What is the etiquette on drafting on group rides?
I would have thought that assisting a weaker rider keep up would have been part of being on a group ride.
Or equally if they are strong enough to take a turn at the front they should take their turn.
Or is it often the case that weaker riders are unaware of drafting?
Is it a skill that is underdeveloped in a lot of people?
and the experianced don't always escape either Rob!
but isn't crossing wheels a recipe for disaster?
or at least a big wobble and chaos for anybody close behind.
To get a decent "draft" in a bunch you need to be reasonably close to the wheel in front, a bike length is probably too far (in a paceline), but not a bad place to start for less experienced riders if you are on the back. If people are rolling off the front, and you are on the back and you don't want to join in the paceline, then back off a bit to leave a gap for those riders to move into. As you gain experience then ride closer to the wheel in front, and then evenually join the paceline.
Constantly rotating pacelines should be left to more experienced riders. Riding in pairs (and rolling off the front after your turn) should be encouraged for weaker or less experienced riders to gain confidence riding in a bunch. Different schools of thought say pair up with a more experienced rider (so they keep you in order), or a similar strength rider (so you can ride at the same speed for the same duration). Riding in pairs allows different lengths of turns on the front - ie. weaker riders do shorter turns, so they spend more time inside the bunch. Pacelines are very anti-social and should be discouraged at all levels for that reason, unless you purposely want a mini or maxi smashfest!
If you are riding in a group
- ride in straight single or double lines
- don't overlap wheels
- brake as little as possible by anticipating changes in pace
- don't surge
- don't half-wheel
- point out holes, cars, lights, etc
- don't leave gaps
- do chat to the person next to you
- if it is a bunch ride, ride as a bunch
(all of the above are skills that should be learnt and practiced until they are second nature)
And when you're on public roads, give any policeman a big friendly wave for not booking all bar the leader for tailgating?
I understand that bikes can draft another vehicle for 500m at a time, legally. Can anyone else clear this up?
Mind you, I expect that 90% of us could be booked for bells, reflectors at night etc anyway.