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Drafting etiquette

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Drafting etiquette

Old 09-13-21, 11:56 AM
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bshell
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Drafting etiquette

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?
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Old 09-13-21, 11:59 AM
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big john
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I wouldn't do that but if you want to sit on some stranger's wheel the polite thing would be to ask, or say Hi, or at least let them know you are there.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:02 PM
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Doesn't bother me when someone jumps on my wheel. I've never experienced any negative effects. Once I had a guy touch wheels, and he went down not me. Another time a guy was drafting a little too close and when I signaled a quick left turn - which he didn't see, he hit my back wheel and went down. Sometimes if I'm in a surly mood, I'll let him sit there a while then slowly ramp up the speed and see if I can ride him off my wheel!
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Old 09-13-21, 12:05 PM
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So your that stinker taking advantage of me parting the air... I'll fix you!

Etiquette... There is not etiquette. Drafting is a special technique and takes allot of practice. In my younger days there were rides where me and my buddies did nothing but practice drafting each other. All in all you only draft people you know. Slamming on the brakes is just one of the many, many things a competitor will do to shake off a drafter.

There is a big difference between ridding and competing. Some people concentrate on competition only and most times they are not much fun on a fun ride...
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Old 09-13-21, 12:11 PM
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Ask if it's okay and respect their wishes if they say "no."
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Old 09-13-21, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I wouldn't do that but if you want to sit on some stranger's wheel the polite thing would be to ask, or say Hi, or at least let them know you are there.
^This

Just ask or at least say hi to announce yourself but if you're going to draft, at least be prepared to share the work in the front as well.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:15 PM
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I would never draft someone I don't know without letting them know that I'm on their wheel.

Generally speaking, if a single stranger passes me and I'm feeling like using them to pace, I'll follow at something like 10 bike lengths. I don't imagine that anybody could find that objectionable.

There have been times when I've been passed or come upon a group of people I don't know and they are making a good tempo. I might jump on their wheels in that case, but again, only if I let them know and they say it's OK.

And yes, I get annoyed when somebody jumps on my wheel and I don't know them. Pulling for somebody is also taking some responsibility for their safety, and I didn't volunteer for that job. Also, that person on my wheel could risk my safety (if I have to brake suddenly, I'm depending on them to be paying attention), and I don't care to risk that with random strangers.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:17 PM
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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?
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.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:18 PM
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"Hi, mind if I sit on?"

If the answer is no, then either pass them or sit up and allow a gap to form. If the answer is yes, then offer to rotate and share the work. But don't just sit back there without saying anything. It's just weird, rude, and occasionally dangerous.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:24 PM
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If you need to draft a stronger rider, then you need to HTFU. Drafting will not help you get stronger.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:25 PM
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Let me add that there's a big difference between jumping on the wheel of an individual as opposed to a group. You still might not be welcome in the latter case, but at least the person in the front of the group knows that they are pulling and that they are partly responsible for the safety of those behind. An individual doesn't know that (unless you tell them) and didn't volunteer for that responsibility.

In both cases, you should let them know and get their permisson.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by armybikerider View Post
Sometimes if I'm in a surly mood, I'll let him sit there a while then slowly ramp up the speed and see if I can ride him off my wheel!
Or gradually slow down until he gets impatient and decides to pass you.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:29 PM
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What is this? The dozen'th time this has come up? This is the bike world equivalent of the "does a plane on a treadmill takeoff?"
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Old 09-13-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
What is this? The dozen'th time this has come up? This is the bike world equivalent of the "does a plane on a treadmill takeoff?"
Well, does it?
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Old 09-13-21, 12:38 PM
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In my opinion, jumping on a solo rider's wheel without permission is an obnoxious imposition. That person, if they aren't a sociopath, now has to consider your safety. Where I ride, with bad pavement and frequent intersections, it can be a real executive burden and distract from training or a pleasant mental state. Joining a group is a different and less significant matter, but, in my opinion, still requires permission and, of course, basic skills.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:38 PM
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unless you are granted permission by the stranger, it's risky business to assume it's ok to invade someone's personal time. Friends/Family victims are inherently open to being drafted .
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Old 09-13-21, 12:41 PM
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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.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that. Could the guy have dealt with the situation more gracefully? Sure, but the same can be said about the OP. In any event, there are certainly some people that I don't want on my wheel and there are certainly times where I'm not looking for company or the responsibility.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:47 PM
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Be careful drafting people that you don't trust
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Old 09-13-21, 12:49 PM
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This was really helpful. Thanks.
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Old 09-13-21, 12:58 PM
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I've ridden in places, for instance Central Park, which are sometimes like one continuous, madly competitive, group ride. There, I suppose, anything goes. However, out here in the genteel, Mid-Atlantic suburbs and in my old age, I expect gentility.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I've ridden in places, for instance Central Park, which are sometimes like one continuous, madly competitive, group ride. There, I suppose, anything goes. However, out here in the genteel, Mid-Atlantic suburbs and in my old age, I expect gentility.
Y'mean on Zwift? Well hell yeah, draft away.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Y'mean on Zwift? Well hell yeah, draft away.
Nah, man. I started swinging my tiny pudenda there in the 1970s. ...or earlier if you want to count Sunday morning rides with dear old dad.

Zwift needs a delta variant cooties feature to discourage anonymous wheel sucking.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Nah, man. I started swinging my tiny pudenda there in the 1970s. ...or earlier if you want to count Sunday morning rides with dear old dad.

Zwift needs a delta variant cooties feature to discourage anonymous wheel sucking.
There are no virtual snot rockets.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:28 PM
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BTW, this happened to me once. I was descending Black Mtn, in Canberra, and a guy got on my wheel without me being aware (on a descent? why?). We came to the stop sign that we both knew was there, but I slowed before he expected me to. (found out later, that's because I was doing hill repeats and needed space to turn around, something which hadn't occurred to him). We touched wheels and both went down. No injuries except for some scrapes, fortunately. He said that he thought I knew he was there.

But I didn't.
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Old 09-13-21, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I wouldn't go so far as to say that. Could the guy have dealt with the situation more gracefully? Sure, but the same can be said about the OP. In any event, there are certainly some people that I don't want on my wheel and there are certainly times where I'm not looking for company or the responsibility.
You make some valid points. Maybe my judgement is a little harsh. However, brake-checking to get rid of rider behind you is a stupid way to handle it, and the result illustrates exactly why. Personally, I'm generally not grumpy about it either way. If I'm rolling fast, and they can stay with me, they are probably a decent rider. Likewise, If someone rolls by me when I'm pushing, they're also going to be pretty decent. If I'm just cruising, I have zero concern about someone passing me. Shirtless, helmetless guy on hybrids with home-made "areo" bars I stay the **** away from.

Last edited by Eric F; 09-13-21 at 02:29 PM.
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