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Etiquette left me feeling unsure

With the Rutland Sportive less than a week away I wanted to spend last weekend going as hard as possible at the little hillocks around Northamptonshire for practise. The wind on Saturday meant this was a laborious process zig zagging the lanes into the breeze for respite and then having to bust my backside in the tailwind to keep a meaningful heart rate.

Sunday I wanted two hours at a good pace and despite having dropped a little, the wind was still a factor as I pedalled out of the village in search of uphill terrain. I had worked out that if my route was north-south and vice versa I would be cross wind most of the time as opposed to the slog and, ummm, not slog of the previous day.

But as I headed down the A15 towards the hills I saw a bike in front of me. So I put my head down and tried to catch him. A nice little chinwag with another rider would help pass the time going up and down these short (400m-600m), but steep (around 5% ave.) climbs I was looking for. But at the roundabout he seemed to get a bit lost and ended up going on the footpath on the other side of the roundabout. So as I went past I offered a cheery hello and sat up to take a drink whilst freewheeling. I turned round expecting him to be close behind me, but he was still trying to get down off the path and back onto the road.

So I took another drink and freewheeled some more… in fact for about ¼ of a mile until it became obvious to me that this guy was either soft pedalling too (as he didn’t want a chat and to ride along together ) or was slower than me (would have thought it would have been the first of those!).

How long do you give someone to catch you in the world of cycling etiquette? I hit the first false flat of the morning and started to work again, I never saw the rider again. I did wonder if I was rude in his eyes but I was concentrating and focussed on getting my miles done in a quick and efficient way.

What do you think?

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dave atkinson | 15 years ago

I caught a guy on a cannondale going uphill on the Africabike the other day... was quite pleased with myself till i looked round and saw he was about 70. still, that's better than being overtaken by a 70-year-old on a tourer whilst riding a BMC, as happened to me on the Dunkery Dash  1

Denzil Dexter | 15 years ago

This is all theoretical as far as I'm concerned - I don't think I've ever caught anybody  2

On the other hand I am with Dasy about not wanting to be sociable - unless I go out with a group I'm out riding for a bit of peace and quiet.

DaSy | 15 years ago

If I'm gaining on someone, I back off slightly to ensure I have a higher level should the victim...errr...cyclist try to jump on the back and get a free draft. As I pass I say hi, and then pick up the pace. I never want to be sociable.

My comeupance came this weekend, when 5 miles from home after 95 windy solo miles I came to a junction at the same time as a group of roadies swinging in from the other direction. I was planning on very gently rolling home the last 5 miles, but instead ended up trying my hardest to drop a line of guys intent on sitting on my wheel! I should have just let them go past, but something inside stops me doing that.

John_the_Monkey | 15 years ago

I don't - I greet them as I pass, and if they don't seem inclined to converse, I continue at the speed I was intending to reach, personally.

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