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Thanks for the pull


Square Wheels
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"Thanks for the pull".

 

That's what he said warmly as he rode on ahead of me.

 

I was riding the bike path last night on my way home from work.  I wasn't in much of a hurry and I usually like these rides better than when I push hard.  I came upon a strong looking rider on a fast looking bike going just a little slower than me.  I assumed he too was enjoying a quiet ride.  I decided to go around him and continue on at my pace.

 

I could hear the clicking of his pawls behind me whenever I slowed down.  There are a lot of intersections and when we crossed for some reason we never acknowledged one another.  It wasn't aggressive or competitive, just comfortable.

 

There is a section on the ride that is relatively free from people and about 1% downhill.  On days when I feel like pushing I get up to around 30 or so mph, I figured this would be a good time to move ahead on my own.  It's a short section, maybe a mile or so.  I only push it to 30 for about a half mile then I just cruise along.

 

So there I am blazing along (for me) at 30 and the part where I slow down is coming up.  I move from the drops to the hoods and pedal a little lighter, and you guessed it, I hear the whirl of his pawls again as he slows down too.  Now mind you, this is where I usually go slow, but now I feel like I'm being challenged.

 

I picked up the pace until I reached another intersection, he was on my wheel the whole time.  This makes me a little uncomfortable as I've never ridden with someone on my wheel, nevermind at these speeds.  I presumed he knew what he was doing as I could hear him slowing anytime I slowed, so on we rode.

 

As I crossed the last intersection before the end of the bike path I decided I'd had enough and was pooped.  I still had 15 more miles to go and I wasn't trying to prove anything.  He pulled up alongside of me and warmly greeted me.  He was clearly 10 - 20 years my junior and had calves the size of my thighs and quads the size of my waist.  I returned his friendly greeting and he said "Thanks for the pull!".  Little did he know I was trying my hardest to drop him the whole time, I never had a chance.

 

The whole experience made me smile the rest of the ride home.  I've never seen him before and likely never will again, but this short ride together was a great experience in unspoken camaraderie.

 

Thank you friendly stranger.

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SW, when you have someone unwanted on your wheel and you think you might have the strength and or initiative to drop them, pick up the pace slightly, gear up one gear and simultaneously move to the left so they aren't directly behind you while standing up and pedaling your azz off. This is the sprint. If he hangs here, you aren't going to drop him ...

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If you were happy with your ride that that's all that really matters.  I've had a few people grab my wheel when I'm out for solo rides.  As long as I see that aren't being stupid, then fine (I have a mirror and would use it a lot in that case).  I figure, I'm out on a solo ride and then being on my wheel doesn't change my ride as long as they don't use my wheel as their brake.  And if it's a case of overlapping my wheel, they're the one to end up with the broken collarbone.

 

On the other hand, I would never grab on to someone else's wheel.  I would consider that being rude.  A couple years ago I did ask someone I was following for a while who looked like they could use a bit of help if they wanted a pull.  They looked at me like I was nuts so I just went on.

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I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.  It would have made me nervous - but probably not as nervous as if I was trying to follow someone else's wheel.  I prefer solo riding too.

 

Doesn't seem right to just latch onto someone else's wheel without acknowledging it.  If I could pull another rider, with legs like you described, at 30mph I'd be happy too.

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I'm glad you enjoyed the experience.  It would have made me nervous - but probably not as nervous as if I was trying to follow someone else's wheel.  I prefer solo riding too.

 

Doesn't seem right to just latch onto someone else's wheel without acknowledging it.  If I could pull another rider, with legs like you described, at 30mph I'd be happy too.

 

I was actually OK with it.  And I suspect I exaggerated a bit to make the story more interesting.  His legs were not as big as I stated, but they were bigger than mine, and I have pretty big legs.  And we might have hit 30, but were probably riding at 27 or 28 for the "fast" part.

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^^^  Exactly.  

 

And for that reason, I'm not a fan of someone taking my wheel without asking first.

 

It felt pretty safe to me, but I guess that's what everyone says right before they go down.  Plus the gates are very obvious on this bike path, they put a narrow strip of cobbles about 50 feet before the gate, I think they call them RR strips, not sure why though.

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It felt pretty safe to me, but I guess that's what everyone says right before they go down.  Plus the gates are very obvious on this bike path, they put a narrow strip of cobbles about 50 feet before the gate, I think they call them RR strips, not sure why though.

