Veloce Santiago's Rules of the Road
The following rules were initially developed by Frank Baker, a long time member of the
Veloce Santiago Team, in order to help all cyclists to ride more safely in a paceline
environment. They have been updated by Chuck Bramwell and his experience riding in
pacelines. These rules will be updated in the future as needed.
1. Don’t use Aero Bars while in a paceline. Aero Bars might be a great tool when you are
riding solo. However, if you are in a paceline, 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
2. Don’t 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. Don’t let them down. Don’t
worry about what gear you are in or if you have an acorn in your cluster. Go easy off the
lights, give the back time to get going without getting the “whip syndrome”.
4. When pulling off the front of a double wide paceline and coming back on the left of the
paceline, 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 paceline, it is usually safer to pull off to
the right of the paceline so that you are away from traffic.
5. If you MUST chit chat 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, don’t talk: you have too much responsibility. You need
to always be aware of what is in front of you, to the side of you and, without looking back,
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 who these people are and stay back
7. Ride in a straight line at a consistent pace. The key to a good paceline is to ride a
steady speed. If there are accelerations within the paceline, it hurts everybody, so if one
rider is stronger than the others, he doesn’t go faster but pulls longer. The weaker riders
maintain the speed but take shorter pulls. The paceline 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).
Some might actually disapprove of this under any circumstances – it depends on your
bike handling skills and who you are passing.
10. If you find that you can’t hold with the paceline that you’re in, signal, then pull out of
the pace line and back off – don’t 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 don’t descend, corner, or stop as fast as Freewheel bikes. When
riding in pacelines 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.