Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
Maybe I'm out of line, but surely slipstreaming is just as illegal on public roads (other than legally run races) as it is to tailgate when driving a car.
While I can appreciate racers have a set of skills that makes them more able to stay close to other riders with relative safety, that's the same logic that says race car drivers should be able to ignore speed limits because of their l33t skills.
I don't see that the habit endears cyclists to other road users either.
I'm not personally bothered by it, but I can see I would have little sympathy if a rider got pinged by the forces of law.
Never thought about it - it just what road cyclist's do...It would be interesting if any of the govt. bureaucrats knew what slipstreaming was? Let alone thought about passing a law.
As... I visualise yet another bureaucrat staying awake at night to come up with yet another penality ($ making...revenue clause) to enforce on road users...
well i suppose there are commutes and commutes. If you're talking a big one (30k+? one-way commute), a bit of drafting might be in everyones' best interests
the only things would be getting an idea of the potential partner before getting too close to them, and where you were riding. you can sometimes get an idea of what someone's like by checking them out, from what they're wearing, riding etc, and more importantly, the way they ride. I wouldn't get too close until I'd seen something which made me think "good rider". And a bike path is less likely than a road to have cause for the rider to do something unexpected.
on my current commute, about 7kms one way every day, rain hail shine, most of it on a bike track, i rarely but occasionally do suck someone's wheel. The bike trail part of my ride is about 4km, so it hardly seems worth saying anything, and people rarely talk if ever anyway. most of the riders are so mismatched you're hardly with anyone for long at all too.
In reverse, some have drafted off me here and there, and if I'm riding well and they're not ridiculously close I have no problem with that, but if i'm feeling cautious I'll slow to force them to pass. I currently break harder than most into corners (sign of old age? or just wisdom lol? more likely just i know my technique is bad!), and i hate feeling that (a) i'm holding people up, and (b) they might rear-end me.
on the other hand if i am riding strongly and they're crazily close, i'll check out what they're on, and drop them if it seems likely. if not, force them to pass.
but i'm looking at moving, and since i could never go back to catching public transport, i need to consider what the ride will be like from the new potential home. 1 option is moving far out, but to a location I know has an absolutely viable bike path/lane.
next thing to think about tho is, the area I'm considering is a good 28k from the city, and I've recently picked up a spot of knee trouble (seems to have almost fully recovered tho), so I'm thinking "will my body be able to take 5 days x 2 rides x 28k (='bout 180k/wk)?? Not just in terms of the knee, but will wear and tear on whatever parts of my 37 year old body start to add up really quickly, forcing me to abandon the fantastic 3-birds-with-one-stone (exercise/cost-saving/Connex-frustration-avoidance) commute that i love so much now?
So one thing that could make that distance on the old bones so much easier is drafting, and at least one of the routes I could take has beaucoup de riders. Wouldn't suck wheel long term without at least a hello and a favourable response, and maybe a question about how far they were going so i'd get an idea of how much to share the lead, but it could work out really well. Any thoughts on this though? This is my first post, so please t'meetcha'll
Welcome along dewulf, great to have another commuter onboard.
Now, hardly a nice thing to say to a new member, but meant in the most encouraging and positive way ...you only need to apply a bit of HTFU re the distance. Mate, I'm 50 and I do a 56k round trip commute 5 times a week most weeks (almost never less than 3 times in a week). You'll do it on your ear and love getting the extra ks of riding and the even bigger 3-birds-with-one-stone. Drafting is legit, but most days if you are like me it'll be a solo ride most of the way.
Mind you I notice you are from Melbourne...so you may have a lot more riders on your commute route to draft with. I was in melb recently adn was amazed by the number of commuters...Impressive
[quote="dewulf"]well i suppose there are commutes and commutes. [/quote
Hi dewulf & welcome...as an avid commuter I agree...normally on the way to work (mainly up "hill") I'm often pushed for time. Headwinds & cross winds sux....never can factor these in...Although I'm not a drafting fan (me drafting that is...see other posts)- I can see the benefits.
