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wēl sʌk

Noun, Verb

A cyclist who rides in the slipstream of another cyclist or group of cyclists, expending less energy than the lead rider(s).

Example usage: John was wheel sucking the group of riders up the hill.

Most used in: Commuting and recreational cycling contexts.

Most used by: Cyclists who prefer to conserve energy.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 5/10

Also see: Drafting, Slingshot, Slipstreaming, Wheel Surfing,


What is a Wheel Suck?

Wheel Suck, or drafting, is a cycling technique used by cyclists to reduce drag while riding. Drafting occurs when a cyclist follows closely behind another cyclist, taking advantage of the air displacement created by the lead cyclist. This allows the trailing cyclist to save energy, as the air displacement creates a vacuum that pulls the trailing cyclist forward.

Wheel Suck is often used in racing, where a group of cyclists will form a line in order to maximize the energy-saving effect of drafting. According to studies, drafting can reduce a cyclist’s energy output by up to 40%, allowing them to maintain a higher speed for a longer period of time.

Wheel Suck is also used by recreational cyclists as a way to conserve energy while riding. By riding in a group and taking turns at the front of the group, cyclists can achieve a higher speed while expending less energy.


The Origin of the Cycling Term 'Wheel Suck'

The term 'wheel suck' originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in the cycling world of North America. It is used to refer to a cyclist who drafts behind another cyclist, using the slipstream of the lead cyclist to conserve energy. This tactic is used to reduce wind resistance and conserve energy, allowing the trailing cyclist to travel faster than they would otherwise be able to.

The term was first used in the cycling community to describe an individual who was taking advantage of the lead cyclist, without doing any of the work. The term was likely derived from the idea of a 'leech' or 'parasite', as the trailing cyclist was not contributing any effort to the group.

Today, the term is commonly used in the cycling world to describe any cyclist who is drafting behind another, regardless of their contribution to the group. The term has also been adopted in other sports, such as running and swimming, to describe someone who is taking advantage of the lead athlete.

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Saddle Slang

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