Overtaking other cyclists: Is it rude?

When I overtake a fellow cyclist I often wonder what they are thinking. Are they thinking “What a jerk showing off?” or “I want to go that fast”.

After averaging some pretty ludicrous distances while researching the London Cycle Routes eBook I have definitely become a much faster cyclist. I typically cycle a couple of gears higher than I use to. It also takes a much tougher hill to slow me down. This, as you can imagine, is a great side benefit of the number of miles I’ve covered on pedal power. You might have noticed similar results after a few weeks of heavy cycling.

So, inevitably I find myself needing to do a lot of overtaking of fellow cyclists. But a small part of me thinks overtaking is a little rude. Perhaps I should hang back and just take it easy. After all I’m not trying to prove anything and I don’t want to make a fellow cyclist feel bad. However, this doesn’t help the situation as I like going fast. In fact I struggle to maintain a slow speed more than I do a normal speed.

This conundrum hit me hard last week when I was cycling back home from Camden. As it’s a short ride I was enjoying giving it some speed. At some point I came across a couple of fellow cyclists. The first was a must overtake as I can’t even cycle that slow. The second however was doing a decent enough speed. So I was stuck in limbo while the two voices in my head battled it out for what to do. (Does voices in my head make me sound crazy? Probably.)

On the other side, when it is me being overtaken I see it as a challenge. I find myself wanting to race up to that person and overtake them again.

What do you think? If you frequently overtake other cyclists do you ever wonder what they are thinking? Or if you enjoy going at a slow speed what do you think when someone overtakes you?

Overall I should probably start focusing more on life’s real problems rather than these silly thoughts!!

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70 Responses to Overtaking other cyclists: Is it rude?

  1. Lígia 09/03/2010 at 10:49 am #

    I don’t cycle that fast, though I usually I undertake a few cyclists. When someone overtake me, I usually resign to my lack of traction. I don’t think it’s rude to be undertaken, I understand them – they have a faster pace. However, the worst thing on earth is to overtake someone, run out of energy, and then end up overtaken by the same cyclist you overtook ***powned*** hehehehe

  2. Filippo Negroni 09/03/2010 at 11:25 am #

    When I see a fellow cyclist, and I am on my commuting route, then I will usually slow down and assess their speed: if it is that much slower, I will take an opportunity to overtake rapidly, giving plenty of space, then quickly get back to my own pace.
    If it’s not that much slower, I will keep a fair distance behind, to enable any motor vehicle to overtake me yet not endanger the cyclist in front.
    That’s exactly to avoid a situation where I might be at most one or two mph faster in that stretch, and then being overtaken again half a mile later.
    I usually ride faster then fellow commuters. Twice I was overtaken and I must admit the first time I read it as a challenge, but that was in my early commuting days. Now I just keep to my pace.
    When training at the weekend on my race bike, I will not slow down for anyone. Being overtaken is not a problem, although I will then try and keep up with the person overtaking me. SO definitely more of a silly race I suppose.

  3. Hayley 09/03/2010 at 11:29 am #

    Oh! I’ve always had anxiety about that same thing! I usually hang back for a while until I find the right space to pace where it disrupts the other cyclist’s line as little as possible, but I still wonder what they are thinking. I usually try to say something sociable and nice while I go by. A few times it’s led to a great conversation! But that’s one thing I love about bikes. They’re so very social.

  4. Angi 09/03/2010 at 11:46 am #

    If they are slow enough then yes…I will overtake…as I end up feeling like a stalker staring at their bottom hanging behind…especially if our paths are the same for some time.

    Tried to catch up and overtake a male cyclist in all out lycra yesterday…(I was in a short dress, maroon tights and suede pumps!)…but it was not to be. Would have been able to catch up with him if it wasn’t for the car that pulled out infront of me…stopping me at the lights.
    Alas…he was over the hill and on the downward part of the journey and off he went…
    Damn!

    I hate being overtaken by people on Bromptons…I don’t know why…but otherwise I don’t really mind either way…but I will sometimes try and catch up and get my ‘place’ back…but depends on the sort of load in my rucksack and many other factors.

    :)

    • JamesS 03/06/2010 at 1:00 pm #

      Funny you should say that, I’ve got a Brompton and overtake loads of people. I don’t have any qualms about overtaking someone slower than me as long as I do it safely but most really don’t like it!

