Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Drafting etiquette

Notices
Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Drafting etiquette

Old 09-13-21, 01:35 PM
  #26  
Eric F
Habitual User
 
Eric F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Altadena, CA
Posts: 2,412

Bikes: 2018 Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum, 2003 Time VX Special Pro, 2001 Colnago VIP, 1999 Trek 9900 singlespeed, 1977 Nishiki ONP

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1409 Post(s)
Liked 2,207 Times in 1,083 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Zwift needs a delta variant cooties feature to discourage anonymous wheel sucking.
Some of my favorite rides are when a small group develops organically, and we end up pushing each other. Maybe I'm just more social than most people.
Eric F is offline  
Likes For Eric F:
Old 09-13-21, 01:38 PM
  #27  
Broctoon
Super-duper Genius
 
Broctoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Muskrat Springs, Utah
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 175 Posts
I think it was poor etiquette from you to follow him close enough to draft without saying "Hi" first and asking permission. And it was poor etiquette from him to slam on the brakes, intentionally causing a crash.

He should have said, "Do you mind? I'd appreciate you keeping some distance," just as you should have initially said, "I'd like to hop on your tail, is that okay?"

I'm kind of surprised that not everyone knows this instinctively. To me it seems obvious.

I've followed a stranger before, to see if I could match his pace. But I stay back several bike lengths. I don't ask permission for this. (I'd never do this to a female riding alone, as that could understandably make her uncomfortable or afraid.)

I recall plenty of instances when I came upon another group of riders (usually while riding with a group myself) and asked if they'd like to work together. They say yes 100% of the time. I don't remember ever getting a negative response, or ever encountering a lone rider I wanted to draft.
Broctoon is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 01:47 PM
  #28  
MoAlpha
ē ó
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 9,744

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 55 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8106 Post(s)
Liked 4,183 Times in 2,256 Posts
Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Some of my favorite rides are when a small group develops organically, and we end up pushing each other. Maybe I'm just more social than most people.
I actually find that a rewarding feature of Zwift too. The game seems to be designed to facilitate it.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 09-13-21, 02:05 PM
  #29  
Iride01
MotuekaCascadeChinook
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 10,300

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4152 Post(s)
Liked 2,678 Times in 1,864 Posts
Some people consider you drafting if you are anywhere in sight behind them. So watch out for them, they can do stupid things.

When ever I come up on someone, I let them know I'm there. I seldom want to stay there but if it's a blind curve ahead or traffic coming the other way I'll also tell them I'm waiting till it's clear to pass. However sometimes I don't get a chance, they slow down so much that I either have to stop or pass them in a bad place to pass.

So likewise when you are that person in front. Don't try to help that person behind you. Just ride as you would if they weren't there. They may have other reasons for not passing right away besides drafting the slow poke they are behind. Ask if you need to know, but just braking is seldom the right thing to do.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 02:20 PM
  #30  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,849

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1394 Post(s)
Liked 1,941 Times in 1,031 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Ask if it's okay and respect their wishes if they say "no."
^This^
Originally Posted by bshell View Post
When you are riding and some stranger passes you, is it ok to catch up and draft behind them? Is this considered bad manners? Or is there some proper way to do this that is polite? I do this from time to time without problem but the other day I did it and the guy in front slammed on his brakes so of course I slammed into him and both of us were very annoyed with the other. He did it on purpose because he thought I was a creep for drafting behind him. I had no idea this was not allowed. So what is the right way to draft behind a stranger when out and about?
Definitely not ok. Always ask permission and be ready for whatever answer you get. Think about it...did you 2 start your ride together? No. To just jump on someone's wheel unannounced is one of the most irresponsible things you can do on the road. If the rider in front thinks they're alone they could spit, blow a snot rocket, slow down...why would you put yourself in that position? They're doing their ride, you're doing yours, why turn it into any kind of race?
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 09-13-21, 02:27 PM
  #31  
bahula03
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 343
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 56 Times in 33 Posts
Echoing a lot of what's been said above, drafting strangers is just poor manners, same as jumping the queue at lights/stops. Don't do either without asking.
bahula03 is offline  
Likes For bahula03:
Old 09-13-21, 02:54 PM
  #32  
MinnMan
Senior Member
 
MinnMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,904

Bikes: 2020 Salsa Warbird GRX 600, 2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX disc 9.0 Di2, 2020 Catrike Eola, 2016 Masi cxgr, 2011, Felt F3 Ltd, 2010 Trek 2.1, 2009 KHS Flite 220

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3417 Post(s)
Liked 2,372 Times in 1,440 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Some people consider you drafting if you are anywhere in sight behind them. So watch out for them, they can do stupid things..
that's their problem. And if I'm far enough back, their stupid things don't scare me.

That said, I've never had that happen.

10 bike lengths is plenty, but even 5 bike lengths is, IMHO, fair.
MinnMan is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 03:27 PM
  #33  
genejockey 
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 10,007

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5403 Post(s)
Liked 5,659 Times in 2,885 Posts
Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I think it was poor etiquette from you to follow him close enough to draft without saying "Hi" first and asking permission. And it was poor etiquette from him to slam on the brakes, intentionally causing a crash.

