I've seen this confrontation take place many times in my years of riding a bike. Sometimes i'm watching it unfold, other times i'm in the ring itself.
A lot of people have seen this or had this happen to them and share similar feelings regarding the "commuter leach effect" that happens on a street near you!
In this side of the ring we have THe COmmuter. The Commuter rides to and from work on his bike along the absolute shortest route. He/she is always looking to save seconds on the commute and will suck anyones wheel to set a record for there commute time. They go hard for basically 30 minutes, no warm-up or cool down. Out the door and straight to tempo folks. The Commuter is typically riding a touring bike usually outfitted with the following gadgets:
- OVERSIZED aerobars
- gel padded seat cover
- lights that are always flickering
- dental rear view mirror attached to helmet
On the other side of the ring we have the weeknight warrior. The WW may commute to work but does most of their riding after work or perhaps on an early end to the day. They perhaps get in 3 hours during the week and then pump out 10hours on the weekend. The WW rides a true road bike anywhere from midline to top end.
When the two aforementioned riders meet eachother on the road this is what usually unfolds.
1. WW comes up on Commuter from behind traveling somewhere between 5-10km/hr faster than Commuter.
2. WW passes Commuter
3. Commuter doesn't think twice about it and immediatley jumps onto WW wheel
4. WW hears Commuter heavy breathing behind him/her
5. WW increases speed
6. WW increases speed
7. WW increases speed
8. WW sprints
9. If Commuter is still on wheel then WW turns off of main route or accepts Commuters presence
10. WW lets a fart rip
On thursday this week i saw a classic example of this happening on the Pat Bay Highway. The WW was suited up in discovery kit and the Commuter was in grey sweat pants in the aerobars drafing his butt off. I didn't see the end result but there was a hill coming up and hopefully the WW made his move there.
Last summer after a Lochside Run I was driving home and saw my coach with a commuter on his tail. I slowed down, rolled the window down yelled " PK drop this guy Man!"
So on your next ride if this happens to you, my best advice is to really blow by the commuter with a lot of speed to prevent any confrontation from arising.