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Yesterday, as I was doing another shakedown ride with my wife, getting familiar with the bike, making some adjustments, etc., two guys whizzed past me. My competitive nature kicked in and I decided to drop my wife and catch them to see whether I could keep up. As I approached them, I realized it might not be cool to come up on their rear without their knowledge. So, I followed them at a distance of about 25-30 feet (5-6 bike lengths). I matched their speed for about 2 miles (22-23 mph - I maxed out at 25.5 trying to catch them :thumbsup: ) and then decided I should wait for my wife. I backed off and slowed down to wait for her.

What is the ettiquette in that situation? Did I do the right thing by not coming up on the guy's back wheel?

On another note, I enjoyed the hell out of pushing along at that speed and can't wait to get back out. Its too bad I need to take the bike to the shop to get a tune up (the shifting is a bit hard, and I fell over at an intersection and I think I wrecked my left pedal).
 

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It's perfectly alright to ride on somebody's wheel, it's called "sucking a wheel" and is an integral part of race tactics and teamwork. I't something you need to get comfortable with if you want to do group rides. If you want them to know you're there, just shout "hello".
 

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yeah, totally ok to be on someone's wheel. Try to feel them out though, be conversational to some degree when you pull up. They could be JAs and act full of themselves when you pull up, or maybe they'll end up being your riding buddies. Either way, if you can keep up, it's ok to stay on their wheel.
 

· gastarbeiter
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rule # 1. NEVER "drop the wife"

rule # 2. NOBODY likes a stalker. I could care less if you're right on my wheel, or 5-6 bike lengths behind me. it's irritating as fcuk. ride alongside, say 'hey, do you mind if i join you guys? i've just dropped my wife to bridge up to you, and she's plenty mad, so i have to get as much distance between me and her as i can right now" ;) chances are they'll say 'sure'.

cka1971 said:
Yesterday, as I was doing another shakedown ride with my wife, getting familiar with the bike, making some adjustments, etc., two guys whizzed past me. My competitive nature kicked in and I decided to drop my wife and catch them to see whether I could keep up. As I approached them, I realized it might not be cool to come up on their rear without their knowledge. So, I followed them at a distance of about 25-30 feet (5-6 bike lengths). I matched their speed for about 2 miles (22-23 mph - I maxed out at 25.5 trying to catch them :thumbsup: ) and then decided I should wait for my wife. I backed off and slowed down to wait for her.

What is the ettiquette in that situation? Did I do the right thing by not coming up on the guy's back wheel?

On another note, I enjoyed the hell out of pushing along at that speed and can't wait to get back out. Its too bad I need to take the bike to the shop to get a tune up (the shifting is a bit hard, and I fell over at an intersection and I think I wrecked my left pedal).
 

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I think Botto's got it right.

You should be asking questions about marriage etiquette.
 

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I'll back up botto as well, on both points. That's the fastest way to get the wife to stop riding with you, and if that doesn't sound like a problem now, keep it up, and remember these actions when she starts questioning your purchases and where your priorities fall.

On the other point, drafting is great, if you leave with the group. If you catch a group while you're alone, don't just latch on or follow at a distance, introduce yourself and ask if they mind. You don't know what their trying to do, and you might be seriously screwing with their training.

Another thing to consider: you don't know these people or how they ride. When drafting you are dependant on the people in front of you to hold their line, call out obstacles, and not lock their brakes unexpectedly. There is a level of trust that goes there, and I personally don't like to stick too close to a wheel I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Except for the marriage counseling :p , all good points to remember as I LEARN the proper etiquette. See, that's why I dropped back from them a few bike lengths. I wasn't sure how close to get - nor was I sure how long I'd stay with them, as I did need to wait up for the wife. Next time, I'll ride up and say hello.
 

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This is a tough one. Yes, definitely ask first. It may seem a bit awkward at 25 mph, so roll up behind them, wait until it's safe to pass. Say "On your left" and move up alongside them. Ask "Do you mind if I work with you guys?"

Be prepared to be told "No." I know that when I'm trading pulls with a buddy or two, I don't want a stranger in the line. Better yet, if you enjoy this type of riding, check with a local club to see if they offer rides for people like you. Good luck and ride safe.
 

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OK I've got to make a few comments. Some of you seem to be confusing cycling etiquette with everyday etiquette, and the two are completely different. "Sucking a wheel", as it's affectionately referred, is not at all like hovering too close to the person in front of you when you're lined up at the bank. It's not only accepted, but expected. It's the reason why a group can move faster than a single rider. If you ride with a group, you'll be expected to do it, an to know how to do it. And you need to tolerate people doing it to you, ar don't do a group ride.

