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

How much speed can I realistically get out of drafting?

Notices
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

How much speed can I realistically get out of drafting?

Old 10-15-08, 06:29 PM
  #1  
DrakeSuperbus
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How much speed can I realistically get out of drafting?

I've spent that past few months riding by myself. I enjoy it, but I would like to join a group ride soon. The only problem is that they either go too slow or too fast. On my solo rides, I've been maintaining a 3:30 pace, which puts me right around 17 mph. The slow group lists their speed at 16mph; the fast group lists their speed as around 20mph.

However, I've recently read that drafting decreases your workload by 25%. If that is so, I should hypothetically be able to maintain around 21mph with the same effort (1.25*17). This leads me to believe that I can join up and hang with the paceline. Am I correct in my assumption, or does the math cease to work once my shorts hit the saddle?

If it matters at all, their 20mph rides would be only slightly longer than my solo rides (35 vs 30 miles).
DrakeSuperbus is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:33 PM
  #2  
operator
cab horn
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 28,353

Bikes: 1987 Bianchi Campione

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 23 Times in 17 Posts
This speculation is pretty irrelevant. Just go try to ride with the group. Posted ride averages are usually meaningless. If you can't at least hold 10kph + above the average, i'm going to say you won't be able to hang with the group.

Of course it really depends on what type of group you're riding with. A social group? A race training group?

etc. etc.

It's better to join a group that is slightly slower and know where you stand than to get dropped from kilometer zero.
operator is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:33 PM
  #3  
RacerOne
Hills hurt.. Couches kill
 
RacerOne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Brazil, IN
Posts: 3,370

Bikes: 1991 Specialized Sirrus Triple, 2010 Trek Madone 6.5 Project One, 2012 Cannondale Caad10, 2013 Trek Crockett

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If your average pace is 17, it is my opinion that you'd have a tough time hanging with a 20 mph group. But heck, try to ride with them anyway. Worst that can happen is you end up riding by yourself like normal.
RacerOne is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:34 PM
  #4  
Flatballer
No matches
 
Flatballer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 11,584

Bikes: two wheeled ones

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1348 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 197 Posts
Do the fast group. If you get dropped, go back and do it again. Repeat as needed until you win the sprint at the end. Then find a faster group.
Flatballer is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:34 PM
  #5  
blavelle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 66
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
you're thinking about it too much. You should easily be able to hang with the 20mph group. If you get dropped, ride harder then try again.
blavelle is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:36 PM
  #6  
Sinn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Try the slow one first. Then, when you get bored because you are stronger and ready to go faster, join the faster ride.

Also, drafting does make a difference. But one also has to learn how to draft efficiently and safely, i.e., without constantly tapping the brakes and without running into someone's rear wheel. The slow group is probably a good place to learn to draft. The fast group will either drop your or you may cause a wreck.
Sinn is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:39 PM
  #7  
Harun
:p
 
Harun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: bay area
Posts: 356
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
∞ mph
Harun is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:47 PM
  #8  
DrakeSuperbus
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I didn't even think about the safety issue of drafting without causing a wreck. I think I'll try the slow group once or twice until I at least get the hang of it (the last thing I need is to be worrying about rubbing wheels while I'm gasping for air).

Any tips on draftin properly?
DrakeSuperbus is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:48 PM
  #9  
uke
it's easy if you let it.
 
uke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: indoors and out.
Posts: 4,124
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just do it.
uke is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:56 PM
  #10  
Motman320
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 469
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by harun View Post
∞ mph
+1
Motman320 is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:57 PM
  #11  
127.0.0.1
50000 Guatts of power
 
127.0.0.1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,001
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
Do the fast group. If you get dropped, go back and do it again. Repeat as needed until you win the sprint at the end. Then find a faster group.
this

just don't jackrabbit unless you like suffering. jackrabbit is good and you get fast
but usually end up riding alone for a long time till you are a player
127.0.0.1 is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 06:59 PM
  #12  
rm -rf
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Posts: 5,304
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 728 Post(s)
Liked 117 Times in 86 Posts
I'd plan on maybe 2 mph over your average speed. See this bike speed calculator: for their default road rider, 160 watts gets 17.3 mph, and 200 watts equivalent (25% higher) gets 18.8 mph. Even 400 watts is just 24 mph.

