Technique: I can haz slipstream

A schoolbook example of slipstreaming | Photo by Frank Steele

Now that I found a new route which is more populated in the times I’m commuting and one that is paved, I’ve had the chance to catch some slipstreams. To me, it seems funny how few people seem to realize that such a thing exists. There are a few men running the same commute who’ve never said anything or reacted in any way seeing the same person over and over again, their only goal is to ride as fast as they can to create some sort of gap between me and them.

The fun sector here is multiplied by the fact, that I usually will catch their stream without asking permission and I would welcome anyone to ride mine should they want to and I also try to take turns with the lead – but most people just think I’m being aggressive even after I tell them that I can take the lead and always thank people for letting me ride their stream, which some might take as mouthing off.

Why do it then? You save a lot of energy while riding behind someone and it’s also good practice for riding in the peloton. Air resistance is the main effort when riding alone, counting for over 80% of required energy after speeds over 30 kilometers per hour. The chances of the aggro-rider in front you trying to get away, pumping his legs to the maximum, are very small because you are using less energy and can keep up very well. While some of the characters on my commute refuse to accept facts, I’ll keep enjoying from the benefits.

Do you have stories with aggressive riders? I want to hear them!

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By Markus Sandelin

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.