He should have said, "Do you mind? I'd appreciate you keeping some distance," just as you should have initially said, "I'd like to hop on your tail, is that okay?"

I'm kind of surprised that not everyone knows this instinctively. To me it seems obvious.

I've followed a stranger before, to see if I could match his pace. But I stay back several bike lengths. I don't ask permission for this. (I'd never do this to a female riding alone, as that could understandably make her uncomfortable or afraid.)

I recall plenty of instances when I came upon another group of riders (usually while riding with a group myself) and asked if they'd like to work together. They say yes 100% of the time. I don't remember ever getting a negative response, or ever encountering a lone rider I wanted to draft.
This often puts me in a quandary - I know that women, especially the fitter ones, often find male cyclists will catch them and pass them, then blow up down the road. I don't want to be That Guy. OTOH, there's the phenomenon you describe, where a stranger hangs out behind them making them uncomfortable. I don't want to be That Guy, either.

What's happened to me a number of times is that because I'm heavy, on downhill sections I'll roll up on women who look like they'll kick my ass on the next uphill, so I don't pass because I don't want to be the first That Guy, but now I'm behind them, sometimes freewheeling, trying to stay back far enough that I don't become the OTHER That Guy.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is online now  
Likes For genejockey:
Old 09-13-21, 03:48 PM
  #34  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 37,857

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 352 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19381 Post(s)
Liked 7,950 Times in 4,011 Posts
Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
This often puts me in a quandary - I know that women, especially the fitter ones, often find male cyclists will catch them and pass them, then blow up down the road. I don't want to be That Guy. OTOH, there's the phenomenon you describe, where a stranger hangs out behind them making them uncomfortable. I don't want to be That Guy, either.

What's happened to me a number of times is that because I'm heavy, on downhill sections I'll roll up on women who look like they'll kick my ass on the next uphill, so I don't pass because I don't want to be the first That Guy, but now I'm behind them, sometimes freewheeling, trying to stay back far enough that I don't become the OTHER That Guy.
Creep.










WhyFi is online now  
Old 09-13-21, 05:51 PM
  #35  
SoSmellyAir
Method to My Madness
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,481

Bikes: Cannondale Synapse, Trek FX 2

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
Liked 445 Times in 333 Posts
I generally announce myself politely once I am about within two bike lengths behind someone who is riding at about the same pace. If he or she rides off I do not give chase, but if he or she does not I try to pass when it seems safe to do so.
SoSmellyAir is online now  
Old 09-13-21, 05:59 PM
  #36  
Atlas Shrugged
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 660
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 405 Post(s)
Liked 463 Times in 234 Posts
Surprised this has not come up, if someone rammed into the back of me because the moron was drafting without announcing it. Crashing would be the least of his concerns! Violence would probably ensue.
Atlas Shrugged is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 06:12 PM
  #37  
grizzly59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 707
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 164 Posts
Well I’m a bit of a jerk. The last guy that caught up to me and tucked in like a tick on a dog, I started laughing and had to pull off. Got a dirty look from the gentleman on an shiny red E-bike not pedaling.
grizzly59 is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 06:22 PM
  #38  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 22,647
Mentioned: 80 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16998 Post(s)
Liked 8,918 Times in 4,990 Posts
Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
That guy is an @$$hole. I've jumped on wheels, and I've had people jump on mine. No big deal to me. Someone sitting on my wheel doesn't generally change the way I ride, but I will give a hand signal before I make a turn out of courtesy and for the safety of both of us. That said, there have been times when I've ramped up the heat to see if I can break them....but I do it safely.
​​​​​​And a moron. Never break check anyone, especially when you don't know how close they're paying attention.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Likes For Seattle Forrest:
Old 09-13-21, 06:26 PM
  #39  
MinnMan
Senior Member
 
MinnMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,904

Bikes: 2020 Salsa Warbird GRX 600, 2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX disc 9.0 Di2, 2020 Catrike Eola, 2016 Masi cxgr, 2011, Felt F3 Ltd, 2010 Trek 2.1, 2009 KHS Flite 220

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3417 Post(s)
Liked 2,372 Times in 1,440 Posts
Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
Well Iím a bit of a jerk. The last guy that caught up to me and tucked in like a tick on a dog, I started laughing and had to pull off. Got a dirty look from the gentleman on an shiny red E-bike not pedaling.
thought you were going to say that you dialed it up to 400 watts
MinnMan is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 06:50 PM
  #40  
SoSmellyAir
Method to My Madness
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,481

Bikes: Cannondale Synapse, Trek FX 2

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
Liked 445 Times in 333 Posts
Originally Posted by bahula03 View Post
Echoing a lot of what's been said above, drafting strangers is just poor manners, same as jumping the queue at lights/stops. Don't do either without asking.
Really? Most cyclists blow right by if they correctly time a traffic light at which I have been waiting; a polite minority at least give a shout when they are about to pass so I don't veer into them as I start off again.
SoSmellyAir is online now  
Old 09-13-21, 06:55 PM
  #41  
bampilot06
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: 757
Posts: 5,339

Bikes: Cervťlo C2, Ritchey Breakaway

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4762 Post(s)
Liked 2,125 Times in 923 Posts
Lately this has been happening more and more to me. Most of them donít ask, which really pisses me off. So naturally I dial it up and I havnt had one stick with me.

