How To Draft Like A Pro | Essential Cycling Skills
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How To Draft Like A Pro | Essential Cycling Skills

October 29, 2019


(motor running) – Riding on the wheel,
or sitting behind others, to get the benefit from drafting is a crucial skill if you want to learn how to ride with other cyclists. So, here’s how to do it. (peppy music) – Sitting on the wheel,
sitting in, sat on, drafting, giving a tow, are just a
few of the various names given to this crucial skill. By sitting behind another rider, you’ll save around 30 to
40 percent of the energy that you would use when
riding on the front. And this saving will
help you get somewhere faster and easier, or
over longer distances, it’ll help you to ride even further. Learning this skill will
also make your riding far more enjoyable, as it will enable you to ride with bigger groups
of riders effectively and with confidence. It can take a little bit of time to get relaxed and comfortable when riding close to the
wheel of the rider in front, and the best way to do this is to practice as much as possible. Now, to learn this basic
but really important skill, all you need at first is one other rider. You don’t need a big group. – Yes, start by riding around half a wheel behind the rider in front of you. This is going to allow
you the time and space to adjust for anything like
changes in speed or direction. If you’ve never done this before, you’re going to immediately
feel the difference in effort and the benefit compared
to if you were riding at the same speed on
the front of the group. As you gain confidence, you’re
going to feel more at ease riding closer and closer
to the wheel in front. (peppy music) – When riding on the wheel,
don’t constantly stare at the wheel directly in front of you. Make sure you’re looking up and around, scanning the road for any hazards or changes in direction. Just looking at the wheel in front can be quite dangerous, so
don’t let this become a habit. – Occasionally, it is
okay to check the distance between your front wheel
and the wheel in front, but the objective here is to develop some sort of cyclist’s sixth sense as to how close you are, and of course, this is an ability you will hone over time and with practice. – [Biker 1] Try not to
use your brakes suddenly when reacting to speed changes,
or changes of direction. Instead, try to feather them gently to shave off the speed gradually. As your confidence grows
and your skill develops, this way of reacting will become increasingly more natural to you. (peppy music) – The direction of the
wind should determine where you position yourself
behind the rider in front. If you get this right, you’ll
maximise your energy savings whilst riding on the wheel. This is especially
important if you’re sharing the workload with another rider. – So, if the wind is coming
directly from the front, a headwind, then you
need to position yourself directly behind the rider in front of you. Now, if the wind should
come from the left, then you need to move
over and position yourself from the right, to give you
shelter from the wind there, and conversely, if the wind is coming from the right hand side,
you need to move over and shelter yourself from the left. Now this can take a while to master and to build your
confidence, and our advice is to not get too close
to the wheel in front where you end up overlapping, cause that can be a little bit dangerous. (peppy music) – Stopping distances. – Yep. – These are increased
considerably on wet roads and descents, so you need to make sure that you drop back off the wheel in front by a bike length or two,
and that will give you the space and time to brake safely without crashing into the rider in front. – In these situations,
make sure that your brakes are covered in readiness,
so either on the drops, or on the hoods. – There are also some important things to be mindful of when it’s your turn to ride on the front and you
have someone on your wheel. So, no sudden braking. Insure you point out objects in the road, like potholes, and when transitioning from riding in the saddle
to out of the saddle, do this in a gradual, non-jerky way. A common mistake here is that the bike is thrown backwards and comes into contact with the wheel behind. Get these skills dialled,
and you won’t look back. – Don’t look back too
much, cause you might hit the wheel in front. – That’s a good tip
actually, Tom, well said. Anyway, for your one stop
shop for all things cycling, how about clicking on the
globe, it’s absolutely free. – And, if you’d like
to see a tutorial video on another essential
cycling skill, climbing, click right there. – Or, for the opposite of
climbing, that’s descending, click just down here. – Give this video a thumbs up, too. – And a share as well.

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  1. I wonder do your power meters reflect this 30%-40% difference? Considering whether you are 2nd wheel off or further down peloton.

  2. You should have a "GCN does Science" video showing that drafting also works for the guy riding at the front. It's just a few watts, but we all know that marginal gains matter.

  3. Be extra careful if you need to eat while sitting on, as a sudden change of pace can make you lose control as there is only one hand on the bars.

  4. No mention of the consequence of touching the wheel in front. It usually leads to a crash and a broken collarbone. Therefore when you know you are tired, for example towards the end of a ride, back off slightly and try to be more vigilant.

  5. I saw that Matt and Dan are using a power2max type S power meter ! So, would you recommend it (in terms of power reading and accuracy) ?

  6. 1 OF THE BIGGEST THINGS that p!ss me off – riders who're nervy in a group PRACTICE…or another – riders who floor themselves in a group and literally topple over, yes ive seen it and not pretty at speed…relaxing is the vibe you need to PRACTICE…and if said group isnt able to accomodate, find another group, roadies can be arsey at heart ! And lastly, if the fitness aint too good who's bothered about those that sit-on – get over yaselves !!! eveyone goes faster anyhow #rantover

  7. The best way to get comfortable with drafting is to practice as much as possible. Matt Stephens wins the prize for stating the obvious.

  8. You can smooth the transition when going out of the saddle by shifting up a gear or two (also makes sense speedwise since you are likely to drop your cadence).

