Cycling Pacelines: Rules and Etiquette for Group Rides

The progressing lane of riders move up the line into the crosswind with the front man taking the brunt of it and quickly, but steadily eases back behind the progressing group. This type of paceline is generally only seen in racing, because there just isn't room for it unless the road is closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Double Rotating Pace Lines

Double rotating pace lines consist of more than one paceline rotating at the same to each side at the same time. Both the right and left side rotate to the back on the same side of the line the rider came off of. This is good for big club rides, just make sure not to cross over the opposite lane to get to the back of the paceline. If your on the right side pace line, stay in the right side pace line until you reach the very back, and then you may switch sides. From an aerial view, it would look like a current of water moving through the middle and two slower currents moving backwards along the sides.

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Tips for Basic Pace Line Riding

  • When riding in pace lines, never ever over lap the wheel of the rider in front of you. If you're pulled up a bit faster than you expect to the rider in front of you, ease all the way up to their hip and sit up, putting your chest into the wind to slow down, or, as a last resort, scrub your brakes.
  • When you get your turn at the front, take a short pull of 5 to15 seconds, and steadily rotate. Also never surge the group when get you get to the front. This is a common mistake of novice riders eager to prove to the group how fast and strong you are- but the object is to conserve the group's energy.
  • If you're in a group that you don't know well, when you're the last man on the back and you start up the progressing lane of riders, shout out "last man." This gives the next rider the heads up that it is his or her turn to do the same thing.
  • As you're pulling to the front, wait to hear the "all clear" signal that alerts you that it's time to pull off the front and into the rest lane, and as you do, also tell the next guy it's clear for them to get over. So in other words communicate! The line will move smoother.
  • Finally if you're completely exhausted and can no longer "pull through," sit on the back of the pace just behind the faster lane and let each rider that drops back go in front of you. This will let you rest until you can keep a little reserve in the tank while also keeping the group happy.

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