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Paceline ettiquette(17 posts)

Paceline ettiquettedealy663
Feb 7, 2002 4:08 PM
I recently returned to the roadie life after a decade or so off, so some things are stale in my mind.

Today while riding to work along the bike path from Manhattan Beach to Marina Del Rey I finally ran into someone of about the same speed as I. Today was supposed to be a relaxed day as yesterday was pretty hard. And for the first time someone actually caught up to me (riding a carbon fibre Colnago -- sweet!). I moved over attempting to take it easy but he stayed on my tail. I realized he wanted to work with me. So I dropped two cogs and kicked it up a notch.

After a few minutes I began to tire and slowed on a slight rise. He passed me and since I was able to take turns faster than him I caught him up within a minute or so. I stayed behind him for awhile enjoying the draft about 6" off his rear wheel. We traded like this about 3 or 4 times each over the next 5 or 6 miles.

By the end of this when we parted ways I was completely burnt, not a relaxed day at all. I was very self concious about pulling my weight and not spending too much time in the back. It was great fun, and I was amazed at how much it helps to have someone right in front of you.

How long are you supposed to stay on point? Until you're tired, or is there some sort of rule. How unruly is it for someone that isn't as strong to stay in back a little longer? Is there a prefered distance between his rear and my front tires?

I gotta get into group rides, that was such a kick this morning. Its too bad I normally hit the road at about 6:20, there just aren't that many people out that early. And sometimes it is less than 40 degrees at that hour.

First rulemr_spin
Feb 7, 2002 4:16 PM
Don't run a paceline on a bike path! I've ridden that path many times and that's just reckless.

Second rule: It's not your responsibility to get anyone else home. This rule doesn't apply if you brought them or there are other friendly arrangements in place. But for otherwise able-bodied strangers, don't kill yourself trying to be macho. Also, if you go too hard on point, you might find yourself dropped when you pull off. You have to hold some back to catch back on.
First ruledealy663
Feb 7, 2002 4:29 PM
Sorry, but I completely disagree with your assesment of that being reckless. At that hour in the morning there are very few people on the path. Its pretty much just you the sand and the sea... oh and the wind kicking your butt on occasion :-)

I don't think I've ever said "on your left" when going to work in the morning. But say it several times most everyday when coming home.

Thanks for the tip.

First ruleTroyboy
Feb 8, 2002 10:27 AM
I too have ridden that path countless times. Running a paceline on that path would be entirely reckless. It is curvy and covered with sand most of the time. I do not call a pair of riders taking turns pulling up that path at 6 or so am a paceline. The sand covered path and all the turns force the pace to be reasonable. The bums walking it and crossing it keep the pace down too.
Drafting rules-glad you asked!Lewis
Feb 7, 2002 5:59 PM
Don't worry about pulling your weight. If you two decide to work together, take a moderate pull KEEPING THE SAME SPEED AS WHEN YOU ARE DRAFTING. Don't speed up! If you have a strong headwind, take short pulls. You should be rotating more. Tailwind, longer pulls.

Pull for as long as you feel comfortable and pull over, give a little look back to tell the guy behind you that it's his turn. Or, you can give a flick of the elbow or hand to tell him to pull. Usually a look back is enough.

If he is stronger than you, it is fine to stay back. Don't kill yourself trying to take a pull or come around someone. If he wants to pull, let him pull.

Ride as close to his back wheel as you feel safe. Never overlap his back wheel (unless you are doing an echelon paceline for crosswinds). One little jitter and his back wheel will take you out in a split second.

What is NOT cool is using someone else's work to launch yourself away and leave them in the dust. Many, many beginners don't get this concept. A paceline is a group working together. It's just common courtesy to "help" at the front after you drafted for 200 meters (or whatever).

IF YOU WANT TO SPRINT UP A HILL OR "GO FOR IT", TELL THE OTHER PEOPLE YOU HAVE BEEN DRAFTING OFF. Saying, "Hey, I'm gonna go for that hill. I'll wait for you after the top" or "Thanks for pulling, I'm going to take off after that stop sign"
Obviously, this doesn't count for race situations. But out training or riding, this stuff is just about being decent to your fellow rider.

Nothing pisses me off more than someone sucking wheel, taking off on a flyer and then thinking they can just get a free ride again. WRONG. If you want a domestique, pay one. If you meet some people and start a paceline, COMMUNICATE and respect the fact they are WORKING WITH YOU. Don't use their sweat to lauch your ego into orbit. IF YOU WANT TO DO INTERVALS, DO THEM ALONE OR TELL THE RIDERS AROUND YOU SO THEY CAN ADJUST.
I don't get too annoyed because I know most of it is ignorance, but at times its pretty annoying.
*end of rant*
Very Niceallervite
Feb 7, 2002 6:25 PM
Good advice. Don't attack the group or face the cosequences. A lot of riders will chase you down and do their best to drop you. I have been on rides where one of the senior riders will take his place in front of an upstart who just came back and is on the back of the pack. Then the senior rider will let a gap grow between himself and the pack and then explosively jump across it leaving the poor guy chasing in the wind. I know some riders who will get a little annoyed at riders taking too long of pulls too, especially if their speed slowly tapers off and slows the group. And sometimes just cause they think the guy is showing off. Personaly, if their speed does not change they can pull all day as long as I'm concerned.

A good rule is 20 revolutions per pull. Not too much not too little.
20 revs seems a waste of energycyclopathic
Feb 8, 2002 11:55 AM
unless paceline goes at 28-30mph. I usually keep it in 40-100 sec range

Alot of it depends on agreement, who you ride with and what kind of ride it is.

