Central Indiana Bicycling Association


                                                                                      PACELINE BASICS

Communication – let everyone around you know what you're planning to do. 

Cooperation – work together as a team to keep things smooth. 

Awareness – be aware of what's happening around you, and remember that what you do affects the whole pace line. 

Predictability – don't make sudden moves; plan ahead whenever possible. 

                                                          Everyone has a responsibility at the Front of the line: 

• Keep a steady pace – watch your computer to maintain speed, and don't coast. 

• No jack-rabbit starts – ramp up the speed slowly and steadily. 

• Avoid sudden braking – be aware of road and traffic conditions ahead.

• Short pulls – don't stay at the front longer than 1 mile, preferably less. 

• Pull to the back – don't cut into the middle of the line unless traffic requires it. 

Everyone in the paceline has responsibilities: 

• Maintain a safe distance – within a wheel-length of the bike in front of you. 

• Maintain your line – stay directly behind the rider in front of you or a few inches off to one side or the other of the wheel in front of you, just in case there is a sudden stop. Most importantly, don’t overlap wheels (Half-wheeling). You are responsible for protecting your front wheel.

• Keep a steady pace – no sudden braking or accelerations. Do not stand up, or coast without warning those behind you; soft-pedal instead of coasting. 

• Make smooth adjustments – if a gap occurs in front of you, bridge it slowly but steadily. Do not sprint to close the gap unless you are off the back. 

• Do not open a gap to let the rider coming back from the front get in front of you, unless traffic requires it – slowing in the middle of the paceline messes it up for everyone behind you. Avoid causing a Yo-Yo effect.

 • Communicate – when the rider who pulled off the front is beside you, let him know when you are the last one in the line.("Last Bike")

                                                           Everyone has a responsibility when pulling off the front:

Communicate! - Let the rider behind you know by calling, “Coming off”. You can also simultaneously thump your hip with a fist on the left or right butt to indicate to which side you will be pulling off. Some groups use a flick of the elbow. Just be sure you flick the elbow on the side on which you want the person behind you to move up. If you just move over they may think you're moving over to avoid a road hazard and move right along with you.

• Pull forward and over on a diagonal. This moves you out of the way without impeding the line behind you. If you just move laterally and slow down, the rider behind may also have to slow down, causing a ripple effect down the line 

• If in a single paceline, move forward and to the left, then drift back. 

• If in a double paceline, move forward and diagonally to the side you're on, that is; if you're in the left-side line, move up and to the left, from the right-side line, move up and to the right. 

• If you're on a multi-lane road, ride and pull-off from the left while staying within the travel lane. 

• Don't hang out on the way back, making it 3 across. Drift back quickly and get back in the paceline at the end. 

                                                                           When starting up from a stop: 

Make sure you've shifted to an appropriate restart-gear before coming to a stop. Don’t let “Soccer Mom” get you from behind. Be ready to get out of the way if necessary! Do not splinter the paceline because you are not prepared for a green light or green arrow. If riders are in the wrong gear or deep in conversations their delayed departure is likely to cause riders behind them to miss the light.

• As you start up, don't worry about getting cleated-in – JUST PEDAL ! After you've crossed the intersection and are up to speed, then cleat in

• Avoid jack-rabbit starts and increase your speed gradually and steadily to avoid creating gaps behind you 


                                                                  Other considerations while riding in a paceline: 

• If you're at the front and see a road hazard, call it out. 

• If someone calls out a road hazard, repeat it, even if you're last. 

• If you see a car in your rear-view mirror or hear a car behind you, call it out. (Car back)

• If someone calls out “Car Passing!” repeat it, even if you're first.

  • When a group of riders leave a stop sign; each bicycle is equal to a car or any other road user. Cyclists must drive like a car. Do not assume that an entire paceline is entitled to proceed together, uninterrupted, because other traffic has taken a turn.
  • If a driver waves you to go ahead; that does not guarantee that drivers going the opposite direction will capitulate also.
  • Do not ride beyond your ability. If you are struggling to keep up-you are a danger to yourself and to other riders.
  • Stay off tri-bars in a paceline. Cover your brakes as much of the time as possible.
  • If a rider creates a hazard- let them know about it. A paceline should be a learning environment.
  • Most crashes are caused by a moment of inattention.
  • There is no such thing as an “accident”, only a series of events that lead to a crash.

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