1. Do not use Aero Bars while in a pace line. Aero Bars might be a great tool when you are riding solo. However, if you are in a pace line, the time it takes to get from your Aero Bars to your brakes can be the deciding difference in whether you and those behind you have an accident or not. Keep your hands in your drops or on your brake hoods while in a pace line. No grabbing a water bottle or fiddling with your Garmin.
2. Do not OVERLAP WHEELS!! This is especially important with some riders — it can be a formula for disaster. Unless you are an exceptional bike handler riding behind a remarkably steady and predictable rider, the advantage gained by close following or a narrow echelon is not worth the risk of crashing.
3. When on the front, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, CALL OUT THE JUNK, and WATCH THE LIGHTS. You are responsible for the safety of many riders. Do not let them down. Do not worry about what gear you are in or if you have an acorn in your cluster. Go easy off the lights to give the back time to get going without being whipped off the back
4. When pulling off the front of a doublewide pace line and coming back on the left of the pace line, MAKE SURE THE TRAFFIC IS CLEAR behind the group so that you are not pulling out into traffic. If you are in a single wide pace line, it is usually safer to pull off to the right of the pace line so that you are away from traffic.
5. If you MUST chitchat in the pace line – SKIP THE EYE CONTACT. WATCH THE RIDER IN FRONT OF YOU AND THE TRAFFIC ON THE ROAD – ESPECIALLY AT THE FRONT. When on the front, do not talk: you have too much responsibility. You always need to be aware of what is in front of you, to the side of you and, without looking back, behind you.
6. Watch the rider in front of you, constantly. Depending on who it is, back off, especially when approaching a challenging rise in terrain or jump in pace. Some people, even on the best of days have an inconsistent speed that causes the bike to go back and forth. Other people brake suddenly or excessively. Know whom these people are and stay back from them.
7. Ride in a straight line at a consistent pace. The key to a good pace line is to ride a steady speed. If there are accelerations within the pace line, it hurts everybody, so if one rider is stronger than the others are, he does not go faster but pulls longer. The weaker riders maintain the speed but take shorter pulls. The pace line then runs at a steady speed, which is key.
8. When moving from a seated to a standing position, stay on the power so you do not fall back into the bike behind you. Even some really strong riders tend to do that.
9. Never pass on the right unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN there is:
a) Plenty of room and;
b) The rider in front absolutely knows you are coming around because you yelled “COMING BY ON YOUR RIGHT!” and saw a visible reaction, as an example.
Members might actually disapprove of this under any circumstances – it depends on your bike handling skills and whom you are passing.
10. If you find that you cannot hold with the pace line that you are in, signal, then pull out of the pace line and back off – do not start thrashing, weaving or gapping. If you are smart, you can jump back on AT THE REAR and get a break too. Unless you are at the tail end of a fast group who is determined to drop you (or you are about to be tandemectomized), back off on the steep or twisty descents.
11. Fixed Gear bikes do not descend, corner, or stop as fast as Freewheel bikes. When riding in pace lines with Fixed Gear bikes, give the Fixed Gear cyclist more room to descend, corner, or slow down. A group of cyclists on Fixed Gear bikes should ride together behind a group on Freewheel bikes so the Fixed Gear bikes can descend, corner, or stop at a different pace.
Our goal: have fun but be safe while cycling.