Road Cycling “It 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.” -- Ernest Hemingway

pack vs. solo riding

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Old 03-08-07, 02:53 PM
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f1 8430173
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pack vs. solo riding

ive never ridden in a pack and was wondering how big of a difference it is to ride with no wind?
if i can avg 18 for 30 miles solo, does i mean that averaging 25 in a pack for 35miles will be similar?
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Old 03-08-07, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by f1 8430173
ive never ridden in a pack and was wondering how big of a difference it is to ride with no wind?
if i can avg 18 for 30 miles solo, does i mean that averaging 25 in a pack for 35miles will be similar?
BIG
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Old 03-08-07, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by f1 8430173
ive never ridden in a pack and was wondering how big of a difference it is to ride with no wind?
if i can avg 18 for 30 miles solo, does i mean that averaging 25 in a pack for 35miles will be similar?
It all depends how fast your pack is. It makes a huge difference. The bigger the headwind, the more of a difference it makes.
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Old 03-08-07, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
BIG
ok so is i like "BIG",big. or so big that it doesnt fit on the page?
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Old 03-08-07, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
It all depends how fast your pack is. It makes a huge difference. The bigger the headwind, the more of a difference it makes.
And how hilly the terrain, and how big the pack.

Averaging 25 mph on a flat to rolling course is still likely to mean times that the pack will be doing 28+mph.
And depending on how well you can handle short intense efforts, the ability to average 18mph, may not be enough to avoid getting dropped in a pack moving close to 30 mph.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by f1 8430173
ok so is i like "BIG",big. or so big that it doesnt fit on the page?

HUGE
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Old 03-08-07, 03:07 PM
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Old 03-08-07, 03:07 PM
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Yep, did that thing with the pack on hills. We were motoring along at a good pace, maybe 27-28mph, hit the first big hill. The guys up front just kept on going. Oh well, more training on hills for me.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by f1 8430173
avg 18 for 30 miles solo, does i mean that averaging 25 in a pack for 35miles will be similar
sounds like an algebra question; but in short, no. you're perceived rate of work could actually be higher!
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Old 03-08-07, 03:20 PM
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I'm going to go with a metric sh*tload.
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Old 03-08-07, 03:30 PM
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ryan,

being in a pack will protect you from the wind best if you stick to your wheel TIGHT—at least half a wheel's length is best.

you'll see what I mean once you lose your wheel by about 3 feet. the difference is night and day.
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Old 03-08-07, 06:34 PM
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so how back is too far?

so if I am at the back of the pack of ~10 riders, riding in the last row, and I am riding 3-4 feet (~1-1.5 metres) behind the last wheel at ~20mph (~32kmh) then am I getting any drafting/slip-streaming benefit?

I *perceive* that even if I am riding behind one solo rider, and I am sitting ~3 feet behind his/her rear wheel at even ~15mph I feel it is easier to maintain speed. Is it all in my mind?
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Old 03-08-07, 06:42 PM
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Made a big +tve difference for me in these areas:
-aerodynamically
-fun factor
-learning cycling skills
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Old 03-08-07, 07:46 PM
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I think it's Edmund Burkes' book Serious Cycling that says you can save up to 37% of your effort in a tight pack with enough riders. Or maybe Carmichael or Friel said that?
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Old 03-08-07, 07:56 PM
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The draft in a large pack certainly helps but you still have to work hard perhaps harder than riding alone because you're not dictating the pace, the pack is.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:24 PM
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If you find the right spot inside a large pack at 25-30 mph, you'll swear that it's sucking you along.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:29 PM
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Old 03-08-07, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
HUGE
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Old 03-08-07, 10:37 PM
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3 feet behind a rider is too far. You need to be half a wheel length, or your throwing away a lot of the drafting effect.
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Old 03-08-07, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rule
I'm going to go with a metric sh*tload.

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Old 03-09-07, 05:48 AM
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From an ebook I was "thumbing" through tonight.

Originally Posted by Arnie Baker
Here is one estimate of how power is saved, dependant upon speed, drafting, a single rider at 3 feet.

- 6 mph 2%
- 12 mph 7%
- 18 mph 18%
- 25 mph 25%
- 30 mph 28%
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Old 03-09-07, 06:07 AM
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I haven't done a ton of paceline riding, but it is ALWAYS faster. No only do you benefit from the aerodynamics, but you push yourself to keep the pace.

But the leap from 20mph to 25 is huge in my opinion. Even a 2-3 mph difference is significant.
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Old 03-09-07, 06:23 AM
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You don't ride in a pack just for the benefit of being able to suck wheel with less effort. A greater benefit from riding in a pack is that by sharing the workload the whole group can go faster.

Your best solo time for 25 miles might be 20 mph. But with 10 guys with your same fitness level working together, your best group time for 25 miles might be 26 mph. That's because each member of the group shares the workload by taking a turn at the front, then dropping back to recover in the draft. The bigger the group, the more potential horsepower and the faster the whole group can go, for a longer distance.

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Old 03-09-07, 06:39 AM
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It's more than the physical effort of maintaining the pace. There is so much going on around you and subtle changes in pace that you have to be aware of in a group. It's about using your head and thinking about what you are doing so that others around you aren't endangered by your actions.

You have to be able to avoid cross wheeling the rider in front of you without braking if the pace changes. You have to think about what side of the group you need to be in if you have to bail. You have to be able to hold a line and manouver your bike with your hips to avoid small objects. These are all skills that might be second nature to the rest of the group but will be foreign to you.
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Old 03-09-07, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by f1 8430173
ive never ridden in a pack
I'm surprised no one picked up on this.

If you've never ridden in a pack, the 25mph group's not the one to go out with for your first group ride. You're going to be a hazard to yourself and other riders until you develop good group skillz, yo.

Sorry to be blunt about it, but I'm still rehabbing a shoulder from an injury caused by a careless rider in a 24mph group ride last month, and this morning it's tender so I'm cranky.
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