely no way the truck could see him.

I was stunned. What was the point of putting yourself at so much risk? Just a weekday afternoon, trying to get the fastest Strava time? I mean I donít know how youíd even take pride in that KOM, you might as well have attached a tow rope to the lorry.

Anyway, I donít know, I worry sometimes about the amount of injuries I hear about for cyclists, but then remember guys like this probably make up the majority.
i'm not sure i would do that, but what exactly is the unusual risk? presumably he thinks he can stop from 50kph faster than a giant truck. presumably anyone in another vehicle is going to see him if they see the truck (from behind) or if they're coming head on, they'll certainly see/hit the truck well before him. a pack of riders taking the lane at half the speed of traffic actually seems more dangerous to me, given the propensity of drivers to drift across the line, get pissed at being slowed down and make unsafe passes, etc.
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Old 10-16-22, 06:12 PM
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I never miss such an opportunity myself. Saves a lot of time and effort on my commutes, and it feels usually safer because cars behind me will have no choice but take their lane when passing. Of course one must be very careful especially for potholes, but the engine is usually loud enough to alert me whether it's going to slow down.
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Old 10-16-22, 06:31 PM
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I've seen a number of people do that over the years. It's a lot less dangerous than a lot of the other stupid crap I see riders do.
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Old 10-16-22, 06:35 PM
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Yeah, I'm.... not buying it.

I regularly draft vehicles and there's absolutely no need to be that close to even a mid-size SUV. A large commercial vehicle like described in the OP? Yeah, they give you a *huge* pocket and being within 24" is so unnecessary that I have a hard time believing that someone would do it. It's much, much easier for me to believe that an observer would greatly exaggerate the following distance for dramatic effect.
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Old 10-16-22, 06:41 PM
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Oh right, fair enough! Haha

I can see how it would be fun and Iím clearly too risk averse if I was horrified even for others.

Interesting how some feel that he might even have been safer! And I do accept the point. Although not safer than on the excellent, virtually empty bike path literally next to the road.

I just had visions of him not watching the truck carefully (who wants to stare at the back of a truck from a few inches for ten minutes straight?) and then going into it as if it were a brick wall at 40kmh. Even if he was watching carefully and slowed, the car directly behind is similarly visually hindered and might not spot the braking.

Not for me I guess! But then neither is BASE jumping. Each to their own.
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Old 10-16-22, 06:41 PM
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I used to see a lot of stupid stuff in Chicago, but with the bike couriers gone there's much less of it now. One person drafting scares me less than one bike courier causing a whole street full of people to react to him in various unpredictable ways, leaving a trail of chaos developing in his wake. The only time I've been drafted it was in heavy traffic and the rider was remarkably alert. I wondered at the time if he'd been calibrating based on the fancy steel road bike I had in my car-- I was watching out for him more than most people would have, probably.

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Old 10-16-22, 06:56 PM
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Doubt he would hit the truck .... as another poster mentioned, engine noise. Road surface imperfections would by a major worry for me, though. Trucks will straddle (or smash) stuff which would ruin a rider.

Not at all worried about getting hit from behind---first because a driver of a trailing car would see both truck and cyclist, and second because the driver would be very unwilling to hit the truck ... Obviously no one is doing this in stop-and-go traffic.

Still not something I plan on doing a lot.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Yeah, I'm.... not buying it.

I regularly draft vehicles and there's absolutely no need to be that close to even a mid-size SUV. A large commercial vehicle like described in the OP? Yeah, they give you a *huge* pocket and being within 24" is so unnecessary that I have a hard time believing that someone would do it. It's much, much easier for me to believe that an observer would greatly exaggerate the following distance for dramatic effect.
Yeh, of course, because you donít do it nobody does and anybody who says theyíve seen it is ergo lying or exaggerating. Oh, waitÖ


This is pretty much what I saw. If it was some guy hanging back in the pocket it probably wouldnít have been noteworthy enough to post about.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:31 PM
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Whilst I accept that perhaps the drafting isnít as dangerous as it may have appeared to me, and some good points have been made to that effect, I think itís also the fact such a good quality bike path is right there, next to the road that surprised me.

Itís elevated and separated from the road by a large curb, has an excellent surface that is pothole free, is wide, and is rarely used by anything other than bikes due to its length and with not a lot in between the city at one end and the first of the western suburbs and university at the other.

Just seems he chose high risk (maybe not as high as I imagine) vs no/low risk and for what benefit? A few kmh faster on a weekday afternoon.

