Ride leaders can decide to use these best practices or not based on

their comfort level. They are simply an outline for ride leaders and riders

who are not familiar with riding in a group or paceline.

Please note that members of the WRCC often utilize an echelon formation

as wind conditions in our area usually have a sidewind component.

The most important aspects of pacelines or group riding are clear communication

and setting expectations at the beginning of the ride for riders.

  1. Practice On Your Own:
    1. You should be able to ride a straight line.
    2. While the greatest benefits of a paceline are felt the faster you ride, these best practices can be applied in any ride.
    3. You should be able to remove your water bottle from the cage, take a drink, and replace it while still holding your line and maintaining speed, or wait to take a drink at the end of the paceline.
    4. It is highly recommended that riders have a mirror affixed to their glasses, helmet or bike that allows them to look behind without turning their head.
  2. Etiquette:
    1. Anything you do should be smooth and deliberate.
      1. Everything you do translates all the way through the group.
    2. Always pedal steadily.
      1. Maintain a consistent distance and speed.
      2. This would ensure riders do not cause a “yo-yo” effect.
    3. Do not overpull when up front. If you wear yourself out up front, you will not be able to hang on at the end of the line.
    4. Your pull should not exceed 30-45 seconds (or as discussed before the ride). Once your pull is complete, pull off and rotate to the back.
      1. Remember, the point of a paceline is that everyone rides faster with less effort - it is not a race.
    5. On a hill (going up or down), slower riders to the right, faster riders to the left. We regroup after hills on no drop rides.
      1. Ensure your effort, not necessarily your speed, is consistent going up or down a hill.
      2. Give the rider in front of you some space when on a hill to allow for more time to make decisions.
    6. Do not ride closer than you feel comfortable - You can benefit from a draft without being 6” from the wheel.
    7. If you do not want to take a pull or are tired, work through the paceline as usual, and when you are at the front, do a few pedal strokes, then pull off.
    8. Call out if you are the last one in the paceline in case the rider order has changed, e.g. riders joining or dropping off the group.
      1. If you join a paceline, always notify members of the group or ask to join.
    9. Communicate with the ride leader if the pace is too fast.
      1. You are responsible for communicating what you are comfortable with pace-wise. Riding to exhaustion is dangerous for yourself and the other riders around you.
    10. If a gap in the paceline forms, stronger riders should help close gaps quickly and safely.
      1. Safely assess your surroundings and communicate your intentions before closing gaps or bridging riders back to the main group.
  3. Responsibilities when taking on the #1 position:
    1. Keep group together at a steady pace.
    2. Point or call out dangers, holes, trash, roadkill, vehicles, or walkers.
    3. Give directions about turns, slowing down, or stopping.
      1. All riders down the paceline should replicate those to the riders behind them.
    4. When in the lead, your attention should be up front.
      1. Do not look back except for quick glances in your mirror occasionally.
        1. Trust the riders in the back to help you know what is happening behind.
  4. Pulling off from the front:
    1. When you are ready to exit the paceline, let people behind you know with a deliberate flick of your elbow or tap on your hip.
      1. When in a single paceline, you indicate you are pulling off the front using your right elbow/hand as we will always pull off to the left.
      2. In a double paceline, since you should never cross wheels and will always pull off on the left or right depending on which side of the paceline you are on, you indicate that you are pulling off with either your left or right elbow/hand, e.g. on the side you want the person behind you to move up.
      3. In an echelon, it is important you use the appropriate elbow/hand to indicate the side that you want the person behind you to move up. Use the elbow/hand that is on the paceline side. It should be obvious which side the rider will pull off as the echelon will allow the #1 position to drop straight back, blocking the paceline from the wind.
    2. Before pulling off, make sure the road is clear of cars and bikes from the front and back.
      1. If there is a turn ahead, wait until after the turn to pull off.
      2. Anticipate situations where you may not be able to safely drop back.
    3. Ensure that you do not cross the centerline when pulling off, this is even more important when using a double paceline.
      1. Paceline members should stay tight and ensure they are providing ample space for the leads to safely drop back.
    4. Do not pull across the wheel behind you.
      1. In a double paceline, if both people pull off to the right or left, someone has just crossed a wheel.
    5. If in a single paceline, move off smoothly to the left side.
      1. Remember to slow down enough to drift to the back of the line.
      1. Then accelerate to assume the tail position.
      2. Do not take your time doing this.

  1. If in double paceline:
    1. The left lead moves to the left.
      1. The right lead moves to the right.
      2. The paceline will proceed through the middle of the opening the two people up front have created.
      3. Both leads should try to pull off at the same time.
        1. If only one lead drops back, then that side will advance while the other side holds position

  1. If in an echelon, move off smoothly to the windward side. You should simply be able to drop straight back, protecting the paceline from the wind.
    1. Then accelerate to assume the tail position.
      1. Do not take your time doing this.

  1. AVOID the following:
    1. Making quick, unexpected moves, such as standing
    2. Accelerating when you are in the lead position
    3. Slowing down abruptly
    4. Looking back
    5. Not holding the line
    6. Adjusting or stretching which causes you to break your line
    7. Coasting, instead soft pedal down inclines and when the rider ahead of you slows down
    8. Pedal hard and then coast (repeat)
    9. Pull off across the wheel behind you
    10. Overlapping of wheels
    11. Using headphones
    12. Using aerobars
      1. Note: In the event they are medically necessary, ride off the back on the paceline giving yourself plenty of room
    13. All of the above actions are disruptive to a paceline and can endanger others on the ride and yourself.  These recommendations are to ensure all riders are staying safe while learning new skills.
  2. Appendix
    1. Hand signals from: https://bikeleague.org/content/signaling
    2. Left Turn: Fully extend your left arm out to the side
    3. Right Turn: Fully extend your right arm out to the side or bend your left arm up at a right angle with your hand flat.
    4. Slowing or Stopping: Extend your left arm out at a right angle with your hand open

coming soon