What is drafting?
Drafting is when one cyclist rides very closely behind another, allowing the first rider to cut through the air for them both. The cyclist riding behind is met with much less air resistance and can ride at the speed of the front rider with less effort.
Drafting provides shelter from the wind and preserves energy for the cyclist behind. It is an important tactic in almost all forms of bicycle racing. Try it in Bkool Cycling.
Drafting in the simulator
We have improved the simulation of drafting in the Bkool simulator to make it more realistic and enhance your experience.
To draft in real life, you have to constantly adjust your speed, occasionally even using the brakes to stay in the draft. In a simulation, there are no brakes. Instead, we’ve implemented a small adjustment in resistance that helps the following cyclist stay in the drafting position. With this adjustment, the drafting rider’s resistance changes very slightly to make it easier to match the pace of the rider in front. Since this assistance is so light, significant speed changes by either cyclist will bring you out of the draft and the adjustment will no longer be in effect. When drafting, you will be able to see the draft visualized at the top of the simulator screen.
Since drafting reduces air resistance, it is easy to accelerate once in the draft and inadvertently pass the cyclist in front of you. Learning to adjust your power while in the draft is important to maximizing its benefit.
Once you overtake the front rider, you’ll lose the drafting effect as you meet the full force of the wind.
In a simulation, it is also impossible to turn the handlebars to go around the rider in front. So, to stop drafting, either pedal harder to overtake or ease up to fall back out of the front rider’s draft.
In a peloton, the effect of drafting can be much greater. Drafting in a group can reduce air resistance up to 60% relative to the rider in front.
We’ve also changed the on-screen representation of drafting.
Now the representation is simpler: it only shows when you are drafting or when drafting is possible. At very high or low speeds compared to the cyclists nearby, drafting will not be shown.
When you are closing in on someone, two arrows appear between the cyclists. You are the yellow one in the center of the screen.
When you are in the drafting zone, the two cyclists are framed in a yellow box.
When someone is closing in on you, the representation is similar, but the two arrows appear behind your icon. Again, when they enter the drafting zone behind you, the icons are framed in a yellow box.
If you have cyclists both ahead and behind, the display will show either both coming closer, both in drafting position, or a combination of the two.
To make the best use of drafting, you need to keep in mind:
- The distance: when you are close to the cyclist in front, you have less resistance than if you reduce your speed and fall farther behind.
- The speed: to make the simulation more realistic, a minimum speed is required to achieve reduced resistance. The drafting effect starts to apply at 15 kph ≈ 9 mph.