Thursday, April 8, 2010

Goodbye Mr. Janglybag

Gears clanking, chain slapping, seat bag jangling, not too long ago I was on a big group ride and got stuck behind a rider with a noisy bike, Mr. Janglybag.  I couldn’t take it.  Rather than berating him for bad manners and his lack of packing skills, I sat-in till I found another wheel.  Sitting-in is a great way to save energy if you’ve got the sniffles, are the weaker rider in the bunch or just need to get behind or in front of someone else.  Unfortunately, many riders haven’t mastered the art of changing their position in the paceline without causing gaps or disrupting the pace.  Consequently they get dropped if they’re weak or start making enemies if they’re not cool about it. 

I sat-in to get away from Mr. Janglybag, but there are other reasons to sit in.  A lot of riders don’t even think about how the riders in front of and behind them in a paceline affect their experience.  Maybe a sprint is coming up and you’d rather have a teammate’s wheel.  Maybe the guy in front of you is squirrely and you’d rather be behind someone steadier.  Maybe you’re on the brink of getting dropped because the doofus behind you always jacks the pace after you take your pull and you’d rather have a smoother person behind you.  I’ve sat-in for all these reason and it works.  The trick to sitting-in is to be invisible. 
     X
     X
     X
     X
     X
     X
     X
Take these 7 riders for example, and excuse my lack of graphic art skills.  The GREEN X is taking their pull.  You’re (RED X) picking up the rear. 
     X
 X  X
     X
     X
     X
     X
GREEN X has finished their pull, has moved off the front and drifts to the rear.  You (RED X) need to be aware that it’s time to put on your cloak of invisibility and get ready to move to your left a bit. 
     X
     X
     X
     X
  X X
 X
GREEN X is now almost to the rear of the paceline.  You (RED X) move behind them and slightly to the left in their blind spot.  Then, drift to the rear with them.  As GREEN X gets ready to fall back in line, naturally he’ll look to the right to grab the wheel of the last rider he sees-the rider to his right at the moment. 
     X
     X
     X
     X
     X
   X
   X
Since you (RED X) were in the blind spot, GREEN X didn’t see you and simply moved behind the last rider he saw, the guy that used to be in front of you.  You move behind GREEN X.  The pace stays steady and you stay out of the wind.  If the people you’re riding with know you’re under the weather or a weaker rider, they won’t mind.  Or, if you’re just looking for another wheel, you can sit on till you’re between the riders you want to be.  Goodbye Mr. Janglybag.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

You should bring a little chalkboard on rides and break it out at stop lights like a basketball coach.

Joe Biker said...

Brilliant Andrew! Brilliant! Then I can pull out the game tape from my smart phone. I can hear the conversation. Ya see, right here you let a gap go...now if you look at the chalkboard, what you should've done is this...

jaden said...

Well with this little bit of advice hopefully I will never have to pull again on the Wed night shop rides!

TRI-james said...

Good info - thanks!

I had some co2 carts clikcing one time. I thought it was the drive train for about a week.

Drove me nuts!