      Why is that?

      Do I sense bike snobbery?

      :-)

  5. Phil 09/03/2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Overtaking isn’t rude, as long as you give them enough space.

    I love it personally, everyone suddenly is in your own little race in your head, traffic lights become sprint starts, known choke points or trouble spots are used to your advantage to get ahead. Likewise i always have a valid excuse in case i get beat, usually is ” well i’m on my MTB biek today and he clearly has a much more sutiable bike giving him an unfair advantage, yada yada” of course that changes once i over tkae them then the victory seems that much sweeter despite the “handicap”

  6. Joby 09/03/2010 at 12:06 pm #

    As long as its safe (very rare on Manchester roads) then I’ll overtake if I get chance – failing that, I’ll stay behind them and catch my breath.

  7. welshcyclist 09/03/2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I usually get overtaken, rarely do I have the opportunity to pass someone else. This is probably down to the fact that I rarely see any other commuters, at the hours I travel at. Yes, I do have thoughts, when I’m overtaken, sometimes I want to catch up, that’s the competitive side of me saying, ” I can do that “, most of the time though, I’m too tired, well that’s my excuse, and it’s me saying to myself, ” I bet they haven’t done as many miles as me today”.

  8. Rylan 09/03/2010 at 12:38 pm #

    I get competitive when overtaken too.

    It doesn’t generally annoy me – cause i know my route is quite long to work so am trying to pace myself.

    But when the person that overtakes me at a junction and is in face slower then me – that is when I get annoyed. Because i know I’ll only have to overtake them and thus create a bigger risk on my commute.

    When I overtake – I only do so if I know that I will remain ahead of them.

  9. Ev 09/03/2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I’m the same. It can be a bit of a pain being overtaken waiting for the lights only to have to overtake again sonn after. It can be tricky doing it in a civilsed way too, especially when finding your place in the “peloton” when the light goes green.

  10. Pingus 09/03/2010 at 2:01 pm #

    What Rylan said. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting at traffic lights on the white line while someone rolls gently past right up to the junction and then continues slowly off when the lights change.

    I can handle being overtaken but DO NOT UNDERTAKE ME. I don’t hide in the gutter and if you really are in a hurry I will drift over to help you out if I can. That space on the left isn’t for you, it’s to keep me out of the drains.

  11. Matt 09/03/2010 at 3:46 pm #

    When I get overtaken it’s usually by roadies on their training rides – rarely do I get passed by a fellow commuter (I’m generally going the opposite way of most commuters). I’ll try to hang with the roadies if they’re not that much faster (though not drafting – that IS rude). Mostly I don’t think much of it – I’m generally carrying 20lbs more bike+gear than they are, so if I keep up I’m ecstatic, but otherwise… no biggie. I’ll caveat by saying that a bunch of my commute is on a mixed-use trail though, so generally I don’t have to contend with issues of passing in traffic.

    • william 25/03/2010 at 9:52 pm #

      I dont mind if people draft me, I dont find them rude, I feel happy to help. But I feel awkward drafting others. Why is that?

  12. Vrinda 09/03/2010 at 4:57 pm #

    I’m not a particularly fast cyclist just yet, and I’m overtaken by… like… everyone. (I was once overtaken by a guy who seemed to be writing a text as he cycled..) But it doesn’t bother me at all. Unless it’s one of the snooty-type cyclist, who whizzes past and almost clips my bike, then I mind.

    I think it’s everyone’s prerogative to get to their destination at a speed that is best for them. As long as everyone is safe, including me, I’m happy.

  13. Corin 09/03/2010 at 5:36 pm #

    What Pingus said – I don’t have a problem with being overtaken at all, but being undertaken really bugs me.

    On the other hand, I do ride assertively in primary position, so I can see why less assertive but more aggressive or just faster cyclists might want to take advantage of the left-hand gap, but I think it’s really quite rude and dangerous.

  14. Higgs 09/03/2010 at 8:35 pm #

    I’ll overtake if it’s safe to do so otherwise will slow down. I’m not a particularly fast cyclist so get overtaken regularly (and yes I have plenty of valid excuses ;) ). I’m more interested in getting there in one piece so not interested in racing anyone but do get irritated by the reckless types, like Vrinda

    Undertaking, though, is a definite no-no

  15. Darren Alff 10/03/2010 at 4:46 am #

    I have this problem more when I am walking than I do when I am on my bike. Most people walk so incredibly slow when compared to me and I can’t stand slowing down and sitting behind them as they wander aimlessly up the street or down the aisles at the grocery store. I always overtake and make no apologies for doing so. I think I do the same thing when I am riding my bike. If I need to pass someone, I certainly do it.

