Saddle Slang is sponsored by Rehook. Check out our tools, bike care and apparel


Verb, Noun

Freeloading is when a cyclist drafts behind a car or another cyclist to save energy.

Example usage: I was able to make up a lot of time on the group ride by freeloading.

Most used in: Time Trial cycling, particularly in training rides.

Most used by: Time Trial cyclists who are looking to conserve energy.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Also see: Drafting, Slingshotting, Slipstreaming, Wheel-sucking,


What is Freeloading in Time Trial Cycling?

Freeloading is a cycling term used in the context of Time Trial cycling. It is a type of drafting, where one cyclist gets a free ride behind another cyclist and benefits from the slipstream created by the cyclist in front. This technique is used to reduce wind resistance and improve the speed of the cyclist behind.

Statistics show that when two cyclists are riding side by side, the cyclist in the back can reduce their energy output by up to 40% compared to the cyclist in front. This is a significant advantage and can be the difference between winning and losing a Time Trial race. However, it is generally frowned upon in competitive cycling and is not allowed in most races.

Freeloading is considered a form of cheating and is punishable by disqualification in some races. To avoid freeloading, cyclists are advised to remain at least two bike lengths apart while competing in a Time Trial. This will ensure that no unfair advantage is gained by either cyclist.

In conclusion, freeloading is a term used to describe a form of drafting in Time Trial cycling. It can provide a significant advantage to the cyclist in the back, but is considered cheating and is not allowed in most competitive races. Cyclists should always remain at least two bike lengths apart to avoid freeloading.

The History of Freeloading in Time Trial Cycling

The term 'freeloading' has been used in the sport of Time Trial cycling since at least the 1950s. It was first used in the United States, specifically in the area of Southern California, to describe the practice of drafting behind another cyclist in order to save energy and improve performance.

In Time Trial cycling, the goal is to complete the course in the shortest amount of time possible. Freeloading is a tactic used by cyclists to gain an advantage over their opponents by taking advantage of the slipstream created by the cyclist in front. This reduces the amount of effort needed to maintain speed, resulting in a faster time.

The term 'freeloading' has since become synonymous with the practice of drafting in Time Trial cycling. It is now used in other sports and activities as well, including running and sailing.

The term 'freeloading' has become an integral part of Time Trial cycling and is now used to describe any tactic that gives a cyclist an advantage over their opponents without expending extra energy.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3