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Etiquette of drafting strangers

  • 25-08-2021 8:11am
    Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭ strmin

    So yesterday evening after bad day at work I got out for a short spin to Wicklow mountains.

    On a long stretch from Enniskerry to Glencree I caught up with a pro looking rider in full Alpecin Fenix kit. I said hi, got nothing in return, but that's fine. So I passed him and continued doing my thing. After few hundred meters took a quick glance back and to my surprise he was right behind me drafting. I was in really bad mood and preferred to be alone, so I slowed down a bit to let him pass. He was shaking his head with annoyance. All this without saying a word. It was very bizarre moment.

    I've never experienced such entitlement before. I can't understand how it can be OK. Quietly putting me and himself in danger of crashing. I don't believe he would draft a faster car on motorway. So why cycling is different?



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,703 ✭✭✭✭ Leroy42

    A slower rider was trying to get some much needed assistance from a stronger cyclists, yet you didn't want to share so changed your own riding just to ensure they didn't get any help.

    Well done you. Entitlement? More like being selfish on your part.

    It costs you nothing for them to draft. Just continue as before. Take it as a compliment.

    Maybe they were just struggling a bit at that moment. But you judged them to be a pro "full kit" so deemed that they were taking advantage.

    They probably were shaking their head because you came across as such a selfish self obsessed person and showed no signs of cycling camaraderie

  • Registered Users Posts: 388 ✭✭ ARX

    Next time just launch a snot rocket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭ strmin

    Yes, loaded with Covid. Another reason not to invade riders private space these days.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 681 ✭✭✭ thejaguar

    Oh dear, I've done this once or twice and it never occurred to me that it would be dangerous (despite it being glaringly obvious).

    In future I'll be saying something if I decide to take a lift.

    The fact that you've pointed out that you were having a bad day (twice) suggests to me that there might have been a solution to your problem that you overlooked i.e. politely pointing out that you'd prefer to ride alone and pointing out your safety concerns.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,252 ✭✭✭✭ Cookie_Monster

    Drafting is cheating, you shouldnt do it or let ppl do it 😆

  • Registered Users Posts: 268 ✭✭ Dow99

    Personally, it wouldn't bother me too much, if anything it would be an ego boost. However it would be courteous if the person said, "hey, would you mind if I hitched a ride?"

  • Registered Users Posts: 2 DeSpudPicker

    you are way off here. slower rider needs to make the stronger rider aware of their presence for safety reasons

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,414 ✭✭✭ fat bloke

    I wouldn't mind someone drafting me at or for a reasonable distance but I would certainly expect some common courtesy alright and absolutely there are days when you just want to be on your own and you are completely entitled to that. It's nice to offer a wheel and be offered a wheel. I'm sure we've all been there - the end of a long spin, scraping the bottom of the barrel of your energy reserves and battling a headwind. :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,703 ✭✭✭✭ Leroy42

    Why? Come on, safety reasons? Really? A guy was cycling behind him, thats it. Based on that sort of logic none of us can ever take part in cycle races or sportives or group rides? What does knowing the guy is behind him make any difference from a safety POV? Cycle properly

    The OP said themselves, they were in a bod mood and wanted to be on their own. That is the numb of it. They are p1eed that another cyclist didn't just leave them on their own and so took to here to complain about it.

    If you pass another cyclist there is always the possibility that they will look to draft, human nature to want to keep up. They don't need to ask your permission. Manners? What to do want them to say? "Can I please take advantage of your superior cycling prowess to enable me feeble ability to go a liitle faster?" Thats nothing more than looking for an ego boost and a thank you for the incredible generosity.

    If it bother you, cycle faster or slower. The OP opted to go slower.

  • Registered Users Posts: 555 ✭✭✭ Paddigol

    In terms of where you stand on this, I'd say you're in the complete minority. The only person being rude/ selfish was the guy who decided not to say hello in response and cycled off in a huff when the lad he was secretly drafting off decided to slow down.

    It wasn't a race/ sportive/ group ride - that's the whole point. If someone is out on their own, maybe that's the way they want it. Maybe not, but then the polite and reasonable thing to do would be to enquire. Taking part in a race/ sportive/ group ride is an implication that you're fine with drafting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,281 ✭✭✭ woody22

    I wouldn’t go faster or slower. I’d just tell the guy to get off my wheel.

    If I’m cycling alone it’s because I want to be cycling alone and it’s pretty obnoxious of someone else to decide otherwise

  • Registered Users Posts: 159 ✭✭ mh_cork

    Yes it is dangerous. Read the experience of the person above who got rear-ended.

    Group rides and sportives are different, you choose to cycle with other people. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a solo spin - the op is entitled to cycle solo if thats what they want. I dont get why some people think that the op should drag a stranger along if they are not comfortable to do so.

    Drafting a solo stranger outside an event without saying anything is rude, dangerous and disconcerting. The fact that the rider never announced his presence is a big red flag and shows their inexperience. The lead rider could stop to make a call / put on or take of a gilet, etc and without knowing there was someone drafting, an accident would have occurred. On downhills, one rider may know the roads better, have more bike handling skills or be a bigger risk taker. Its also rude and disconcerting because the stranger failed to acknowledge the person when passed, but then made an effort to get on the wheel.

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 23,971 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Chips Lovell

    Yeah, poor form alright. I'd never do it myself. The good news is that the danger is primarily to the drafter. They'd need to rear end you pretty hard for you to go down.