A lot depends on how close the group drafts, and how strong they are on hills. I can hang in a very fast (for me) group until they start climbing hills, then I get dropped. The average speed includes stops and hills, so the flat road pace may be faster than the average speed indicates. Also, most group rides seem to get faster later in the year.

So, like the other posters said, just give it a try. If you've never ridden in a group, try one that seems slightly too slow, for practice.

Last edited by rm -rf; 10-15-08 at 07:02 PM.
rm -rf is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:00 PM
  #13  
Hickeydog
Crushing souls
 
Hickeydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Sagamore Hills, Ohio.
Posts: 1,591

Bikes: Trek 1500

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Ride with the slow group first. Do that once. You will learn a lot of good riding techniques. But after that, go ride with the fast group. They will drop you. That's find. Go back and get dropped again. Keep going back and you will be able to keep up with them. It will hurt, but it is worth the pain.
__________________
Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post

What's frightening is how coherent Hickey was in posting that.
Hickeydog is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:01 PM
  #14  
bostongarden
meow
 
bostongarden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hint: check out my BF name
Posts: 5,829

Bikes: 2016 Parlee Altum, 2013 Cannondale Super Six Evo Hi Mod Di2 only, 2011 Cannondale Super Six, Dura Ace 7800, 2007 Cannondale System Six Dura Ace 7800, 1992 Bridgestone RB-1, MB-2, MB-3, MB-5

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Agree with many others, just go give it a whirl...
bostongarden is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:01 PM
  #15  
z415
Senior Member
 
z415's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gainesville/Tampa, FL
Posts: 2,343

Bikes: Trek 1000, two mtbs and working on a fixie for commuting.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Math beyond addition in cycling is most likely useless.

Addition is for adding grams together.
z415 is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:02 PM
  #16  
Sinn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DrakeSuperbus View Post
I didn't even think about the safety issue of drafting without causing a wreck. I think I'll try the slow group once or twice until I at least get the hang of it (the last thing I need is to be worrying about rubbing wheels while I'm gasping for air).

Any tips on draftin properly?
Its not too hard. The three rules of thumb that I use are: 1. keep a distance of about 30 cm at least and 1 meter at most between your front wheel and the other's rear wheel, 2. never tap your brakes in the line, always try to eschalon out of the line before resorting to brakes (this is to keep the person 30 cm off your rear wheel from running into you), 3. always try to stay shoulder to shoulder with the person you are riding next to. Rule 3 is flexible though, it depends on how disciplined the group is in general or on that particular ride.
Sinn is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:03 PM
  #17  
ridethecliche
Batüwü Creakcreak
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dirty Jerz
Posts: 20,701
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 190 Post(s)
Liked 230 Times in 134 Posts
Originally Posted by RacerOne View Post
If your average pace is 17, it is my opinion that you'd have a tough time hanging with a 20 mph group. But heck, try to ride with them anyway. Worst that can happen is you end up riding by yourself like normal.
I hung in a 4/5 crit at 25mph average for a 4 corner crit (aka lots of surges and slow downs and speed ups) and my average speed on rides was like 16 or 17 mph.

Group rides are a totally different ball game. I can push so much harder riding in a group that it's ridiculous. I'm working on pushing harder when riding by myself. To the OP, just start out with the easier group, even if it is on your easier days. Once you learn the techniques and etiquette, start riding with the faster group get dropped and do it again till you can stay with them. Once you can stay with them, try to work the group and dictate the pace. Then find a faster group.

Rinse and repeat!

(Credit to botto).
ridethecliche is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:50 PM
  #18  
KiddSisko
Has coddling tendencies.
 