On the way home- more downhill - I take the longer route & take the chance to unwind etc..still keeping to my 60min time limit - but I get to coast a bit..."well" more than a bit - so much eaiser I commute to my schedule & ability...but there not always the same thing
I guess I created this monster...
The majority here think it's a bad idea, so I now take care to keep a couple of bike lengths behind, I'm not sure if that provides any assistance,
It doesn't bother me if people tail me, I guess until someone knocks me off...
I did ask if there was some sort of signal, but I don't think anyone responded, how about an OK sign behind your back?
were your shoes, undies and bike the same colour ? was your setup worth more then 4k ? if not your not a real cyclist in their eyes.
imo slipstreaming won't work on commutes since your unlikely to find yourself behind a rider of similar level... and even if you do, maybe they are doing a 40k commute and you only 10k, and your energy levels may vary greatly. so yeah: good idea - but just wont work.
On my ride today, riding uphill, into a headwind, I kept myself amused by waving to oncoming cyclists. I got a smile and nod from a 'real' cyclist. Most people smiled, nodded or otherwise ackknowledge my gesture.
I wouldn't mind it except the other day I wanted to turn off my usual bike path commute to go to a LBS and had this guy right on my arse and I had absolutely no idea what he would do if I turned, tried to slow down, etc. I wouldn't slipstream anyone unless it's an organised ride with a specified route. I keep a few lengths behind anyone, just like in a car.
I reckon a combine coming up behind me could encourage me to increase my pace (especially if the prong thingy on the front's spinning).
Nah I let them pass then jump on...the tractors / combines all seem to top out in the 50-60kmph range...and because they sit so high you can see what's coming underneath them...the only ones I stay away from are the hay turning things with the deadly spikes on the rear
hi hi again, sorry for the really late response, it's been one of those.....years! (lol). But seriously appreciate the welcome Pax, and nitecheck too =) And Pax, you know, you're right, HTFU is a good cuppa (no probs with that suggestion haha all good ), but i went one step further...i test rode the full trip...on a mountain bike (with slicks), and it wasn't that bad at all considering
factor in a decent road bike (family sold the cecil walker when i was o/s ), better legs and about 5kg weight loss due to the extra k's, and I'd be doing the inward trip in around 50mins, and back home in 40. Re the physical impact, I think it'll only happen if i don't warm up slowly through the beginning of the ride (patience is a virtue n'est-ce pas )
as for drafting, i'd be living in Edithvale/Chelsea which is the beach road commute, and for sure there'll be riders there, but whether you'd match any or not, yeah, probably a bit random as people have noted
I commute 100km per week + a 100km, 200km or 300km ride every second weekend (or every weekend whey they run them!). I started cycle commuting 4 months ago and at first I had trouble with my left knee, hand numbness/pain, wrist pain, lower back pain and neck/shoulder pain. Turned out to be a combination of bike setup, riding posture and gloves. I finished my last 200km ride 2 weeks ago pain free (woo hoo!). I am 38, so you are not too old to do it. My advice is to try to find out what caused the knee trouble and address that. If there are any other issues they may have a cause which should be able to be addressed. The only other thing I guess is to make sure to have rest days to give your body time to recover. If you do find it too much at first you can just ride one way sometimes. Say on Tuesday morning ride in and Wednesday arvo ride home. It will give you some time off the bike to recover and remind you why you like riding so much
keep drinking the cuppa...my commuter is a mountain bike with slicks. much preferred (by me but not by all) as a commuter over a road bike.
Glad to hear your on your way with it, enjoy!!
now back to the actual theme of the thread: well actually looks like its been done to death really
I have some very long sections of road on my commute home, and it's always guaranteed to have a nasty headwind. Every day I get some folks on my wheel, and I really don't care or expect them to take a turn at the front, after all, my commuter rides are also 45 minute workouts morning and night. I might occasionally grab the wheel of a few roadies to bump up my speed, I ride a fixed gear, and in a killer headwind it can be challenging to keep a good pace without burning endless amounts of energy. Back on topic, wheel suckers, again I don't mind them, but don't expect any help either. I don't call out debris, I don't signal for slowing, or anything of the sort. My commutes are considered solo rides, and therefore the niceties of group road riding are not conveyed. Also, if you have gears, and you're going ride the wheel of someone on a singlespeed into a 30-50km/h headwind then showtime or get off the pot in regard to the pace of the ride.
