A Chain Gang

Less effort, more speed and style

The chain gang is a two-line formation, also known as "through and off".
In the pro races you see the breakaway and the chasing groups doing this.

There is a "pace-setting" line (line 1) and a "recovery" line (line 2). In a race, the recovery line is on the windward side. On a normal road, it's safest to have the recovery line nearer the kerb.

  • Line 2 is travelling about 1mph faster than line 2. 
  • As front rider in line 1, you will pass the front rider of line 2.
  • Take a shallow line across to line 1, do not swerve in front of the other rider.
  • Ease off to match the pace of line 2.
  • Allow the next rider in line 1 to go past and be prepared as they move across in front of you.
  • Eventually you reach the back of line 2; you may hear "last man".
  • Speed up slightly to join the back of line 1.
  • As you pass the back rider in line 2, announce "last man".
  • When you reach the front of line 1, do not speed up, just ride through.
With practice, you will not need to look behind when changing lines. 
Taking a shallow line across will ensure you don’t collide with anyone.

This is easier than it sounds. 
It’s great fun, and you’ll soon be working like a pro in the chain-gang.

If you’re unable to go through and intend to sit at the back of the group to recover, then inform the other riders. Warn the other riders if you intend to rejoin the chain after sitting in. 

Keep the gaps small but do not overlap the wheel in front.
The lead riders should warn of potholes.
Any warnings should be
shouted down the line. 
Take a gentle line around potholes, rather than a quick switch.

Don't stare at the rear wheel in front.
Look past the rider in front of you and look up the road as much as possible.

Try not to use your brakes – try moving into the wind slightly to slow down.

Aim for 80-100 rpm to be on top of the gear and not struggling.

The first rider should make sure everyone gets through junctions before resuming the pace. 
It's not a race, don't take risks on a recreational ride.
Here it is in action:

The Gregarios Superclub Ciclista take no responsibility for the safety of any rider following these instructions. The above is designed for riders on a club run or sportive, or training ride.