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They say I half-wheel

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

They say I half-wheel

Old 08-06-19, 10:41 AM
  #26  
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BTW, I just remembered a split-second incident on Sunday's ride that made me cringe a bit.

The group were coasting down a hill. Usually I like to hammer downhills. Need for speed and all that. But in group rides I go with the flow.

So I coasted, and sat up to let the wind slow me down. But I was catching up too quickly and my front wheel began to overlap the rear wheel of the guy just ahead. So I tapped my brakes and slowed quicker than I'd expected. I suddenly realized there was someone behind me. I nearly freaked out but realized he was over to my right a couple of feet, so no harm done.

Just a reminder that in the year I was off from group rides some of my instincts got rusty.
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Old 08-06-19, 10:42 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post

Suppose you are riding 12" from your neighbor. (Yeah, you intended it to be 24" but things happen and at the moment you are close. You are on the left, he is riding the road edge. He sees on of those old storm gratings with the bike killer lengthwise bars, right in his path. He doesn't have time to say anything. He rides into you and bumps you pretty hard. Now, look at the scenarios. You are in front. His handlebars go inside and behind yours. Your knee hits his bar. I"ll tell you right now, this isn't going to end very well.

Or suppose you keep your handlebars religiously lined up. And even better the two of you ride with elbows out; like I was also taught. Bump! Handlebars get knocked apart, yours taking you to the left a little, his back to straight. He misses the grating. You get pissed then see why he did that. And nothing bad happens at all.
Nothing bad happened to YOU TWO, but by BOTH of you failing in your responsibility to look far ahead and plan the line for the guys behind you, you have now led the entire right side of the paceline directly into a grate, and carnage will ensue. DO NOT DO THIS. EVER. (personal experience, the carnage included 3-4 guys, at least one broken wheel, at least one broken derailleur, my brifter, and lots of shredded kit and gloves. I also injured my rotator cuff in the pile up, which took almost an entire year to fully recover.

When on the front, plan far ahead and pick smooth lines around things.
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Old 08-06-19, 10:58 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by RoadManFive View Post
Thanks for taking the time to write this. I wasn't questioning whether half-wheeling is a good idea or not, but I think the tutorial on what can go wrong is well worthwhile.

I've seen some bad consequences of half-wheeling, though I wasn't involved. It was more or less as you describe - one of the lead riders moved suddenly sideways and hooked bars with the rider next to him. They both went down and their bikes were mangled. Fortunately, they weren't too badly hurt.

This does raise a question, though, and that is that this danger exists also in the pack, not just on the front, and people (in my experience) seem less uptight about misalignments further back. That isn't to say that people don't try to ride bar to bar or know that they should, but when the misalignments do occur back in the pack, people seem more chill about it.

Oh, and some time ago I rode a little in New England (specifically W. MA), and I was shocked at the depth of the storm drain holes on the roadsides. They were positively terrifying.
Yes, riders get more careless riding further back. On club rides, in Grand Tours. And that's where a lot of the crashes happen. (Further back, it is also harder to see the road hazards ahead plus there are more hazards. Leading riders don't have to dodge dropped waterbottles and banana peels. Get around crashes. Those close to the leaders also can see the hand signals indicating hazards.)
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Old 08-06-19, 11:06 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
Nothing bad happened to YOU TWO, but by BOTH of you failing in your responsibility to look far ahead and plan the line for the guys behind you, you have now led the entire right side of the paceline directly into a grate, and carnage will ensue. DO NOT DO THIS. EVER. (personal experience, the carnage included 3-4 guys, at least one broken wheel, at least one broken derailleur, my brifter, and lots of shredded kit and gloves. I also injured my rotator cuff in the pile up, which took almost an entire year to fully recover.

When on the front, plan far ahead and pick smooth lines around things.
I guess I never said this but I wasn't talking about riding the front. I was talking about riding 20 or 30 riders back where all you get to see is a wall of jerseys and road hazards as they appear in front of the rider immediately in front of you. Self survival. (And if you go down, the next 5 are probably going down also.) Yes, responsible riding for those behind is important, but that's another thread.

Ben
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Old 08-06-19, 12:33 PM
  #30  
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I half wheel sometimes on purpose. Yes, I admit it.

It has been said that to be half wheeling means that you are not conscious of doing it but that aside, I do. Usually it is on the paved rail trail with just one other person and so no big safety risk.

