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Riding in Groups

The ability to ride safely in a group is one of the most important skills in cycling. Not only is it an effective way to cover a lot of ground and battle the elements, but you conserve energy, it’s social, and it’s fun!

Group Riding Skills

More times than not you will be sharing the scenic roads of Colorado with other cyclists, motor vehicles and local community members so stay alert and practice riding with others using these skills:

  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Be predictable
    • Avoid making erratic or jerky motions with your bike
    • Ride a consistent distance from the edge of the roadway or along the shoulder
    • Look over your shoulder before moving right or left
  • Communicate
    • Announce all passes of other bicyclists “on your left” or “group passing”
    • “Car Up” – to warn of approaching vehicles
    • “Car Back” – to warn of passing vehicles
    • See below for more Cycling Verbal Signals
  • Use hand signals 
    • Indicate turns, stopping and slowing
    • Point out hazards and obstructions in the road
    • 10 basic cycling hand signals to keep you — and those around you — safe out on the road.

  • Keep eyes and ears open
  • Look ahead and anticipate problems
  • Watch-out at intersections
  • Move off the road when you stop
  • Teamwork – watch for problems, lend a helping hand, help each other to be safe
  • Practice
  • Remember, bicycle knowledge and skills plus courtesy results in a safe, enjoyable experience on the bike.
  • Group Ride Etiquette Guide


Single Paceline

Pacelines are either single or double. In a single paceline, everyone lines up single file behind the first rider, who maintains a consistent speed. Rotation occurs when the front rider pulls off to the side and eases to the back of the line. The next rider will then set the pace. Riders stay on the front for a few seconds to several minutes. This type of paceline has the advantage or requiring less road space while conserving energy.

Double Echelon

A double echelon, also known as a rotating paceline, contains two lines of riders side by side, continuously in motion. One line goes slightly faster than the other does. Let’s say you’re the lead rider in the faster line. You should cross-over to the slow line after passing the front wheel of the rider beside you (the front rider in the slower line). Then you drift back with the others in the slow line. When the final position is reached (back of the line), move onto the back wheel of the last rider in the fast line.

Paceline Tips

  • Introduce Yourself
  • Communicate
  • Keep your line
  • No Sudden Braking: use your brakes sparingly and "feather" them instead of clutching
  • Don’t look back
  • Maintain a steady speed
  • Don’t surge
  • Don’t open gaps
  • Protect your front wheel. Do not overlap someone’s rear wheel
  • When it’s your turn on the front, note your mph and maintain the groups speed
  • Once your turn is over pulling, notify the leader as you near the back of the paceline
  • It’s best to ride in a paceline with those you are familiar with and have practiced with; especially in an event setting.
  • More Paceline tips: "15 Tips for Riding in Paceline" by John Mash
  • Bicycling Magazine: Become a Pro at Pacelines With This Visual Guide

Cycling Verbal Cues

On your (Left/Right)

"On Your Left!" (or Right) before passing another cyclist or pedestrian

(You name it) Up or Back

"Rider Up!" when a rider is approaching or there is a rider ahead you will pass soon.

"Rider Back!" when a rider approaching from behind will pass the group soon.

"Walker Up!" when there is pedestrian ahead you will overtake soon.

"Car Up!" or "Car Back!" to announce an approaching  vehicle.

"Car Right!", or "Car Left!" when a vehicle is approaching from the side.

Slowing / Stopping

"Slowing!" or "Stopping!"; if you are going to be quickly decelerating. This should be accompanied by a hand signal, if practicable.


“Rolling!” or "Going!" to announce you will be proceeding through an intersection.


Do not announce "Clear!" at intersections as it only encourages illegal and risky behavior (such as running stop signs or red lights). Each rider should determine the safety of proceeding using their own best judgement.

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