Group Riding – Turns, echelons and pacelines

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This post fills out the information on group rides in the rolling turns and slipstreaming posts. Riding in a group is always about distributing the work but the ways to do this are dependant on circumstance –  both environmental and practical.

If you’re out for a recovery or social ride rolling turns or a pace line is  not  the best strategy – so we’re covering a few ways of sharing the load here.

1. Social/Sociable turns – As the name suggests, to be used when you want to be able to have a chat, recover and when speed is not a high priority. The group forms two lines and the leaders work fro as long as they feel comfortable  or until those behind demand a shot at the front) then they pull off to opposite sides and fall back to the end of their respective lines. Remember to not pull through too hard – maintain the pace set by the previous leaders or if you do feel the pace can increase pull it up slowly once you’re at the front.

2. Echelons – Used for speed and efficiency when riding into a cross wind. To effectively draft in these conditions the riders have to fan out across the road to be covered from the wind. The group can rotate as in normal rolling turns.

The important thing to remember here is that you should be turning into the wind as you peel off into the slower line.

This means the faster line is shielded from the wind as they come forward maximizing efficiency. As with normal rolling turns don’t pull through too hard or you’ll throw the rhythm out.

3. Pace lines – Used for speed when efficiency is less important – often  seen in team time trials and lead out trains for sprint finishes. There is a single line of riders. The lead rider will peel off after a certain period – usually dictated by the amount of effort he/she can sustain – and drifts to the back. Unlike the other formation you can pull through as hard as you like here – as speed is the aim and the previous lead has likely spent themselves you should be going hard into your turn. Be careful – it is easy to overstep here and get dumped out the back once you peel off. Maintain enough speed when moving to the back to ensure you can get back in the line without having to push too hard so that you can recover.

Also just a word about group formations turn sharing and hills – all formations come apart on the hills. Everyone will have their own climbing pace and it is best to let this prevail and reform the group at he end of the climb. Turn sharing is about lessening wind resistance, the hills are all about gravity.

If you have any questions let us know – often best to post them on the Youtube channel on the relevant video then everyone will get maximum benefit.

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