The Other Other Drafting

Another meaning of the worddraft” which I was pleased to be reminded of yesterday is from cycling* where you follow another rider closely and gain the advantage of not having to break the air.

It happened by accident. I was riding to the day job and stopped at a light behind another cyclist. A third rider, who apparently knew the first, stopped behind me. When the light turned green we all set off.

Now, this light is part way down a hill that I usually reach about 40 mph on, so I was keen to get up to speed. These other riders were apparently similarly keen to the point where my efforts to overtake came to naught. When the hill flattened out into a section of road where there’s a bike lane, I ended up stuck between these two riders, trundling along at a solid 30 mph for a couple of minutes. It wasn’t a lot faster than I would usually go on that section, but it was a great deal less effort.

I do feel bad about sponging off these other riders’ efforts, because drafting helps the followers rather than the leader, but the way it happened meant that it would have been unsafe to drop out. If we’d continued in this caravan I would have taken a turn at lead, which is the proper etiquette.

But it was fun. I usually cycle on my own, and haven’t ridden as part of a group like that since… gosh, since I toured the French Alps with friends back in the 90s. So having that feeling of joyous drafting was a lovely interlude, and I thank those riders for it.

Of course, the day was rather spoiled when I got to my bike to ride home and found the front tyre was flat, but that’s a separate complaint.

I hope you enjoy some pleasant exercise today.

[*] and also motorsport, but I don’t drive competitively.

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