Solo rides can be great fun. They allow you to set your own pace and go off on your own little adventures. What can also be great though, is riding in a group. Group rides can allow you to meet new people as well as exploring new routes. It also allows you to exchange ideas about all things cycling. To ride with a group, you’re going to need to know how to ride in a paceline.
A paceline is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a line where the pace is maintained. The front rider sets the pace while the line behind keeps up. The front rider will change from time to time and retake a position at the back of the line. It is a simple concept, but here are some things to help you prepare.
How to ride in a paceline – Best practices
Use your solo rides to practice
It may seem overly simple, but you need to practice being able to cycle in a straight line. This will be as if you are almost on a rail. A great way to hone this skill is to place your front wheel on the road’s white line and keep it there.
While doing this, make sure that you keep your upper body as relaxed as possible and don’t grip the handlebars too tightly. Your peripheral vision should keep a check on the line and your actual focus should be 20-30 feet ahead.
Predictable is safe, not boring
When there are numerous riders in a paceline, they all need to be on the same level. The rules should mean that nothing should be a surprise to any other rider. Given how close you are going to be to each other, any sudden, unexpected, movements are unlikely to end well.
Be predictable. Do what you’re supposed to do and follow the rules. This will keep everyone in line and everyone safe. Experience will help you to learn what reactions are expected in given circumstances.
Keep the pace
When the time comes for your take over at the front of the paceline, don’t accelerate off. In fact, you shouldn’t be aiming to change the pace at all. As it is approaching the time for you to take the lead, make sure that you clock the current speed. When you’re at the front, maintain that speed.
How to ride in a paceline – Final words
Learning how to ride in a paceline is not only a great way to maintain your pace as a group, and leave no one behind. But, it also poses a new challenge for you as a group of riders. There are a few formations you can choose from depending on your skill level – It’s sure to add a new level of difficulty to your rides.
The best piece of advice we can give is to take it slow initially. The last thing you want is a build-up of bikes and a crash on your first time learning how to ride a paceline. Over time (once everyone feels comfortable), you can start ramping up the speed!
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