Road cycling with an Italian flair since 1989
Objective: High speed cycling for minimum effort.
The Paceline is one of the best ways for a cycling club to cover a big distance by sharing the workload and effort, or to close a gap in a race. If you fancy trying it, them come and join us. The Gregarios include regular Pacelines and Chaingangs on our rides.
The Paceline should not be confused with the Chaingang.
The Paceline is a single line formation with riders doing "turns" on the front, the Chaingang is a double line changing continuously - line a chain going round.
The Paceline, (line 1) should position itself out from the kerb, so that when rider 1 has completed a turn at the front (usually 20 to 40 seconds) he can move left into the “empty lane” and immediately freewheel for a few seconds and then soft pedal, to latch on at the back of the line… accelerating when the last two riders are starting to come past – so that he can easily re-enter the end of the line.
The lead rider should always complete his turn before swinging into the left lane (line 2) otherwise the line is guaranteed to collapse in confusion!
Moving into the left lane should be a swift decisive move leaving no doubt for rider 2 that the turn at the front is completed. Pro riders generally flick the right elbow to signal that they are pulling into the left lane. If it’s good enough for the Pro’s then its good enough for The Gregarios!
Don't hog the front - come off the front well before you get tired. Do your turn, 25 seconds is good, 20 seconds if its into a headwind, and then get off the front. The professionals do 25 seconds, if it’s good for them it’s good for The Gregarios.
Keep the line moving through. Rider 2 should wait for rider 1 to swing off to the left… and should not attempt to ride round him or “overtake”.
HOLD YOUR LINE:
When rider 1 has come off the front, rider 2 should continue at the same speed without accelerating – and while holding the same line on the road. Keep riding in a straight line, don't start heading into the inside lane until you've completed your turn. Repeat: don't start heading into the inside lane until you've completed your turn.
Riding immediately inwards towards the kerb will cause the Paceline to collapse... don’t do it... just keep riding straight until your turn is completed.
RIDE ON EFFORT:
Uneven speeds will only create an accordion effect and will slow the paceline down. Keep it smooth and steady - riding on effort rather than speed.
Any rider that is struggling with the effort on the front should sit on the back of the line – dropping back to allow new riders to join the end of the working paceline in front of him. Alternately, move through the line to keep the rotation going, but just do a very short turn before swinging over to the left…. don’t feel the need to prove anything with a full turn if you’re struggling. The important thing is for the line to maintain its momentum.
KEEP THE EMPTY SPACE: Always keep the inside lane EMPTY so riders can swing left into it, and then drop back down the line. Also, so that the Paceline (Line 1)can take a straight course.
DO'S AND DONT'S:
The lead rider should point out potholes - and take a gentle line around them, rather than a quick switch.
Avoid staring at the rear wheel in front, as you won’t be able to see oncoming situations. Look past the rider in front of you and look up the road as much as possible, don’t focus on the tyre in front of you.
try not to use your brakes – try moving into the wind slightly to slow yourself down.
try and maintain 85-100 rpm that way you’ll always be on top of the gear and not struggling.
the first rider should make sure everyone gets through before resuming the pace. Its not a race, there’s no reason to take risks on a recreational ride.
Keep your front wheel very slightly offset from the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.
Accelerate only to rejoin the back of the line, after your turn. Don’t accelerate at the front as it will disrupt the group.
Ride smoothly and avoid any sudden moves, be steady and predicable.
The best pacelines have the smoothest riders…
be a smooth rider.
Notes: (i) The Gregarios Superclub Ciclista take no responsibility for the safety of any rider following these instructions. (ii)The above is designed for riders on a club run or sportive, or training ride. In a race more attention would be paid to wind direction, and the line may at times be in an echelon (slanted) to take the wind into account. In general road conditions an echelon formation could be unsafe due to traffic volume.