Paceline “How-To” Videos … ?

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Paceline “How-To” Videos … ?

Post by JamesB »

We’ve all searched the internet for this stuff. Here are a few I found this morning.
Maybe eventually we can “adopt” a few that really speak to our most common scenarios though.

Before watching them, I think it might be important to agree that in most or all of these, we’re watching “A-level” riders perform the pacelines. Keep in mind that our C-rides aren’t likely to look like this … and, nor should they - because our club (unlike say, the Wheelers or maybe to some degree Pro City and other less structured local clubs) serves the greatest number of riders and span of ages and speeds.

It might be part of TS’s social culture by a degree of design or simply by default, but it would be my general observation that as the aggregate speed of our groups decreases, the social nature of the ride increases (possibly a little more conversation in exchange for a little lower intensity workout). The distinctions are there and regardless of how you describe these differences (less likely to see “aero socks” in your group; or fewer riders with watt meters; or riders who tend to ride everyday versus those who use our TS rides for the one or two HARD workouts they do in a week) riders are welcome - even encouraged to move between the groups, but remember to read the ride descriptions!

The rider is expected to adjust to the ride versus the other way around so when we change groups - and maybe especially if we’ve been away for a few weeks or months - we need to “settle” into this group again and take some time to observe the dynamic as some of these riders may well have established a bit of a pattern between each other and as the new (or new again) rider, our job is to “fit in” with them.

One other point we might want to consider, the “squaring off” of the accelerating lead rider before moving over … maybe not in the upper A groups, but the slower the group the more acceptable or normal this manoeuvre actually becomes.

In other words, squaring off the paceline in an “A” group might get talked about but as our groups get slower, they are generally less concerned about micromanaging the draft and more about ensuring a safe distance between wheels.

Overall, we don’t want to suggest the level of actual safety to changes between groups, but we’re very willing to accept that efforts, speed, distances and tolerances do and will change between groups.

For now TS’s ride descriptions focus mostly on the 3-group format (A, B, C) … is it time to consider fine-tuning these (eg. More specifics to allow riders to know the likely differences between A1 & A2 … B1 & B2 … etc.)

Would an “A3” actually be an easier transition for those B1s wanting to try something just a little more than B1 but not yet fully what seems to be the A2 experience … ? Clearly we don’t need this in the slow winter months yet, but maybe the summer?

Paceline Like A Pro - YouTube › watch

Last few comments …
Although I have no real stats to prove it, my sense is that our weekly ride that actually experiences the least amount of opportunity or probability for a crash is … our Thursday TTT.

I know, sounds crazy right?
It took me a long time to build up the courage to ride the TTT because everyone’s so damn close!

But I think the truth of it is that everyone shows up knowing how much closer the tolerances are and our communication really improves as it becomes super concentrated within our very small tight (6 rider max) group. Everyone knows the consequences and our focus is super high but also, it’s over in 5 laps. During our cooldown lap we refine our group strategy with great communication, and all of this is on a road that feels almost “protected” or considerably more predictable and trustworthy as even other vehicle traffic is not only speed limited but always travelling in the same direction, and most of the time - pretty friendly to us.

So as crazy as it might sound, new members might consider coming out and joining a slow TTT group to learn the ropes for the paceline.

What about (I wish I had a graphic for this) the manoeuvre we sometimes still see in our A rides where the 2 front riders (in a double pace line) each move simultaneously outside and fade back while the 2-wide paceline then comes up the middle … ?!

No … You won’t see that in any of these videos! Why, because it’s generally been outlawed and widely criticized as being if not unsafe (4 riders across for some time) than at very least, really bad for our collective PR as cyclists being viewed from behind … “wow, those cyclists are fully across the whole road making it really hard to pass or even see beyond them!”

I know we’ve transitioned over the last few years to join the clubs that have banned this manoeuvre, but might it be appropriate to put it in writing and remind everyone about it every so often?

When are we likely to see it? It’s usually going up Shelbourne on our Friday rides when we’ve got residential parked cars on both sides and with our double pacelines, we’re already brushing up against the yellow centreline (when visible) or the midpoint of the roadway. Until the club really makes it clear, points like these are only the “writer’s opinion” … and subject to interpretation (which happens to all of us), but in this writer’s opinion, we need to put a nail in this coffin here once and for all.

My last point for today is about us adopting a few short and clear words that become our paceline language.

In my work environment, you may be aware of our “phonetic alphabet” (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie … etc).

As nerdy as it sounds, it really plays an important role in safety because as I’m sure most of us have experienced, certain words (eg. “No versus Go”) sound awfully similar in the heat of our morning “battle” (workout or ride).

So the value of adopting a dozen or maybe 20 words that each and every ride shares (regardless of speed or size etc) we’ll always be talking the same language.

Some examples might include:

Car Back
Car Up

Single Up
“Last” or “Up”



Deer (usually with a “left” or “right” and/or a finger pointing)

Finally, just going to suggest we might also recognize the significance and difference between “Car back” and “Passing”.

“Car back” = the car or cars behind us are close enough that they could soon be trying to pass us and nothing suggests they are likely to just stay behind us (eg. turn left or right or just a casual Sunday driver for example)

“Passing” = this is a higher level of alert for our paceline or group. It means the car that was back is now actively attempting a pass.

So for us in the paceline, if we hear “Passing” and we see a solid centreline and can’t fully see around the next corner or over the rise … might be time to really keep it “tight to the right”!! Maybe even ease up on the effort to facilitate what is already an unsafe pass.

And if the riders on the front see additional concerns (eg. debris on the road ahead that’s going to force our paceline left into the middle) … well, decisions need to be made quickly and it will benefit everyone to have rehearsed this scenario in your head in advance.

Okay - enough of my gabbing here.
We’re starting to see that if even 10% of us were to reply to these posts, while our “digital” conversation is hugely important, it can and does push our original material to the bottom and becomes an intimidating thread to read - it’s too long and over time the initial thoughts get lost or buried. So, please feel free to Spond me a private message and I’ll do my best to collect and eventually share your thoughts here in a more aggregate manner. Thanks for reading.
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