Paceline Riding

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Understanding Group / Paceline Riding

  1. Your actions and movements on the bike affect everyone behind you. Your actions will be a chain reaction with all the riders behind you, so stay alert, keep from getting distracted.
  2. It is not safe to ride on aero bars in the paceline. It does not matter how experienced you are, you cannot react quickly enough to a change in the paceline when you are in your aero position. This can result in panic moves when something happens which will affect the riders behind you (this is the reason you do not see aero bars allowed in road racing with packs of riders). Please don’t do it unless you are in the front doing the pull. Experienced riders, please set the example for everyone. 
  3. Many riders will not come to the front of the paceline. If you can hold the speed of the paceline, it is best to stay in the rotation all the way to the front. If you do not want to pull, maintain the pace for a second or two, pull smoothly over, and then slow down to drop back. Slowing down suddenly by braking or just not pedaling to open a gap for a rider coming back from the front causes problems for the riders behind you. 
  4. When the group is going downhill, the riders behind will always roll up on the riders in front because of the drafting advantage. FEATHER YOUR BRAKES LIGHTLY AND TRY NOT TO OVERLAP WHEELS. This will avoid a dangerous situation and will help maintain the paceline rotation once the road flattens out.
  5. If you want to pass riders to come up to the front or you want to initiate something like a sprint or breakaway, look behind you and move smoothly out of the paceline. Make the move smartly, try to accelerate slightly as you pull out, and then accelerate to the speed you want to ride. This will prevent any problems for the riders behind you. 
  6. Here’s a nice trick I learned at PAC Tour last year. When you are in a paceline and want to get out of the saddle for a butt break or to get more power climbing, signal the riders behind you by sticking out your right hand and giving a thumbs up signal. This will alert them that you intend to come out of the saddle. When you come out of the saddle, try to increase the power in your pedal stroke. If you don’t you will actually slow down and cause a problem for the riders behind you. 
  7. When your turn comes to pull at the front and you want to pick up the pace do it in single digit increments (i.e. don’t surge). This will allow a smooth acceleration at the back and also make it easier for the rider who just pulled your butt to get back on.