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I thought I read somewhere something like having someone drafting behind also has effect to the rider in front. I wonder if it's true and would like to understand how does it work because it's quite unintuitive (if it's true at all).

So, other than robbing the rider in front from tailwind, does the drafter help at all?

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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 their turn in front ).

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cycling/aerodynamics2.html

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  • This effect diminishes quickly if the gap between the two riders increases. The smaller, the better. – arne Feb 27 '14 at 6:45
  • I guess the question is, can one get close enough for the rider in front to get a noticeable benefit? You can only get so close before your wheels touch. Would it be more beneficial to be slightly offset, with your front wheel overlapping the back wheel of the other ride? Should three riders make a v shape (like birds) rather than a straight line to minimize air resistance. – Kibbee Feb 27 '14 at 13:25
  • I think drag caused by air behind really answers my question. It explains that in a group, the first and the last riders are doing some work. – imel96 Feb 28 '14 at 0:54
  • Indeed, this is one of the reasons it's so effortless when you're positioned inside of the group, even air pressure all around you! – Scott Hillson Mar 1 '14 at 3:34

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