Yesterday’s post reminded me of what it means to be a HWB, or half-wheeling bastard. Essentially, when riding in a group there’s lots of unspoken things that you have to take into account. be upfront and timely with your hand signals, use some fricken mudguards if the roads are covered with slurry and it’s raining. hold your line, don’t let gaps open, that sort of thing. however, one of the worst offences is to half-wheel. this nefarious practice consists of edging your wheel in front of a friend/clubmate/enemy when riding in parallel. they then have to speed up a bit to keep level. this leads to a steady increase in pace until one of you pops. when me and steve are both en forme, it’s sometimes hard not to half-wheel a little bit, simply because we’re both riding tempo and neither wants the other one to think that the other one is weak, or suffering, or no longer en forme. this happened once when we were zigzagging up and down some climbs in the brecon beacons. as i mentioned in a previous post, even when riding with best friends, it’s still rewarding to see someone else is weaker than you are at that moment in time – throw in a tailwind and a climb and you may as well be eddy merckx, the cannibal, the scourge of cyclists everywhere, at least for a brief moment. this is the nature of cycling, to a certain degree. anyway, when we went to ventoux we had a ‘no half-wheeling’ pact, lest something catastrophic might happen. on the upcoming tour de douchebag there won’t hopefully be any need for a half-wheeling moratorium because we’ll be riding 120 miles per day; survival will be the main objective, not futile and machiavellian displays of sub-puncheur prowess.