One trigger is if a young guy asks how old I am. I will engage him in conversation, slowly pull a half wheel ahead and say something like, "What? I didn't hear you with the wind noise." They increase effort, catch up and I'll do it again and say something like, "Oh, that's interesting. Tell me more about that." or ask, "So how do you like those pedals?" This goes on with gradually increasing speed until one of us gets out of breath.

That's my goal, to see who gets out of breath first. If I get out of breath then I slow down. If he gets out of breath I say something like, "Well, I have to do some yard work later. Great chatting with you" and ride off the front.

Another trigger is if I'm riding fixed gear and someone says, "Oh look, a fixie!" or makes some sarcastic remark. Or they could just be a jerk and I'll do it for as long as possible.

One guy on a road bike bragged about what great shape he was in so I half wheeled him from the drops on my gravel bike with 43 mm tires. "Oh, yeah, yoga is great. Do you do Pilates?" "How much to you bench press?" "Do you eat any special diet?" Half wheeling the whole time until he could hardly breathe.


-Tim-
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Old 08-06-19, 12:38 PM
  #31  
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You sound like a lovely riding partner.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:41 PM
  #32  
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Yeah. Don't do that.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:49 PM
  #33  
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I'll allow it. I might not be as easily triggered as Tim but sometimes people are annoying and it's satisfying to put down some hurt.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:49 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Just try and pedal with a steady effort and don’t worry too much about your partner. If he gets a little ahead it doesn’t matter as long as you’re keeping the pace steady. Any adjustments to position should be subtle, no need to rush to be in lock step. See if you can find partners of similar fitness, that way you can both go hard if you want and you’ll be ready for a break at roughly the same time. If you’re with someone weaker, just relax and go at their pace. Pairings invariably shuffle and you’ll have a chance to go harder at some point in the ride.
I like this. Being smooth is the most important aspect of pace line riding. If a gap needs to be closed, do it smooth as possible. Slowly bring your speed up so no one has to jump hard.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:56 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Probably trying too hard to stay alongside, therefore overdoing it and ending up too far in front. Just ride smoothly and naturally and you will be fine.
This is also very good advice. Relax and ride
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Old 08-06-19, 12:57 PM
  #36  
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Just something to think about. I'm normally the lightest rider on our rides at about 135lbs. If I'm riding up front with a 180lb guy on rolling terrain, we sometimes have difficulties not half wheeling each other. You understand the issue on rollers - I'm faster on the uphill at constant power while he's faster on the downhill using constant power. So we each have to adjust to each other a bit. It works out just fine but we both have to pay attention. But I'll be honest, I like pulling with a similar sized rider as things are just easier.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:58 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
. . . For instance: a guy I ride with is chronically late to rides. On one particularly egregious example, when he was 30 minutes late for a weeknight group ride (the rest of the group decided to wait for him, had it been my choice I would've left him). So when he finally joined us and it was my turn on the front I put the hammer down for about 5 minutes just because I was pretty annoyed with him. Spit him off the back after about 30 seconds.

He didn't learn. He's still late to everything.
Totally OT, but the group I ride with has a five minute rule and even that's a bit annoying for those of us that show up on time.
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Old 08-06-19, 12:59 PM
  #38  
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I didn't read every reply so if I echo on anyone else just ignore me.

It's all about stressing the person beside you. The person up front typically rides a fast but relaxed pace, one they can comfortably hold for a long pull. Adding a person beside them introduces a barrier between them and relaxing. Half wheeling them breaks the relaxing side of it because they feel like they need to catch the eternal half wheel or disrupt the whole group and everyone behind them.

Riding fast, relaxing and being dead even with the other lead is quite nice, but to some people any disruption in it makes it a stressful situation.

We are all different and some of us are strange, but think of it as a group of OCD people wanting everything to stay in order. If it doesn't they stress.
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Old 08-06-19, 01:02 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by RoadManFive View Post
Thanks for the link - yes, it is an interesting read. However, Tilford seems most concerned with the performance aspects of half-wheeling - strong riders wearing out their partners. From what he writes, one wouldn't get the perspective that he think it's a safety issue. Just that it's punishing on the engine to be subjected to it.
Some of that might be because of who he is riding with; World Tour riders and TdF winners.
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Old 08-06-19, 01:03 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
Totally OT, but the group I ride with has a five minute rule and even that's a bit annoying for those of us that show up on time.
This particular ride was a one-off but in general I agree with that approach.

