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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 comments

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badkneestom [135 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rules + etiquette!

I think introductions and greetings could have made this a pleasurable situation for both. He broke a rule by trying to keep on you. However, it doeabt sound like you took into account that he can hit hills anv increase speed just as you can.
I try to overtake up the hill for that reason. It's a great 'just try and keep up' statement to overtake on the incline.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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So you were drafting him, then you got to a downhill, took a turn on the front and were annoyed because he was drafting you. You have to remember, you were going downhill, everyone pops and extra couple of gears to get more speed going down  4 So he was most likely staying with your because of that.

Also, you mention, he was pulling away at points, so if it got a bit flatter, he would have been keeping with you easy.

I wouldn't worry about it, seems you both had a turn pulling each other, if you seem him again, try pushing another gear or so and try and drop him totally if you are a bit annoyed  3

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Argos74 [392 posts] 3 years ago
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I'll take a secondary or primary position behind an inexperienced cyclist cycling in the gutter to give them a bit of cover. Otherwise, it's drop and move on, or get dropped. It's a tough world.

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issacforce [211 posts] 3 years ago
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Does it really matter??? U need to chill out, u were,nt racing, and like first post a few passing words would be gud, or is it beyond you.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 3 years ago
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OP, you're overthinking this a bit. Just grunt a hello, then point out holes etc as you would when riding with anyone else. People are nice, working with people makes us go faster.

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pirnie [199 posts] 3 years ago
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Why not just say hi and have a chat? If I pass anyone who looks like they're going anywhere near the same pace as I am I'll stop alongside and ride with them for a bit. Find out where they're going/have been etc. I'd do the same if anyone I passed caught back up to me as well.

If you are gonna draft behind him, don't be annoyed if he does the same behind you!! Fair is fair

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 3 years ago
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As per the first answer. Recently someone was drafting me, I pointed out the potholes for him, and he thanked me when we went separate ways shortly afterwards.

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tommyketchup [86 posts] 3 years ago
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How do you point out a pothole? Do you

1. Shout over your shoulder?
2. Swing wildly out of the way screaming 'pothole'?
3. Bunny hop it, and hope he sees you and does the same?
4. Install a pothole warning light at the back, and flick it on each time you go past one?

If the wind is with you, then your voice isnt carried back to said rider. Against you and he has already cycled past the sound  10

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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It can be yes.Had one on Sunday I went passed said morning and got a glazed look in return, bit rude I thought but he looked like he was blowing? I then dragged him two miles up the road pointing out the potholes/rough road up to the junction at the end and he just rode off the other way without stopping or a word. Leech! Mr Ketchup I’m not biting ha ha.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 3 years ago
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TommyK, you never been on a group ride?
You indicate down with your hands which side the pothole is whilst moving out to the other side of it.

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Leviathan [1974 posts] 3 years ago
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I wasn't drafting him on purpose, he was blocking me off on a narrow road with no chance to pass him. I was falling back to A) see pot holes, and B) avoid crashing into him (he wasn't pulling away, I was dropping back by coasting.) I don't know how exactly I am supposed to talk to him or ride beside him without being squashed by SUVs. And pointing out potholes would be a full time occupation.

So the key is push up hill and see if he goes with you, then you know he is a leech; then slow right down and develop a mysterious temporary mechanical. As I said the difference wasn't too obvious, but some other people over my shoulder make me think 'just overtake if you want to go faster, or buzz off.'

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roly [41 posts] 3 years ago
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i wouldn't worry about it. someone drafting doesn't slow you down. i sometimes try going faster to see if i can shake them off which is good interval training anyway. i usually have a chat at the next junction to make light of it and if i am drafting i might offer to take over at the front. either way it's not worth worrying over. i personally know that when i'm not very pleasant or chatty it's usually because i've blown it and am struggling to just move. just smile and wave

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 3 years ago
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roly wrote:

i wouldn't worry about it. someone drafting doesn't slow you down. i sometimes try going faster to see if i can shake them off which is good interval training anyway. i usually have a chat at the next junction to make light of it and if i am drafting i might offer to take over at the front. either way it's not worth worrying over. i personally know that when i'm not very pleasant or chatty it's usually because i've blown it and am struggling to just move. just smile and wave

Actually someone drafting speeds the leading rider up as well! (Very small effect admittedly). And unless they're pretty close it won't make a huge difference to them either. Dangerous to be drafted by someone you don't know though!

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

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mustard [73 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the issue with drafting or being drafted by someone random is neither of you know the others skill and experience levels. If the drafting rider touches wheels it's only themselves, on the majority of occasions, who will come to grief but if you don't know they're there and pull up suddenly you'll both be on the road. Likewise if you don't know they're there you won't bother pointing out that nasty pothole as you skim around the edge of it and they suddenly find their front wheel has been swallowed  13

Hope i got all the there, they're and their's right!

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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I wish i could ride fast enough for someone to want to draught* me.  2

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

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TheHatter [770 posts] 3 years ago
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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)

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Eg3ftp1 [65 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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tommyketchup [86 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

 24 Brilliant.

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 3 years ago
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It would be if I thought he was joking.

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cojones [12 posts] 3 years ago
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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!

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Leviathan [1974 posts] 3 years ago
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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!

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SammyG [274 posts] 3 years ago
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Just drop him if you are so superior to the 'speeder upper'

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Tour Le Tour [87 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Tjuice [192 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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jova54 [653 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

I wish i could ride fast enough for someone to want to draught* me.  2

+1

I think it is draft BTW, the other one is for beer  3

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Cauld Lubter [135 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Dr Max [10 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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PhilRuss [388 posts] 3 years ago
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[[[[[ 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.

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shropshirelad [6 posts] 3 years ago
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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".

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