Riding in a pace line is the best way to save energy, and when mastered can make cycling more fun! But, to keep a group safe, everyone must know what their responsibility is, and commit to working together.
The following are 10 tips that will help you on your next group ride.
- When leading or pulling, maintain the average speed of the group to keep everyone together. You WILL need to look over your shoulder often, especially on hills, to make sure you haven’t dropped anyone. If you drop a few riders on the climb, wait for them at the top.
- Point out obstacles that may be harmful such as rocks, gravel, cars, glass, etc. Pass this information down the line.
- If you are getting too close to the person in front of you and need to slow down, try to do so by moving to the right or left of the tire in front of you and sit up taller on your bike to slow yourself down. If this doesn’t work, try to LIGHTLY squeeze both the brakes so your decrease in speed is not sudden or extreme. Do not jam on the brakes as this will cause a domino effect down the line and be disastrous to those in the back of the pack – ie: they will crash.
- Remember that the person behind you can only react to what you do so you must ride predictably and avoid any sudden movements or changes in direction. ALL riders must ride in a straight line!
- If you are within 1/2 a bike length from each other, ride through intersections and roundabouts as one “vehicle”.
- Everyone MUST pull when it is their time or you will confuse the order. If you are tired, you can take a shorter pull – even if it is only 10seconds. If you are a strong rider and can hold the pace easily, you may take a longer pull such as 1 -10 minutes, depending on how long your ride is, and what the group decides is fair.
- Do NOT drink, eat, adjust your bike or do anything EXTRA when you are pulling. You have the entire group trusting your judgment and cycling skills so you need to be alert and consistent. If you need to eat, drink or adjust something, pull out and move to the back.
- Communicate within the group, letting the lead rider know when they have dropped a rider or when the pace is too fast.
- No matter which position you are in the group, pay attention to the road and what is happening in front, behind, and beside you. Do not blindly follow the leader.
- When you have finished your pull, move to the left away from the rider behind you, then slow down to allow the group to ride past you. You want to quickly get back in the draft and out of traffic which is not only safer but will also help preserve your energy. NOTE: If you find yourself out in traffic with a car coming behind you, indicate to the rider beside you that you would like to move back in. This rider can slow down and once an opening is made, you can move back into the middle of the line.. You now have a new order – which is fine.