/ Tailgating - on bikes

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Loughan - on 31 Jul 2013
My last post on the tailgating thread made me wonder who does draft/tailgate vehicles on their bike and how they feel about the risk.

Part of my commute was a lengthy, steady descent in a 30mph zone which was great for catching a lift, it was almost rude not to.

I didn't have anyone jab the brakes or otherwise get too upset but when they tried to get away from me they were doing over 40mph which was fun.

Eventually I decided riding right behind the car/bus/van with little visibility of traffic, potholes or braking distance to be a bit too risky and gave it up.

Anyone out there doing it?

Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

It is incredibly dangerous, and rather unfair on the driver as when (not if) you hit someone you'll likely be more badly hurt than if you were also protected by being in a car, and they'll have that on their conscience.

Don't do it.

Neil
Page on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

i do it all the time.
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Page:

Don't do it behind me, then. It is not appreciated.

If you do it behind a bus or lorry you're even more stupid, as unlike a car they have no way to know you are there.

Neil
nniff - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

I tailgate buses in London, but watch the brake lights like a hawk. I only do those because they tend to drive smoothly on account of all the people standing up in them. Riding a fixie in town, there's a natural stupidity limiter set at about 23mph when I spin out.

Also tailgated a fire engine successfully (similar smooth driving due to the cabful of hecklers on board). Rather more worrying on account of the big mess of pipes and what have you on the back.
balmybaldwin - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

Was out on a training ride the other day, and came upon a slow moving horsebox, which I considered over taking, but decided it was too risky. When we pulled on to a bigger road, he sped up and I had a nice tow for about 2 miles @ about 30mph.

Yes it's a bit dangerous, but I can stop quicker on my bike than a range rover + horsebox so wasn't too concerned, just paid attention to the speed / tail lights on a road I know very well. (people with horse boxes tend to accelerate/brake gently)
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to nniff:

"I tailgate buses in London, but watch the brake lights like a hawk. I only do those because they tend to drive smoothly on account of all the people standing up in them."

Interesting, as the binary throttle and brake seem a feature of most of the London buses I use. I don't enjoy riding a (Boris) bike anywhere near one, let alone far too close to the back bumper.

Neil
a lakeland climber on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

Done it a few times years ago, too scared these days! :-) The time I remember best was coming round a roundabout and getting tucked in behind a lorry going up a long incline. I hadn't got a cadence meter on the bike but my speedo showed me doing over 30mph at the top of the hill :-) I was pedalling like crazy and didn't want to take a hand off to change gear - it was in the days of shifters on the down tube.

These days, drivers are just too erratic and don't drive smoothly enough to do it effectively.

ALC
dale1968 - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan: Tractors are best, sit there at 25-30mph, great fun
Loughan - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to dale1968: However tractors towing slurry are less fun due the slipping hazard they create
trouserburp - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

Maybe it's safer to hold onto them?

P.S Does anyone else know this as tagging? Google insists it's only called skitching
greenroom - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan: Left a shoulder size dent in the back of a couple of Edinburgh buses doing this - racing bikes don't stop easy. On reflection, it's a bad idea. Inconsiderate, dangerous, etc, and I would no longer do it. Disc brakes and fat tyres on an mtb make it safer.....
RCJ - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to Loughan:

I agree with the comments of its not safe, but i do it, but only on vehicles that i can see through, i.e. a car. Mainly so i can still watch the road ahead, what the driver is doing, but still being far enough back to see the brake lights, and slightly to the side, so can go around when necessary. If that makes sense?
balmybaldwin - on 31 Jul 2013
MikaelGlazier - on 31 Jul 2013
In reply to RCJ:

Your still making the assumption that they wont brake for another reason, ie. the see a child/dog in their peripherial vision.
jazzyjackson on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to trouserburp:
> (In reply to Loughan)
>
> Maybe it's safer to hold onto them?
>
> P.S Does anyone else know this as tagging? Google insists it's only called skitching

I call them Clingons as a homage to the Xmen ( cycle couriers that wore ice hockey gear and took too many acid tabs , cool as F*** but all dead I think )
V naughty ; )
Tricky Dicky - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan: A friend of mine used to draught lorries on his regular commute, until one braked suddenly and he ended up wiped all over the back of it. The HGV didn't even notice and a passing motorist kindly took my friend to a local medical centre where he was patched up, just cuts and bruises but enough to put him (and me) off it for life.
Nick Harvey - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan: I used to hold and get a tow. Until I got pulled off and faceplanted in the middle of Holborn and broke my little finger quite badly. Not sure why i didn't just let go. Cycled home with finger sticking out a bit sideways and then had to go straight to the Peak where I even climbed quite well with it.