I recently had a guy demand that I pull him. There was a group enfront of me all spread out, all over the place. Seemed like they didnít know what they were doing. After I carefully passed them all, the lead guy told me to pull.

I was completely taken back.

I had one person cuss at me. He asked if he could ride my wheel, I said no. He got on it anyways, I started dialing it up and after about a half a mile he fell off. Called me an F in prick.


Not one person who has managed to stay on my wheel, or asked politely and I agreed to it, has ever offered to help pull. So, no donít ride my wheel.
bampilot06 is offline  
Likes For bampilot06:
Old 09-13-21, 07:09 PM
  #42  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,364

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3000 Post(s)
Liked 2,419 Times in 1,183 Posts
I always ask and then still stay a few bike lengths behind.

Except if its and e-bike, since my intention is to piss them off when they can't drop me.
GlennR is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 07:44 PM
  #43  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,393
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 426 Post(s)
Liked 675 Times in 443 Posts
I donít really even want to draft people I know, much less strangers. Not just a pandemic thing, I prefer to push through the wind myself.

I would think it somewhat impolite for a stranger I passed to lurk behind me without asking. I donít mind pulling friends but if Iím out alone I want my own riding space.

That said, I canít recall it happening. When I pass people, they usually donít end up around me again, and when people pass me, I donít try to pull up behind them. On occasion I will try to up my pace if I was slow and lost in thought and stay level, usually about a quarter mile back.

Otto
ofajen is online now  
Old 09-13-21, 08:17 PM
  #44  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 13,580

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6588 Post(s)
Liked 1,750 Times in 952 Posts
It is fine to draft as long as you are waving.

Also, it is Not fine if your socks are longer than the rider you are drafting.

Naturally all this depends upon which chain lube each of you uses.
Maelochs is offline  
Likes For Maelochs:
Old 09-13-21, 10:30 PM
  #45  
mschwett 
pretty much a newbie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 514

Bikes: aethos, creo, vanmoof, public ...

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked 336 Times in 182 Posts
wait... 10 bike lengths!?! i'm not sure i've ever been that far behind someone riding in the same direction on the same road/path unless they were going much faster than me. is this because that's a reasonable proxy for the distance at which you gain no advantage?




if everyone rode 10 bike lengths apart, there would have to be metering lights at various places to space everyone out. that seems really excessive in an urban environment. what a drag!

is there some sort of secret hand signal for the front rider to use to indicate that he wants you to either back up or pass him, or is their only recourse to speed up?
mschwett is offline  
Old 09-13-21, 10:51 PM
  #46  
bahula03
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 343
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 56 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Really? Most cyclists blow right by if they correctly time a traffic light at which I have been waiting; a polite minority at least give a shout when they are about to pass so I don't veer into them as I start off again.
This is not a dig at you, but there's always a nit to pick on the internet, eh? What you're talking about is a pretty specific situation with the timing of lights, and while it may be ballpark safe, I'd still throw it under the umbrella of poor manners. That said, I was talking about cyclists that arrive at a stop where other cyclists are already stopped and waiting...and then stop to wait in front of the folks who were already there.
bahula03 is offline  
Old 09-14-21, 08:41 AM
  #47  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,015
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1813 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 918 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I always ask and then still stay a few bike lengths behind.

Except if its and e-bike, since my intention is to piss them off when they can't drop me.

So you ask if you can draft, and then don't draft? That sounds a bit annoying in itself.
woodcraft is offline  
Old 09-14-21, 09:01 AM
  #48  
James1964 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 255
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 62 Posts
Note that the chart showing the savings from drafting assumes a speed of 45km/hr, significantly faster than most people are riding.

It must be a sign of the times. BITD no one ever asked for permission to draft: typically, riders preferred the company of another cyclist(s). Riders would also talk with each other, sometimes even share when and where they normally ride so as to meet up again. Pulling on ones brakes to crash the guy behind you is very poor form.
James1964 is offline  
Old 09-14-21, 09:12 AM
  #49  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,364

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3000 Post(s)
Liked 2,419 Times in 1,183 Posts
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
So you ask if you can draft, and then don't draft? That sounds a bit annoying in itself.
Actually i ask if they mind if i hang on their wheel. With the condition of local roads I don't trust people I don't know not to lead me into a pothole.

There's still some aero benefit being 10'-15' back and that buys me a second or two to react to the road conditions.
GlennR is offline  
Old 09-14-21, 09:15 AM
  #50  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,849

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1394 Post(s)
Liked 1,941 Times in 1,031 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​And a moron. Never break brake check anyone, especially when you don't know how close they're paying attention.
Didn't we just have an entire thread about this?
cxwrench is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.