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47

In road racing there are lots of way to try and gain an advantage (or not to give others an advantage). Because this is a friendly race, I will break it down into friendly, indifferent and hostile tactics. Update 1: The OP updated their question to make it clear that they were a beginner and the other rider was a more experienced road rider. So I ...


27

My opinion: I don't believe you can effectively draft and have enough time to stop. I don't know the exact aerodynamics (and I suspect it's affected by speed and wind), but if you watch any paceline or peleton, they're never more than a couple feet (about half a meter) behind the rider in front, often only a few inches (centimeters) behind. With a ...


27

It can be considered "impolite" by roadies, but not because of the bike you were riding or the fact you didn't take a pull (although I am sure some will argue for this). The main reason random drop-in riders are generally frowned upon are because of: the dangers associated with unpredictability of a new rider lack of insurance coverage Potential ...


24

No, on the contrary the lead rider also gets a boost. The reason to be unhappy about someone drafting you is that they're too close to be able to react if there's a problem - if you go down they will run over you. The way I understand the boost is that a solo rider is effectively dragging around a volume of low pressure air - you push the air out of the ...


19

There was a post on this subject on The Guardian Bike Blog. I think there are a couple of issues with drafting random cyclists: it could be unsafe, particularly if they don't realise you're doing it. some people will object to being drafted - it can be considered an invasion of your personal space. I think your best bet is to ask before drafting, then ...


19

Let the co-worker pass and then draft behind them. It becomes a game of chicken to see who goes first. This is partially why road racing at the professional level is usually done in teams. The team works together letting riders take a turn in the front so that the race moves at a reasonable pace. The other option is to just give a good effort on an uphill ...


14

This is a potential minefield. If someone's on my wheel, to be honest I don't care. I prefer not to draft when commuting - I know the state of most of the roads I regularly use and I want decent visibility of the surface and other road users; it's a commute, not a heads-down speed session, so a few extra seconds at a lower speed is of little consequence. ...


13

I've found it courteous to come up beside the person and ask permission. I usually say "how far you going?" or "mind if I join you?". The real key is to take turns drafting. If the person says yes, I usually take the first pull in front just to show them I'm not a wheel sucker. As an avid cyclist, I've found very few things more annoying than riding for a ...


13

If your question is, "can wind resistance be reduced for everyone on a small circuit," then the answer is "yes, this is a well-known effect, and if the circuit is small enough even one rider is enough." It is well-known that riders on indoor velodromes create their own "draft" by circling the track. This effect is large when the number of riders is large ...


11

The answer is ... it depends. Normally, by reducing/filling the vacuum that exists behind the lead rider, the drafter would be expected to give the leader a slight boost (though nowhere near the boost the drafter gets). But fluid dynamics is a tricky thing, and there are probably configurations (based on a few millimeters movement one way or the other) ...


11

Depends on the size of the thing you are trying to draft. The distances listed below are distance between objects at normal road biking speeds. Bigger distance for higher speeds I may (or may not have) drafted a lot of things this is what I've found. A Bike: 1-2 Feet Small Car: 2-4 Feet SUV: 3-5 Feet Truck: 3-5 Feet 18 Wheeler: 4-8 Feet Bus (my ...


11

It depends. I don't know of any scientific research to support an actual speed. The main factors are the speed of the wind that you are riding in, and the size of your shield (i.e. the bunny in front who is giving you the wind break - the bigger the better) and how closely you follow. In still conditions I find that even at about 24km/hr (15mph) I will ...


11

No. The only reason to get angry at a drafter is if they are not safe or if they don't take their turn. Conservation Law: oversimplification, but in this case if there are no drafters, the extra energy to separate the airflow is just wasted as the turbulence collapses.


8

I recall this thread, and thought I'd add a link to a post describing an impromptu experiment I conducted this week, which tested the impact on the power demand of a test rider (172cm 60kg female on a track pursuit bike riding at a quasi-steady state velocity on an indoor wooden velodrome) of another rider (185cm 80kg male on mass start track bike riding in ...


8

If you are close enough to get into their Slipstream, you can essentially kill their drag. This might feel like a boost because the wind that was previously pulling them back is now transferred to YOUR rear and not sucking on them anymore. Here is a photo of a bullet's slipstream (wake), where you can see the air sucking the bullet backwards. There is no ...


