Is it rude to draft people on the open road?

by bikeboy76   April 30, 2013  

Today I was extending my route home from work to take in some of the lovely smooth roads around Dunham Massey, but first I had to get out through the suburbs of Manchester. When I got to a junction in Flixton I pulled up behind another quite roady looking guy. Still had winter tights on, but maybe he though it would rain. We pulled away from the lights and I found myself following him. I was getting quite close behind him, like 2m sometimes and was actually wondering if I was getting any drafting effect from him as it was quite windy. However, I kept falling behind to 10m as I was often worried about not seeing the potholes coming.

He seemed to be averaging about 28kph so I eased off a couple of times as the road was quite narrow with overtaking cars, so not much chance to pass. After about 2.5km the road widened out and was a slight down slope. Now I like to take a bit of free speed and will happily push downhill, so I sped up and overtook him. I would like to average 30 and though I would ease away from him.

However as I glanced back for the occasional car/junction, I could see he was now following me just as closely. Either I had slowed down a bit or he had sped up to keep up with me. Was he getting revenge for me tailing him? He followed me through Partington until I turned off, thinking 'Well done mate, you win' part annoyed, part sarcastically.

This quite annoys me, these 'Speeder uppers' this one was quite subtle but I have seen other more conspicuous examples where they suddenly realize they want to go faster once they have been passed. I find it a bit off putting and distracting on the road to have someone follow me closely. I think, this isn't a race and if it was you already lost when I caught up to you, why have you changed your tune now?

Just me?

44 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

I wish i could ride fast enough for someone to want to draught* me. Sad

*is it draft or draught? I dont mean to be pedantic but i think its draught

posted by Some Fella [756 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:15

2 Likes

Alan Tullett wrote:

Usually a good idea to say hi going past; that generally helps prevent any problems.

+1 (though frankly tragic that it needs to be pointed out)

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:35

1 Like

Why wouldn't he speed up when you pass him? He gets to go faster for the same effort! You're doing a fellow cyclist a favour letting him ride in your slipstream, just feel good about yourself for a bit and see if he pulls for a bit later on. If you're going to get grumpy about it you might as well be in a car.

posted by benezeir [54 posts]
30th April 2013 - 22:59

0 Likes

I don’t do team rides. I ride by my lonesome, just how I like it. I am very antisocial, and deliberately avoid large groups of people, especially at bus stops, and Greggs, and other condiments.

I won’t even stand next to a newspaper stand if more than 1 person is waiting to be served.

Fish'n'chips shops are my worst nightmare, if you are at the till, and the woman says ' we are just making some more chips' and other people start drifting in, I go stir crazy and start stabbing people with them wooden forks.

So, the moral of the story is, don’t mix tommyketchup with anything else, he is a standalone sorta guy.

I go great with chips Tongue

posted by tommyketchup [79 posts]
1st May 2013 - 10:24

0 Likes

tommyketchup wrote:
I don’t do team rides. I ride by my lonesome, just how I like it. I am very antisocial, and deliberately avoid large groups of people, especially at bus stops, and Greggs, and other condiments.

I won’t even stand next to a newspaper stand if more than 1 person is waiting to be served.

Fish'n'chips shops are my worst nightmare, if you are at the till, and the woman says ' we are just making some more chips' and other people start drifting in, I go stir crazy and start stabbing people with them wooden forks.

So, the moral of the story is, don’t mix tommyketchup with anything else, he is a standalone sorta guy.

Rolling On The Floor Brilliant.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [461 posts]
1st May 2013 - 10:59

0 Likes

It would be if I thought he was joking.

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

posted by notfastenough [3172 posts]
1st May 2013 - 11:20

1 Like

I think it's ok for a brief period, anything more than half a mile or so needs some dialogue to happen first.