If I'm hurt and stronger rider passes me I'd ask permission to draft and usually get it.

On longer rides you have to relay on others when you bonk (this is not the question if just when). I've pulled friends without turns for 1-2 hours, and they had a chance to return favor. There're riders I would not get into paceline under any conditions for personal reasons
Drafting rules-glad you asked!Iseemo
Feb 8, 2002 10:06 AM
Bravo! Well put. I am sick and tired of the "surger" mentality [not that this is what may be happening with the original poster, this is just a good response for riding in general] - you have summed up all my concerns regarding neophyte (and some who aren't) riders. This post is especially pertinent for winter riding.
That's some crazy stuffliu02bhs
Feb 7, 2002 6:41 PM
I don't care whether or not people draft off of me and not take a pull. In fact, I rather have people draft off of me than me pulling by myself, because they give me motivation. Sometimes when I draft off of people on my easy days, they start to curse at me for drafting. These are the ones that totally piss me off. If they want to lose me, just go faster or tell me to get off. Profanity does not solve anything. I swear, next time some guy does that, I'll just go to my car, take out a bat and beat him down. So next time some guy is unwelling to work with you, just beat him down. Release some of that hermone and teach that fagg0t a lesson.
pacelining is like having unprotected s.e.xcyclopathic
Feb 7, 2002 6:47 PM
never do it with strangers, esp riding with wheel overlap.
think what would happen if ride 6" off rear wheel and guy hits brakes hard?

putting that aside if you feel you pulled enough and you wanna someone to take the turn just move to the right and invite with hand. Slow down and take your place at the back.

If you're leading paceline your responsibility includes alerting about different hazards like upcoming turns, cars, potholes, stop signs, broken glass etc etc etc.

You shouldn't be leading paceline upto the point you get tired or you'd get dropped. Take reasonable turns if riding with headwind take shorter turns
you can get herpes from pacelining....ohh. noooojohan burnt eels
Feb 7, 2002 7:36 PM
just kidding

Pace Lininggrzy
Feb 8, 2002 5:51 PM
Never do it with strangers? C'mon you should be able to assess the guys ability in just a little bit of time and if you can't then just allow a little more room. Keep a slightly larger gap until you get comfortable and confident. Sure they can still freak out and surprise you, but if you should be able to also see what is coming that might cause the to freak. A little bit of sidestep wil help. There are times on century rides when I determine that some one is too inexperienced and unpredictable to get very close to. Your buddy can still hit his brakes hard, so I don't see how you're really protected. The only real time for maintianing wheel overlap is when there is a significant cross wind component and people are in echelon - otherwise you're just asking to go down. You should slide out into the breeze if you start closing on someone and stay OFF the brakes at all times. If you're leading and you need to hit the brakes you have to let people know in advance.

On the lead change - many people feel it's better for you to look over your left shoulder to see if it's clear, then pull out to the LEFT. This way you're the only one exposed to potential troubles with traffic, not the entire pace line. The look over the left shoulder is the signal that you're going to pull off. If it isn't clear then don't pull off - too many people just pull off to the right and have no idea that they've just forced the whole PL into traffic approaching from behind. It also gives you more options - where are you going to go if the PL squeezes you to the right and there's no shoulder or there's some object in your way. Once you have this happen a couple times you'll see. Once you pull off the line you do tend to ease up a bit, but to tell someone to slow just means they run a good chance of missing the train as it goes by. Often you have to really punch it to get on the back. If they've had enough of you this is when they'll try and drop you. Never blow your whole wad while on the nose. The time you spend on the nose is up to you and your ability - it's OK if you spend 30 seconds and some bike-god spendsfive minutes. A self depreciating comment usually helps smooth everything over. However if you hang back, don't pull and then blow the group away after they begin to tire they're not going to be too happy. The point is that as long as everyone is working hard and together then people will be happy. You can have rides where you do a lot of the pulling or you can "sit in" the whole time - especially if the group is above your ability.

Forming an ad hoc pace line can be a fun way to spice up your ride and meet new people. If you're polite and respectful you can provide some tips, but if you preface you tips with "Hey, Butthead....." they probably won't hear what comes next. If the shoe is on the other foot and you're the less experienced one it doesn't hurt to ask for tips on how to do something - everyone likes to provide advice and it's always worth at least what you paid for it. Including this.
here in England..cyclopathic
Feb 8, 2002 6:11 PM
oops, wrong continent ;-P
of cause on left, paceline goes on right

it really depends on how big pace line is and how experienced riders are. Riding with 2-3 guys is not the same as getting into 10 men pull.

also which ride? If it's "big" century with 100+ riders I'd be careful. If double or triple/quad metric I'd go for any fast wheel I can catch.

yes you can always tell who you ride with, the truth is if you're inexperienced rider yourself who hasn't ridden in paceline how would you? it's better be safe.
Paceline/group riding 101Tig
Feb 8, 2002 7:26 AM
Feb 8, 2002 7:44 AM
How about this situation. . .js5280
Feb 8, 2002 3:42 PM
You meet up w/ someone and grab their wheel. They seem to be okay w/ it or you know they're okay w/ it cause they point out debris, etc. I assume if they want you to take the pull, they supposed to pull to the left, and drop back behind you. Same rules as a regular group paceline correct? Sometime though I'll follow someone and they never drop back. I assume they just don't want the pull.
just ask nmcyclopathic
Feb 8, 2002 5:52 PM