8

It is not necessarily how fast you go, but how closely you are following the person cycling in front of you. The closer you follow, the more likely you are to trail in the wind they have helped part for you. The effects of this feel greater the faster you and the other person is traveling. The effectiveness of the slipstream is relative to the speed and ...


8

It is not allowed by UCI rules, but comissars usually allow it if it is due to mechanical reasons and used to get back to the peloton, since they have discretional ability to decide. Time penalties or disqualification if used to gain advantage over the peloton. So, rule enforcement may vary depending on many circumstances, and I guess they don't want to lose ...


7

Yeah, it's a touchy situation. Some won't mind it at all, some won't notice (and will therefore make hazardous moves), some will silently seethe, and some will get downright nasty. When I was a regular commuter I would draft occasionally when the cyclist ahead of me was obviously a skilled one (ie, all the right clothes, fancy bike, etc) -- though, to be ...


7

First, at around 10-12 MPH and below you are fighting rolling/frictional resistance enough that the drafting benefit is negligible in still air. If the you have a headwind of 10+ MPH or are traveling at 15+ MPH then there is some benefit to be had. Assuming that there is no wind or a direct on head wind, the extension of the 'drafting bubble' is about 5 - ...


7

It might be interesting to ride closely behind someone whose speed matches mine, but what's the protocol for doing this, apart from road safety concerns? In my experience, if you can keep up then you can draft someone. There's no asking involved, but it is appreciated if you switch up to lead for a little while. At the speeds you're talking, with ...


7

For those who subscribe to the rules: "Rule 19: Introduce Yourself If you deem it appropriate to join a group of riders who are not part of an open group ride and who are not your mates, it is customary and courteous to announce your presence. Introduce yourself and ask if you may join the group. If you have been passed by a group, wait for an invitation, ...


7

This sounds like it was a very casual interaction. There's nothing wrong with what you did, but it would have been more polite to say hi and ask if they minded you drafting them for a few minutes. Even in a casual situation like that, be careful not to interfere with their rotation or their pace. IE, if you're not going to take a turn at the front, drop ...


6

There is more to consider than just whether you're slowing down the lead rider. I find someone drafting on me annoying, because it forces me to consider them and their actions. Particularly when I'm on my commute home I find it selfish that they're imposing that on me. For example when I approach a slower bike to overtake, I do a head check to make sure the ...


5

If there is an aerodynamic difference, it is so small it is utterly unnoticeable in practice. In a paceline, the resistance experienced by the front rider is overwhelmingly dominated by slicing through the air in front of him. Perhaps you're thinking of a velodrome race? What often happens is that the second rider will pass around the outside by quickly ...


5

Even runners use the slipstream, and they run at a max of 12mph, but I have enjoyed drafting at considerably slower running speeds. It also depends on the strength of the headwind. And, as Teddy pointed out, the distance you are from the rider in front is important. This is why runners can draft at relatively slower speeds, although for a skilled cyclist ...


5

The best way to make it impossible for him to draft of you is to draft on him instead. You will then probably just end up taking turns. Competitive bike riding is not only about who is the best, but also who is the smartest and who has the best social skills. Or who - indeed - can act the 'meanest' as you mention this word. However I personally think you ...


4

I'd be more concerned about safety that etiquette. When in a bike group and drafting behind someone who knows you are there, they are much more likely to keep a good lookout for road debris and other obstacles and smoothly adjust their line/path in order to not screw the drafting person over. If I'm by myself (or am unaware of anyone drafting behind me) a ...


4

When people do this with me, I indicate after half a mile or so that I'll let them take the lead for a while, and then without much further discussion we tend to rotate like that until one turns off - and generally we'll wave. Never really formalised this though.


4

Yes. There are a number of different ways to initiate a paceline via hand signals, but the most common one I've seen and used is to make a circle with an upwards pointed finger. Watch Peter Sagan (white jersey, yellow/red helmet) do this in the following video. He's joking in this situation, but note that his fellow ...


4

You can combine strategies from track racing, namely match sprint, and road racing. In match sprint, the racers typically start very slow in order to not give any drafting advantage. This continues until one of the competitors decides that he/she can sprint to the finish line before the other can pass them and attacks. In road racing, a common strategy is ...



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