Paceline and Group Ride Skills Clinic – April 15
Tune up your pack riding and paceline skills this spring at the Group Ride and Paceline Skills Clinic. SCCC is teaming with USACycling Regional Promoter and Coach Stuart Lamp to hold a Group Ride Safety Clinic on Saturday, April 15 at Goldsmith Schiffman Elementary on Taylor Road in Big Cove. The clinic will cover pacelines, obstacle avoidance, bumping, drafting, echelons, etiquette and general instructions on how to ride predictably around other riders.
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This class is highly recommended for everyone, especially new riders, novice racers, fast recreational riders, triathletes, or anyone who intends to ride with a group, participate in organized centuries or jump headlong into road racing. It is a great way to start the year with a set of good, basic skills that will improve throughout the year. Riders will find themselves riding more comfortably, efficiently and, ultimately, more quickly with groups.
The curriculum includes about one hour of classroom instruction and two-plus hours of skill drills and on-the-road practice. The class will enjoy coaching assistance from Mike Olheiser, Masters/Elite National and World Champion, Grace Ragland – IMBA Instructor/Teva Neroscience Sponsored Athlete, and Beth Barry – Team Taco Mamacita.
SCCC held a similar clinic in 2006 after a spate of crashes and close calls. There was a marked improvement in ride safety for some time afterwards. Since then, there has been a complete turnover of new riders and new groups. It is well past time to inoculate the club against bad habits once again.
Group Ride Safety Clinic – Sponsored by the Spring City Cycling Club
Saturday, April 15 – 9 AM
Goldsmith-Schiffman Elementary School, 1210 Taylor Road, Big Cove, AL
Admission: $10 (Free to SCCC members and cyclists under 18 years of age.)
Bring riding clothes, helmet and bike.
For more information: Morgan Andriulli – 256 541-1095, firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Ride Pointers – How Do Your Part to Keep the Pack Together, Cordial and, above all, Upright.
Originally published in Bicycling Magazine – March 2006 (with embellishment)
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- Ride Close: Keep within a foot or less of the wheel in front. The aerodynamic sweet spot is within six inches of the rider in front. It takes time to develop the confidence to ride that close behind another rider, but if the other riders are also competent, the task becomes easier. The payoff is in the energy saved by finding the good draft. Riding closely shoulder to shoulder also helps save energy. It takes confidence, practice and skill, but a good group ride stays tight front-to-rear and side-to-side.
- Sense the wind: Rarely does the wind ever come from directly ahead. Get a sense of the wind direction and ride towards that side of the road. If the wind is from the left, ride towards the centerline if you are in the lead. If it is from the right, ride along the edge of the road. If you are riding behind the lead, fall back to the left or right to catch the angled draft. Leading into a front-quartering crosswind allows he following riders enough room to echelon off your wheel. Riding to the far right as the wind is coming from the left causes the rest of the pack to be strung out into the gutter looking for draft. This is irritating at best and dangerous at worst.
- Be Predictable: The term “pulling through” is a misnomer. When the lead rider backs off the front, the next rider simply maintains speed and assumes the front position. The secret to riding a paceline is to watch the speedometer and maintain the same pace. Surging through creates gaps. Sitting on the front too long causes slowing and bunching in the group behind. Besides, no one cares how long you can sit up front before you blow. It only encourages the next guy to do the same. Only pull through long enough to maintain pace and then pull off. If you want to increase pace, gradually increase the effort after assuming the lead position, roll at that speed for a bit, then pull off the front with a decisive move (arm flick, finger wave, etc.) to the right or left to indicate to the next rider you are done at the front. Do not stop pedaling or slow suddenly when at the front. The next rider will plow into you or brake heavily, causing an exaggerated reaction throughout the group.
- Preserve the Pack: It’s the cardinal rule of group rides. This is not an endorsement of regimentation. Pull through, ride smoothly, gradually pull off the front and rotate to the back. Stay close, avoid opening gaps, ride predictably. If you MUST put the hammer down, step out of line and get your butt up the road. The rest of the group does not necessarily share your need for intervals or vainglorious exhibition, but surging, pulling and blowing at the head of a pack is irritating, disruptive to the group and causes hazardous yo-yoing in the pack.
- Watch other Riders: Observe how good riders use the draft and rotate through a group. They always seem to know where to ride.
- Take a Class: Do the SCCC Group Ride Skills Clinic on Saturday, April 15. There is something in it for all levels of cyclist.