    The only time I look down on people who pass is when they pass you… and then immediately slow down. When they do that, then you either have to slow down or choose to pass them. At it is at this point when the vicious circle of passing and re-passing begins… and I don’t think this is any fun for either party involved.

    I think if you can pass, do it! But if you do pass someone, you better make sure the person behind you doesn’t have to slow down too much to let you get in front.

  16. Curlybob 10/03/2010 at 10:30 am #

    I use my commute as a work out and as interval training so it means that the 6 mile journey is effectively a time trial. I just ride my route. I see other cyclists as cars, if I catch them I go straight past them.

    I must admit though if I see a flash of Hi-viz in the distance I up my cadence and the target is set. I was overtaken last year when I was full of cold and crawling home and while I was not annoyed with the cyclist I was instantly engaged in a full on race…

  17. George 10/03/2010 at 12:07 pm #

    My only thought when overtaking is “Am I cycling at a maintainable pace, or am I going to look silly in a mo when they come past me”. Sometimes when I come up behind someone I think “oh, I am going to slow down, I fancy a rest”.

    I have also been known NOT to overtake at the top of Holloway Road, just because I know Archway Hill is ahead, and I might look silly.

    People overtaking me /sometimes/ makes me think “Hmmm, I am dawdling and should speed up”.

    Of course the real question is “How close behind someone is it acceptable to ride?”

  18. Ham 10/03/2010 at 12:12 pm #

    In the words of the classics, don’t worry, be happy. I know I’m one of the faster commuters, but with 30lbs in my panniers I’d be surprised if someone on a roadie couldn’t overtake. Competition? every now and then when it’s safe. If I’m in the front at lights, that’s where I stay, but if I’m at the back I stay out of it knowing that I’ll go past on the straights.

    Often these days I do a tube assisted commute on a single speed Dahon. With a 64″ gear I’m never going to be that fast, but I still overtake most. Fun seeing their faces, unfortunately I can’t most of the time.

    So is it rude? No, not unless you are silly.

  19. James 10/03/2010 at 2:06 pm #

    If you know you’re riding faster than the cyclist in front and that you can sustain this pace if you overtake (certainly no undertaking!) safely, there can be no problem.

    But it’s the riders who try to “overtake” when you’re approaching or are stopped at traffic lights that get me. I recently had someone nudge past me through a narrow gap between me and a waiting car just to get in front. Why not just wait in line and and overtake once everyone’s moving again?!?

    Is there a lack of cycling etiquette among (London) cyclists as between other cyclists – or am I just being old fashioned?

    • Nicki 29/03/2010 at 11:32 pm #

      Hi there
      not sure if you’ll see this know.
      But I’m assuming when you say ‘wait in line’ you mean in the cycle lane to the left of motorists when at the light?

      I’m not clear on that, but if you are saying what I think you are, here’s my take on it:

      The cycle lane at the lights extends itself to that section that sits in front of the cars (clearly marked by the huge bicycle symbol painted on it). Cyclists should have clear access to that section of the lane, and should not wait in line.

      When the first cyclist gets to the light, its courteous and safer to move along the lane and allow other cyclists to get to the front.

      There are many reasons for this. Big trucks being one of them. You’d rather be in front one then to the side of one when at the lights.

      Second, it defeats one of the purposes of cycling if you do not use the allocated ‘priority’ section at the front of the lights.

      I’m cycling to avoid traffic and if there’s a clearly marked out section at the front I can get to to do so, I will. Hence, when cyclists block that lane I politely ask them to budge up as I do not think they realise they are obstructing the passage.

      If this is not what you mean, well hey! A lot of typing for nothing perhaps!
      Have a nice day.

  20. Hamilton 10/03/2010 at 4:01 pm #

    I generally overtake unless I am on an approach to a set of red TLs – the only exception being the reasonable passing of the occasional slow cyclist who is going to prevent a fast getaway when the lights go green.

    I don’t regard overtaking as that big a deal, and if I’m overtaken by a really fast cyclist then that’s fine too. People generally give each other plenty of room.