  9. As a rider who likes to jump out of the saddle a lot, I have taught myself to say "standing" just before doing so. I know it helps the guys behind me and is now so ingrained I find myself saying it even when riding alone!

  10. That was a really nice demonstration of the bike going backwards when standing out of the saddle on a climb. In our local learn to race program, riders behind are taught to be extra careful when the grade goes upward since the rider in front may stand up at any point (in other words, don't assume that the rider in front has watched this video 🙂

  11. I hated the wind, I became a master wheel sucker for a long time. It also helps when most of your cycling friends are bigger than you.

  12. Hi GCN,
    I have one more question; if the wind comes from the left or right, how far do I need to ride next to the rider in front of me? Do I need to ride like Matt was doing, or with my frontwheel next to his backwheel, or even more forward?

  13. Why isn't Tom wearing glasses?  I notice in most of your videos that one or more guys aren't wearing any kind of eye protection.  Whether it's sunny or not, you should never ride without eye protection, and I don't think it's a good example for ex pros or anyone else to be setting.

  14. Tom your red Canyon is absolutely gorgeous, what beautiful lines and colour scheme! I like it even better than your Trek! Do you like your Rotor crank and are you satisfied with it?

  15. I have 2 tips I think can be quite important

    1. When the wind is from the side, the echelon can be too large. people who are desperate to hang on will risk riding on the wrong side of the road. Simply start another echelon 45 degrees to the rear on the wind side. You can still get a bit of a pull from the other echelon.

    2. If you are about to run into somebodies back wheel and take out the whole peloton, simply stand up this will give you about 6 inches of rearward adjustment. This save you from disaster and importantly, not scrub any speed off.

    Just one last thing If the person in front could kindly indicate if he/she can no longer hold the wheel. It save the guys behind from going into the red to bridge the gap.

    Here is a question to all. Is it ok to give somebody a nudge from behind to help them keep the wheel. I get mixed reaction. Usually the grouchy middle ranked guys look at you in horror, others very thank full. You can tell when somebody is not going to make it but you know the whole group is gonna slow down in the next 20 seconds.

  16. when do the.lines blur between drafting and parasitic wheel sucking us the question. we've all.met or know that person that always tries it on lol.

  17. I do Disagree with the savings of energy.. Let me explain I am 6Ft 8IN (203.2CM) tall.. But everyone else in the group always thanks me for the tow..

  18. Missed skills in this video: the leading cyclist should also position him/herself in the wind direction so the follower has the space to sit in the draft. (In races this can be tactically overlooked.) put more emphasis on not overlapping the wheel. Beginners often sit very close on the wheel, this costs energy too, leave a little bigger gap and you can be more relaxed, saving energy.
    Double vision is indeed very important, especially in a peloton, on a velodrome on in rush hour traffic: look ahead to be able to anticipate the action of the riders in front of you.

  19. I tend to not feather my brakes if I get too close to the lead rider. I dissipate speed by just sitting up or pulling out from behind the lead rider.  This will slow you down slightly and is safer than feathering.

  20. "Sitting on the front" – Is this a thing? I was under the impression when on the front you're either Drilling it or Driving the Pace!!

  21. Back in January I went on a group ride with my dad and some of his mates, and there was this one section where my dad and I ended up in a break with one other guy for about ten miles along a straight coastal highway with some fairly strong winds. I'd never ridden in a paceline before, certainly not at that speed, but man, once we got into the rhythm, we tore it up on that section, average speed according to Strava was close to 25 mph. There was this cafe we'd all agreed to rendezvous at, and the three of us got there probably close to ten minutes before the rest of the group rolled in. Thing was, I think I had an easier time with that than the other two. My dad is about 6'2" and the other guy was probably about the same, but I'm 5'10" on a good day and weigh probably 30-50 pounds less than either of them, so I could draft on them just by being kind of in the vicinity, whereas the others had to really tuck in to get any aero advantage off of me.

  22. It would be fun if the presenters changed channel for 1 video without saying anything, so Matt would suddenly be on a MTB presenting whatever they would normally present 😀

  23. How to draft like a pro? Spend the off-season doing track league and have your coach repeatedly shout at you if you're more than half a wheel away from the guy in front.

  24. Why are the stooped like that towards the end of the video? What are they trying to hiding from? We know what bikes you're riding already. We need explanations!

  25. Very important that the rider in front does not use the brakes as a casual cyclist would, but instead averts obstacles by riding around them. Learn to point (early beforehand) and communicate with hand signals because the person behind you cannot always hear you. Take turns moving to the front while maintaining constant speed. Practice bumping into the rear tire in front of you at low speed and in a safe spot so that you can learn to maintain control of the bike if the wheels touch. Unless you are a pro or an experienced racer riding with the same, DON'T CROSS THE WHEELS as shown in the video! That's too dangerous for novices.

  26. i have been off the road for 6 years and had forgotten the last tip about getting out of the saddle to accelerate, doing it gradually. that was something i once got yelled at for in a club ride, as well as not holding a line. it was my first year in a club and it was sloppy as hell to begin with, but in the end i was a respected member.

    i personally try to do more work at the front of the group than required, because i know one day i will need their help and i won't feel so bad about not being able to do my share of the work once in a while.

    excellent show, by the way!

  27. Just install a reversing camera so you can see who is behind you and how far away he is, no sixth sense needed

  28. Why are you guys not wearing gloves? Just
    curious because riding in wind numbs hand and makes reaction slower?

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