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Hey everyone,

When I cycle on the roads, sometimes another stranger cyclist just drafts behind me for a couple miles. Is this considered normal? I'm not sure if it's rude or something accepted in the cycling community.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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Hey everyone,

When I cycle on the roads, sometimes another stranger cyclist just drafts behind me for a couple miles. Is this considered normal? I'm not sure if it's rude or something accepted in the cycling community.
i consider it quite rude. if another rider rolls up on my wheel and doesn't say anything i'll pull off and stop pedaling, then point out the error in their ways. i stop at stop signs and red lights, and the last thing i want is some unknown-to-me idiot running me over as i slow down when they're planning on rolling it. and i'm sure the last thing they'd want is me blowing my nose all over them.
but...if someone rolls up and announces their presence, i have no problem at all w/ them sitting on my wheel. i'll politely signal my intentions and have a chat w/ them.
 

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Depending on how close the rider is drifting. If it's a tailgating situation, I would say it's rude and I would look for a way to diffuse the situation. If the rider is 30 yards or more away, I wouldn't care.
 

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Depending on how close the rider is drifting. If it's a tailgating situation, I would say it's rude and I would look for a way to diffuse the situation. If the rider is 30 yards or more away, I wouldn't care.
Doesn't sounds much like drafting to me. :D I'd say you have to be within a yard to really get much benefit.
 

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I used to be bother a bit by this when I started road biking. But now, I don't care much, and in many cases welcome the company. 2 riders are easier for the cars to spot then 1 rider; safety in number. Safety trumps anal retention.

However, if I'm going to draft someone, I would at least make sure he sees me. Last thing I want is for him to blow his snot all over my face! Yuk.
 

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Cycling Dolomiti Friuli
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Same here, I don't mind. Actually kind of flattering- there is someone slower than me out here! I do try to avoid it with others though unless we agree on it. Sometimes it makes people nervous, or they feel they must go harder than they are comfortable with. But it all depends on the person- I've passed people instead of drafting on them and had them get pissy about that. :confused:
 

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If they announce themselves, know what they are doing (hold distance, don't lap wheels, etc), and pull when it's their turn (the pull is optional if they just can't do it) no issues.
 

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I'm with cxwrench on that: rude if they don't say anything. That's because they completely discount the fact that a solitary rider might just want to ride alone for some reason, like doing a structured training session or having to work through some personal issues. Also: if they don't say anything, I don't feel good about having to initiate the conversation with "please go away" if I want to ride alone.
 

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Doesn't bother me as long as they don't overlap wheels or hit me. Usually it just gives me incentive to work a little harder and pick up my pace.
This and maybe take some pulls. Of course I am very cautious drafting someone I am not familiar with. Some of the guys in my club I have no problem being right on their wheel. Other people sometimes I prefer to be on a different road. ;)
 

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Interesting. I have never said anything to anyone when i pull up behind them besides how's it going. I guess I tend to swing out to make sure they see me. i usually draft everyone for a bit before I pass if they are doing a decent speed. Sometimes they do in fact pick up the pace and I dont want to pass and then be right in front of them if they get racy and i am doing my thing (maintaining my speed not racing ever rider I see). I have confidence in my self and I tend to stay just off to the side so if I follow someone that doesn't know what they are doing I wont get collected. If I all of the sudden get joined at a decent speed I usually assume that if they can go fast they can ride.

There doesn't seem to be any unspoken rule about taking a turn upfront except to ask. If I join a group of 4 going fast the etiquette seems to be to stay in back and let the rider that drops back back in line in front of me. This seems weird because to stay with a group and never take a turn upfront is selfish. Going upfront and taking a good turn will help the group but they my not want help (I am not talking about a team with matching kits).
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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Interesting. I have never said anything to anyone when i pull up behind them besides how's it going. I guess I tend to swing out to make sure they see me. i usually draft everyone for a bit before I pass if they are doing a decent speed. Sometimes they do in fact pick up the pace and I dont want to pass and then be right in front of them if they get racy and i am doing my thing (maintaining my speed not racing ever rider I see). I have confidence in my self and I tend to stay just off to the side so if I follow someone that doesn't know what they are doing I wont get collected. If I all of the sudden get joined at a decent speed I usually assume that if they can go fast they can ride.

There doesn't seem to be any unspoken rule about taking a turn upfront except to ask. If I join a group of 4 going fast the etiquette seems to be to stay in back and let the rider that drops back back in line in front of me. This seems weird because to stay with a group and never take a turn upfront is selfish. Going upfront and taking a good turn will help the group but they my not want help (I am not talking about a team with matching kits).
The reason being grasshopper, you're an unknown as is your bike handling skills. The last thing a paceline wants is to risk putting someone who may not be able to hold a line in the middle and cause a wheel touch crash.

I side with announcing before drafting.
 

