With many cyclist preparing for the season of sportives, it's worth reminding ourselves of the importance of being aerodynamic.
We spend hundreds or thousands of pounds on our cycling steads. The cost of these bikes seems to be excessive. It's not because the cost of the raw materials, but from the amount companies spend on research. That research is how to get lighter and more aerodynamic materials.
When out on a club ride or maybe a sportive, cyclists should be always aware of aerodynamics. Why buy a slick bike, and ride it wearing a backpack and wooly jumper? If a cyclist does the utmost to avoid the punishment dished out by wind resistance, they will benefit greatly. The Velominate have a rule or two relating to this;
Rule #32 //. Humps are for camels: no hydration packs. Hydration packs are never to be seen on a road rider's body. No argument will be entered into on this.
You can take the rules of the Velominate with a very large pinch of salt. Some of them are garbage, but most have some substance to them. The rule #32 is basically saying to you that camel packs will cause substantial drag while riding your bike. As will lose fitting and fluffy clothing. There is very good reason that pro's and amateurs all around the world wear tight fitting synthetic clothing.
Getting in someones slipstream is good, but introduce yourself if they don't know you. If your feeling the pace a bit on a ride, tuck yourself into the group. Tell the others around you that you are suffering and need to stay off the front, most riders will understand. If you are out on a sportive and manage to make your way onto someone up the roads wheel; introduce yourself and tell them you are going to wheel suck them for a while. When you feel strong enough, you can go around them and tell them to tuck in and enjoy the hole you are making in the wind for them.
So if you are preparing for a big ride, keep in mind how you can reduce your aero drag. Put a water bottle in your pocket instead of a camel pack, you can bin the bottle when finished with it. Don your tightest fitting clothing, and prepare to wheelsuck stronger riders. Keep your nose out of the wind wherever possible. Every little helps a lot.