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This One Cycling Skill Will Change Your Riding | How To Hold The Wheel

This One Cycling Skill Will Change Your Riding | How To Hold The Wheel


– [Instructor] Holding the wheel is a simple skill for cyclists to learn and it will mean that you can ride with less effort but go faster. In this video we’ll run
through why you should do it, how you should do it,
and what you should do if another rider is sitting on your wheel. (dramatic music) What does holding the wheel mean? Well very simply it means riding closely behind another cyclist, metaphorically holding onto
their back wheel no matter what. When you try hard it can literally feel like you’re clinging on. If you look at experience
cyclists riding together you’ll notice that they
always cycle quite close to the person in front of them and that’s because they’ll
be sheltered from the wind. Basically you will go faster
while putting in less effort. Studies have shown that
riding behind someone else can lead to around 40% less drag when close to the wheel in front when compared to riding by
yourself, which is huge. Just think how much faster you’ll be towards the end of your ride if you can hold someone’s
wheel whenever possible. (dramatic music) It can however be really scary at first to ride very close behind another cyclist and for good reason. You can’t see where you’re going as well. Plus if the rider in front brakes suddenly then you won’t have time to
react and therefore might crash, which brings us onto the first rule for riding on somebodies wheel. Only ride on the wheel if
it’s someone that you trust and if it’s someone
that knows you’re there. Now you’ll want to think about how close you are to the person in front. You can get a bit of drafting effect even from 10 to 15 feet back, but to get the biggest draft experience cyclists will ride much closer, but this is something you should really take your time in working towards. First why not try riding two metres behind a cyclist in front
as opposed to five metres. Then, once you feel
comfortable with that distance, you can slowly work your
way closer and closer. When you get a feel for it and a sense of just how
much easier it could be, you will quickly see just why, whenever there’s a
chance to hold the wheel, you will want to take it. There are of course pitfalls to this. Make sure you never go so
close to the wheel in front that you start to overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel ahead. This can be really dangerous because if for example your
front wheel sits to the right of the wheel in front of you and that rider suddenly
moves to the right, unfortunately you’re more
than likely going to crash. What about being able to see though? It is tempting to just
stare at the back wheel of the rider in front of you. Often feels like that’s
the only way in fact, to make sure you don’t ride into it, but rather counterintuitively this actually will make you
more likely to have a problem, because you won’t be able to see what’s coming up ahead of you. Instead then, try and look a few metres ahead of the rider in front at all times. This will mean that
you’re ready to respond to any obstacles that you need to avoid. So what about if somebody
is riding on your wheel? How do you need to adapt your riding? When cycling with someone on your wheel, smoothness is key. So for example, don’t slam
your brakes on with no warning. You want to make sure you signal that you’re about to
brake whenever possible. This can be with a shout or
simply with a hand signal and again do this as early as possible. It’s no good slamming to a stop and then telling people
that you’re slowing down and then often when riders
stand out to the saddle their bike shoots backwards a little bit, which obviously can be
can be really dangerous to riders close behind. So to make sure you don’t do that, when you stand up you can simultaneously put a strong pedal stroke in. It’s slightly hard to explain, but trust me, it’s going to make sense once you try it out at home. Finally point out any potholes with enough time for the rider
behind to react and move. It is all too common for riders to forget so the cyclist behind
plows straight into it. Make sure you let us know
how you got on with our tips on how to hold a wheel in
the comment section below, or if you’ve got any of your
won tips on this subject, we’d love to hear those too. Now once you’ve mastered it you might want to take
things to the next level, which will be riding in a pace line with a group of cyclists. For advice on that one check out the video that’s on the screen right now. (dramatic music)

100 comments on “This One Cycling Skill Will Change Your Riding | How To Hold The Wheel

  1. Nice content! Next month I will participate on my first event as part of a group, all os us inexperienced in group riding. This content come handy! Thanks GCN

  2. One the key factors is to ride relaxed. If you are relaxed, your reflexes respond more quickly to movements made by the rider ahead of you.

  3. If you are the person in the #2 spot, don't surge when the lead rider cycles to the back. The lead rider is already tired and will have a hard time throwing down watt bombs to hang on.

