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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

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Old 09-13-05, 07:11 AM   #1
askrom
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Drafting Etiquette

I think drafting is lots of fun, but I get annoyed when strangers suddenly pull up behind me and suck my wheels for miles and miles without so much as an offer to take their turn at the front or even a hello. Part of my annoyance is personal and psychological, and yeah, a little petty: a simple contempt for riders who seek to share in the glory of my own speed and strength without doing their fair share of the work.

But does my annoyance also have a physical justification? Does a drafting rider hurt the efficiency of the rider who is leading? I've heard arguments both ways (they pull the lead rider back by increasing the drag on the pair of riders, or that they eliminate the reverse pull created by turbulence behind the lead rider). What's the truth? Can anyone provide a link to something conclusive about this, something besides idle theorizing?

Basically, I'm looking for an excuse to tell wheelsuckers to back off or pull their weight. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-05, 07:39 AM   #2
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I don't think you'll ever get a good excuse to do this, if by 'good' you mean some sort of scientific explanation of why they are dragging you down. Even if there were some document or something you could cite, you're not really going to be able to convey that to them while they're on your ass. I don't really think you should need an excuse though. If you don't want them there, I'd say wave them on or tell them to get off. If that doesn't work, you can always crank it up to 500 watts and drop their sorry posing ass (whatever the hell that means).

I had heard that there are minimal advantages to having someone draft you. Something like 35% gain in efficiency goes to the drafter, and <5% gain in efficiency goes to the draftee. I heard that on OLN during the TdF, so I wouldn't consider it to be definitive. However, I seem to recall the explanation they gave, and the little animation (now I can't even recall if there was an animation, or if it's just created memory) looked convincing to me.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:41 AM   #3
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I've read there is a slight drafting benefit for the lead rider. The reasons for telling someone to hose off are:

1. Personal/Privacy - I'm out riding by myself, not with you.
2. Safety 1 - Having someone suck your wheel forces you to ride in a much more disciplined manner to avoid accidents. They have no right to force that on you.
3. Safety 2 - you have no idea if the idiot behind you can paceline without taking you down.
4. If they want you to accept 1, 2 and 3, then they should be willing to pull too. Otherwise, beat it.

All that being said, ColoradoPete and I were riding when a rider asked (yes, some people actually ask!) to join our line but said he wasn't strong enough to pull. That was fine with us because he was polite about it and gave us an opportunity to turn him down if we wanted to. So I'm not adverse to pacelining with strangers, but not if they just assume they can jump on without asking or even notice.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:41 AM   #4
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are you doing an organized club ride? Just curious.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
are you doing an organized club ride? Just curious.
No, I'm talking about on my commute -- on a bike path, no less, where sudden braking is frequent due to pedestrians and slower bikers. I didn't mention the safety issue, but that is also a big concern of mine.

On a planned group ride, all drafting is A-OK with me.


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If that doesn't work, you can always crank it up to 500 watts and drop their sorry posing ass (whatever the hell that means).
That is excellent advice. Good training for me, too.
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Old 09-13-05, 07:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by askrom
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If that doesn't work, you can always crank it up to 500 watts and drop their sorry posing ass (whatever the hell that means).

That is excellent advice. Good training for me, too.
Just remember to give them "The Look"
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Old 09-13-05, 08:02 AM   #7
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I donít mind if someone wants to draft me. I think it can safer because you are more visible to other car traffic.

Not to hi-jack but I had an odd experience the other week concerning a drafter. I passed a solo guy during an organized group ride where most everyone was spaced out into very small groups spanning a few miles. Anyway, after I pass the guy he rides my wheel for about a quarter mile and then starts to whistle at me. I turn around and heís telling me to slow down. Iím like what the? He wasnít asking me, he was telling me. I just told him Iím keeping my heart rate up and just keep going. He fell off fairly quickly and it left me with an odd feeling of what was the guy thinking, TELLING me to slow down for him.
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Old 09-13-05, 08:09 AM   #8
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If I happen to run into somebody that is faster then me and I can catch their tail wind I'm going to go for it. I won't chase 2 inches from your tire, more like 5-20 feet behind, but I will chase. For some reason chasing behind somebody 5-20 feet behind can cause me to hit an average of 25-30 mph where I would normally be going 17-22, if the other person is just that fast.

If that makes you mad, let me know, go faster, stop or take a different route.
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Old 09-13-05, 09:31 AM   #9
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use the breaks dive in behind and enjoy the view Even if its slower you get the 30% reduction in air drag good recovery and then hit it drop them after you work them. OR have fun and leave the the small shizat just shizat.
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Old 09-13-05, 09:49 AM   #10
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I'd wave them on, then give them a short while to pass since they may not have the power to at my speed. If they still are hanging on then I'd pull over, let them pass, then continue on. I hate it when cars who can(within the speed limit even) pass me don't... just sitting back there waiting like a stalking butler. Another bicyclist does it? Aaargggh!
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Old 09-13-05, 11:30 AM   #11
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Experienced riders don't typically care if someone is sitting on. Inexperienced ones seem to care a great deal. Do a search on this topic. There are pages and pages of threads about this
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