Slip Streaming on the road

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  • Hi I'm Piran and I am currently converting my first fixed gear bike.

    I was just wondering what was done about slip-streaming on the road - if you come up behind someone on the road, is it impolite to sit behind them (a safe distance away) and let them pull you along?

    thanks for your comments.

  • probably,ive never tried it before.i think people would get pissed off

  • skitching? i was soooooo tempted going up highate hill today, 210 bus was going up as well. Just wanted to grab that wheelarch. Thing is the stem im using is really short and its fixed so a bit dodgy.

    if u mean drafting, then thats fine, no probs.

  • Im pretty sure I can walk up Highgate Hill faster than the 210, that bus is slooooow

    To answer the question: I dont think anyone would really mind pulling someone along for a bit, but I suppose it would be polite to return the favour if you've been drafting for quite a bit. If you're going fast, in a paceline or anything, then the rider in front might be less happy about it if he thinks that your braking power isn't up to scratch on a fixed gear, and the guy behind might get irate if you go slowly on a downhill.

  • i always feel bad taking someones wind they are doing all the hard work doesn't seem fair i just fly past 'em

  • Thanks for the comments, I did return the favour for the next few miles!

  • i did this the other day for about 2 miles. felt quite bad as the guy was motoring. in the end, he pulled off the road and then back on again so he could steam me :)

    so, yes, probably best to take it in turns if you're going the same speed.

  • I don't think race etiquette applies on the road when you encounter strangers, who knows what they're planning?

    still, I suppose it depends on the situation and the individual.

    Personally I don't like strangers drafting me, so I have two speeds (both called "fuck-off") one balls out fast and one really slow, like when I'm tired. most people travel between those two speeds and leave me the fuck alone.

  • Seems to me that if people are aware that you are doing it (for safety reasons), there is nothing wrong with it. Having said that, fixie riders tend not to do it, either because they do not know how to, or because one rarely rides really long distances on fixed. I noticed that at the Brighton ride, where oftentimes people in front of me were twichy, changing direction fairly often), or where I tried to pull people who were obviously tired, and they would consistently back off away from my back wheel, losing the benefit of my being up front.

    If the person in front holds their line and speed steady, it should not make a difference if someone is slipstreaming, since the person behind is not sucking up energy. Now, if sonmeone never returns the favor, that person is an asshole.

  • well yeah, you'd think in a group ride people would swap and change..

    it's like riding round the velodrome away from the pack, fucking hard work!

  • i hate being drafted and if i find myself behind another bike i hang back far enough to not be drafting and match their speed, if they get too slow i'll pass. i once had a brompton draught me on my mtb for about a mile without passing and doing any of the work, i found leaning forward and locking the rear (disk brakes) for an instant and then getting back on the gas got the message across.

  • Alex Now, if sonmeone never returns the favor, that person is an asshole.

    That sums up my view on it. Unless it's something we've agreed (helping someone through a bonk for example) or something we both benefit from (sharing the work) I form a pretty negative view on it.

    I don't mind so much on the road bike, but on fixed I slow and start at different rates than most other cyclists, and frankly I don't want someone riding up my arse and causing me to come off as a result.

    The exception I draw to this are roadies who can do it whenever they please. The reason being; they spend tons of time riding in very close proximity to other riders and can hitch a lift without increasing danger to the other party, anticipating changes, and working together.

  • i useuly blow past slow people, and if i see some one rideing my speedish, i catch them up and try to have a quick chat, rather then stare at their ass

  • I usually just bomb along as fast as I can, ignoring all other road users. Maybe I've had people using me for this purpose. How close behind does one need to be in order to reap the benefits?

  • people on posh bikes who look the part get pissed off if you draught them, coz it makes them look like foolish poseurs if you can keep up with them on a manky fixed wheel......loads of commuters want to "PLAY" at being racers on the I see nothing wrong with toying with them then burning past when the road increases gradient by 1%......if rider of similar ability...share the work.

  • winston people on posh bikes who look the part get pissed off if you draught them, coz it makes them look like foolish poseurs if you can keep up with them on a manky fixed wheel

    Most of my roadie mates wouldn't have a problem with a fixed rider being behind at all. But they're going to try and avoid be drawn into a race with you on the streets.

    None of the posh bikes we own are insured (the value is too high, you couldn't insure something you race with anyway), and we certainly don't want to risk the bike just for a 5 minute burn-out. Roadies also like to pace themselves, the pace may be above 20mph, so it appears to be fast and is good for hitching a ride, but pace themselves they still do. It's more like a gentle training ride on the streets. Nothing to cause a fuss about, and the thing that would make us feel most foolish would be harming the bike outside of a race or 'serious' ride. And if you're drafting comfortably at the closer to 25mph mark we're going to be seriously impressed with your gearing or spinning (we will notice).

    For the record too, whenever I've chatted about messengers and fixed wheel riders, there's always a stack of respect from other roadies. Either for the all-winter riding, or the stop/start nature of messengering (which we're basically not used to and would find kills us), the riding fixed up hills whilst still weaving through traffic, the wearing of denim and heavy fabrics, how you all seem to cope without a hydration routine, etc. There's no animosity towards fixed riders and messengers... that's saved for the commuters who are dangerous as hell and dare to risk harm to our lovely bikes, exceptions made if the commuter happens to be a cute girl.

    If you've ever read Catch 22, the common parallel is that roadies tend to believe (mild paranoia) that everyone in the world is out to hurt their bike. So long as they're not feeling that when you're drafting because you exude the air of an experienced cyclist, there's no problem with it beyond the greediness when the work isn't being shared.

  • I might draft, I might tow. Depends on other rider's speed, how I feel, etc.
    Most of my riding is fixed commuting and I'm faster than most other commuters so there's no point drafting them.
    My other riding is roadie club runs in a bunch where of course I'm gonna be drafting!

  • I used to get pissed off with people drafting me, but I don't really mind it now. Towed a roadie up Highgate West on wednesday evening, and whilst he was thankful for that, I was pleased that he wanted help off some chump on a fixed, and pleased that I could physically do it. Either that or he thought, "I might as well sit behind this mug...."

  • Most of the fixed riders I see are faster than the people in road gear so it's not that odd.

  • i pulled a girl on blades around CM... thats the colest i have come to havieng some one draft me... now my knees hurt

    i really should have gotten some sleep last night.

  • pulled or towed ?!?!?! i saw some girl fliting in and out of the bikes on roller blades see was looking for a rope so she could get towed about if it was the same girl her trouser bottoms looked mighty close to those wheels i am sure she must have got the two caught up at some stage though she did have all her front teeth so i guess she was doing ok !!

  • towed stupid english types... yeah she was the one in the really long bell bottems... she was hangin off my bag on the hill on Charing Cross Rd.

  • Alex Having said that, fixie riders tend not to do it, either because they do not know how to, or because one rarely rides really long distances on fixed.

    Don't know how? Presumably you're not talking about anyone who learned to ride fixed at Herne Hill, in which case drafting is about all they do know...!

    I occasionally draft people if they're fast and competent and I don't think they'll mind, but that sort of rider is fairly rare in London. A friend of mine got shouted at by a very angry commuter after drafting them for half a mile or so.

  • i only draft girls with nice bums, then say hi as i have to keep going, i like to ride the same speed all the time, if someone passes me, i will catch them up on hills, only because i have not got the ability to change into an easier gear........

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Slip Streaming on the road

Posted by Avatar for piran @piran