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I'm new to these forums and road biking. I've read a lot of the posts but I've stayed relatively quiet. Here's a short story that happened yesterday while I was commuting to work. I'm a MTBer with a new road bike so I ride it to work once or twice a week to get a feel for being on the road. I came upon an intersection and was turning right when another commuter on a single-speed came through the intersection going in my direction. He was coming off a red light so he was building speed and as I turned in behind him it was easy to use my gears to pass him. I haven't ridden in a line yet so I was content to just keep going on my own. About 500ft after I passed him, I glanced back and he was stuck to my wheel. I was a bit shocked but I just kept my pace and tried not to swerve. We were climbing a small hill and after about a half a mile he shot out around me and dusted me. I watched him keep building the distance because I couldn't catch him but it really didn't matter because I turned onto another street when he was about 100 yards in front of me.

I've searched the archives for stranger drafting etiquette and it sounds like he should've said something or at least kept the same pace and pulled for the short time I was behind him. Am I right?
 

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Yeah, happens all the time, usually just like you described it. Would've been common courtesy for him to say hi, thanks for the draft, have a good ride or whatever. People... sheesh.

I usually sit up, turn around and say hi when I get a wheelsucker. If I get a hi back, I say "feel free to sit in as long as you like". If I get nothing back, and I'm feeling sparky, I'll gradually ramp up the pace. If I'm not feeling sparky, I'll gradually ease up.
 

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That happens to me also....I will be riding along and will encounter another rider ahead of me. I am slowly overtaking him (always a he) and I contemplate to pass or sit back and slow down and wait until our routes change. If I pass, occasionally I will look in my mirror and this person will be sucking my wheel. Not that I mind, but what bothers me is I no nothing about these peoples skills. I never hook onto to someones wheel. Never really knew how to handle this. If I am really tired, I will have no problem telling the person to get off my wheel. One thing also is the person doing the wheel sucking has no clue of my riding skills also..
 

· Domestic Drivin' E-Thug
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I heard so many draft etiquette stories, and the stories never seem to stop. You hear them on forums, and I hear them from my buddies. I have one friend in particular who is lending me a new "draft horror" story seemingly every week.

Personally, I just don't get it. First, if a guy is riding behind me, uninvited, then I'm buying these rules where I'm now responsible to point out hazards for him. I won't do it. I'm just going to pretend like I don't see him and keep riding. If something happens to him? Not my deal.

As for the "hellos", I may be a Grumpy Grumperstein, but I'm usually not interested. I live in a dense cycling area where I may see 800 cyclists on any given Sunday. I don't say hello to every pedestrian I see when I'm walking down Market St., and I'm not going to do it for cycling either. If I were a pedestrian, and some other pedestrian decided to suddenly follow close behind me then I'm doubting I'd want to be all that friendly toward him.

On a bicycle, if I don't want someone drafting me then I just slow to a crawl, or swerve to the right in exaggerated fashion and wave the person through. It's always a choice. Don't want someone drafting you? Then wave them through. It's not all that difficult.



ahaid said:
I'm new to these forums and road biking. I've read a lot of the posts but I've stayed relatively quiet. Here's a short story that happened yesterday while I was commuting to work. I'm a MTBer with a new road bike so I ride it to work once or twice a week to get a feel for being on the road. I came upon an intersection and was turning right when another commuter on a single-speed came through the intersection going in my direction. He was coming off a red light so he was building speed and as I turned in behind him it was easy to use my gears to pass him. I haven't ridden in a line yet so I was content to just keep going on my own. About 500ft after I passed him, I glanced back and he was stuck to my wheel. I was a bit shocked but I just kept my pace and tried not to swerve. We were climbing a small hill and after about a half a mile he shot out around me and dusted me. I watched him keep building the distance because I couldn't catch him but it really didn't matter because I turned onto another street when he was about 100 yards in front of me.

I've searched the archives for stranger drafting etiquette and it sounds like he should've said something or at least kept the same pace and pulled for the short time I was behind him. Am I right?
 

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skills and dangers

Dinosaur said:
Not that I mind, but what bothers me is I know nothing about these peoples skills. I never hook onto to someones wheel. Never really knew how to handle this. If I am really tired, I will have no problem telling the person to get off my wheel. One thing also is the person doing the wheel sucking has no clue of my riding skills also..
Keep in mind that the danger is much greater for the guy in back. A fairly minor bad move by the guy in front can quickly bring down the drafter, whereas it takes a big goof by the follower to knock down the draftee. So you're wise to stay off of a stranger's wheel until you have some better idea of his or her skill; conversely, having somebody follow you without permission may be annoying, but it's not really very hazardous for you.
 

