Riding the Paceline - Summary
Paceline Goals & Characteristics
- The group goal is uniform intensity, without abrupt speed variations in the paceline.
- The paceline is about relatively constant energy output. Vary the speed with the terrain - slower uphill, faster downhill.
- Think about your effect on the group. Riding the paceline is a learned skill.
- Maintain a constant distance between you and the rider in front of you.
- Make all your speed changes and moves smoothly so that you are easy to follow.
- The paceline achieves higher speeds due to group efficiency through teamwork.
- Be predictable.
- A tight paceline is efficient. Stay within 2-5 feet of the wheel in front of you. Shrink this distance with trust and experience.
- Short pulls. Pull to the top of the first hill.
- Give visual and/or verbal signals when you turn over the lead.
- Give visual and/or verbal signals regarding road hazards.
- Leader - pull on descent. If you don't, then the riders behind will be using their brakes.
- If you are tired when you come to the front, do not pull. Rotate to the back of the paceline.
- Save your energy - stay with the group and don't get dropped.
- Do not accelerate around corners; do not attack on hills.
- Don't accelerate hard from intersections until everyone in the group is through the intersection.
- Yield for traffic. If you are bringing the group through an intersection, you need more time/space than for just yourself. If the group splits, slow and/or wait until everyone is back in the group and then accelerate slowly and evenly.
Doing it Wrong & How to Tell
Causes - General
- Gaps of a couple of bike lengths or more in the group.
- An accordion-effect in the paceline.
Causes - Specific
- A rider is thinking only of himself, not the group.
- A rider is doing something "because he can", not thinking about the effect on the group.
- Random speed changes - someone is not paying attention.
- Ungraceful lead change. The leader stalls before turning over the lead or the new leader accelerates quickly.
- The front rider makes abrupt changes in the pace.
- Early leaders pull the group out too fast. Going out too fast is a common mistake made by rookies and veterans alike.
- Faster riders are pulling the group faster than the agreed-upon pace. A sub-group may form off the front.
- Riders in the back don't hold to the wheel in front. Every rider must try to hold to the wheel in front. A sub-group may form off the back later in the ride.
- Do NOT make sudden moves. You are riding in tight formation and may cause a crash.
- Gracefully break formation for significant hazards.
- Do NOT ride on aerobars in the paceline, unless you are in the lead.
- Do NOT let your bike kick backward when you stand. Do a couple of progressively harder strokes right before you get out of the saddle, then an even harder stroke as you stand. This requires concentration.
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