The Master has pointed out something I didn't make crystal clear...
Slipstreaming another cyclist might be rude but IMHO any other 'vehicle'* should be mortal sin
Any of that nonsense will get cyclists banned from the road.
*French agricultural implements excepted...
I'm set to draft a cyclist if I see him again. There I was all by myself when blast this guy goes flying past me. He was doing at least 38 as I did manage to sprint up to his speed. Looked at his bike flat bar with an electric motor or something. At least he was pedalling Would love that draft. Would help him but I would just be hanging onto his speed
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
Pretty nasty lot!
I ride, I let people draft (if they can follow), I'll give them some challenge (if they try to "attack"), I'll give a wave and a greeting when I burn out and get overtaken. That's cycling life.
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Probably distance behind is more of an issue than the actually slipstreaming. In strong head winds I can get a good 200 metres of more out of a semi flying by at a 100k's. I can never get up close to it but I do get a decent tow for a short distance at least.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity!
Not sure why all the aggro about a bit of following a wheel. I used to be a pro road cyclist, did some mountain and track and even tri for fun and treated all other cyclists as fellow riders. Getting a tow or giving one is no big deal, just be sensible. My team time trial squad would try to keep a 5cm spacing but there is no need for that on the commute. Use your riding signals - point to obstacles, indicate a turn or call 'stopping' or 'light' at a light or crossing; and if you have a drafter and want them to pull a turn or go around just signal by sweeping your hand or elbow around on the side you want the pass and ease off the pedals a little. If they are firewalled and can't come around then they can't. If you are so fragged that you cannot concentrate on holding the wheel or maintaining a predictable pace and line (just as important with cars around) then you need to just back off the pace a bit.
Just don't let your ego get control of you. You need a steady recovery ride as much as a hard one full of intervals or an endurance effort. I used to be able to do my 30km commute in 37 min in Melbourne but that wasn't an everyday thing. Other days I needed recovery and just rolled to town maintaining a speed or a low heart rate limit. Not taking 'rest' days just burns you out and prevents improvement.
We have to share the roads and from much experience the greatest risk when drafting is following the wheel as the lead will likely feel little contact, but you will lose your front wheel and go down hard so just don't worry too much about the guy behind as you have little to worry about.
A lot of the drafting issue is really up to interpretation.
I had my arse handed to me when I thought I could get away from a dude on a dual suspension kona. We pulled up at the lights, exchanged pleasantries, and then took off. I expected that he'd be slower, as I was on an MTB with slicks, but he managed to stay just behind me right until the next set of lights. I felt bad about 100m in and wound up the pace so I wouldn't slow him down, but I guessed he must have wanted the draft, because I couldn't lose him.
I had a roadie that buzzed past me just as the lights went green at an intersection, he must have timed it better than I did. He couldn't drop me (I sat about two bike lengths behind) and I was somewhat unimpressed that he thought I'd be that much slower that he needed to buzz me.
He did use hand signals for intersections and stopping, which was handy, but really, a lot of it is up to whoever is riding and how they interpret it. I've stopped saying hello to the roadies who drop me up hills, as I don't get a response.
I see absolutely no point in sitting 6" from the guys wheel in front when commuting, it gives no room for error, including dodging the bits of glass that seem to accumulate on the shoulder. 2-3 bike lengths is another story however.
Because stealth riders are dangerous because they don't let you know they are there. This morning I was tootling along a shared path when something dropped off my bike (turned out to be the adjuster from my helmet). I had to stop suddenly and the guy behind me almost took me out BECAUSE I DIDN"T KNOW HE WAS THERE! I call slowing and stopping a lot when I know there is someone behind me but this guy had snuck up behind me without a peep. That is why all the aggro about a bit of following a wheel.
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