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I don't think I have had this happen to me when I am just out by myself, in the rare occasion when I see someone ahead if I am going fast enough to catch someone I just go on and pass them and vice versa. I mean if you catch up to them you are going faster than them anyways, unless you meet at a light or something.
 

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I don't think I have had this happen to me when I am just out by myself
Believe it or not, a tandem tacked on the back of me some years ago when I was riding a state championship time trial. Apparently, the race number pinned to my jersey meant nothing to them because they hollered at me "where you going?" after they had caught their breath from the chase.

The drafters ignored repeated request to go away, but finally hit the brakes when they overlapped my rear wheel and I intentionally started moving it towards their front wheel. I was never much good at time-trialing, and that one turned out to be one of my worst performances because I was pissed. Seems amusing now, but wasn't then.
 

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For the life of me I can't understand why some people behave like total [email protected]@sses when they are riding a bike and they see another bicyclist.

What would give you the idea that it's okay to sit on my wheel? I wish I chewed tobacco at times like that, I'd blast their silly arse with a couple good squirts of Beechnut.

Another instance is the people that think it's a race when they come upon another cyclist. The best defense against these fools is to be fast enough so that people generally can't catch up.
But if it's a long slow day or an easy ride then the Fred's pass you and post on a message forum like this that they trounced some serious looking cyclist and that the guy was a poser because he had an expensive bike with carbon wheels. Of course you never see this happen on a 10% climb, only on the MUT or around town within range of a high-end coffee shop.
 

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If you do it without asking, it's quite rude. And you deserve a b!tch slap.

For the most part I don't mind someone drafting me, however there's always the question of the bike handling skills of some random stranger. When I'm out on my own I really don't want to worry about getting into a crash with some loser who wants a free ride.

A few weeks ago I was riding home and saw in my mirror a guy behind me for a while. As I was coming down this long hill, moving pretty fast, the guy decided to step it up and pass me. Oh well good for him, I wasn't racing. He was a good 80-100yrds ahead as we rolled onto the flat. I continued at the pace I was going previously, and Mr Jackoff decides to soft pedal in the middle of the lane. I had to pass him on the right because he was too close to the yellow line to pass on the left.
We roll up to a stop sign and cross at the same time. The road leads to a one lane pedestrian bridge. Mr. Jackoff is ahead of me, continuing his sissy pace. So I have to dart ahead so I'm not stuck behind him again. When we get back on the road he decides he wants a free ride and starts drafting me. I didn't realize it for a while because he was so close I couldn't see him in my mirror. I stepped up the pace to see if I could drop him. But then rememberd I had a steep hill coming up with a 20% grade. So I backed off. I was just about to slow up and pull left to force him in front. But he turned off. Thanks alot douche bag! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your ride with your jersey unzipped to your belly button.

Yea.. I don't need people like that drafting me.
 

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wyrd bið ful ãræd
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How do you tell someone that you wish to draft them?

It is not easy having a conversation with a rider that you are drafting as usually you will not be able to tell what they are saying?

On club rides I do draft less than a wheel behind. With strangers, it will be more than 1 wheel up to 2 wheels behind, but I usually do not do it for long. How close I am will depend on my assessment of the rider. You know stay away from the twitchy/eratic ones and close to those who are more consistent. It makes a change from the monotony of being on my own sometimes to have a cyclist to follow. If they keep looking back to see where I am, that is the cue for me to back off.

I do not mind someone drafting me actually.
 

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I've only had this happen on rare occasions and it is usually when I'm visiting a city with a large cycling community. I can see cxwrench's point about slowing/stopping. However, it hasn't bothered me that much. If you allow yourself to get caught up in a impromptu "race" when you don't want to race, it is really on you. I wasn't training when I've had this happen, so it hasn't bothered me. In fact, I approach it as others have by trying to drop them just for fun. If I can't then, I move over and let them pull for a bit. If they comply, I chat with them and we have a good ride.

I was in CO for a 24 hour MTB race and we were doing a climb in the mountains when this guy on a road bike passes me and my buddies. I take this as a good time to open up the climb a bit. So I begin to pull him in. He notices and begins to accelerate, so I took his "challenge" and caught him. When I did, I stayed on his wheel and chilled for a bit. I didn't ask if I could draft him, but he knew I was coming and that I was there. I think it really pissed him off, so I dropped back to my buddies.

Everyone takes it differently.
 

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When I learned to ride in groups over 30 years ago, it was considered to be quite rude. Akin to someone jumping in the back of your car at a light and getting a free ride. Very bad etiquette, and quite inconsiderate.

The proper course of action if you want to draft for a short bit would be to introduce yourself and ask.

When people jump on my wheel unannounced, I drop back and educate them. I hate that.

FWIW, I have seen (and been a victim of) crashes caused by the rider in the back. Someone behind you CAN take you out quite easily.
 
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