That would have been pretty funny if someone had been on my wheel when I hit the gate.   :D

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That would have been pretty funny if someone had been on my wheel when I hit the gate.   :D

 

It is mostly true.  There are cobbles before gates and inlets to the path.  I have no idea what they call them.  They are a pain because I am hyper aware on the path anyhow.  Since it's a multi-use path I am always aware of what is going on around me.

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  I've had a few people grab my wheel when I'm out for solo rides.  As long as I see that aren't being stupid, then fine (I have a mirror and would use it a lot in that case).  I figure, I'm out on a solo ride and then being on my wheel doesn't change my ride as long as they don't use my wheel as their brake.  And if it's a case of overlapping my wheel, they're the one to end up with the broken collarbone.

 

On the other hand, I would never grab on to someone else's wheel.  I would consider that being rude. 

 

 

^^^  Exactly.  

 

And for that reason, I'm not a fan of someone taking my wheel without asking first.

The way I look at it, If I can't drop you, it's clear you aren't a newb + it's likely that you know how to ride safely with others. Do your share of the work, or ride alone.

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This is what made me smile the most.  He was clearly a more experienced rider than me (as most people are) and a lot stronger.  I felt pretty proud that he thanked me.

So would you have dropped him with your old wheels? :D

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^^^  Exactly.  

 

And for that reason, I'm not a fan of someone taking my wheel without asking first.

 

I would feel like I was being rude if I did it.  I can accept someone else doing it as long as I feel they're being safe.  If it ever happened that I was in a situation where I wasn't feeling good about it, I can always just put a hand down and call out that I'm stopping - the other dude can just go on.  I've been on some club rides where I didn't feel safe with the person either in front or in back of me.  I'm sure most have.  I just move.

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I don't even understand why a rider (especially one who is better than the guy pulling) would even want a pull.  If he is so damn strong, then why doesn't he just go on around you and avoid any of the possible dangers inherent in riding behind someone else?  How is he achieving his best workout if he is just loafing on your wheel?   :scratch head:

 

The only time I can see taking someone's wheel when you are out for a ride is if the person needs the pull to keep up with the people that he is riding with.  My son use to always take my wheel until he got better and I got old.  Now he is stronger than me and he would never want to take my wheel.  What would be the point?

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The way I look at it, If I can't drop you, it's clear you aren't a newb + it's likely that you know how to ride safely with others. Do your share of the work, or ride alone.

 

I'm old and a new rider, but I am getting stronger all the time.  I am eating better, getting lighter, working hard on strength and endurance.  You might have an off day and I might have a good day and I'd be able to hang with you, at least for a while.  I am clearly a newb and I have no idea how to ride with others, so therefore I consider myself unsafe.  So your theory would not hold true, although I would never take your wheel. I just don't like riding with others, maybe it's me, maybe I don't like all the stories I hear.

 

So would you have dropped him with your old wheels? :D

 

No way, I am so much faster with these.

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"Thank you friendly stranger."

 

And if he was really friendly, he would have acknowledged you at on of your many stops.

 

But in the end, you enjoyed your ride and are now ready to jump in and ride with your local group.  I love my solo rides but I also love to ride with the club on Tuesdays nights.  I am a solid B group rider and have made the acquaintance of a small core group of other riders in the club that are on an even skills level.  We support each other and enjoy the company.  In some way I think they have made me a better rider.

 

Last night one of the guys commented that his knee was bothering him the week before and because of that he was pushing it to his limit.  Without talking about, it a couple of us made sure we did all the pulling for him and kept it at a comfortable pace for him.  We let the rest of the B riders creep on ahead and enjoy their ride and we did the same.  He ended up with a good ride and was appreciative of the support.  We did the ride in 16.8 mph so it wasn't a washout for us.  I know he would have done the same for one of us without asking.

 

So SW, jump in and get with the crowd.

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So SW, jump in and get with the crowd.

 

Nope, I'll probably never do it.  I know the benefits, and I know it would make me stronger, but I've had my bladder problem for over 10 years now and seen at least 5 urologists.  Clearly it's not going away.  I have good days and bad days, but the absolute longest I can go on the bike is 1 hour.  Sometimes it's as short as 15 minutes.  I won't be a burden like that to anyone.

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I don't even understand why a rider (especially one who is better than the guy pulling) would even want a pull.  If he is so damn strong, then why doesn't he just go on around you and avoid any of the possible dangers inherent in riding behind someone else?  How is he achieving his best workout if he is just loafing on your wheel?   :scratch head:

 

Because doing so fed his ego.

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