I have mellowed somewhat from my Army days of "if you're not early, you're late"--in that, I'm still early to everything but I accept that is not reality for most people.

However, I still find being late, especially being chronically late, to be completely self-centered and inconsiderate and have very little patience for it.
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Old 08-06-19, 01:14 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I guess I never said this but I wasn't talking about riding the front. I was talking about riding 20 or 30 riders back where all you get to see is a wall of jerseys and road hazards as they appear in front of the rider immediately in front of you. Self survival. (And if you go down, the next 5 are probably going down also.) Yes, responsible riding for those behind is important, but that's another thread.

Ben
Fair enough. Just felt it needed to be said 👍
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Old 08-06-19, 01:35 PM
  #42  
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The way you stop a half wheeler is to half wheel back until they can't half wheel you anymore. They will then be perfectly happy sitting right at your side lol
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Old 08-06-19, 01:58 PM
  #43  
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That sounds like the worst way of doing it.

Isn't the best way to just let them go? You keep your steady pace and they will keep creeping forward. Eventually they will either slow down or end up riding on their own.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:19 PM
  #44  
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Pain is often the best motivator.

But to the OP...practice, soft pedaling when you need to IOT maintain pace.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:44 PM
  #45  
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I think there are support groups for half wheelers. The OP and some others have taken the first step by admitting they have a problem.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:56 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I think there are support groups for half wheelers. The OP and some others have taken the first step by admitting they have a problem.
1. Admitted we were powerless over the paceline and that our cadence had become unmanageable

2. Came to believe the a power meter greater than ourselves could restore us to a steady pace.

3. Made a decision to turn our training and bank account over to the care of the first random coach on TrainingPeaks that answered our emails.

....

(Shall I continue?)
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Old 08-14-19, 12:16 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
That sounds like the worst way of doing it.

Isn't the best way to just let them go? You keep your steady pace and they will keep creeping forward. Eventually they will either slow down or end up riding on their own.
This is another way to do it - leave them "Dangling off the front."


-Tim-
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Old 08-14-19, 01:25 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
This is another way to do it - leave them "Dangling off the front."


-Tim-
This is what I do when I lead my weekly group. Either the 14-16 group on Wednesdays or the 16-18 group on Thursdays. As the situation allows, sometimes I'll go a few faster than advertised if everyone is together. If someone is itching to get their ya-ya's on I tell 'em: "Do your thing, we'll catch up!" & if they've inspired a chase, my response is: "Go, go, GO!"...It never lasts long and they ususlly fall back into the group in short order feeling refreshed/tired/accomplished/whatever.

On the other hand while on a 16-18 group ride (my group, but I wasn't leading) we had a British guy, Grant, on a 3T racing bike, I think. He would slow just a touch before corners so that the best line was on the outside. Then he would "square" his corner, effectivly using you as a guardrail or forcing you uncomfortably close to the road edge, parked car, curb. He did it to me 3 times. I watched him do it to several other riders as well.

Finally I got angry & told him as much. He made a lame excuse about "You are not supposed to be on the outside."
I told him "This ain't racing. Your conduct is a hazard." Just then, a friend of mine shot me a glance and asked if I raced last week. Knowing exactly what he communicated, I looked right at Mr. Square Corner and replied: "Naw, I just watched."

Square Corner sized me, my t-shirt & my 1974 Schwinn Varsity up for a long minute & I haven't seen him since.

I guess the short version of the story here is half-wheelers sometimes feel they have something to prove, even if it manifests as enthusiam for cycling or the group, or whatever. Most times the group already has their own established dynamics. Fitting in is a matter of reading the group not literally jockeying for position in the heirarchy.

Pulling, half-wheeling, jockeying for position, etc...is the opposite of fitting in. They are right to say something.
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Old 08-14-19, 01:47 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
1. Admitted we were powerless over the paceline and that our cadence had become unmanageable

2. Came to believe the a power meter greater than ourselves could restore us to a steady pace.

3. Made a decision to turn our training and bank account over to the care of the first random coach on TrainingPeaks that answered our emails.

....

(Shall I continue?)
This is genius. I'm going to steal this if you don't mind.
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Old 08-14-19, 01:48 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
This is genius. I'm going to steal this if you don't mind.
lol forgot I wrote this. Knock yourself out!
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