Some NEW (and experienced) RIDER TIPS
based on a list from an unknown club
modified and expanded for the KBA
Club Ride / Paceline Safety
By staying focused on the following tips, you can help make your ride as well as the ride of those around you much more relaxing, fun and most importantly safe. Everyone has been new to pacelines at one time or another. Be sure to watch more experienced riders as they move through the paceline, they can be an excellent source of knowledge. If you are new and do not have experience in pacelines, we recommend that you start with the "cruiser" group your first week.
Obey the rules of the road. All traffic laws apply when you are on the bike.
Helmets are required – No exceptions
A parent or guardian must accompany children under 18.
No radio / CD / Tape / MP3 Headphones while riding.
Ride no more than 2 wide. If impeding traffic, go to a single paceline.
Be courteous to drivers, stay as far right as safely possible.
Do not pass cars at a red light and creep to the front unless joining other riders.
If stopping for mechanicals or to wait on others, pull completely off the road.
NO Aero bars in the paceline. They are very dangerous in group rides.
When passing other riders, always pass on the left and call "on your left".
When turning, keep a tight corner and follow the line of the group – do not hit the brakes.
Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you, not just on the wheel in front of you.
Leave it how you found it or better – No Littering
Ride at your own risk.
Use hand signals if you feel safe doing so, otherwise use verbal signals.
Hand open and to side, down or back = Stopping / Slowing
Left Hand Point Out = Left Turn
Right Hand Point Out / Left arm bent up = Right Turn (Right hand use is not only recognized legally, but prefered in some regions)
Pointing Down to left or right = Road hazard
Use audible signals for turns, stops, and slowing, cars, pedestrians, other cyclists, etc.:
Car up = Car approaching in front.
Car Back = Car approaching / passing from the rear. (note: "car" is generic for ANY vehicle)
Hole, Bump, Crack, Road Kill, Gravel, Walker, Runner, Water, etc.
Also indicate the side that the hazard is located. (up, right, left)
Paceline 101 (We don't do much REAL pacelining in our hills, but . . .)
A paceline is a group of riders in a formation that alternates riding at the front (pulling) with drafting off other riders at the back. This allows second and additional riders to benefit from the reduced wind drag.
No sudden movements. You need to ride straight with a steady speed maintaining an equal distance to the wheel in front of you. Avoid excessive coasting and slowing.
Keep pedaling consistently, do not follow a pedal and coast routine, this causes a slingshot effect in the paceline.
Do not overlap the wheel of another rider. This is a very dangerous situation, but if you do this, let them know immediately and adjust slowly – do not slam on the brakes.
If you have any kind of mechanical problem, do not slam on the brakes. Smoothly exit the paceline while calling the situation to the others.
When new to pacelines, begin with a safe distance such as 2 – 3 feet from the wheel in front of you. As you become more experienced and know those riders in front of you, it becomes common to ride within inches of the wheel in front of you.
Keep your eyes moving. Do not focus on the wheel in front of you; rather make sure you see what is going on in front of and beside you.
Close gaps in the paceline, but do not aggressively accelerate to do so. A smooth easy acceleration is the best way to close the gap.
If you are having trouble climbing a hill or are slower going down hill, move to the right to let faster riders safely pass. The group should reform at the bottom of the hill.
Pulling and Passing
When in the second position in a paceline, note the current speed and maintain that speed when you begin your pull. Do not rapidly accelerate as this causes gaps in the paceline. Your pull should be short enough that you do not begin to slow the group down or tire out the rider behind you.
In a single paceline pull off to the left, in a double paceline pull off to the side you are riding on. (Do not go to the "middle" of the paceline.)
When in a double paceline, when the rider next to you pulls out, you need to also, even if you are not yet ready. This maintains the smooth flow of the paceline.
Do not be ashamed to take a short pull. Stronger riders will generally pull longer. You will get to that point in due time.
When pulling out of the pace line call "out" or make a signal by "flapping" your elbow or tapping your hip with your hand.
When pulling out, slightly accelerate and move to the outside of the paceline as you call "out". Soft peddle till you get to the back, but do not stop pedaling as this will make it difficult for you to get back on the back.
When in the second or third position in a paceline, avoid pulling out unless absolutely necessary. Just take a short pull and come around.
If you are struggling to stay with the group, it is acceptable to "sit" at the back of the line letting the circulating riders in front of you. We have all been there!
When another rider coming off the front of the paceline approaches you as the last rider, announce "last one" so that they know they are at the end of the paceline.
Do not sit at the back of the paceline and accelerate on hills or sprint to "win" the finish. If you need to sit at the back, it should because you are having difficulty staying on, thus should not have the energy to "attack."
When approaching a club rider from the rear that may not know you are there, call out "on your wheel" or "do you mind if I join on?" so that they know you are there.
What to Wear
Helmets are required on club rides
Gloves (for both comfort and protection in wrecks)
Sunglasses (tinted or clear for protection from drying and high speed bugs)
Hi SPF Chapstick
Most of us wear the Lycra, well-padded bike shorts (without coverups: gym shorts, etc.)
Your shirt may be a bike jersey or whatever you are comfortable in. Bike jerseys offer storage pockets for all of the gear you need to carry listed above.
Thick Skin, and an open attitute to learn and meet some new people!
KBA rides LEAVE at the scheduled time. Please be ready with all clothing, shoes, helmet, gloves, tires pumped, etc.
Mechanical Preparedness – Come to the ride with the equipment to handle a flat tire, as well as the skill set to actually change the tire.
Make sure your bike and tires / tubes are in sound mechanical order prior to the ride.
In groups beyond the "Cruiser" group, rely on the buddy system for mechanical issues, as the group may or may not stop for all mechanical issues.
Your Saddle Bag / Jersey should include the following items at a minimum:
Spare Tube / Patch Kit
Tire Levers/ Quick Stick/ Speed Stick
Tire Pump / CO2 Inflator and Cartridges
ID / Health Insurance Info
Emergency Contact info
Food & Water (or Sports Drink)
Other items to consider carrying/using:
Small, flat screw driver
Spare Shifter cable (and maybe brake cable)
Tire boot (tyvex, stick on, sidewall piece, dollar bill)
Pen & paper
Map/ Cue-Sheet Holder
Hand cleaning wipes
Spare sunscreen pack
Basic First Aid kit
Copy of bicycle and dog laws
Copys of notices* for loose pet owners
INTRODUCE YOURSELF as a new rider. Many members are occasional riders and might not recognize brand new riders as such.
Let them know where you're at, experience-wise.
Ask Questions. Most experienced riders are happy to share their experience/ knowledge.
Be ready, you may be overwhelmed with "helpful" advice, both sought and unsought:
You "need" to get rid of that kick stand
You "need" to take all those stock reflectors off
You "need" to take off that plastic spoke protecter disk on your cassette
You "need" to upgrade/change/buy (name a bike part)
Don't judge "group riding" by one experience (either good or bad!). (And don't assume everybody else actually knows what they're doing, either...)
Don't assume who you are following knows the route- Ask, or you may be lost too!
Maps and or Cue-sheets are available for most club rides. Print and bring one!
Consider making a habit of pumping up tires the night before, and usually that way find any issues before the ride, not the morning you are headed out the door. They will not loose that much over night.