After reading BikeArkansas' post on a minor paceline accident I thought it might be time to review pace line etiquette for all those who are new to our ranks. So - here is another opportunity for our "pros" to give thier advice, tips and tales.
I consider myself a fair pace liner rider - not good but fair. It's scarey, it can be very fast but you have to know what to expect to be safe. If it weren't for the rush you get from hitting those high speeds or the rest you get on those long rides it would not be worth it.
Just before it's my time to lead I look at the average speed of the line - I will keep this pace even though I fell I could go faster. When taking the lead I try not to let the excitement of taking the lead let me accellerate. When in the lead I try to keep a constant speed no matter what the grade - if the pace is 20mph I try like hell not to slow on the small uphills (on long steep hills the paceline will break up and the goats will take the lead). Any speed changes in the leader are amplified farther back in the paceline. I try to stay well clear of road hazards - 3 to 5 feet, riders in back can't see and sometimes there are slight overlaps in bikes. I also yell a lot about hazards and my impending moves. I usually don't use many hand signals because I am controlling the bike but when I can I also point out hazards. I usually don't try to overdo it - I will pull for 5 min and then yell that I am pulling out and swing wide to the left and let the line pass. It's all about team work.
When in the line - I try not to watch the wheel of the bike in front, I look at the rider - how he is peddling, I look ahead at the road - what I can see and I always keep a bailout plan incase something goes wrong. Just as in the front I yell out hazards and when there is an impending change in speed or direction. Keeping a tight paceline can be mentally draining because you need to stay very focused particularly when riding with riders you don't know.
I hate the end of a long paceline - it's like getting whipped around at the end of a rope!
Please let us know your thoughts.