Cycling certainly has ethics. Not every rider has the same set of ethics, but there are ethics nonetheless. And, it could be argues that some ethics are better than others. This all leads to the title of the blog which is why I am declaring myself a "no tow" zone.
By "no tow" that means that if, for some reason, I actually pass another cyclist while on a ride, it is not OK for that cyclist to immediately jump on my wheel and get a free tow. Why I am declaring myself a "no two" zone? There are a lot of good reasons.
First off, while the rider drafting me is getting a "free" ride, it is not "free" for me. Of course I could be a jerk, but if there is someone behind me I now have to point out obstacles, let the rider know I am actually stopping at stop signs(heaven forbid); basically act like I am not the only one who is affected by my actions. Secondly, I have to worry that the rider behind me actually knows what they are doing and will not crash into me as I stop at the aforementioned stop sign(don't laugh, this has happened to me).
Frankly, I don't mind if the passed rider comes up to me and asks "do you mind if I sit on." I usually respond in the affirmative for such polite behavoir. What yanks my chain is the passed rider acting like we are in some sort of mano y mano two-up race. Such a rider refuses to communicate when I ask him or her how they are doing just returning a steely-eyed grin that says "just you wait to the next red light. When you stop I am going to run it and take off." Which, unfortunately is what a lot of those riders do.
It is almost like there are two separate types of responses to tagging along. The good guys, who seem to be in the minority, realize that they are imposing on your ride and ask permission. The bad guys, who seem to be in the majority, regard the passing as a complete stomping of their egos and respond in apparent insecurity by copping a major attitude and declaring 'let the race begin.'
I must add that when I pass a rider, I try to make it as non-competitive as possible usually saying something like "good morning" or "good afternoon". I realize that there are some people who just aren't capable of handling the act of being passed so I go out of my way to make everyone feel as good as possible about the situation.
But, sometimes my non-confrontational method just doesn't work and an instant competition ensues. At that point, I try to engage the rider in polite conversation in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.
OK. If you can't tell, I clearly feel pretty strongly about this situation. Instead of continuing this rant, all I ask of riders who want to latch onto a passing cyclist is to ask permission first. Just tacking onto a rider without any contact and even worse, turning it into a race, is pretty poor behavior. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Enough said.