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Make a small swerve to the right, brake a little bit, and make a sudden swerve to the left. He won't draft you for long.

Seriously though, it is a very dangerous thing for him to do, and something I would never do, even in an organized ride, without an invitation. And only then if I was confident enough in the rider in front of me to trust my health to them. Usually it just isn't worth it.
 

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My Own Private Idaho said:
Make a small swerve to the right, brake a little bit, and make a sudden swerve to the left. He won't draft you for long.

Seriously though, it is a very dangerous thing for him to do, and something I would never do, even in an organized ride, without an invitation. And only then if I was confident enough in the rider in front of me to trust my health to them. Usually it just isn't worth it.

I think that if I'm willing to throw myself out there in crits every other weekend in 120 rider fields, I can be ok with riding in front of some clown on a bike path for a few miles. No big deal. Afterall, he's the one that's going to get hurt if something goes wrong or we touch wheels.

The issue of trust and riding is an interesting one. I have seen some exceptional bike handlers have mishaps and do some really stupid things. No one is completely immune, although some riders do seem to have a knack for finding trouble. I crashed myself in a paceline once and took two other riders behind me out with me. I grabbed for a drink of water at the same time we were coming upon a huge pothole that was hidden from my view by the riders in front of me. My one hand slipped off the bar, and that was that. Most people consider me an excellent bike handler though. Anything is possible.
 

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The Human G-Nome said:
I think that if I'm willing to throw myself out there in crits every other weekend in 120 rider fields, I can be ok with riding in front of some clown on a bike path for a few miles. No big deal. Afterall, he's the one that's going to get hurt if something goes wrong or we touch wheels.

The issue of trust and riding is an interesting one. I have seen some exceptional bike handlers have mishaps and do some really stupid things. No one is completely immune, although some riders do seem to have a knack for finding trouble. I crashed myself in a paceline once and took two other riders behind me out with me. I grabbed for a drink of water at the same time we were coming upon a huge pothole that was hidden from my view by the riders in front of me. My one hand slipped off the bar, and that was that. Most people consider me an excellent bike handler though. Anything is possible.

i agree, its just not that big of deal. i think most people scope out the riding style of the person they approach and try to make themselves aware to them. If you are cruising along a bike lane or MUT and someone needs to grab a break before moving on I think that is fine. With road noise/wind and the like its not always that easy to yell "hey, mind I sit in" to someone so I think you can use other techniques to make sure they know you are there. Look at is as a form of flattery that the person is either checking out your gleaming bike, or not sure they have the legs to pass you. I'll often hang out behind someone (usually atleast a wheel back) if our speed is somewhat close just to avoid some kind of machismo mind game of leapfrogging each other for miles. If I know their pace is going to be slower then I pass.

Now if this is on a country rode and it would be easy to chat all those bets are off and they need to say hello
 

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ahaid said:
I've searched the archives for stranger drafting etiquette and it sounds like he should've said something or at least kept the same pace and pulled for the short time I was behind him. Am I right?
No. Just ignore him. There ain't no pace and/or pull rules/ettiquette when some joker decides to ride behind you other than he should not run into you.
 

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If you don't like people drafting, make a sign, put it on the back of your bike. Maybe even add a link to this site so he/she can come read your gripes. I have people draft me all the time. I draft people. Say something, do something, or get over it.
 

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I'm 6'5", 210lbs so maybe that had something to do with it. Regardless, I really didn't mind him being there, it wasn't for long. I was just checking with everyone about etiquette. Now I know that I can do it too as long as I'm not a total tool. Anyone want to ride?
 

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I had a similar situation once, only I never looked back. I could tell someone was on my wheel by the shadows on the road. This was a time when I was much stronger and faster since I was in the peak of my collegiate racing "career". So, after awhile I gradually picked up the pace. Pretty soon I really had the hammer down and was flying south on PCH through the Huntington Beach area. This went on for miles, and the person behind me was still there. I was impressed. I was even more impressed when we hit a red light and I realized the rider was a female. On a mountain bike.

That aside, I never draft unannounced. When someone does it to me I just try to stay safe without letting it get to me. I'm out to ride to relax and have a good time.
 