  4. The GCN channel has become addicting to me. I love to watch your quality content. I just discovert you a month or so ago and it's the best thing.

  5. Oh lol, I thought your advice for having someone on your wheel would be to accelerate and drop them :p Or just do it as a slow burn.. Glance behind occasionally to check how much they are suffering

  6. I ride solo pretty much 100% of the time, I enjoy the seclusion. Also nice to not have to worry about the guy in front crashing and ruining my day. I do hate passing riders and having them grab my back wheel for several miles.

  7. When sucking wheels becomes more and more natural, I didn’t realize I tend to do the same while driving which is much more scary.

  8. For new riders, I would strongly encourage buying/borrowing a set of rollers for you first season of indoor training. You will truly learn to ride a straight line without looking, which will enhance your ability to follow a wheel, and make others more comfortable following you.

  9. Also, nothing wrong with a gentle tap on the riders hip to let them know that you are close ! And which side you are on . Sorry I am old school, can't get over the silly tall socks, saw a rider who had decent form but the tall black socks with hot pink band made me shake my head.

  10. If you do century or gran fondo but you draft 75% of the time did you really do it ? True it may not be easier just faster but did you really do it on your own ?

  11. They always leave me in front when there's a head wind…. Is that fair? I think not 😭 But it's me who's getting fitter 😉

  12. What is the etiquette for holding a wheel during a sportive or other event? I had someone do this to me during a duathlon and got super annoyed. Was I wrong to be annoyed? Thanks!

  13. i get quite annoyed when strangers suck my wheel. i become rather cross and have been known to use foul language in order to encourage them to go away. idiots.

    if you want to ride with me, do what i do with strangers; introduce yourself and ask if they want to work together. be polite and smart. don't be a dick.

  14. You should always ask permission from a stranger before doing this. Frankly, I don't want anyone behind me because then I have to worry about their safety in addition to my own, and they make it more dangerous for me. Nobody ever asks me before taking advantage of my lead, so I usually have to utilize Emma's tips to "politely" drop them.

  15. Great tips. I find it helpful to focus just past the hip of the rider in front of me. The more you practice you will notice that the skill is easier over time and that things you think about and notice at first become just part of your ride and focus processing without having to think about directly. As with all skills, practice, practice, practice.

  16. You can also add that if you find yourself slipping off the wheel in front due to an increase in speed, DON'T PANIC. So many riders think they have to be within 20cm AT ALL TIMES AT ANY COST. The single most frustrating thing is having the guy in front surge to get back on a wheel that was only momentarily moving off, then the next guy does the same, until you get to the back of the group and it becomes a mini sprint just to stay on. If the wheel you're following does appear to be moving off ahead, just be patient. 99% of the time it WILL slow again and you'll get back to within 1/2 a wheel's distance without having to push harder or expending any more energy.

  17. question: at what speed do you really notice the drafting effect? My wife refuses to ride on anyone's (i.e. my) wheel because she says she notices no difference. Are we going to slow?

  18. Try not to ride directly behind the wheel you’re following. Move a bit to one side to give yourself more time to react if the rider in front slows.

  19. Did that the first time a few days ago cause me and my roadie friend went for a long distance (long for me at least). Was kinda scary at first, but got used to it pretty quickly.

  20. Also: try to ride not directly behind the wheel, but with a small offset to the left. So if you hit the rider in front of you, you don't hit the shifting!

  21. If you're on a down hill and start catching up with the rider in front, pull out to the side to slow rather then braking. You'll lose less speed and are less likely to need to pedal to catch up.

  22. When bike touring with 15 kg. of gear I’ve often pulled up behind a peloton of casual riders. I always ASK PERMISSION to join and always remain the last bike. Can easily pick up my speed by 5-10 km/hr.

  23. Very important that you mentioned the drift back when standing up on the pedals …so important to apply power just a bit to avoid that…it take practice to hold a wheel expertly. That's why cycling is art in motion.. We make the DANGEROUS LOOK EFFORTLESS.

  24. When you catch up to a group or a rider, always tell them you are behind them. Ride up to them and say "Hello, I'm back here if you don't mind." Or words to that effect. Ain't nothing worse than finding out that someone is back there wheel sucking and you didn't know it.

