In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the Twin Lights Ride. There was one aspect of the ride that I omitted because I thought it would sound like I was complaining too much about a wonderful event. But I cannot get it out of my head.
One three occasions, complete strangers latched onto my rear wheel and drafted me. One guy maintained what I would call a respectable distance of two or maybe three wheel lengths behind me. I wasn’t dragging him but I knew he was there. And he pulled in front of me a couple of times, presumably to take a pull. The other two riders just hung on my wheel until I let off the gas and then they passed me, riding off into the distance.
Part of me finds this annoying and disrespectful. Don’t draft off strangers. Either go around the rider in front of you or pull up, introduce yourself and devise a plan to work together. I know these are massive group rides but there’s still room for etiquette. Moreover, drafting a stranger can be dangerous. Who knows if the person you’re about to draft has proper handling skills, or if they are prone to stopping short, thereby causing a crash.
The other part of me wonders if I should be flattered. If I were going to draft off a stranger, I certainly wouldn’t pick a slow poke. I’d pick someone moving strongly at a good pace, someone who looked proficient on a bike. So maybe I looked good enough to draft and that’s why it happened. I’d like to hope this is the reason, but it still doesn’t excuse the failure to offer to share the work by taking a turn at the front.
What would you do? How would you handle the situation of a stranger hanging on your wheel?