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22

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 ...


17

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 ...


14

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


10

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. ...


10

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


6

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

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

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 ...


4

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 ...


3

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 ...


2

I end up having to evaluate this on a rider-by-rider basis. Typically if I've caught up to someone, then I'm going faster anyway, so I'll just pass them and keep my own pace. If someone passes me, then I try to keep up... Sometimes you see a guy on a high-end bike, who is obviously skilled, and is constantly pedaling and varying his effort for slopes (as ...


2

Drafting/pace-lining is great but you really have to ask FIRST. After that it is a question of trust and knowing your own skill as well as the other rider(s). I think we can all agree, however, that starting to draft somebody without notifying them is a definite breach of etiquette and safety.


2

Commuting 35 miles each day from St Albans to Wood Green for 2 years I never had anyone complain about drafting. It was generally seen as normal. Near everyone I came across on the commute would want to race and drafting was just part of that, trying to keep up with the guy in front. I never found it to be dangerous as you can only really do it on the ...


2

Here's an easy recipe that I've seen used in a number of casual riding situations with anonymous cyclists: You should take the first pull, so pass the rider on the left. Make sure you're going slow enough that she can actually hitch a ride without a massive sprint. When your rear wheel is passing her front wheel (ie. about the time she can see you without ...


2

When you are riding along on your own you're not only pushing the air in front of you out of the way, the most obvious source of air resistance, but you're also being slowed by the turbulent air behind you. However slightly. Surprisingly, having someone draft you will help smooth out that turbulence, and so you benefit as well! ( Just make sure they take ...


2

Racers might call it "slipstreaming", but normal road users call it "tailgating". Other than in controlled conditions (like a race, or a cycling club ride), you shouldn't attempt it. It's dangerous, and no less rude than if you do it in a car. If I catch you doing this behind me, I'll slow down until you back off, just like with any other tailgating ...


2

Drafting behind a group that's already in a paceline is one thing, but drafting behind some random commuter is a great way to get into a wreck. A random commuter isn't going to necessarily know to (or want to be compelled to) inform you when he/she is slowing or needing to make a sudden movement. And are you really getting any benefit whatsoever from ...


2

I would think that the safest approach would be join on behind for enough time to adequately work out the person's speed (30-60 seconds) then to pass them slowly and deliberately, slowly, move back in, offering your wheel in return (i.e. take your time, don't massively accelerate and then brake - if you've a computer, you know the speed they were at, match ...


1

I prefer to come ahead of the other person and once I'm far enough in front of them that they can see me (but still not completely ahead of them) I'll point at my rear wheel with my right hand (i.e., the hand that's closest to the other rider). Usually they'll either pull forward ("no thanks - I'll keep pulling") or drop back slightly ("thank god - what took ...


1

I would call this behavior rude and dangerous outside of an organized ride or a small group that rides together often and expects it. Cyclists should be taught how to handle drafting, similarly to how auto drivers are taught to handle tailgaters. (It'd be nice if cyclists were taught how to ride at all.) However, this is not the case: Cyclists are taught ...


1

Really this question is 'chatty' and therefore doomed to be closed, however... No it is not rude! Drafting should be taught at school as part of a Cycling Proficiency Test so that some conventions are established. This would encourage people to cycle together, taking turns up front and doing so more efficiently. Elbow twitches to get the guy behind to take ...



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