Anyway, each to their own and risk can of course be subjective. Iím probably just becoming too risk averse as I get older/have kids! Interesting opinions though.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:37 PM
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What, no one has seen cyclists getting towed off buses and such?
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Old 10-16-22, 07:40 PM
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Some do lines of blow. Shall we start a hundred topics on foolhardy things folks do to feel alive?
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Old 10-16-22, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Some do lines of blow. Shall we start a hundred topics on foolhardy things folks do to feel alive?
Well I guess we could keep it to cycling? Given the forum weíre on. And I suppose you could just skip the thread if itís of no interest to you?

Bit sad, in my opinion, if it takes riding a foot off a mobile crane to make you feel alive although I have heard some people get off on diesel fumes.

I prefer to feel alive (and stay alive) cycling next to the beautiful Swan River, without the company of heavy traffic, and find that difference in human nature interesting.
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Old 10-16-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
Yeh, of course, because you don’t do it nobody does and anybody who says they’ve seen it is ergo lying or exaggerating. Oh, wait…

This is pretty much what I saw. If it was some guy hanging back in the pocket it probably wouldn’t have been noteworthy enough to post about.
Okay, so there's at least one stupid guy that's much closer than he needs to be, but I don't think that's 12 or even 24 inches (it's a pretty foreshortened view and as the videographer gets closer, at the end of the video, you can see that he's not rubbing bumpers). Sure, I've seen videos of guys drafting at highway speeds and being inches away momentarily, but not parking that close indefinitely.

Anywho, re-reading your first post and seeing 40kph... yeah, that's pretty sedate and no reason to get worked up.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Okay, so there's at least one stupid guy that's much closer than he needs to be, but I don't think that's 12 or even 24 inches (it's a pretty foreshortened view and as the videographer gets closer, at the end of the video, you can see that he's not rubbing bumpers). Sure, I've seen videos of guys drafting at highway speeds and being inches away momentarily, but not parking that close indefinitely.

Anywho, re-reading your first post and seeing 40kph... yeah, that's pretty sedate and no reason to get worked up.
Iím not worked up, I find the risk taken interesting and itís fine that you donít. You draft as many HGVs as you want.

Yeh, at least oneÖwho was spotted, filmed, and made it onto the first page of google search. I didnít have to look hard for him. Quibble about the exact number of inches he was off if you like, but this is what I saw and you called me a liar based on the fact you donít do it. Thatís a pretty narrow world view.

And maybe reread it again. I said itís a 60kmh dual carriageway and he (the mobile crane) didnít seem to be holding up traffic so Iíd guess he was going at least 40kmh, but essentially somewhere between 40-60kmh.

Even so I wouldnít want to be that close to a truck doing even just 40kmh, with zero visibility, when thereís a perfectly good, safe cycle path 2 metres to my left. Fine that you think otherwise, letís just agree to differ and you be a little more circumspect before calling others liars.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
I prefer to ....
Yeah, ummm ..... Yes. We each have preferences, and it is usually pretty easy to ridicule people for living life differently.

Some people are adrenaline junkies .... not my thing, but I am not better for being different. Some people think riding on the road at all is unbelievably stupid .... when they tell you to only ride trails, I am sure you will never let your wheels touch the regular road again, right? But then some people think anyone who zips along a trail at 15-25 mph wearing essentially underwear and a Dixie cup on their heads is stupid .... why don't they take up knitting, or if they have to exercise, why don't they walk?

Those bike messengers .... different story, because they endanger others regularly, because people make unpredictable reactions to unpredictable stimuli .... but this guy was living his own life his own way, and if you really need to put him down to feel alive .... try diesel fumes, you might like them better.

Sure, you see someone doing something crazy, it is crazy ... but if the person isn't hurting anyone else .... enjoy the variety.
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Old 10-16-22, 08:28 PM
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I frequently draft vehicles when riding through the small cities in which I've lived. It's safer to be in the traffic lane, keeping up with the flow, than to have all of those vehicles buzzing past me -- even if I'm in a designated bike lane which offers no physical barrier for the vehicles. And even on my cheap SS commuter bike, with it's cheap brakes, I can stop faster than any vehicle I'm following. And as for the OP's concern that the cyclist might not see the brake lights: are you kidding? Seriously? If a rider is that close to the vehicle, how could he miss them?
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Old 10-16-22, 09:11 PM
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I drafted a bus on a milk run for a couple of miles through a neighborhood doing a sedate 25 MPH. Plenty of warning when he was stopping and he pulled me along just like riding with a large peloton. Kept off his tail far enough to go around him if he emergency braked. Good clean fun.
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Old 10-16-22, 09:23 PM
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https://vimeo.com/50872582

Those would be miles, not ks. And if you think that's just a movie, think again.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Blase

He was my HS biology teacher, and a decade before the movie came out he told us that story.