    The only funny thing that I sometimes indulge in is the occasional baiting of arrogant lycra clad chaps on racers. Once a particularly superior type cut in front of me, turned left and then tried to get away from me. Imagine his surprise after 5 minutes of hard riding to get away from me to see me roll up next to him a couple of miles down the road at a junction. He was so incensed it was unbelievable, so he shot off again. My work was done!

  21. mark 12/03/2010 at 9:48 am #

    I still get overtaken by fitter riders, although not usually roadsters like at when I first got back on the bike after several years of motorcycle commuting…once got overtaken by an elderly woman on a Pashley!!!!! Mind you I call that payback karma, as when I was a 16 year old club rider, An old chap who was retirng gave me his old single speed Hercules rod brake roadster. Rather cruelly I used to go out on it wearing corduroy trousers, and an old tweed jacket, find a middle aged, and preferably slightly portly, club cyclist on an expensive road bike, and overtake gradually increasing speed until I dropped them! Now it’s me who’s the olkd fatty! I frequently do a 25 mile commute plus a little part-time cycle despatch so the miles are slowly building up in the legs. Just enjoy riding, and when the skinny lycra louts pass you…smile and picture them trying to hang on the back of “Wiggo” and co up the Ventoux! And when you get a good day with a favouring wind…. dig in and enjoy the speed! Safe riding.

  22. Dan 12/03/2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I liked the comment about Bromptons! I have a road bike and a Brompton, and I definitely notice people’s noses going slightly out of joint when I speed past them on my Brompton. Particularly as due to their sit up and beg position you shoot past as if sitting on a kitchen chair! Generally I like overtaking and being overtaking – all part of a cycling dialogue, and all food for our cyclists’ internal monologue…we all seem to have little voices in our head as we cycle along..

  23. Knit Nurse 13/03/2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I’ve no problem being overtaken, but unless you are going to give me sufficient space, please give a little ring of your bell to warn me before you whoosh past just a few inches away. I’m always paranoid that I might swerve to get round a pothole and crash into that idiot who is whizzing past silently at close range. It’s just polite and friendly.

  24. Heather 14/03/2010 at 6:14 pm #

    I really don’t like cycling behind other cyclists, especially those who are clearly new to the road – they stress me out because I can’t predict what they’re going to do next which kills my joy.

    The other day I had one such individual in front and so I passed (with ease!) and when I stopped at the next set of red lights, he passed and stopped right in front of me. Green lights, I go, pass him (again, with ease), at the next set of reds, he pulls up in front. This went on for quite some time until I just paced it and left him way back. Very annoying, he should have waited behind me at the lights, or just cycled faster!

    • Cafewanda 27/03/2010 at 12:23 pm #

      I get them occasionally too and I’m not a speeder (til I get my roadbike anyway :-) ).

      It’s everyone’s duty to past slower cyclists as long as it’s done safely. SCR anyone? lol

  25. Xander 18/03/2010 at 12:02 am #

    I am one of those annoying cyclists on a fixed gear bike who can never ever let anyone over take me and get away with it! As soon as i hear someone coming up close towards me i immediately up the pace and have a giggle to myself that they cannot keep up with me. if somehow someone does over take me i will probably go very far out of my way to re over take them then continue on my usual route.

  26. jaycmoore 18/03/2010 at 9:06 am #

    Overtaking is fine, providing you are considerate and leave enough space… a polite greeting doesn’t hurt either :)

    I find that cyclists in the distance provide a good method of training, upping my own pace to catch them helps in lots of ways.

    Hey, it’s cycling. Enjoy it. Before some H&S killjoy ruins it for all of us… :P

  27. John Cronin 18/03/2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Overtaking is fine when done safely for both you and the rider you’re passing. Gotta be careful on busy roads of course.

    Looking ahead to see if rider you’re going to overtake might move out (‘cos of pothole or grid) is a good tip.

    I always try to say ‘hello’ or ‘hi there’ …something the club riders told me to get into the habit of when I was a lad :)

  28. Harriet Bazley 21/03/2010 at 11:30 pm #

    As a small female on an upright three-speed bike I’m always going to be at a disadvantage… but I’m afraid I’m terribly competitive by instinct; if someone overtakes me I tend to assume it means I’m not going fast enough, and do my best to accelerate to catch them up again. (And yes, I do love overhauling flashy young men on their multi-gear machines while sitting as upright as possible and pedalling calmly in my long skirt… never let them see how hard you’re breathing underneath!)

