Question about movie "Breaking Away"

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by jhuskey, May 18, 2005.

  1. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I have seen this movie several times.It is a mediocre feel good type movie,but has the redeeming quality to be about cycling.
    Heres my question! There is one scene where the Cyclist in the film drafts behind a Semi truck for several miles at 60mph at a high cadence.
    Does anyone have any experience with this?
    This is one I never tried. Is this fesible to sustain such speed behind a truck, and for how long?
    I have felt drafts from large vehicles before but they seem very destabilizing and erratic.
     
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  2. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

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    One of the most asked questions from the movie.

    Answer - if you had a gear big enough you could do it, but it would be much bigger than you'd find on a standard bike. And the bit in the movie is laughable because he's on the little ring. Do a calc on how fast you'd have to crank in your biggest gear to hit 60mph, you'll be a disbeliever.

    John Howard hit 150 mph drafting a special car in Bonneville- and his record has been beaten since then too.
     
  3. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I've done 45 of so behind cars but not for 50 miles. I would think it would be a little rough behind a semi.
     
  4. grampy bone

    grampy bone New Member

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    You should see the bike that this was accomplished on. The chainring is the size of a tire.
     
  5. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    There's a good picture of John Howard's gearing setup here:
    http://www.canosoarus.com/08LSRbicycle/LSR Bike01.htm
    He was pushing TWO big rings.
     
  6. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    I followed a box van for about 10Km earlier this year at speeds from 40-60mph on a road with rolling hills (and mostly down), it was the fastest and longest draft I can remember and also one of the most fun... when the speeds were higher than 50mph it was downhill and the rest of the time I was spinning my ass off in a 53-11.

    I live in Brazil where the trucks are low on power and there are many mountains and hills, I frequently can catch on the back of a truck over the crest of a hill, but there is no way to stay on when they get over 50mph on the flats... at least not with with less than 1000+ watts and either a crazy cadence or some crazy gearing (and a crazy rider willing to stay 5 feet off its bumper ;) ).
     
  7. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    I still think it would only be for a short time as I can spin out a 53-11 at 50mph behind a truck and my power output is still at 800 watts about 10-20 feet behind which means about a minute of fun before total meltdown(although at 40mph you can maintain). I suppose if you knew he wasn't going to shift or tap the brakes and you were right up his ass, you could do it, but even 10-20 feet behind is really sketchy IMO.
     
  8. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    That's my take on it.I just wondered if anyone was crazy enough to have tried it behind a Semi.
    I get very nervous if I can't see where I am going. I am not as adventurous as I once was.
     
  9. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

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    The best trucks to draft are the ones that sit very low to the ground - some of those semis are up kinda high. City busses work good, UPS trucks, trucks with the exhaust up high or up in front. The tough part is catching them or accelerating at the right rate. Not much room for error before you lose the slipstream, but you don't have to be right on the bumper. And make sure your reflexes are quick.
     
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