I don't hold on to vehicles any more, but drafting is fair game.
nufkin - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to nniff)
>
> they tend to drive smoothly on account of all the people standing up in them."
>
> Interesting, as the binary throttle and brake seem a feature of most of the London buses I use.

The 'smooth driving' isn't always my experience either, both as passenger and cyclist. But the nice thing with buses is that you can hang quite a distance behind and still benefit from the drag because they're so big, and if you know the route you can at least anticipate bus-stops and busy zebra crossings
Tony the Blade on 01 Aug 2013

I do it all the time - should be made compulsory.

In Londonshire buses rarely get a head of steam anyway, but it's nice to get a lift up one of the hills on my old commute.

Guy - on 01 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan: Rarely, but I did hitch a tow off a truck along the A404 once. We got up to 45mph and I was spinning like a loon but keeping up when we started overtaking another truck. I bottled it at this point.
MikeSP - on 05 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan: I have done it to a guy on moped down a hill. Ended up going to fast and had to overtake him. I don't think he was too impressed seeing a filthy mounting bike going past him at 40 mph.
nniff - on 05 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan:

I tailgated the world's largest ar*e on a Pianrello Dogma up Box Hill on Sunday. First time I've ever freewheeled up Box Hill (a little way at least)

He then commented to the person cycling beside him that 'It's not about the bike', at which point I had trouble breathing and nearly fell off.
lost1977 - on 05 Aug 2013
In reply to jazzyjackson:
> (In reply to trouserburp)
> [...]
>
> I call them Clingons as a homage to the Xmen ( cycle couriers that wore ice hockey gear and took too many acid tabs , cool as F*** but all dead I think )
> V naughty ; )

sounds like me but without the ice hockey gear but everything else seems about right

SteveRi - on 05 Aug 2013
I once overtook an ambulance in the Pyrenees, not my proudest moment but what do you do? I'd expended an awful lot of effort climbing up there and it would have been a 40-50mph descent wasted otherwise.
I had the mother of all chases with a tractor recently, took me about a mile and half to catch right on the rivet, then he turned off about a minute later :)
Rigid Raider - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan:

Have done it a couple of times with buses in the past. A few years ago I was labouring back to the event centre after two days on a Polaris in the North York moors, my mountain bike tyres were dragging noisily on the tarmac and I was tired and running out of time when a tractor pulled past me towing a huge silage trailer and behind that a fellow competitor, enjoying the shelter and doing over 20 mph. I was too tired to jump on unfortunately but a few miles further up the road a gent on a road bike took pity on my and gave me a wheel back to the centre, which I reached with four minutes to spare. Thanks, whoever you were!
Lord of Starkness - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to Loughan:

Not exactly tailgating -- at no point was I actually behind the vehicle - but had a fabulous 'tow' for about 3 miles from a large tractor and trailer combo between Tarleton lights and Mere Brow roundabout. By staying level with the rear wheel of the trailer I was able to take full advantage of the slipstream, yet had a clear view of the road ahead ( and the tractor driver could see me in his mirror). I set a new PR (30mph plus) on the Strava segment that I'm unlikely to better for some time.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ByEek - on 07 Aug 2013
In reply to nniff:

> I tailgate buses in London, but watch the brake lights like a hawk. I only do those because they tend to drive smoothly on account of all the people standing up in them. Riding a fixie in town, there's a natural stupidity limiter set at about 23mph when I spin out.

I am also a bus tailgater, but only if the driver isn't a Nigel Mansel. There is nothing worse than pedalling frantically to keep up with an accelerating bus only to have it stop at a bus stop 200 yards further on. Surprise pot holes are the biggest challenge but it can sometimes pay dividends with a bus once dragging me about 2 miles at about 25mph without me hardly pedalling at all. I was significantly earlier that day.

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