Bumping etiquette

I had my first experience with someone trying to bump me to get a better line. I didn’t budge so he came in with his helmet, I saw him coming so I leaned into him. He’s probably 80kg while I’m about 100kg, he bounced off me and clipped his pedal, nearly taking out another rider.

No one crashed but I got some flack for what happened. Apparently he was trying to get onto his friend’s wheel which is why he bumped in the first place; I have no idea how I was supposed to know that since they weren’t wearing the same jerseys. Secondly, as the bigger rider I’m supposed to yield to smaller riders. He said something to the effect of “this isn’t UFC, there aren’t weight classes here to protect smaller riders so the bigger rider is responsible for taking it easy”. I’ve never heard this before but this was also my third practice crit ever, is this just a house rule or is this universal to crit racing?

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heh. I have no idea as I’m not very experienced in crits, but I would think if you are going to bump someone to take the wheel in front of them you better be able to hold your own. Hard to say how much you leaned back into him. I think you have a right to protect yourself, but we’ve seen Sagan and other’s get flack for “leaning” into people. It’s kind of hard to determine who’s leaning into who so regardless some might fault you, some might fault them. The two things I’d say are one, you don’t have to give up the wheel in front of you and two, you have a right to protect yourself including bracing for contact from someone trying to get physical. His size has nothing to do with it if he’s the one trying to initiate.


If you are a bigger rider, watching smaller riders bounce off you during a race is God’s way of partially making amends for all those times you got dropped on climbs.

The basic rule is that cycling is not supposed to be a contact sport. But, you don’t have to yield to someone trying to force you off your line. Generally, the person who moves laterally is in the wrong but, also generally speaking, the kind of thing you describe is just racing and not something that guy should have gotten all pissy about.


As a smaller rider I fully support this unwritten rule of racing. :rofl: If he bumped you 2x, that is something he did that was wrong, not you. Trying to turn it around on you is almost victim blaming. If anything you have grounds to be mad at him for being an aggressive jerk.


Hmm, good point. I don’t remember how hard or fast I leaned into him, lots of adrenaline at the time so I might’ve been too rough. At the time it felt like I just moved my body to the right to keep him from hitting my handle bars.

I also didn’t think he was that much lighter than me, he’s a good 10-15cm taller than me. But it also wasn’t a situation of me doing the maths to see how hard I could push him, it was more like instinct.

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I think that guy was totally out of line. It’s not cool to bump someone off a wheel just because you want it. I assume that it’s against the rules somewhere.

I raced a ton of crits 25 years ago. There wasn’t any intentionally bumping people off of wheels. Any contact was accidental or necessary to prevent a crash.

I think people see the worst of what goes on in the pro peloton and then try to emulate it. Sagan has been caught bumping a nobody off a wheel he wanted. Since the Jackobson crash, this kind of stuff seems to be much less tolerated.


Total nonsense.

The rider holding their line has the right to that position…size is immaterial. He wanted the wheel you were on…well, tough cookies. He should have covered it better, earlier.


I am a smaller rider, and I support this statement. Also, L.O.L. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: !

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If he bounced off of you, he didn’t have position anyway, so that’s his problem, not yours. If he had position, you would’ve had to move to protect your front wheel. If he doesn’t have position, he’s got nothing to say.

This is like the guy that bitched at me for sitting second wheel as the field tried to chase my breakaway teammate down. Like, go around me and do some work then, jackass. I’m not blocking you.

Tell that guy to get position. He fought for the wheel and lost. That’s how it works.

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Bumping for position as an amateur is an asshole move. Doing it in a practice crit should get you permanently banned. You were in the right, he was completely out of line.


Practice crit, different jersey’s…good lord. This guy is either a jackass or completely misinformed or very new to it all.


The only “etiquette” is whoever’s bars are in front has priority.

There are many ways to steal a wheel without resorting to bumping.

Bumping is a natural and totally expected consequence of speed differentials while overtaking closely. It’s also a way to check other riders when you need to let them know you are there, without having to take your hands off the bars (relegation).

I race P12’s and I’m often the smallest rider in the field, and god lmao I wish this were true hahaha.

It’s much harder for smaller riders to secure positions because we are easy targets for having wheels stolen. But on the flip side, it’s easier for small guys with narrow bars to shoot gaps that only exist for us. So there are pro’s and con’s that goes both ways.

But EVERYONE needs to fight for their own positions. And NOBODY is gifted anything special. Definitely not by size.

This is the key difference between fast group rides and bike racing. It’s a constant battle to fight for the best position, and love it or hate it, it is pretty Wild West… especially considering that the officials don’t see 90% of what’s happening on the backside of the course.

This guy is literally making House Rules to benefit him. Cute… haha…

There are many ways to ignore him as there are ways to steal wheels.


Leaning in to contact is often the safest way to handle it, not sure what this guy expected. Repeatedly bumping someone to take a wheel is uncalled for and intentionally using your helmet to make contact crosses the line. Not sure the rules you were racing under but that would likely result in a DQ if observed by an official.

No one is entitled to any specific wheel or position in the bunch, regardless of being teammates or buddies or whatever. There are plenty of ways to fight aggressively for position in a crit without any actual fighting.

Based on your description, I would not have given up the wheel either. Well, maybe I would in a practice crit :grin: Got to decide how important it is I guess. Don’t want to reward someone for bad behavior but also don’t want to make the situation unsafe for the bunch.

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Wow, 80 kg needs the “smaller rider” protection :flushed:


^^ This 100%


lol. Yeah, technically he’s “smaller”, but he isn’t small. He’s bigger than Wout Van Aert

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What a mature attitude.

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Not certain how this is any different, and arguably worse, than the guy in the original scenario.

Thanks all for the comments. I was packing up my bike when he talked to me and didn’t get a chance to talk to anyone else there. It’s a practice race but there are some senior guys that organize it, I’ll ask them about it as well. The other thing is I’m the new guy there, it was my first time at the race and there’s probably a pecking order I violated.

Maybe justice will be served and this guy will run into some Italians in his next race.

The Retrogrouch: Portable Pumps