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Old 06-18-2008, 01:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Bicycle drafting experiment

About 4 times a week, my wife and I take the same route into the next town
over and do 3 or 4 laps around a quite residential area.

There is a small hill where we get a quick 330 yard coast. Many times, we will stop at the top of the hill & take a water break before starting the coast down. I mostly let my wife get about 20-30 yards ahead before I take off.
Once I start rolling, I get up to about 15 MPH and coast down to 10 or 11 at the end of the run.
I always pass my wife. Due to my weight (205), I'm always down at the turn around point long before she gets there.
She pedals on her way down. I never do.. At the start, I've waited for her to get 50 yards ahead, I usually pass her before the the half way mark.

----

On our third lap this afternoon, I asked my wife to let me go first and for her to draft on me. I asked her to stay tucked in real close behind me.
I even told her to pedal a little if she needed to close up the space a bit.

Well, when we got about 40 yards down the hill, she asked me if I was hitting the brakes! "No", I wasn't. Then I see her pull off to the side a bit. (in the mirror)..
When we got down to the end, she explained. She was going so fast, that she would have hit me. She had to pull out to the side so our wheels wouldn't hit and she had to brake so she wouldn't pass me!!

I was amazed that she actually had to brake. If I had got on the pedals a little (up to 16 or 17 MPH), I think she would have kept right up with me, Without pedaling at all..

I think this was her fastest time down that hill..
Maybe tomorrow, I'll try going 16 and see if she stays in my draft while coasting..

I knew that drafting was common in bike racing, but I never knew just how effective it was.. These results were way more than I expected.

Cheers,
Rich

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Old 06-18-2008, 02:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In a team time trial I will usually pull the downhills because I'm the heaviest of the group. On a downhill where I would easily outpace the other guys if I was in the back I can usually carry them up to 40 mph if they stay right on my wheel in a good tuck,
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bicycles can be incredibly draggy. Back in my mountain biking days I would draft on fast single track.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is why all the HPV records are held by fully-faired recumbent bikes.
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I drafted a tractor on my mountain bike, went 24mph which was 7 mph faster than usual on that stretch of road. Guy thought I was nuts but he was smiling the whole time
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Old 06-19-2008, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here's a little info on it.

Quote:
The rider causes 65% to 80% of the drag.
Quote:
When riding in a pack, the riders in the front use 30% to 40% more energy than the riders in the middle of the pack
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhawk626 View Post
I drafted a tractor on my mountain bike, went 24mph which was 7 mph faster than usual on that stretch of road. Guy thought I was nuts but he was smiling the whole time
Maybe because he'd just dropped the manure spreader?
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I thoght this might be interesting http://www.canosoarus.com/08LSRbicycle/LSR%20Bike01.htm
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The rider causes 65% to 80% of the drag. !!!

Wow! I would be thinking about getting more streamlined helmet if I wasn't riding my bike mostly for the aerobic workout I get..

Reading about hypermiling has already got me coasted way more on my bike..
Now I'm burning less calories per mile! Meaning I have to cut back on my ice cream! Dang!

Yesterday we went out for lunch (14 mile round trip) and now that I know
how good drafting works, I was tucking in every time my wife took point.
I wasn't upset that I had to keep using my brakes on hills,
Now that I understand more of why she always seemed to be braking..
It wasn't her braking! It was me speeding up too much..

We ride up-right bikes, so we are getting a good workout.
As you can see, I need it!!

Thanks Guys!
Rich
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One of my favorite scenes from Breaking Away is when Dave drafts the Cinzano truck -



Unfortunately, the video quality on this clip is pretty poor, but the scene is a lot of fun.

I have to say that riding in a paceline is a blast, but it does take a bit of practice.

Tim

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