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Position in a group or Paceline?(7 posts)

Position in a group or Paceline?flyinbowlofmilk
Nov 4, 2001 5:21 PM
Hi. I am a newbie to road riding. I learned about riding in paceline at a Cycling Tour of N.C.. I went to a LBS group ride today. I got out fine and stayed with the group or paceline, but I got boxed in a couple of times. So I moved out to the outside and I felt fine. But I got boxed in again. Where should a newbie like me position himself in a group or paceline? Is there a position in the group or paceline that would help me draft and ride better? The group and paceline was riding at 17mph or faster. Newbie needs advice on position in a group or paceline.
re: Position in a group or Paceline?rollo tommassi
Nov 4, 2001 6:39 PM
not sure what you mean by 'boxed' in - did you get too close to the shoulder, almost go into a ditch?

best place for newbie is at the back, and let people back into the line so that you are always at the rear. announce your need to the group ahead of time. this allows you to practice drafting without stress of rotating and pulling.

also, consider if the group you are with are riding responsibly and predictably. nothing worse than trying to learn a graceful dance with a herd of squirrells.

if you feel fine about drafting and rotating, but still get this 'boxed in' feeling, perhaps it is others that need to learn a paceline ;)
re: Position in a group or Paceline?flyinbowlofmilk
Nov 4, 2001 7:03 PM
I was riding in this group that formed into a paceline. As soon as I got into a comfortable position where no one was around,but I was still with the group that became a paceline. The rest of the riders came up on me on the outside so I couldn't move to the outside where there was room.
A few tipsspookyload
Nov 4, 2001 9:50 PM
Like Rollo said, stay at the back for the first few rides. Watch what the others you are riding with do and their hand signals they use. If you are truely new you don't need to be at the front for the extra work yet anyways. Learning how to signal potholes or other obstacles is crucial as is learning to signal when you are pulling off. A good pace line can be silent if needed, though the idle conversation helps on long rides. Another tip is stay loose. Gripping the bars tightly will only make you a squirrel. Relax and let your balance keep you straight. Also look ahead of the rider in front of you instead of the rear wheel. If you focus on the rear wheel you will again be all over the place. All of these things can be learned at the back easier than in the middle of the line. You don't pose a threat to others behind you if you are at the back. The people you are riding with should understand this since they were once newbies too. Let them know when they are coming back to fill in front of you. Hope you find a good bunch to ride with, it makes the sport all the more enjoyable.
Position in a group or paceline.cyclinseth
Nov 5, 2001 5:43 AM
It sounds like it might have been a rotating single pace line or maybe a double paceline? If you do feel boxed in because there is someone on your left and the curb on your right make sure you at least have a comfortable amount of room from the wheel in fromt of you. NEVER over-lap the wheel in front of you, bad bad bad!! To be more predictable to the riders behind, go easy with the brakes. Adjust your speed by pedaling lighter, shifting to an easier gear and feathering your brakes while pedaling. It's a natural reaction to freeze up while braking, or going over rough road, bumps, potholes rr tracks, while braking. Learn to pedal through these things.

Good Luck, things are about to get a whole lot more exciting.
what the others said, plusDog
Nov 5, 2001 7:03 AM
First, not much wrong with being "boxed in," unless you feel the need to move up or back. Boxed in usually means "protected" from the wind, which is good. I'd try to get used to it.

While you could stay at the back and allow others to re-enter the line in front of you, each time you do so you'll have to drop back a bit, not be in a draft, and then give a little effort to catch up. If you can, I'd suggest instead to move up the line normally, but just immediately pull off when you hit the front. Nothing wrong with that. Just make sure the way is clear before pulling off. You might try a mirror (I've found the little square version that fits on your glasses to work great - and they even have a new mini version, even better.)

Cannot over emphasize enough - never overlap wheels! It's the number 1, 2, and 3 reason people go down. If someone slows such that you might overlap, slow down too, but not drastically if someone is behind you.

Pay attention to the riders well ahead of you, not just the ones immediately around.

Don't hesitate to ask questions. Say, "I'm new at this. Why are we ...?" People will usually be helpful.

not a paceline - that's a packmr_spin
Nov 5, 2001 7:56 AM
It should be impossible to be boxed in when you are in a paceline. More likely, you were in a pack, where it is quite easy to get boxed in because there is no rotation, or minimal or ad-hoc rotation.

Ideally, in a paceline there should be no one next to you to complete the "box." Even a double echelon paceline (two lines, side-by-side, one moving up, one moving back), because you are moving up or back, you shouldn't get boxed in.

What happens sometimes is you'll be in a working paceline, and some riders will come up from behind and get on but not work. They drift up the side and block you. I've been boxed in several times like that. In that situation, you have to fight for position. Saying something, or signaling with your arm should get them out of the way. Otherwise, just stiff arm them into the curb, or stick a frame pump in their wheel. (Just kidding, of course!)