As for you're wife, you didn't really drop her, you just parted company for a few minutes, and that's also ok. It's alright to charge a hill, sprint to a townline sign, something like that- you've just got to wait. We ride for fun, and doing those things is, well, fun. Now, if she'd "sucked your wheel" she might have been able to stay with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Blue Sugar said:
As for you're wife, you didn't really drop her, you just parted company for a few minutes, and that's also ok. It's alright to charge a hill, sprint to a townline sign, something like that- you've just got to wait. We ride for fun, and doing those things is, well, fun. Now, if she'd "sucked your wheel" she might have been able to stay with you.
Yea, that's it. We "parted company." :D
 

· Scary Teddy Bear
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team_sheepshead said:
This is a tough one. Yes, definitely ask first. It may seem a bit awkward at 25 mph, so roll up behind them, wait until it's safe to pass. Say "On your left" and move up alongside them. Ask "Do you mind if I work with you guys?"

Be prepared to be told "No." I know that when I'm trading pulls with a buddy or two, I don't want a stranger in the line. Better yet, if you enjoy this type of riding, check with a local club to see if they offer rides for people like you. Good luck and ride safe.
I agree, join a local club, chances are they have all sorts of riders that go out on group rides, some of them faster and training rides, some of them slower and social rides. With our group, some guys can be kinda leery of someone unknown joining, if they don't know what they are doing and take you down by clipping your rear wheel, they'd be mighty ticked off. Better to join a club and learn all of the facets of group riding, pacelines, rotating, echelons, etc.
 

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You must ask

Running in paceline properly requires less than 6 inches between wheels. It's a learned skill. Especially since you're new to the sport, you probably don't -- can't be expected to -- know how to do this properly.

If I'm running a quick paceline with a teammate or two, I wouldn't want a squirrely stranger hopping in.

That said, if I'm just cruising along, I'm happy to have whoever wants to suck a wheel.

So, you've gotta ask.

But, I'd advise reading a book on cycling / racing or, better yet, joining and practicing with a club, before you try to start taking pulls, etc., so you learn how it works. It's not all that complicated, and it makes cycling a ton of fun.

There's nothing as cool as sitting in the wheels at 50k/hr without even being in the hurt!
 

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botto said:
rule # 1. NEVER "drop the wife"
As a wife, I'll go out on a limb and say most of us can take getting dropped. But for the singles out there...

I was on one of my rides a few months ago and passed a foursome - two young men and two young women on their bikes. The men were on mountain bikes and looked like they rode together quite a bit. The women looked like newbies. One was on a comfort bike, the other on a Trek road bike.

I stopped to take a break at the bottom of a hill to remove my jacket and such, and watched as the four of them made the turn where I was and started up the hill.

I started the climb and passed the two women who were getting off their bikes to walk the hill looking digusted and hopeless as the two males pulled away from them in the distance. As I rode the climb I glanced back once of twice to see how those girls were doing. Eventually they disappeared from my line of sight. I passed the two guys as I got to the top of the hill. I thought about saying something but didn't (I was too out of breath :eek:).

If I were to have said something I would have told them, "If you guys have the faintest hope of getting any "action" tonight, you guys need to go back down there and do the hill with those girls."

Gentlemen, any wife worth her salt can take getting dropped. But if you want to cash in the investment you make in a date, never, ever, ever drop a girlfriend. ;)
 

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Recap and a few thoughts

Not cool to drop the wife. Not cool to drop any partner unless everyone knows the deal beforehand.

If you can catch them riding smooth and safe, it's up to you to stay out of their way. It's nice to say "hi- I just gotta chase, you know?" If I'm really blasted, and just trying to get home, and people pass me just a little faster- "Hi, I'm really hurting. Can I hook in as long as I can hold on?" Of course, your wife was probably feeling like that, and you dropped her like a banana peel. What goes around, comes around.

It's not a race. Just keep in mind that anything less than 20 miles, and you better have some kind of excuse- that's a ridiculously short ride- too short for even a recovery spin unless you are injured, maybe. Some people are out 25 miles, some are out for 60+ after work. You don't know what people did yesterday, or their goals for today. If people are riding around your pace, say hello! If they are way too fast, let 'em rock and roll. If they are too slow, pass nice, say hi. If you are too winded to talk, you are probably not thinking well and are riding wobbly and not in shape to ride with strangers, as a rule of thumb. ps- take care at intersections- you might just fall over. Laying on the ground, it's customary to say "I meant to do that." It's also possible to misjudge distances and time to get in to a pedal, and get smacked by a car- for which I have no funny comment.

