Cycling ettiquette

by PRINCIPIA PHIL   June 22, 2012  

Any advice on what's the best form when you catch and pass a cyclist when you're out on your winter hack and the other guy is on his best superbike?

Out for a 50 mile ride last Wednesday when after 25 miles or so i noticed a cyclist in front of me when i got to within 800 metres of him, he was going at a steady pace and after about 1 km i had got onto his wheel.
Not wanting to be seen as a wheelsucker i rode alongside, made pleasantries - "hi, nice day etc" and rode on for a few seconds before checking behind to see that it was ok to pull back in. While passing i noticed that the rider was on a very nice carbon fibre rig (i was on a Specialised Allez 16 speed Sora with upgraded wheels - Ultegra Hubs on 32 spoke Mavic Open Pro CD rims, not the lightest of hoops but bulletproof and well sealed for the winter).
About 300 metres later we come to a small ramp in the road, nothing major but just enough to either drop down a gear or get out of the saddle, just at this point did the other guy come past giving it full gas - all i could see were the carbonfibre hubs on his rear wheel and i thought to myself - nice hoops, i wonder if those are Campagnolo Hyperions....
So then the road levels off again, and the guy in front has dropped the pace leaving me with the dilemma - do i pass him again or just sit on his wheel. Just as I'm about to pass him we approach a crossroads and he turns sharply into the road on the right making no signals - as i was just half a bike length behind him i had to react to avoid a collision.
So, my question is - What's the best way to handle such a situation? Any ideas?

28 user comments

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Unless you know them and are interesting it linking up and taking turns on the front, I tend to just go at my pace, whether thats leaving them behind or letting them go.

Don't raise or lower your performance for anyone but yourself. In this case, I would have just shown my power and taken off the front and left him in the dust, its not about the bike, but its all about the rider Wink Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
22nd June 2012 - 22:22

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After being shouted at (see 'tithe guy who shouted at me') I now think it's best to ask someone if they want to work with you, doing a mini through and off.

Otherwise, neither know what they're doing and it gets awkward.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
22nd June 2012 - 23:12

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sit on his wheel for 25 miles then burn past him when he goes to turn off.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
22nd June 2012 - 23:41

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your winter hacker is pretty much my all year round bike although i have the tiagra hubs on mine and yes they are bulletproof. I tend to make sure i never get into wheelsucking distance. so hang back and if they're not fast enough you have enough distance to get a nice bit of speed on and go flying past with a friendly hello. sometimes they attack back, but isn't that all part of the fun of it. i think so long as you keep it all smiles then anything goes

posted by roly [43 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 7:49

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Protocol:

Full gas a la Cavendish, then after 200m raise both arms and shout "YES!!". Stop .... wait til he passes and tell him he was the best lead out man you've had since Renshaw and you owe it all to your team.

Repeat another 10 or 12 times until:
a) You get bored
b) He hits you on the nose
c) You run out of legs
d) Some younger bloke does the same to you (Sagan, Guardini, etc,)

posted by veseunr [282 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 8:08

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lol ... genius.

All accepted but try to get two pretty girls to kiss your cheeks as he passes ... and change your shirt!

posted by Bobbys boys [81 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 8:10

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veseunr wrote:
Protocol:

Full gas a la Cavendish, then after 200m raise both arms and shout "YES!!". Stop .... wait til he passes and tell him he was the best lead out man you've had since Renshaw and you owe it all to your team.

Repeat another 10 or 12 times until:
a) You get bored
b) He hits you on the nose
c) You run out of legs
d) Some younger bloke does the same to you (Sagan, Guardini, etc,)

Ha ha. I love this. I dare say I am tempted to do it next time!!

andrew streit

posted by andrew streit1 [26 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 11:04

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Thanks for the advice, if i were to raise both arms in a victory salute i'd probably fall off!

