Paceline Etiquette and Technique

Cycling Paceline Etiquette

Pacelines are a great way to ride efficiently within a group of cyclists.

Unfortunately, many cyclists do not know or understand the [unwritten] rules of riding in a paceline – speed, where to ride, signaling and distance to name a few. For most cyclists, a group ride is a fairly informal event – show up to a shop ride on Saturday/Sunday, gear up and go.

Understanding the purpose of the paceline is as important as understanding the rules of a paceline. Efficiency is the primary purpose of a paceline. Here are some guidelines to making a paceline successful:

Speed — Maintain the “pack” speed when moving to the front! Many will try to man-up or show-off by accelerating when he/she moves to the front. The lead rider should pull off to the side and smoothly decrease speed. The second rider should maintain the speed of the group. If the speed is to be increased, do so slowly and smoothly. Allow the rider to regroup at the back and benefit from the draft. It’s important to remember, the cyclist coming off the lead, just did a pull and is probably a little tired. If you surge, the rider pulling off or even the group may be gapped or even dropped!

Communicate — Always communicate effectively throughout the paceline. Identifying debris in the road or oncoming cars is critical to a successful paceline.

  • Use hand signals to indicate turns (left and right), stopping and slowing.
  • Use verbal warnings. This includes warnings for turns, stopping and slowing. “Car Up” – to warn of approaching vehicles. “Car Back” or “Coming Around” – to warn of passing vehicles. “On your left” – when overtaking an unsuspecting cyclists.
  • Point out and announce hazards in the road. This includes holes, bumps, road kill, gravel, sand, pedestrians, cars, etc. Anything disruptive to a cyclist.

No sudden movements — riders need to ride straight, steadily, and smoothly. Your riding affects all other riders in the group, so be consistent, safe and predictable. Always be aware of what is happening around you.

  • Do not overlap wheels with the rider in front of you!
  • Do not coast in the pace line. If you need to slow a little soft pedal and feather the front brake. Coasting breaks your rhythm, disrupts the line and causes the accordion effect at the back.

Limitations — know your physical limitations. Do not over exert yourself at the front. Stronger riders should pull longer, weaker riders should pull shorter. Do not be embarrassed to simply pull through immediately.

  • Do not ride to the front of the paceline and pull out in 2nd or 3rd position from the front opening gaps for the riders behind you. If you find yourself at the front, pull through and over once the front wheel of the rider who pulled off in front of you is past your rear wheel. This will not take any more energy and prevents opening gaps for the riders behind you.
Cycling Paceline Techniques 

Just as it sounds; the group forms a single line of cyclists. Typically, the rotation is into the direction of the pressing wind; if the wind is pushing from the East, the lead rider will pull off to the left side. However, please use discretion as to the rotation direction; be aware of traffic and the space around the paceline.

ALWAYS be considerate to other cyclists and motorists!

Your actions reflect the club, your sponsors and the cycling community as a whole!

    Vero Cycling, Inc - Vero Beach, Florida

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