I've done it for longer cycling in Spain where a couple of 'Hola's were shouted out first, but I did make certain that I didn't outstay my welcome on his wheel and pulled in front to share the workload quite quickly!

posted by cojones [13 posts]
1st May 2013 - 19:45

0 Likes

I realize the main reason this is bothering me is I am so used to cars zooming up behind me and lurching around on my tail looking for any where to get past. You can even wave them past on an open corner but they won't go until they can get all the way onto the other side. I can be in a clearly marked cycle lane and some drivers won't just go straight.* Makes me think very few drivers know how wide their cars are. Very unnerving so when another rider does it it is distracting, sorry.

*Also drivers who swing left when driving across a junction: the lane on the other side is in the same place, just drive straight!



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1275 posts]
1st May 2013 - 21:38

1 Like

Just drop him if you are so superior to the 'speeder upper'

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
1st May 2013 - 22:19

1 Like

I have no problem with people drafting me. Doesn't slow me down, and presents much less danger than all the cars. By the same token, I am happy to sit on a stranger's wheel if it is a good one, although I will play it pretty carefully until I have seen how they ride and will always try to say hi if I think I will be there for any distance.

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 1:36

0 Likes

I say just chill out. I reckon it's flattering having someone sit in your wheel.

It used to bother me having someone draft during my commute, but actually, it has no impact on me (provided that person is not riding like a nutter), so if it helps them, I can feel good about myself. Once, when I stopped at a traffic light, my drafter, a quick cyclist on a nice bike, complimented me on my pace - I felt good for the rest of the journey!

When I'm out training (solo), it can feel a little less lonely if I suddenly find someone tucked in behind, with whom I can interact to inform about potholes/obstacles, etc. Also, very good motivation to keep pushing hard.

So, all in all, I see no reason to get bothered by a drafter.

posted by Tjuice [109 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 9:59

0 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
I wish i could ride fast enough for someone to want to draught* me. Sad

+1

I think it is draft BTW, the other one is for beer Wink

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [617 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 10:28

2 Likes

You get drafted into the Army, you get a draught from an open window, in this application it's to do with airflow and drag, so it's draught.
We are not Americans.

posted by Cauld Lubter [119 posts]
5th May 2013 - 12:00

0 Likes

Cauld Lubter wrote:
You get drafted into the Army, you get a draught from an open window, in this application it's to do with airflow and drag, so it's draught.
We are not Americans.

You get drafted into the US Army. As you say, we are not Americans - it's merely draught. "Draft" refers to a first iteration of something written eg of a letter.

posted by Dr Max [10 posts]
5th May 2013 - 14:47

0 Likes

[[[[[ I'm quite happy to have someone sitting on, as two riders are less likely to get hassled by drivers, and I myself often draft/draught/drarfed/wheel-suck, (not rubber-to-rubber, of course), as there's "safety in numbers"....totally off-message I know, but I've lost count of incidents with nincompoop drivers here in Le Grand Smoke...
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [282 posts]
6th May 2013 - 3:04

2 Likes

On a recent sportive I had 3 experiences of wheel-sucking:

1) Me tagging onto the end of a fast line of 4 riders who were going for it. Great fun, no chance of me getting to the front to take a turn, and pretty soon I was dropped.

2) Finding someone tucked in behind me on a straight, who then complimented me on my pace and then offerd to take a turn on the front. We did maybe 5km in turns and only separated on the next hill.

3) Me overtaking someone on a hill, then finding they have sped up to get my wheel - I pace them up the remaining incline, and then they zip off without a word.

Riders on UK sportives seem very "unorganised" - usually they are going around in pairs and don't seem to want others to join them. No groups form for mutual support.

As I went around I was thinking "professional cyclists would find this so weird - everyone riding along not in groups".

shropshirelad's picture

posted by shropshirelad [8 posts]
8th May 2013 - 8:18

1 Like

It sounds like he thought you were up for it. You'd spent a bit of time sitting behind him, you came past and he probably thought you were offering him a lift so he sat in behind you. Reasonable assumption.

I wouldn't appreciate having someone I didn't know draft me if they were very close, like inches away, but from your description it seems he was leaving reasonable clearance so there was no safety issue.