It's just an unusual situation to be in - a quasi cycle race when we've both met up having done completely different routes, so he could be a busted flush as he's at the end of his ride while i'm mid way through mine or he could've done a hard couple of days in a row. So the idea of getting into a testosterone fuelled competition is a bit crazy.
When i was making conversation, it was all one way - no reply and i was left with the impression that he was annoyed that i had the audacity to pass him while he was on his super bike and that he was then starting to make a break for it himself but ran out of energy and turned off the road in a huff.
I was just looking to continue on my way at my own pace without getting involved in a slightly tense situation.
Hopefully the weather settles in the next couple of days and the good bike can get an airing, though it's a bit of a prima donna in comparison to the Specialized which gets dogs abuse and just works regardless (the good bike being a Principia Rex Linda McCartney, a pampered pet which sits on display in the living room).

posted by PRINCIPIA PHIL [52 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 22:00

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Renshaw him.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [492 posts]
24th June 2012 - 12:24

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veseunr wrote:
Protocol:

Full gas a la Cavendish, then after 200m raise both arms and shout "YES!!". Stop .... wait til he passes and tell him he was the best lead out man you've had since Renshaw and you owe it all to your team.

Repeat another 10 or 12 times until:
a) You get bored
b) He hits you on the nose
c) You run out of legs
d) Some younger bloke does the same to you (Sagan, Guardini, etc,)

brilliant, an actual lol moment when i read your reply

I need your clothes, your boots and your cycle!...hasta la vista..baby

waynokio's picture

posted by waynokio [4 posts]
25th June 2012 - 21:07

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veseunr wrote:
Protocol:

Full gas a la Cavendish, then after 200m raise both arms and shout "YES!!". Stop .... wait til he passes and tell him he was the best lead out man you've had since Renshaw and you owe it all to your team.

Repeat another 10 or 12 times until:
a) You get bored
b) He hits you on the nose
c) You run out of legs
d) Some younger bloke does the same to you (Sagan, Guardini, etc,)

Brilliant, although I think B may happen sooner than you think if you also give him the obligatory sweaty cuddle each time.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
26th June 2012 - 13:46

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Ive done this a few times, i.e passed someone on a Carbon machine on my winter bike. Just be pleasent and nice. If they take offence then they need a reality check.

Made me think of a story, my friend and I were out in the Peaks earlier this year and we were climbing one of the roads there, it was cold and windy and we had done about 60 miles and were shattered due to the weather.

On the climb I was passed by someone who was flying and they said "Dig in there mate, have a good ride" I thought "you cheery b@stard" I looked up and it was Mark Cavendish out training with Rob Hayles on his moped.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
26th June 2012 - 15:03

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This happens quite a lot at Richmond park (where all the rules around cycling etiquette are thrown out the window!!!) A couple of days ago I was doing a recovery ride with the missus and some MAMIL sprints past us (really inefficiently I may add) and about 200m ahead he slows down to a slower pace than us so we are sitting on his wheel... He's obviously out of breath as well. He was riding a pinarello with some sort of Zipp 404, 806 combo (606??). Rather embarrasing especially when we pass and he's looking at his crank as if something's wrong with it.

I just ride my own ride, do what you have set out to do and don't get wound up by these weasels. Part of being a good cyclist and/or athlete (I'm a triathlete - booo) is just to train smart.

Alexuponthewall

posted by Alex.wall [11 posts]
27th June 2012 - 7:03

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Love the Cav story - "cheery b@stard" indeed! The worst of it is, he'd probably ridden farther than your 60 miles as well.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3476 posts]
27th June 2012 - 10:30

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Haha, aye. It made me smile though and dig in that bit more Cool

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
28th June 2012 - 15:27

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What about a points system for these kind of situations when out on training rides - something along the lines of:

If you pass a rider who is on a superior bike: +20 pts
If you pass a rider who is on an inferior bike: +5 pts
If you pass rider who is on a similar bike: +10pts

Get passed by a rider who is on a superior bike: -5 pts
Get passed by a rider who is on an inferior bike: -20 pts
Get passed by a rider who is on a similar bike: -10 pts

If you pass a lady on a shopper: -50 pts (you're on the wrong training roads)
If you get passed by a lady on a shopper: Give up!!

