drafting on the bike path...

drafting on the bike path...
drafting on the bike path?

I hate drafting on the bike path
I hate people drafting on the bike path
I hate people drafting off me on the bike path

the tendency is not for it to be a group of friends out on a ride together
it is normally a cast of jokers fighting for the crown of king for the day
when will these people learn?
they are jokers... they will never be king

this is not appropriate behavior
it is not safe to draft on the bike path
especially drafting off a stranger
riding in a pace line with friends is slightly more safe, yet still inappropriate for the bike path

the rules of the road should transfer to the rules of the bike path
the common sense of the road in a car needs to be transfered to the common sense on the bicycle
to draft behind another bicycle is a tactic used in racing
to draft behind another cyclist on the bicycle path is tailgating
leave it for race day

this morning I did an off peak hours pre-work ride that gave me the pleasure of riding hard and fast without too many people on the trail
while breaking a sweat in the summer heat I had the pleasure of encountering some bike path joker
I was 45 minutes into my hour and a half prework ride when I passed a cyclist going through the old train tunnel under MacArthur Blvd on the Capital Crescent trail
he was on a mountain bike while I was on my cross bike
I passed him with a polite audible
then a short time later down the trail felt him behind me
I could tell from the glances of on coming cyclists that there was a cyclist behind me
I never looked back because I did not want to entice this joker into a game of cat and mouse
instead I stopped pedaling and let the bicycle coast
as I crossed over the C&O Canal on the old iron bridge near Chain Bridge
the cyclist make the pass
it was who I suspected it to be
it was the person I had passed in the tunnel
the guy on a mountain bike with headphones on

what do I hate more than drafting on the multi-use trail?
headphones on the multi-use trail!

as the cyclist passed I made an effort to explain things
the headphones prevented any verbal communication
I pedaled a few strokes
then fell weak to my impulses
felt frustrated that this guy interrupted my work out
felt angered by his drafting off me and his use of headphones on this heavily trafficked multi-use trail
unable to use verbal communication I fell back on primitive sign language
I raised my right hand and displayed the bird as I stepped up the pace
a dangerous thing as it may have appeared like a challenge for him to catch me
nothing worse than trying to shake someone trying to draft you
then being unable to shake them

the bird issuing hand returned to the handlebars as I focused on the burn in my legs
again I avoided the temptation to glance back
the miles rolled by and my pace dropped back to normal
there was no sign of any cyclists behind me

I was hot, sweaty, and tired
my pace had been altered
my intensity had changed
my energy was gone

I continued my ride
feeling a tad depleted
the unintentional change of pace tapped into energy that I had intended to use to go hard for an hour and a half
I went hard for forty five minutes
then super hard for maybe 15 minutes
leaving me snailing along for the final thirty

I left the Capital Crescent trail and headed to Haines Point
the sprinklers at the Jefferson Memorial were pleasant on this hot morning
a slip and slide would have been better
I slowed as I passed through each stream of water
then finished up my ride with one lap at Haines Point and a few city blocks through town to my office

showered and got to work
the pre-work ride combined with the pre-work shower can be quite a heavenly combination
I felt pretty good
although I wish I had not encountered that clown on the bike path

funny... I was on my cross bike
while this joker was on his mountain bike
yet he was the one with the annoying road tactics

wonder how he tells the tale from the trail?


Mike said...

amen brother. had a very similar experience tonight w/ a drafter. didn't flip the bird, but got 3/4'd by an idiot who didn't announce himself.

gwadzilla said...

flipping the bird was wrong
but I just wanted to enjoy my ride without some goober cramping my personal space

it is a big beach
there is no room for him on my towel

gewilli said...

tail-gating sumbitches...

dude on mt bike i passed after sunday's 79 miles i'm cooling down on the path, 15 mph maybe... i pass him, then a bit later, i notice him behind... i keep pace... he stays there...

then, about 30 feet before a mini-single track trail that branches from the paved bike path, he PASSES me and then turns down the path...


you gonna draft but then "Show me" by passing me?

And Gwadzilla, you think *I've* hit my head on a barrier? What about these jackholes? ;)

iconoclaSSt said...

Welcome to my daily commute, brother!

Gotta admit, it is fun dusting someone on, say, a Colnago (as happened Friday), who drafts you unannounced, then passes after a stop-point, then sits on their lead exhausted while you hammer by. Nothing gets me more motivated than pounding a heavy, fixed Crosscheck (with an absurd, fringed, magic carpet top-tube protector on it) past some hapless racer-wannabe type who undestimates the situation based strictly on appearances and the empty confidence of their own purchasing power.

Relax, GeeZee, you'll last longer...

gwadzilla said...

I hear ya
nothing funnier than the joker who sprints to their finish
having no idea or the start or finish of the person that they are passing

I need to relax
the east coast is strong in me

I live the unhealthy paradox of being a Type A Slacker

we are a rare breed


gwadzilla said...

before kids
and the morning that is my reality
I would have longer rides each and every morning
dipping onto many of the trails you would use to get into the city

I remember asking some joker to get off my wheel
he grinned as if I was upping the challenge
I was on a Kona 8 sp mountain bike that was way too small for me
I asked again
lectured that his actions were unsafe
he assured me that he was following safely
we continued across the 14th Street Bridge
sure enough
I thought a snake was on the trail
so I slammed on the brakes
the joker slammed into me
my feet never left the pedals
I left him lying on the ground

I felt awful about my reaction to his actions
I found him a week or two later
he had no reflection on his contribution to the incident

he was not cool enough to hit his head on a barrier

he was just another loser
another poor ambassador to my sport

Colin R said...

you speak truth about the draft clowns.

the only way to beat them is to not care. if you try to drop them, that only emboldens them. even if you are successful, that just encourages them to try to suck more wheel in the future as "practice."

Sit up and take a drink from your water bottle. That's the best way to make it abundantly clear you don't give a damn.

On the other hand, if you can ride them off your wheel while take a drink, that's pretty gratifying. Bonus points if you're drinking no handed or eating something.