  25. Glad I know that I have been doing this correctly.To the point of the presenter of the video, communication is key and be sure to let everyone know your intention and allow time for the other riders behind to react and move. Even in the case of a mechanical issue.

  26. Just did this today with a friend who got an e-bike. He stuck to exactly 20mph, and while on my own I can only sustain 16, it was easy to maintain 20 when drafting him.

  27. As a smaller rider, I’ve got suck wheels a lot until the road tilts upward. For me, the one thing that’s always been true is that once I loose the wheel or the group, it’s game over. I’ve never regained a wheel or group once it was lost. The difference in effort is huge, so hang on for dear life as long as you can. The pace may slow farther down the road.

  28. 40%??? You used to say 30%! I always believed and hoped it was more, but I’ll take it! Another thing to mention is that it aerodynamically helps the rider up front if he has 1-2 people following tightly behind him.

  29. Guys, I was wondering have you ever heard of hematogen bars? They're high in sugars but also contain iron, could they be an energy bar replacement?

  30. A key note to add is some of us like solo riding if we pass at a significant speed don't jump onto our wheel, if we look behind, notice you and crank up the watts to drop you its a pretty clear sign.
    AKA don't be the guy who will hold any wheel he can.

  31. i just wanted to tell you (GCN) that i hate you. instead of getting that nice Porsche to fuel my midlife crisis….i now have a bike….i havent ridden one in 30 years….thanks….. 😀

  32. Always cover the brakes jic and remember that drift back also happens when you hit a wee incline and the person in front starts to crank up the gears!

  33. Practice moving your body position slightly to maintain the gap; so as you get closer sit up fractionally, and as it goes out tuck down a little more. It can be more subtle than the brakes, saves energy, and has the advantage of improving visibility slightly when you get closer to the rider in front.

  34. I have done some cycling alone, and now I have also started cycling in a club. I still feel uncomfortable riding close to others on downhills and technical corners, so I tend to get dropped on these parts, and then I have to catch up later. What can I do to increase my confidence on downhills and technical corners?

  35. AIUI the airflow envelope encloses both riders of a pair and the turbulence that would be holding the front guy back moves behind the back guy. This means that the rider in front also benefits, although not by much.

  36. Its a really nice feeling being in a group and being able to trust them to not ride like jerks and not think of you behind.. I used to ride with a fast group and we loosely knew each other and respected each other to ride close and rode fast…

  37. Also: if you are on the front make sure to rotate back before you go into the red and become too tired to kick and grab the last wheel in the pace line.

  38. It's not that easy to hold the wheel tough, sometimes i can't hold the pace if the average speed is way higher than my normal solo average speed.

  39. Also listen for turbulence so you know how well you're drafting and whether to offset your position slightly to either side of the rider in front (if there's a slight sidewind).

  40. My tip would be always to let the rider in front know you are there; if nohing else, it makes it slightly less likely that you will take a snot rocket to the face.

  41. I had the opportunity to try this recently. It is amazing how much draft you get. I would not have believed it could help this much at bicycle speeds.

  42. I've been known to grab onto a back wheel when someone passes me – turns my daydreaming, easy ride into game on! Got a few Strava PR's that way. 🙂
    I don't ask permission, but will take a turn if asked or if they are lagging and I feel stronger. I do say "thank you" when we part ways though.
    On the flip side, whenever I pass someone, I always assume they have jumped on and ride accordingly. I start pointing out obstacles but don't look back for a while – don't want to seem obnoxious about passing them.

    As to those people who say you should always ask, what if the person says "No"? Are we supposed to stop for 2 minutes to let them through? My feeling is, if you don't want me on your wheel, drop me or tell me but don't expect me to slow down to let you ride by. My two cents.

  43. Question, if I pull up behind someone climbing on a narrow road and I am not quite ready to give a stronger effort to pass quickly and safely and I let them know I am behind them and they get mad I'm on their wheel for a couple of minutes am I supposed to back off or pull ahead and use a match then burn out in front of them? Fyi, I WILL be passing them when I feel it is safe.

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