    I tend to cycle relatively slowly on a long commute if left to my own devices, so I find it a good discipline to wait until someone slightly faster overtakes me, and then use him to ‘pace’ myself for the next four or five miles by sitting doggedly on his tail – I’m afraid I suspect it annoys them, though. With an upright bike I also suffer a lot from headwinds, so do my best to find someone else to break the way for me.

    The really jaw-dropping experience is when you’re holding a steady 18mph on a favourable gradient with the wind behind you (for comparison – my usual speed in top gear is 13mph on average), and a succession of commuter cyclists whip past your right ear as if you were standing still…!

    The people who actually annoy me are the ones who aren’t actually particularly good cyclists, who go along in the wrong gear with their knees sticking out, whom you steadily overhaul and overtake repeatedly, and then who wobble past you again and again as they ignore every red light going. I make a particular point of catching up with them as often as possible just to prove that crime doesn’t pay, as it were.

  29. Kirses 23/03/2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I was once overtaken by a Brompton going up Hornsey Road hill just before Crouch end, I was not best pleased…

    Regarding undertaking, I quite often see cyclists in the middle of the lane, travelling slowly, but when you try to overtake them they veer into your path (often they’re thinking about turning, but not signalling), sometimes you have no choice but to pass on the inside.

  30. william 25/03/2010 at 10:08 pm #

    I dont mind being overtaken, I sometimes wish people were more freindly about it. I like to look at the bike of a person overtaking me, sometimes pay them a compliment on it.

    Always leave lots of room when overtaking, and if I dont want to see them again, I do it on a climb. I dont bother overtaking when I know there are red lights ahead, I often dont even go to the front of the traffic. In london you need to relax, hang back and stay aware of everyone when it’s busy.

    there’s no point irritating all the drivers and other cyclists by tearing around, jumping lights, undertaking, overtaking unnecsessarily. If you want to get fit add some hills to your commute or just go out of London.

    • Heather 25/03/2010 at 11:14 pm #

      You’re not from London, are you? You’re far too chilled out… I’m going to hazard a guess and say Devon, right? You should write a blog on how to cycle the ‘Gentleman’s way’. You really should. Perhaps you could sample some of the kinds of compliments you’d make. I’d love to read a blog like that, why hasn’t someone done one yet? Anyway, I like your comment; I’m going to think about it on my Islington to Chelsea Harbour ride tomorrow. I may even report back.

  31. OldRidgeback 26/03/2010 at 10:04 am #

    I’m pretty competitive and a reasonably quick rider for my age and when I’m overtaken, I see this as a challenge. I’m good natured about it though and see this more as a race with myself. I ride MTBs (two with knobblies and one with road tyres) and particularly enjoy overtaking younger riders on roadbikes and fixed wheel bikes, something I do quite a lot. If other riders are fitter/faster than me I’ll let them go. I’m not keen on being undertaken and if people want to get past, they should ride around me the way they’re supposed to do and I have no qualms about telling other riders what I think. One other thing I really can’t stand is when people wheelsuck/slipstream. On the daily commute it’s a recipe for disaster and I can’t understand why some riders think a racing technique is safe for daily riding in traffic, it’s as if they don’t understand the laws of physics. Try wheelsucking me and I’ll tell you politely to either drop back a safe distance or overtake, carry on doing it and you’ll get an earful. I don’t suffer bad/thoughtless riding without giving comment.

  32. Aled 26/03/2010 at 11:16 am #

    I’m new to London, and therefore cycling and London and I’m still adjusting.

    However I foundmyself in a situation the other day which I thought was infuriating.
    I was stopped at lights in the Mall behind andother cyclist. As the lights went green he moved off and I made to do the same and was passed, at some speed, and far to bloody close by a cyclist coming form behind who was able to keep up his sp[eed cos the lights had changed. Then another, then a third, so I was left stuck to the pavement like a lemon while cuyclists, then 5 or 6 mopeds wnet past me, none of them letting me into the traffic.

    I wasn’t pleased. I said a few bad words.

    What struck me most was the cyclists: if a car had done the same to them they would have been most indignant, yet here they were doing the same thing to me.