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There was also a long-running thread in the Ladies forum on the topic of guys drafting women. Whole different deal there, of course. Reminds me because last night at the Lake (local roadie loop) there was a fit lady ahead of me, and some dude on an mtb sitting on her. After a while he tried to pass her... couldn't.... turned left. I found it amusing.
 

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This happens to me as well.

I have a few courses I keep track of my times on. I got a new TT bike together so I decided to set a new record, or come close . . . whatever . . . I turn on a section of road that is about 4 miles to the next turn off. A little way into the section I pass a rider on a standard road bike. I'm going 28mph, full tuck, on a TT bike giving a real good effort (188 bpm). Right at the end this punk comes around me riding on the tops . . . "Hey thanks for the Cool down" . . . . Yea like this guy cools down doing 28mph. So I see this guy a couple weeks later at a race, racing cat-5.
 

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CurbDestroyer said:
This happens to me as well.

I have a few courses I keep track of my times on. I got a new TT bike together so I decided to set a new record, or come close . . . whatever . . . I turn on a section of road that is about 4 miles to the next turn off. A little way into the section I pass a rider on a standard road bike. I'm going 28mph, full tuck, on a TT bike giving a real good effort (188 bpm). Right at the end this punk comes around me riding on the tops . . . "Hey thanks for the Cool down" . . . . Yea like this guy cools down doing 28mph. So I see this guy a couple weeks later at a race, racing cat-5.

I have to admit that I do get a little bit annoyed when some radically changes their speed just to draft me. If we kind of happen upon each other, and we're going about the same speed, then I may not love it, but at least it's understandable. But when I come blowing by someone at about 8 mph faster then they are going, and then they sprint to track me down and latch on..... that's just freaking annoying. At that point, I tend to kind of just hit my breaks hard a few times and see if he doesn't almost crash himself. I realize that that's pretty mean spirited, but you can't just track someone like that and at least not make it very obvious that you are behind them.

"Oh sorry... didn't see you back there."
 

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What would you do with this:

I was riding with two friends. We were just out for an afternoon ride, nothing serious. We were riding in a fairly loose pace line - no organized pulls or switching, sometimes riding two abreast when conditions warranted it so we could BS. We happened to be riding single file when we gradually overtook an older guy riding single. We were definitely faster, but hung back and took the opportunity to pass him when it was good to do it.

I was third in line. Like I said, it wasn't a really tight pace line, and we were being a little bit cautious to boot. But only about 6 feet or so between each of us three. The three of us pull out to pass the guy and as the second guy went by, the old guy starts pedaling hard (I could see it), and he tucks tight in behind the second guy in our group. There I am, literally along side him, out in traffic, with no where to go. He didn't give an inch, and I had to brake and pull in behind him. He stuck right on the wheel of our second guy, and frankly I was a little pissed because - like I said - we were having a nice social ride and he not only shunts me out in traffic when we were trying to pass, there I am isolated from my riding partners. Frankly, I couldn't have cared less if he drafted our group - or even if he'd asked to ride with us a while and exchanged some pulls. I wasn't trying to be anti social, it just didn't seem right that he would jump right in to the middle of our group.

Finally after 5 minutes or so, I just pedaled my ass off and passed the group, and got in to the front of my two partners, and kept riding hard. Up until this point, the three of us had been riding pretty easy, no hammering, no training goal, just a ride. My buddies hung in and we just continued on with our ride. I never knew what happened to the old guy, since after a couple of miles, he just wasn't there (probably turned off).

My buddies didn't even know what had happened when the guy jumped in to the middle of our group - they hadn't noticed since they were in front and they didn't look back until I was passing, and they dropped in behind me. When we stopped after a couple of miles for an intersection, I explained what had happened and told them I was happy to go back to the liesurely pace!

So was I wrong to be a little miffed by this guy?
 

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My Own Private Idaho said:
Make a small swerve to the right, brake a little bit, and make a sudden swerve to the left. He won't draft you for long.
hehe...
 

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Always a funny issue I like sharing pulls on the ride home since it is into the wind and you go faster. I usually don't care if someone is behind me, just not too close. I also will latch on, not too close again, but will always say thanks for the pull (if I don't want to do their pace in the front) or go to the front for my turn. Funny thing is when I go to the front the other person does not latch on. Whats the big deal?
 
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