Rider A leaves his home for a solo ride. He’s not training. He’s just riding. Thinking. He chooses a familiar route, popular among local cyclists and sets himself a comfortable pace.
After a few miles, Rider A comes upon Rider B and slowly overtakes him. Rider B, without a word, surges forward to sit on Rider A’s wheel. Rider A says nothing. Rider B says nothing. Rider A rides, and Rider B sits on.
This goes on for a few miles, when the pair come upon a hill. Rider B jumps off Rider A’s wheel and attacks the climb out of the saddle. Soon though, Rider B is faltering, struggling. Rider A, who has maintained his pace, approaches and passes Rider B again.
And again, Rider B jumps on Rider A’s wheel and follows to the top of the climb. At this point, Rider A is annoyed that Rider B is roosting on his wheel and when the next natural turn comes, Rider A pulls off and takes a different route to reclaim his solitude.
An etiquette question this week: What should have happened here? Is it ok to draft other cyclists without asking permission? Is it incumbent on the passing rider to declare whether or not it’s ok to draft? If you’re on a popular route do you relinquish your right to ride alone? And at what point is it too late to talk it over?