    There's a regular poster here who was once rear-ended by a chap in town who then proceeded to give out yards to him because he'd had the temerity to stop at a red light.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,868 ✭✭✭✭ o1s1n

    Yeah I'd be well annoyed if someone randomly started drafting behind me like this, it's as annoying as a car tail gating you.

    It can also be annoying though when someone overtakes you and then starts to slow down. I get a lot of this cycling around Dublin, pro dressed cycling man on a fancy bike will huff and puff to overtake me, but then slows right down when he's out in front again - resulting in me having to overtake him and him wrongly assuming we're in some kind of a race.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    A solo spin is not the same as organised group ride/ sportive or race - a complete false equivalence.

    Whether it needs to be a formal ask, the bare minimum requirement for the safety of both, is to make it obvious that you're sitting on.

    "I'm just going to sit on for a few minutes, if that's ok?" isn't too much to expect I wouldn't have thought?

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,118 ✭✭✭✭ breezy1985

    I would have never thought of asking or needing to be asked if another bike was behind me. Maybe if he was drafting very very close up my arse I would be annoyed but it never happened. If you are cycling on the same road in the same direction then no one is entitled to demand permission. I also dont buy that you would not know he was behind I mean thats an insane lack of awareness on a road.

    If you are worried about a bike behind how are you ever going to handle a cycle lane in the big cities

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭ hesker

    I don’t tend to draft people as I prefer to track my solo performances as they are. Hard to compare one to another if there is random drafting involved.

    Curious though why would it be acceptable to draft another solo rider on a sportive if it’s not otherwise

    Post edited by hesker on

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,868 ✭✭✭✭ o1s1n

    You can still give people plenty of space on a cycle track, nobody ever needs to be cycling up a stranger's arse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    In a car (at least the expectation) is that the vehicle behind was a safe stopping distance behind? Again, I'd have city/ commuting as a bit of false equivalence tbh. I'd expect it in cycle lanes with frequent stops, I wouldn't necessarily expect it on the rural bits that I sometimes commute on.

    I suppose it's all a bit more awkward to make your presence known these days when a subtle cough or bushmans blow is less socially acceptable!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,342 ✭✭✭ Wildly Boaring

    If you're drafting you have to tell the front person and preferably ask them if it's ok.

    If they need to stop they can give you a shout.

    It's also completely to your own advantage. If the front guy/girl is pothole dodging or hacking up a nice green one you'd want them to know you exist.

    Most common for me is on a solo is to just about catch someone and then hit a few bends or a bit of a village.

    I'd always give a heads up that I'm behind and give them the offer of jumping on when I go past.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,118 ✭✭✭✭ breezy1985

    Distance is the big one. I have tucked in behind cyclists and had the same done in long rides but never felt it was at an unsafe distance. I used cycle round Richmond Park London and groups would form and break up all the time and I never felt anyone needed to ask permission

    The other key one is time. 2 bikes going at a similar speed down the same stretch of road like the OP says is fine. No one has a right to that road. It's a very different story if he followed him for ages up and down the mountains.

    If you really wanna cycle alone just drop him 😀

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    Never cycled in Richmond Park (only visited the pen ponds as a child!), but again, I assume that's the known etiquette. Rightly or wrongly, a solo cyclist up in the mountains could be switched off to anything than vehicles. Specifically drafting is a bit different from riding behind someone at the same pace for me.

    tbh, I'd be saying hi just as courtesy anyway - whether drafting, coming up on someone, someone coming up on me and passing anyway, so I really don't see the big deal. Going back to the opening post, that was probably the biggest etiquette "fail" be Tim Merlier out for a spin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,217 ✭✭✭ Lurching

    Funnily enough, the only time this same thing has happened me was on that same stretch of road, but going in the other direction a few months ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 287 ✭✭ JimmiesRustled

    Not sure if this is directed at my response or OP's. In the case it was directed at my initial response, I knew there was a cyclist behind me having passed them 30 odd seconds previously. I didn't know they'd have their head down trying to catch me and in the process, hit me when I started to coast.

    That's not an isolated experience. The commute into work I've been hit by other cyclists who try to jump on for an easy ride only for me to stop at a light that has just turned red. Maybe their brakes weren't great, they never intended to stop at the light and therefore didn't expect me to or maybe they were busy trying to chase on and noticed me slowing too late. Whatever the reason, I don't really care. I've been lucky enough that it's been no more than a shunt or a shoulder into my back.

    I don't understand it, you wouldn't see a car over taking you and then all of a sudden accelerate and sit on their bumper. That would be considered rude I think by most.

    You have a competitive itch that needs scratching? Join a club and go on the weekend spins or better yet go race. Plenty of really decent club league races run throughout the season on a weekly basis. You've Mondello every week for the majority of the season, you've various open races etc.

    If you want to sit on my back wheel say something. Otherwise, I'm happy to speed up or I'm happy to slow down and let you pass but stay off my back wheel.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,654 ✭✭✭✭ Wishbone Ash

    I can't see how he would have got much of an advantage drafting from Enniskerry to Glencree. It a long drag/climb.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,508 ✭✭✭ dancinpants

    Had the exact same experience at the start of the year. Very early on a Sunday morning, passed a cyclist and gave a wave and a big hello but got nothing back. A minute down the road I realised he was on my wheel without as much as a word. It was just weird. I gave the guy a chance to say something and even to take a turn for about 10 minutes but it was clear I was getting nothing back so I just put the hammer down and dropped him.