The Chainlink

The topic of drafting came up on the I Rode Today thread. Seemed to me like it deserved its own thread. I think of drafting as being close enough to a rider ahead of you so that you get some respite from the wind. For that you have to be pretty close, within a couple feet at least. Often less than a foot. It's perfectly fine to draft when you're in a group out on a training ride where everybody knows what to expect and you're going to maintain a consistent speed. In my opinion, drafting has no place under the following circumstances:

  • In traffic requiring frequent stopping or slowing
  • Without agreement/permission

The first bullet cuts out most urban situations where various hazards (cars, pedestrians, other bikes, and stop signs/lights) keep you from maintaining a consistent speed. I think it also eliminates the LFT, certainly in the summer (search for "Lakefront Lance"), but others may disagree. The second bullet is just common sense. Why would you want to ride six inches behind someone whose cycling skills or temperament you don't know?

My 2¢...

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I would like to take this opportunity to vent about pacelines on the lake front.  Almost every morning during my commute in the summer, I am startled by a shitty paceline. Why say I shitty?

1) the leader rides as if he/she is riding alone, not communicating w/ other riders, not moving to the left early enough, not giving ample space while passing.

2) the leaders goes too fast, drafters are barely holding on, pushing hard with their heads down, not paying attention to what's ahead.

3) drafters tend to place themselves to the right of the leader and that puts them even closer to any runner/cyclist/etc. that they are passing.

Once in a full moon, there would be an experienced and considerate leader who adjusts speed, communicates, moves the whole group in advance, and they pass me sooo beautifully that I feel like crying.  Any other time, I curse.

Ilter, if you were on your red Raleigh, you could just jump in front of the paceline and lead it in the manner it deserves!

-adam

ilter said:

I would like to take this opportunity to vent about pacelines on the lake front.  Almost every morning during my commute in the summer, I am startled by a shitty paceline. Why say I shitty?

1) the leader rides as if he/she is riding alone, not communicating w/ other riders, not moving to the left early enough, not giving ample space while passing.

2) the leaders goes too fast, drafters are barely holding on, pushing hard with their heads down, not paying attention to what's ahead.

3) drafters tend to place themselves to the right of the leader and that puts them even closer to any runner/cyclist/etc. that they are passing.

Once in a full moon, there would be an experienced and considerate leader who adjusts speed, communicates, moves the whole group in advance, and they pass me sooo beautifully that I feel like crying.  Any other time, I curse.

As red as the bike is, what you suggest is only possible with BeerPower©.

Adam Z said:

Ilter, if you were on your red Raleigh, you could just jump in front of the paceline and lead it in the manner it deserves!

-adam

This is how I feel drafting a divvy truck through the ghetto-http://vimeo.com/50872582

i ALMOST always agree with kevin and doug. especially with beers in hand.

notoriousDUG said:

I agree with Kevin.

Kevin C said:

Agreed on all points.

Ilter, let me pour you half a glass of beer so you can get your buzz on!

;)

-adam



ilter said:

As red as the bike is, what you suggest is only possible with BeerPower©.

Adam Z said:

Ilter, if you were on your red Raleigh, you could just jump in front of the paceline and lead it in the manner it deserves!

-adam

Don't let anybody with tri-bars draft behind you. 



Scott Chillson said:

Don't let anybody with tri-bars draft behind you. 

ISTR that some road riding groups (Team Judson probably, as I'm unfamiliar with any other Chicago-area ride groups) won't let people use aero bars when riding with them. I don't know if they are actively turned away at the start of the ride or just told to stay off the aero bars.

Pretty much ever organized group ride doesn't let people use tri-bars.  Some allow bikes with tri-bars as long as people stay off of them, I think others don't even let people start with them.  

Skip Montanaro 12mi said:



Scott Chillson said:

Don't let anybody with tri-bars draft behind you. 

ISTR that some road riding groups (Team Judson probably, as I'm unfamiliar with any other Chicago-area ride groups) won't let people use aero bars when riding with them. I don't know if they are actively turned away at the start of the ride or just told to stay off the aero bars.

USA Triathlon (where aero-bars are predominantly used) does not allow drafting within 3 bicycle lengths:

http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/rulebook/most-common-v...

"5. Drafting: Drafting--keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds. Position--keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing. Blocking--riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass. Overtaken--once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear, before attempting to pass again. 
Penalty: Variable time penalty"

Feel free to issue time penalties to any commuters caught drafting with aero-bars. 

Right, but isn't that a performance issue? I suspect for most ride groups the aero bar prohibition is for safety.

I assume it is for both performance and safety. You cant maneuver as well when down in the aero-bars. Combine that with high speeds and close proximity and its a disaster waiting. Everyone here seems to agree. Hurrah! 

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