In which case, what's the problem ?

It's draft BTW. I don't care what logic you apply, the word in this context is draft not draught.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [527 posts]
8th May 2013 - 8:45

0 Likes

Lots of comments on this issue already so I will keep it brief.

I do around 150 miles+ a week and often come across other cyclists, my rules are simple I ALWAYS say hello to cyclists I catch or pass going the other way - even though the new age 'mamils' don't really seem to get the whole polite thing maybe its old school.

As long as you have said hello and communicate then any drafting is fine - I encourage a bit of taking turns...if however someone just sits there and doesn't say a word (as I had only a couple of days ago) I will drop it hard on a climb and try and drop them....

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
8th May 2013 - 9:10

0 Likes

This is a well timed thread foe me as I passed, then got draughted by, two guys on Sunday morning. I had my head down and was vaguely aware of the second guy (he turned off somewhere and I didn't realise), but the first guy (in full Saxo Sunguard kit) had been behind me for several miles when I turned off. As I turned right he passed me on the inside, he had a broad smile and said "thanks for the ride" or words to that effect. So he'd enjoyed the tow (I wasn't aware of him being there for quite a while) and had done me no harm so what's to get annoyed about? Furthermore he might have been struggling with fatigue or had hunger knock, in which case I was his good Samaritan.

It's not something I'd generally do myself but I have, on occasions, been passed by riders, on a hill for instance, but have then kept up with them on the flat having resumed my previous pace as the road levels out. In that instance if I got close to them they might well get the impression that I've sped up to draught them when in truth it's just that they were quicker riding up the hill.

Basically life's too short, just enjoy your ride and treat being draughted as an ego boost - usually nobody draughts somebody who is riding slower then them unless they're in need of a rest for physical reasons, either way you can self massage the ego as a strong man of this bit of road. Cool

Steve.

Take care,

Steve.

Steve_S_T's picture

posted by Steve_S_T [32 posts]
8th May 2013 - 9:24

1 Like

Simple hello, and thanks will work every time (I still find it funny how it seems such a hard thing to do for some people), no need to get complicated, do your turn let them do theirs, and if you are going the same way work together it'll speed you up and also make you more obvious for traffic to see.
Cool

posted by Jasonnz1 [23 posts]
8th May 2013 - 9:37

0 Likes

I'm not a fan of towing with people I don't know. I never take an unsolicited tow off anyone else, and if anyone does it to me I'll either drop them or fall back. If I'm on a short ride then The Game starts: if they pass me, I try to stay with them; if I pass them, I aim to drop them (plus all the important associated rules like not looking over your shoulder until they're dropped, not being spotted out of the saddle when chasing, etc).

The height of rude drafting is the local club riders, who - even in a group - deliberately sandbag and then jump on your tail. If they do that again then as soon as I pass them I'm going to do a Greg Lemond.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [373 posts]
8th May 2013 - 9:41

1 Like

hi all, pretty much a new cyclist (3 years) mainly just to commute to work but getting into it a lot more and really liking forward to the summer, nice topic btw, and I have picked up some helpful tips kudos to all fr that, I draft and have been drafted before and I am naturally a competitive person so tend to work harder in these moments, I'm a little shy with strangers and will offer a nod and a tentative hi as I pass, from now on I am going to start asking if we could work together.

on a side note, is an average cruising speed of 17mph on mainly flat over 30 miles a decent speed, I have nothing to compare

posted by billyman [122 posts]
8th May 2013 - 10:07

0 Likes

I find people who do the opposite more rude, the people that use every stop or red light as an opportunity to get in front and then ride slower than you so you have to keep going round the fuckers.

