11.05.2004

Bikes and Drafting...

I do not believe in the Draft....
I feel that it is not needed for Iraq
and
I feel that it is not needed when on the bike

often when out on a post work ride I find myself on the local bike path (either the Capitol Crescent Trail or maybe the Mt Vernon Trail)when out doing my thing I try to be cautious and considerate
sure I pedal fast (perhaps too fast at times, which gets me to wise up and use the single speed for commuting....takes some of the ability to compete out of the game)
make my pass here and there
do a little weaving between walkers and roller bladers
but
I try to be considerate to all
giving people that little, "excuse me, on your left" as I pass
it is a little piece of respect
the warning is usually administered on the pass, so it is too late for them to move
but
I am not asking them to move
I am already passing and on my way
what I am really saying, "I am in control and I respect your right to have a placid time on the trail, hope my fast and close pass did not startle you, have a nice day and enjoy your trail experience."
but
that is a mouthful
so the "on your left" will have to be interpeted for what it is

there are times when I close ground on another cyclist and after I make a pass this rider is shaken awake
like my passing was some sort of a challenge
then some of these cyclists hop onto my rear wheel and try to "draft" off me
I HATE THIS!
did I mention
THAT I REALLY FUCKING HATE THIS!

especially on the multiuse hiker biker paths
as the people in the pace line are so involved in the pace line that they are not alert to on coming traffic
the people following the lead rider are force to trust the decisions of the leader
since they can not see over or around them
this make for a dangerous day on the trail

I hate when people draft!

my feeling....

When you follow this closely in a race the action is legal and considered DRAFTING
but
if you do this same action on the road or the bike path, that action is called TAILGATING and is not legal or appropriate

I have tried to shake these guys, but they seem to think that is a game of cat and mouse
often I am already going near my threshold and going any faster will not lose them
have tried to go so slow that they have to pass me, but then when I regain my pace, they try to draft again
and
more than anything....
I have tried to ask these people not to draft off me

there was one time where this fellow commuter had his flashy road bike hugging the rear wheel of my mountainbike with knobbies
I slowed and asked him not to draft
asked several times
he would not get off my tail
he said (and I quote) "I know what I am doing, I am following in a safe distance."
my heart was racing....he did not know me....he did not know what to expect...he could not see what was in front of me....
so when we got onto the bike lane of the 14th street bridge I acted impulsively
I slammed on my brakes
luckily no one was hurt
he rammed square into my rear wheel and went toppling
I managed to stay upright never leaving the clips
I asked if he was alright (retorical question)
informed him that I thought that I had seen a snake on the trail
then went into work

immediately I felt aweful
felt like a real asshole
felt bad the whole day

looked for him on my route on the days that followed
a week or so later I ran into him
rode up and introduced myself
made an apology
told him how I felt like an asshole
etc.
he accepted my apology
but never once did he realize that he was in the wrong
and that I proved to him that he was infact not following with safe distance behind me
but....I had realized on our first encounter that it is not my job to teach lessons
so I kept my discussion with him about my apology
and not about his drafting
we went our separate ways
him having his story
me having mine

part of this whole drafting thing is my feeling as a biker
if you are sucking someone's wheel, then you are getting less of a work out
if you think you are matching them by drafting off them you are wrong....you are hanging on for the ride
I am a mountainbiker
not a road biker
drafting is a road bike thing
I am also 6'4" tall, most riders are not large enough to create a windslip for me
I am large enough to provide a windslip for many


enough on this
maybe the comment section will inspire me to continue this rant about riding

this image goes with my trail issues



that comic was borrowed from here; The Stupid Studio
go there if you want to see a larger version

this comic also from The Stupid Studio is also quite clever

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