I'm not going to recommend that to anyone, and honestly I'm not doing it myself. OTOH, I did touch 50 mph on a descent a couple weeks ago, and I have to believe the risks were probably similar. And I'll do it again. Because, what do you think this is, a practice life?
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Old 10-16-22, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
https://vimeo.com/50872582

Those would be miles, not ks. And if you think that's just a movie, think again.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Blase

He was my HS biology teacher, and a decade before the movie came out he told us that story.

I'm not going to recommend that to anyone, and honestly I'm not doing it myself. OTOH, I did touch 50 mph on a descent a couple weeks ago, and I have to believe the risks were probably similar. And I'll do it again. Because, what do you think this is, a practice life?
Cue all of the posters who will now explain why that video clip is unrealistic. (I mean, just think how much faster he could've gone if he'd shifted into his BIG chainring?)

At any rate, a friend and I once drafted a truck as it slowly trundled up to speed...I made it to 49+ mph before drifting out of the draft, but my friend made it to 50 mph. Hella fun, and probably a bit dangerous, as you say. One roadkill raccoon in the middle of the lane would've likely put us on the pavement at that speed. But I was a youngster in my late 40s back then.

I also once hit 75.7 mph on a descent and somehow survived to tell the story. As long as you don't break a spoke or have a sudden blowout, little harm will come of such speeds.

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Old 10-16-22, 11:01 PM
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My dad growing up in Germany in the 30s and 40s only had a single speed and would travel 100s of KMs each summer just to see the country. The big diesel trucks were so slow going up the mountain passes, he and his buddies would grab the side end of the trucks and hold on up to the summit. They thought nothing about it. Lucky I am even here.
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Old 10-17-22, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Yeah, ummm ..... Yes. We each have preferences, and it is usually pretty easy to ridicule people for living life differently.

Some people are adrenaline junkies .... not my thing, but I am not better for being different. Some people think riding on the road at all is unbelievably stupid .... when they tell you to only ride trails, I am sure you will never let your wheels touch the regular road again, right? But then some people think anyone who zips along a trail at 15-25 mph wearing essentially underwear and a Dixie cup on their heads is stupid .... why don't they take up knitting, or if they have to exercise, why don't they walk?

Those bike messengers .... different story, because they endanger others regularly, because people make unpredictable reactions to unpredictable stimuli .... but this guy was living his own life his own way, and if you really need to put him down to feel alive .... try diesel fumes, you might like them better.

Sure, you see someone doing something crazy, it is crazy ... but if the person isn't hurting anyone else .... enjoy the variety.
Not ridiculing and the answers here have largely been interesting and eye opening. Plenty of things I do that could seem risky to others, no doubt.

But in a world in which Iím leaving risk behind (two young boys) I found it surprising that somebody would take such a needless chance (and I appreciate people saying he wasnít doing anything too risky in the grand scheme of things).

As an example I have beautiful bike paths along the Swan River almost all the way to work, but sometimes Iíd like a change and that would require going through the city. Iíve made the conscious decision not to succumb to those urges as itís simply not a (probably) small extra risk Iím willing to take on behalf of my family. Then, not long after making that decision, I see this guy! Iíve even thought about giving up the bike altogether.

I donít know, each to their own and all that, but itís a very different mindset to mine and I thought worth mentioning. I donít think Iíve said anywhere he shouldnít be doing it or anything, but heís the first Iíve seen and I think heís out of his mind! Bit same re. Alex Honnold. I actually think the guys who just cycle solo along that road, rather than use the bike path, are probably crazier as at least the drafter is getting some benefit from his risk.
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Old 10-17-22, 06:49 AM
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I draft behind vehicles nearly every chance I get. It's part of the fun. Just the other day three of us were descending Bear Creek Canyon, riding near the 25 mph speed limit. A car passed us and I sucked in behind it and passed the small group, whooping as I went. And I'm 65 years old.

But I get the OP's question about why even ride on the road when there's a MUP, especially during commuting hours when the MUPs are free of families with children, etc. I'd definitely stay off the road then. Weekend afternoons I might take the road.
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Old 10-17-22, 07:59 AM
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Drafting is not something I'd do, but then I'm 78 and stopped taking unnecessary risks when I sold the Harley. The video in post #10 shows a car about to merge behind the truck. While the cyclist is close to the truck, that seems another way to die. As with others, I would worry about not being able to see road hazards. As others have noted, there could be a long thread, and probably has been, about the stupid things people do on two wheels.
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