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
6th July 2012 - 18:37

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daddyELVIS wrote:
What about a points system for these kind of situations when out on training rides - something along the lines of:

If you pass a rider who is on a superior bike: +20 pts
If you pass a rider who is on an inferior bike: +5 pts
If you pass rider who is on a similar bike: +10pts

Get passed by a rider who is on a superior bike: -5 pts
Get passed by a rider who is on an inferior bike: -20 pts
Get passed by a rider who is on a similar bike: -10 pts

If you pass a lady on a shopper: -50 pts (you're on the wrong training roads)
If you get passed by a lady on a shopper: Give up!!

already old hat

http://www.itsnotarace.org/

posted by Arthur Scrimshaw [48 posts]
6th July 2012 - 19:35

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So,if you're out on your best bike and it's worth a bob or two you're going to have a hard job collecting points. Better to ride the winter hack all year round - pick up some 20/10 points and hope you only lose the odd 5points...
Is there a coloured jersey up for grabs? You'd need to get some sort of Strava app to calculate the scores though.
Would there be a golfing handicapping system where you would start with a handicap of say 28 and try to work your way down to scratch?

posted by PRINCIPIA PHIL [52 posts]
6th July 2012 - 22:37

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If you're on a super-bling bike, you should be doing all the overtaking, so picking up lots of 5 pts and not losing any.

On the other hand, your also a prized target Devil

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
7th July 2012 - 0:22

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There's a guy on my regular loop that buzzes me on the flat/downhill on his flash carbon bling. I get to nail him on the climbs (I'm on an alloy m/c). Do I get extra points for that?

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
10th July 2012 - 17:18

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you're +15 up if he takes you and you take him.

......plus you'll have a great big grin on your face Big Grin

Good work.

Anyone wanna start posting their scores / best takes and re-takes?

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
10th July 2012 - 21:14

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A couple of years ago I was in Richmond Park on my old mountain bike and took great delight in overtaking a MAMIL on a carbon fibre roadbike. I kept the distance too and could see I'd really got up his nose, more so as he was no older than me. I've been overtaken by quicker riders myself though and it's not something to worry about. Always ride at your own pace. If someone else wants to team up then that's good, but if they're obviously in their own zone (for whatever reason) then leave them alone. Don't ever wheelsuck though. I get really annoyed when people assume it's ok to do that to me and I'll make it clear in no uncertain terms that it's not acceptable to do so without permission.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
11th July 2012 - 7:49

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I had a day off work today, so went out on a morning ride. I got the urge, for the first part of the ride, to take my old commuter route from a few years ago (These days I sit in the car my employer kindly supplies Crying ).

Wow, what great fun - picked up loads of points (although I lost a load too for passing ladies on shoppers!). But the best takes are the cars - the definition of satisfaction is whizzing down the centre of two lanes on a (usually fast) bypass, filtering through the slower moving traffic, seeing the glum faces of the drivers Devil

Tomorrow I'll be a driver again Crying

posted by daddyELVIS [453 posts]
11th July 2012 - 13:20

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OK, so what is the etiquette for this; I am on my way to work, not cruising but not hanging about on a slight downhill road. A young lad on a crap bike complete with surf shorts and trainers flies past me. I am on my CX bike and all lycra'd up. Do you a)jump on his wheel slipstream him and blast past when he tires. b)let him go c)race or d)what? What did I do? I let him go knowing that the slight downhill turns to a slight uphill. Then we will see who is boss; but. What happened? He turned off left half a mile later, before the slight uphill....Pissed off, me, nahhhh

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
19th July 2012 - 20:57

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Probably just grumble to yourself before consulting rule #5 and burning past him taking a feed.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
19th July 2012 - 21:08

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I'm loving Tour de France season... I passed 2 Team Sky riders on Sunday, obviously didn't make the cut this year Wink

I live in NE Scotland though so I assume that if you live down south you must see hundreds of them at this time of year!

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
19th July 2012 - 22:24

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SideBurn wrote:
OK, so what is the etiquette for this; I am on my way to work, not cruising but not hanging about on a slight downhill road. A young lad on a crap bike complete with surf shorts and trainers flies past me. I am on my CX bike and all lycra'd up. Do you a)jump on his wheel slipstream him and blast past when he tires. b)let him go c)race or d)what? What did I do? I let him go knowing that the slight downhill turns to a slight uphill. Then we will see who is boss; but. What happened? He turned off left half a mile later, before the slight uphill....Pissed off, me, nahhhh

Not worth the points mate for catching and dropping him, now does squiggle get double points. That's what I'm interested in Devil

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
25th July 2012 - 16:48

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Good point giff77; there has to be some points on offer for that! Also considering that the penalty for getting passed by a lady on a shopper is to give up; what happens if you live near Victoria Pendleton? I can imagine her cruising round on a shopper looking for victims Surprise

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
25th July 2012 - 18:14

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