  33. Peter 26/03/2010 at 11:19 am #

    My favourite overtaking is that of those cyclists who whizz past me whilst jumping red lights. I quite enjoy waiting until the light is green, catch up with them and overtake them so that they realise that jumping lights does not make you quicker. Silly me!

  34. Dan 26/03/2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I would agree that a faster cyclist has responsibility for keeping clear on the move, but slower cyclists have a responsibility not to park in faster cyclists when everybody is stationary. Queue jumping at red lights is rude, typically by slower cyclists who insist on being at the front of the queue for anticipated green signal. As the slowest cyclists arrive last they typically push to the front at the last minute. This may generate a ‘victory’ for anyone recently overtaken, but it causes endless unnecessary overtaking by faster cyclists at the most dangerous point of commuting, the first 150 yards from a green light.

  35. Lee 27/03/2010 at 6:51 pm #

    I don’t mind being overtaken at all, i’m not the fastest or the fittest and i’m out there for myself and don’t mind when people overtake me. When it comes to overtaking I do seem to think these people have got to be going backwards if i;m going round them but it’s its safe enough to do so then go for it. It’s the whole thing of overtake other people, as you would like to be over taken.

  36. Frank 29/03/2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I make a point of giving a clear, deliberate look over my shoulder when overtaking, hopefully giving the person being overtaken a idea that i’m fully aware of them and giving them room when I pull back in.

    Think I’m aiming to show them that am not taking the mick and generally being considerate.

  37. Nicki 29/03/2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Overtaking is OK as long as its done safely. But, I hate being overtaken at the lights by a newbie having cut me off, only to have to pass them cause they cycle uber slow.

  38. Chrissy 31/03/2010 at 12:31 pm #

    No problem with overtaking really. It is just the ebb and flow of the road. Like everyone pointed out above it has to be done safely – look over the shoulder, give plenty of space etc. and (my bugbear) not pulling in really tight in front.

    I am a pretty average cyclist, I am overtaken as much as I over take. There are two things that drive me nuts though…

    Cat and mouse, you know what I mean, the cyclist who jumps a red overtaking you and is so slow you have to get past them 15 seconds later only for them do to the same at the next set of lights. It is infuriating! Like a lot of cyclists I maintain a fairly good clip and on busy roads it can be difficult to pass safely. Cycling slowly is so much more painful than cycling fast.

    Thing the second is undertaking. Particularly at junctions. I generally keep some distance between myself and the curb so that cars can’t pass to close, they notice I am there and I have some wiggle room when they inevitably do. Finding another cyclist in this space is more than a little annoying.

    So the moral of this tale is… overtake whenever you need to… do it safely… don’t do it in a way which will piss off your fellow cyclist.

    • Peckham Flyer 07/09/2010 at 6:33 pm #

      Re: Cat and Mouse – I hate this too so much!!! In fact I got so fed up of being constantly passed by the same cyclist at a set of around 5 red lights (I waited at every one, he ran all of them, and I overtook him again EVERY time…) that as we got to a long clear section, I overtook him for the last time, looked calmly over to him and said “You see, if you just learned to cycle faster, you wouldn’t have to keep going through all those red lights” and sped off (legally and safely!) into the distance. Not sure whether he was more surprised at someone saying it at all, or that it was a woman… :)

      • ENRICO 04/02/2011 at 10:50 am #

        So true….

    • Matthew 19/11/2010 at 12:12 pm #

      THANK YOU, YOU SAVED ME WRITING MY STORY!

    • Emiliano 04/02/2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Every rider has different limitations and a different level of fitness, confidence and experience. Cyclists normally pass a red to get a head-start on the motorised traffic not other cyclists. Unless somebody is riding selfishly or putting me in danger I can’t see what there is to get stressed about.

  39. Nadine 01/05/2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I have no problem being overtaken, although I do have a pang of “oh I hope he doesn’t think I’m racing him” if I overtake him (or her).

    I have a question regarding cyclepaths: is there any etiquette for giving way to someone on a car-free cycle path, say when overtaking another bike or a pedestrian, or if the path gets narrow? Like in a car, if you have to overtake, do you give way to someone coming the other way, or if you are going downhill and the road is narrow, do you give way to the one coming up the hill? Or are you the aggressive “get outta my way Mrs Snail, let the dog see the rabbit” type? :)

  40. Rams 06/05/2010 at 12:56 pm #

    I’ll always overtake if it safe to do so, and give a nod, and a how you doing as I pass. Don’t mind being over taken but will always try and chase them down, I find it’s good interval training chasing down faster riders.

