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Drafting Etiquette – Don’t be that Guy

Posted: December 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: bicycles | No Comments »

There is a recurrent debate about the etiquette of drafting when  training or commuting on your bike. In a race it is always fine, though your competitors might get pissed if you wheel suck all the time and always pip them at the line – that is its own game theoretical discussion. The debate I want to talk about is whether as a cyclist you should tag on to other riders to enjoy the slipstream, whether a solo rider or a group.

Some suggest that it is fine while others recommend asking if it is ok to hitch a ride. Heck, some even suggest that if you want to be polite you should take some pulls. My position is that you should never just attach yourself to someone else without at least asking. As for pulling, I only think it is necessary if you are asked. That said, don’t interfere with a group’s pacelining.

So, with that introduction, let me tell you about my ride today. My riding buddy and I were grinding our way home on the road after and hour or so of mountain biking. So, we were on mountain bikes. On the road we passed a couple roadies on a climb, let’s call them the wheelsuckers. Its the winter so no shame there, guys were probably doing a base ride. What happened next boggled my mind.

It wasn’t that the wheelsucker’s went to wheelsucking, it was how rude and aggressively they did so. While my buddy and I rode side by side, the wheelsuckers poked their front wheel in between us, got in the way of our pacelining without pulling so pulling through required essentially “pushing them out of the way by moving alongside and then moving over, and finally, overlapping half a bike length, sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right. They were a pile of mess.

Worse, when I told wheelsucker #1 not to overlap on my side, he replied with “why”?! Rude, dangerous dicks. Its one thing not to ask before hitching a ride, but how these two knuckleheads acted was an order of magnitude worse than that. Don’t be these guys.

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