Group Riding Information &
Group Riding Basics
Why a group?
• Riding in a group saves energy. A
group can travel faster and further with less fatigue than an
• A large group of riders is much more
visible than a single rider.
• A group promotes team building,
friendship, and greater enjoyment for all.
Group riding patterns
There are 3 group riding
patterns described and illustrated below.
Double Pace Line
• Key Characteristics of this
formation is that riders line up in pairs.
• It’s important to always maintain
position next to each other at shoulder level.
• Rotate by forming a ‘butterfly’. Left
rider turns off left, right rider turns off right and both join again
together at the end of the group.
• In case of an odd number of riders in
the group the rider on the ‘shorter’ line will close up and form a new
pair with the rider on the ‘longer’ line. (see illustration
Single File Pace Line
A single file line is formed when
conditions don’t allow double pace line riding such as:
• Traffic is heavy and
• Road quality is bad and creates a
hazard to the riders.
• Speed is increasing to a level that
compromises safety for the riders.
The ride leader will announce the
formation of a single file as well as give a direction of the length
of the pull up front. (As a general rule: the longer the line, the
shorter the pull)
The Circular Pace Line
The circular pace line or ‘rotating
pace line’ requires advanced skills and perfect team harmony.
• When traffic conditions allow, the
Ride Leader calls Rotate and nominates slow and pace line speeds. The
pace line speed is usually 2 km/h faster, and the group will circulate
• Once the lead rider of the pace line
has drawn clear in front of the lead rider of the slow line, the
latter says Clear, to indicate it is safe to move over to the slow
• The leading rider of the pace line
moves over to the front of the slow line and slows down smoothly to
the nominated slow line speed.
• At the rear of the group, the last
rider in the slow line will follow the previous rider over to the pace
line, ensuring there is no gap, and advise the next rider that they
are now Last.
Basic Group ride
These rules apply for all group ride
formation and ensure that the ride is smooth and safe as well as fun
Master the skills
• Ride in a group only if you have
developed good control over your bike.
• Practice riding in a smooth and
steady line on your own and learn to develop good control over your
bike for any kind of cycling situation.
• If you are using new equipment or a
new bike, let other riders know and stay at the back of a group
until you feel comfortable enough to join the line.
• Always wear a helmet.
• Never overlap wheels, meaning your
front wheel being on either side of the back wheel of the cyclist
ahead of you.
• Don’t eat or drink while leading or
being in the middle of the line. You will not be able to hold a
smooth line and endanger others.
• Signal and call out when in front
and pass the signals back to others.
• Aero-bars and the use of them is
not allowed during group rides. (TT-bars)
• Maintain the speed of the group.
Check the speed while in second place and maintain that speed when
taking turn up front. Sudden accelerations have no place in a group
ride as they interrupt the group ride by causing gaps.
• Keep the line. Avoid shaking the
bike left to right or making abrupt moves. Practice to maintain a
smooth line when riding alone.
• Maintain the gap. Don’t go too
close or open the gap to the rider in front of you. For effective
drafting, maintain no more than 1 m distance off the rear of the
rider in front. This gives you vision down the line, as well as time
to react to hazards.
Be a good leader
• It is the responsibility of the
lead rider to steer the “train” clear of any oncoming obstacles as
the riders in the back may not be able to see what is coming.
• The lead rider needs to be looking
well ahead on the road so that they have time to react to oncoming
• Take enough space around obstacles.
E.g. don’t ride close to pot holes or manhole covers as the riders
in the back will for sure run over them.
• Keep pedaling when going downhill.
Don’t coast as the riders in the back will always be faster as they
are in your draft.
• Don’t stay in the lead too long and
signal properly when making turns.
Signal and call out hazards.
It is important for each member to
clearly communicate to other riders, both by signals and voice.
Every call or signal must be passed down the line.
• Point to and call out unusual
hazards such as Glass, Hole, Sand, Gravel, etc.
Repeat all signals and calls down the line.
• Signal to avoid parked cars or
other obstacles by pointing away from it with your right hand
behind your back. Repeat this signal down the line.
• The last riders should advise the
group of approaching traffic from the rear by calling
Car Back. Repeat the call up the line.
• At intersections each rider should
call Clear if there are no cars
approaching, or Car Left or
Car Right if there is an approaching car.
• Clearly call out
Slowing or Stopping to alert following riders if
you must slow or stop for any reason. Repeat the call down the line.
The hand signal for stopping or slowing is an arm dropped
down to the side with the extended palm facing rearwards.
• Call out to let the group know if
you have a flat tire or any other problems. The group or some of the
group will assist to stay behind to render assistance.
‘Each rider must take
responsibility for his or her own safety, no matter what calls or
signals other riders have made.’