KiddSisko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Topanga Canyon
Posts: 8,360

Bikes: 2008 Blue RC8 w/ '09 Rival

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 59 Times in 8 Posts
Go and do it. If you make a mistake, they will yell at you the appropriate corrective measure.
KiddSisko is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 07:59 PM
  #19  
bigtea
Senior Member
 
bigtea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,639
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think John Howard got up to about 152mph drafting behind a race car when he set the bicycling speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. However, I'm not sure you want to try that without a cork in your bib pads.
bigtea is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 08:08 PM
  #20  
pdedes
ka maté ka maté ka ora
 
pdedes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: wessex
Posts: 4,423

Bikes: breezer venturi - red novo bosberg - red, pedal force cg1 - red, neuvation f-100 - da, devinci phantom - xt, miele piste - miche/campy, bianchi reparto corse sbx, concorde squadra tsx - da, miele team issue sl - ultegra

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Joining a group ride involves a bit of etiquette, especially if you are new and they are experienced, after all, you may just be jeopardizing their safety. Draft reasonably close, don't open gaps, don't overlap wheels and when you take your turn at the front maintain the speed of the group. Figure out how to set up a proper echelon. If the wind is off your left shoulder, don't put the group in the gutter.

If you're finding it difficult maintaining the pace, shorten your turns at the front before hanging on to the back of the paceline. If the group contests sprints, offer to lead out. It'll keep you out of the way when they're getting the blue sign and you'll get some sprint practice without endangering anyone (just keep your speed high and ride in a straight line).

You don't have to yell "car back" every time, but point out bad potholes, or better yet, steer the group around them.

If all this hasn't dissuaded you, have fun, 'cause you'll go faster and further than you've gone before.

Peter
pdedes is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 08:34 PM
  #21  
kudude
slow up hills
 
kudude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4,931

Bikes: Giant TCR, Redline CX, Ritchey Breakaway, Spec S-works epic

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DrakeSuperbus View Post
I've spent that past few months riding by myself. I enjoy it, but I would like to join a group ride soon. The only problem is that they either go too slow or too fast. On my solo rides, I've been maintaining a 3:30 pace, which puts me right around 17 mph. The slow group lists their speed at 16mph; the fast group lists their speed as around 20mph.

However, I've recently read that drafting decreases your workload by 25%. If that is so, I should hypothetically be able to maintain around 21mph with the same effort (1.25*17). This leads me to believe that I can join up and hang with the paceline. Am I correct in my assumption, or does the math cease to work once my shorts hit the saddle?

If it matters at all, their 20mph rides would be only slightly longer than my solo rides (35 vs 30 miles).
no.
kudude is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 10:05 PM
  #22  
dahvaio
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southern California
Posts: 498

Bikes: Trek Madone 5.9 SL

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think you could keep up with a 20MPH crew... However, I think there are a ton of variables which would come into play:

1. Group could be cruising at 30+MPH over certain portions of the ride. If you can't hang on then it would be very difficult to catch up.

2. Hills - Enough Said

3. Stop Lights - Some Groups mash pretty hard until they get up to speed. This can be difficult, if you are constantly sprinting.

In the end, the only way you are going to know for sure is to ride with the group. Don't ride with the slower group, no point in it. Most groups who ride that slow are recreational - I doubt they would even maintain a good paceline.
dahvaio is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 10:18 PM
  #23  
travkat
Go as fast as you can
 
travkat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Marcos
Posts: 733

Bikes: Ritte Bosberg with SRAM Red and Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL's

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
No matter what you do with either group you should make sure you spend some time learning how to ride in a tight group. Learn to draft properly, take pulls, echelon, pointing out hazards etc. You will be dropped from the fast group for sure the first few times you ride with them but don't be discouraged. Keep at it and you will get faster.
travkat is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 10:37 PM
  #24  
sonic six13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have worked my way up to 38 MPH before on flats and held it steady for quite sometime.

It was me and a cat 4 racer. It was a blast
sonic six13 is offline  
Old 10-15-08, 10:55 PM
  #25  
sharkey00
Senior Member
 
sharkey00's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 560
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Learn how to ride in a paceline. Ride in the fast group. Hint: do not lose the pack. If you fall behind you will stay there.
sharkey00 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.