  41. Mark 29/05/2010 at 10:41 am #

    Blimey. My thought processes are somewhat different when approaching another cyclist from behind. They can be summarised as follows:

    If the other cyclist is male:
    EITHER – “I wonder if he thinks I’m drafting him so I get a nice easy ride?”
    OR – “How long can I stay here wheel-sucking before he notices?”

    If the other cyclist is female:
    EITHER – “I wonder if she thinks I’m staring at her bottom.”
    OR – “How long I can cycle this slowly while admiring her rear before she notices?”

    Please tell me it’s not just me who thinks like this.

    • Andreas 31/05/2010 at 6:09 pm #

      haha excellent comment. Thanks Mark. Unfortunately I can’t agree that I share your style of thinking!

    • Ben 25/06/2010 at 2:10 pm #

      Ha! Love it…. yes I think exactly the same things… usually both of them at once!

    • Johno 26/05/2011 at 12:35 pm #

      It’s not just you mate ;)

  42. Justin Rolfe 03/06/2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I hussle.

    I go slow, then when someone overtakes, I explode and fly into the distance. It makes them feel bad, and that evil steak in me gets satiated (until next time).

  43. Chris G 26/06/2010 at 9:02 pm #

    I love when small groups of cyclists clump together. When they are going fast enough already, join on the back, keep up to the pace and hope someone else tags on the back of you! I feel slightly safer when cycling in a line with other people and I think it looks cool whenever I’m walking down the road and see loads of cyclists all come past together. Also maybe helps cycling awareness? Maybe!

    • Fab 23/07/2010 at 12:11 pm #

      Yeah! I like that too!

  44. Scare 29/06/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I usually overtake if I feel like I can maintain that speed and not get in the way myself! Although I did have a fun incident on the Mall on my morning commute where I decided to overtake a guy, and as I pulled up next to him he said “come on then, lets race” which we did and he won…just (I consoled myself by rationalising his bike was better and Im female..) but it was refreshing to see the playful side of human nature on the way to work! :-D

    • Heather 29/06/2010 at 12:24 pm #

      I like that story! He sounds fun…

  45. Justin Rolfe 29/06/2010 at 8:45 pm #

    To the guy who I overtook down the A5 this morning in Edgeware at about 6:15am, who then raced me all the way to Brent Cross…

    THANKS — I got a new personal best by a whole 2 minutes… loved the race.

  46. Johnomi 26/07/2010 at 7:25 pm #

    I always have an urge to overtake cyclist who are faster, older or have expensive bikes.

  47. Calan 02/08/2010 at 11:36 am #

    Nobody goes past me. Well that’s not technically true – a strong rider had me on the downhill in Richmond park yesterday but I caught him on the hill and nailed him to the wall while he was running out of gas. Like I said, nobody! I’m not a commuter though so my angle is a little scewed here.

  48. Tony in Dublin 19/11/2010 at 1:00 pm #

    The important thing about overtaking is you have to make it seem likes its no effert. This is especially the case when overtaking an older rider! You can puff and pant and grind the gears all you like when catching up but while overtaking you need to whistle nonchalantly as if its no effert at all.
    On a serious note, I’ve had a number of idiots racing me to work which is annoying because city centres are dangerous enough without some prat overtaking you when you’re trying to change lanes!

  49. Gurdip 20/11/2010 at 10:51 pm #

    The problem I have is the last 8 or so miles of my training ride passes a school and depending on what time I set out, I usually end up battling with a number of school children on their bikes pedalling to get home. It doesn’t bother me where I am relative to them on the road/pavement, but I do always wonder what’s going through their heads when they see me on my road bike, dressed up from top to toe in my racing attire – here I am, barely able to make it up the hill from cycling a 60 miler and next to me, a 14 year old, just fresh out from school, full of energy, overtaking me on his chunky-wheeled, heavy-framed mountain bike, bobbing up and down and side to side, glancing over every second to see how far ahead of me he’s gotten. I usually just pace it, then nail it when I hit a flat spot.

    Mucho’ satisfaction!

  50. Flash Gordon 04/02/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Cars do it all the time, so what’s the problem.

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