Sometimes, I'll ride slower to get them on to my wheel and then wind up the speed gradually to just about keep them with me and once I can start to hear them blowing out their arse I'll have a quick look over the shoulder then try to pull away as quickly as I can - Obviously whilst trying to focus on making it look like there is no effort being put in.

posted by farrell [1443 posts]
8th May 2013 - 10:15

1 Like

billyman wrote:

on a side note, is an average cruising speed of 17mph on mainly flat over 30 miles a decent speed, I have nothing to compare

17mph/ 28kph is about my normal average speed for solo rides, although they're not entirely flat usually, so I'm bound to say it's decent yeah Wink . In truth the right speed for leisure riding is the speed you feel comfortable at, or enjoy most.

Steve.

Take care,

Steve.

Steve_S_T's picture

posted by Steve_S_T [32 posts]
8th May 2013 - 11:07

0 Likes

Steve_S_T wrote:
billyman wrote:

on a side note, is an average cruising speed of 17mph on mainly flat over 30 miles a decent speed, I have nothing to compare

17mph/ 28kph is about my normal average speed for solo rides, although they're not entirely flat usually, so I'm bound to say it's decent yeah Wink . In truth the right speed for leisure riding is the speed you feel comfortable at, or enjoy most.

Steve.

Cheers Steve, makes me feel good about being in my forties and can still cruise at a decent non embarrassing pace lol.

posted by billyman [122 posts]
8th May 2013 - 11:12

0 Likes

I very rarely come across other cyclists which is probably due to the fact that I tend to ride single track country lanes. But I have no with people drafting if that is what they want to do, it nice if they take a turn and ok if they want to chat.if I do try and draft someone it's usually because I'm cooked but feel it's polite to ask off the mind and to try and take a turn if I can.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
8th May 2013 - 11:26

0 Likes

farrell wrote:
I find people who do the opposite more rude, the people that use every stop or red light as an opportunity to get in front and then ride slower than you so you have to keep going round the fuckers.

Sometimes, I'll ride slower to get them on to my wheel and then wind up the speed gradually to just about keep them with me and once I can start to hear them blowing out their arse I'll have a quick look over the shoulder then try to pull away as quickly as I can - Obviously whilst trying to focus on making it look like there is no effort being put in.

Oh god, a million times this. I'm faster than you, stop pushing in front of me at the lights. It makes life more dangerous for the both of us.

posted by bashthebox [642 posts]
8th May 2013 - 12:06

0 Likes

I'd disagree about the smoothness of the roads round Dunham Massey, have you been down Dairygate Lane?

As to the drafting...tries to recall wheelsucking down here Nope wasn't me Wink but if you'd been on my wheel for 2.5km I think I'd have had a bit of that, after all from what you say there wasn't a massive speed difference.

I have no problems with being drafted although am a bit more reluctant to draft. The last time I was drafted down there we stopped at the lights Carrington Lane, the guy was commuting and his planned route took him over Warburton bridge which was closed, so I led him over Irlam locks and saved him a very long diversion for which he was extremely grateful. Left me with a nice warm glow all day.

You can meet some good folk through this but it does have its hazards

CycCoSi's picture

posted by CycCoSi [22 posts]
8th May 2013 - 16:29

0 Likes

I have been down Dairy'house' lane but usually turn around and go back up Sinderland Lane and Moss lane(south) which are quite new. They are there but smooth tarmac is beautiful when you find it.

Totally agree with green box hoppers, they are a right pain, when I have stopped exactly where I am supposed to then have to look at their fluorescent arse. Or even worse, I am waiting then they hit the lights turning green and just cruise past you. You struggle up to speed, over take them and think you away, but sure enough you hit the next red... and the cycle begins again.



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1275 posts]
8th May 2013 - 19:15

0 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
I have been down Dairy'house' lane but usually turn around and go back up Sinderland Lane and Moss lane(south) which are quite new. They are there but smooth tarmac is beautiful when you find it.

Totally agree with green box hoppers, they are a right pain, when I have stopped exactly where I am supposed to then have to look at their fluorescent arse. Or even worse, I am waiting then they hit the lights turning green and just cruise past you. You struggle up to speed, over take them and think you away, but sure enough you hit the next red... and the cycle begins again.

That's called interval training =D

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
8th May 2013 - 19:23

1 Like