OK. I titled this (entirely useless) review “half-wheeling,” when its proper name is “filthy half wheeling.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I want you to look in the mirror. You might be looking at a filthy half-wheeler.
Your sin, should you confess to it, is riding one half-wheel in front of your riding companions, no matter how fast they themselves ride. You should know this is an annoying habit of yours. Maybe you don’t mean to be annoying. We’re friends. You are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But annoying you are, nonetheless.
If you are an intentional half-wheeler, I’m sorry. They’ve created an extra, eighth circle of hell for riders like you. You’ll be half-a-wheel length closer to the fiery flames there. Enjoy! Alternately, you might be punished here on Earth by only ever getting half-a-wheel to use. Go ahead! Half wheel with that!
I’ve actually been half-wheeled enough in my days that it doesn’t bother me much anymore. Once upon a time, I’d respond to that move by slowing down, breaking the half-wheeler’s rhythm, and then speeding up again, because saying, “Do you mind slowing down ever so slightly?” would be too direct. But you can’t fight passive-aggressive fire with passive-aggressive fire. So now I just ride my pace, and the let the half-wheeler struggle with the question of why I’m not faster.
I already know.
And what are we talking about here? 311mm (622mm/2), plus or minus the height of the tire? 14.5″? If you’re throwing for the line at the end of a one-day Classic, ok, those 311mm are important. If you’re throwing the shotput for Olympic gold, that 311mm is a yawning chasm of life-defining victory. But if you’re out with a friend, someone you genuinely like, maybe those 311mm are hurting more than helping.
Riding bikes isn’t musical chairs. It’s not advantageous to be just slightly in front of your companions. It it WAS musical chairs, there’d be music. And chairs.
Look, if this is you, if you’re the filthy half-wheeler, and you’re just finding out, don’t take it too hard. I understand how you are. First of all, you’re a little too fit. That’s a good thing, because health. Also, you’re oblivious, and in this day and also age, that’s probably a good thing too. If you were more tuned in, you might feel depressed, which, let me tell you, is no laughing matter. Also, also, you don’t see what the big deal is, and you’re right; it’s not a big deal.
Unless you’re the person riding slightly behind, whose heart rate won’t quite settle, who left their house with a walloping inferiority complex, who isn’t that convinced riding bikes is really their thing anymore, who just wants to ride at a sane pace and have a little chit-chat. If you’re that person, then what you’d most like is for the half-wheeler to just cut it the f*&$ out.
If you like The Cycling Independent or even just the idea of what TCI could be, and you’d like us to survive the modern Hunger Games that is today’s cycling media hellscape, then please, for the love of all that’s holy, consider subscribing. You hate that kind of commitment? Then just hit the tip jar. Please.
I would argue that half wheeling can be useful if there is a quartering headwind. I will freely admit to doing it when riding with somebody who isn’t as strong so that we can talk but they don’t have to work quite as hard
There is actually a book,” Half Wheel Hell and Other Cycling Stories” by Maynard Hershon, from sometime in the ’90s. One story is about a guy half-wheeling Eddy Merckx on a group ride not long after Eddy had retired. The guy didn’t know who he was half-wheeling. Got Schooled.