Aerobars usually mean "triathlete" and those people do not like to play roadie games like riding in packs, so they often wobble unpredictably. Fear the slow rider in aerobars! Flat bars mean "mountain biker" and those people can have legs of steel and cast a wind shadow like a UPS truck, to say they wobble unpredictably is an understatement. Fear them. Tee shirts are another danger sign.

Here is an odd one- a guy on one of the better local teams catches me on the flats, but I hold my pace and make him suffer up the last hill, riding well off to the side. At the top of the hill, he pulls 8 feet to the left; I assume he's turning left, so say "hi" and pass well to the right. He slides back in, puts his hand on my shoulder, and strikes up a conversation... hand on shoulder while I give him a little pull. I assumed this to be complementary... but it was a little weird.

'Meat
 

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Great post. Speaking of dropping women...I was the "leader" of our little group on a charity ride last year. Six strong guys and two not-so-strong women. The women were really suffering on the hills. But we never dropped them by more than 50 meters. On the hills, we'd top out, then ride back down and pace them up at 7 mph.

Finally, toward the end of the ride, some new guys joined our group. On the next hill, they saw the women were struggling. One of them said, "Need a push?" and pushed one of the women up the hill. When they caught up to me, one woman glared at me and said, "You mean you could've been pushing us all along?!?!"

il sogno said:
As a wife, I'll go out on a limb and say most of us can take getting dropped. But for the singles out there...

I was on one of my rides a few months ago and passed a foursome - two young men and two young women on their bikes. The men were on mountain bikes and looked like they rode together quite a bit. The women looked like newbies. One was on a comfort bike, the other on a Trek road bike.

I stopped to take a break at the bottom of a hill to remove my jacket and such, and watched as the four of them made the turn where I was and started up the hill.

I started the climb and passed the two women who were getting off their bikes to walk the hill looking digusted and hopeless as the two males pulled away from them in the distance. As I rode the climb I glanced back once of twice to see how those girls were doing. Eventually they disappeared from my line of sight. I passed the two guys as I got to the top of the hill. I thought about saying something but didn't (I was too out of breath :eek:).

If I were to have said something I would have told them, "If you guys have the faintest hope of getting any "action" tonight, you guys need to go back down there and do the hill with those girls."

Gentlemen, any wife worth her salt can take getting dropped. But if you want to cash in the investment you make in a date, never, ever, ever drop a girlfriend. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
team_sheepshead said:
Great post. Speaking of dropping women...I was the "leader" of our little group on a charity ride last year. Six strong guys and two not-so-strong women. The women were really suffering on the hills. But we never dropped them by more than 50 meters. On the hills, we'd top out, then ride back down and pace them up at 7 mph.

Finally, toward the end of the ride, some new guys joined our group. On the next hill, they saw the women were struggling. One of them said, "Need a push?" and pushed one of the women up the hill. When they caught up to me, one woman glared at me and said, "You mean you could've been pushing us all along?!?!"

LMAO. That's something my wife would say.
 

· gastarbeiter
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Blue Sugar said:
"Sucking a wheel", as it's affectionately referred, is not at all like hovering too close to the person in front of you when you're lined up at the bank. It's not only accepted, but expected. It's the reason why a group can move faster than a single rider. If you ride with a group, you'll be expected to do it, an to know how to do it. And you need to tolerate people doing it to you, ar don't do a group ride.
were you reading the same post? the OP dropped his wife, then hung behind the other riders, w/o saying anything. he wasn't riding WITH THEM! btw - thanks for the lesson on the benifits of riding wth a group :rolleyes:

Blue Sugar said:
As for you're wife, you didn't really drop her, you just parted company for a few minutes, and that's also ok.
IMO it really doesn't matter if it was his wife or a friend. it was rude of him to drop his riding partner to try and keep up with the big boys.
 

· gastarbeiter
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il sogno said:
As a wife, I'll go out on a limb and say most of us can take getting dropped.
as i wrote in my reply to Blue Sugar, I don't think it's relevant whether it's your wife, or your buddy. if you start a ride with a friend, you end the ride with the friend. You don't drop them to see if you can keep up with the big boys ;)
 
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