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Respecting the Single Paceline 
NFBC Etiquette Reference Guide – Ver. 5/23/2024

Riding in a paceline on a bicycle involves maintaining a smooth and efficient group formation. It requires
teamwork and responsibility for others' safety. Pacelines are not the place for solo workouts. Communication
and cooperation are essential for a safe and successful paceline experience.  

Communication is Key:

  • Use clear verbal and/or hand signals to communicate with other riders about
    obstacles, turns, or when slowing down.
  • Ride predictably. Communicate with motorists as well, building
    respect and not resentment.
  • Coaching suggestions to fellow bikers should be expressed in a positive manner.

Leading the Paceline: 

  • When taking over the lead maintain consistent pace (assuming there is no wind or hills); no
    sudden accelerations or decelerations. 
  • After a slow down (stop, turn, etc.). ensure all riders are “on” before accelerating gradually back up to speed. 
  • You are the first line of defense for debris or obstacles in the paceline path.
  • Call out and always use hand signals (when safe) to alert the line of issues. 
  • Signal and call out turns in time for all in the line to react.  
  • “Pulling” typically lasts from 15 seconds to several minutes. When in doubt, shorter pulls are better. 
  • Always rotate from the lead long before you need to.
  • To turn over the lead, maintain your speed, check to make sure you can safely move to the left,
    and give a couple of fist bumps to your right hip (or an elbow “flick” if not safe to take your hand
    off the handlebars) indicating your rotating intention.

Riding the Paceline:

  • Head up, eyes forward. Watch not just the rider in front of you but also those in front of that rider.
  • Stay in a straight line and avoid unnecessary lateral movement. 
  • Keep FEET not INCHES between you and the rider in front of you; leave yourself an “out.”
  • When possible, keep your hands on the hoods and a finger on the brakes. 
  • Pass Information down the line (ex. “DEBRIS RIGHT”) or up the line (ex. “CAR BACK”).
  • Use voice and/or hand signals. Sometimes both, since audibles may not be heard especially at faster speeds.
  • Signal or call out before braking, and move to an easier gear, especially on an e-bike.
  • Move left of the paceline (if safe to do so) if you need to stand up, stand to stretch, sneeze, etc.
  • Lane changes should be initiated by the rear of the line and passed forward.

Leading or Riding:

  • Be predictable. Anticipate changes in pace or direction and signal your intentions early.
  • When hydrating hold your bottle out at shoulder level for a few seconds to alert the rider behind
    you that you are hydrating.
  • Wear safety gear and ensure your bike is mechanically sound.
  • Obey all traffic laws; a yellow light means stop safely, if possible, not speed up.
  • If the line breaks, e.g. at a stop light, the group in front should wait until the rest of the group catches up.
  • Respect the pace of the group; faster riders may need to slow to accommodate all group members.
  • Ride within your limits. The faster the paceline the greater level of skill and awareness required.
  • You are always better off riding in a group slower than your limits than faster.