Is there a safer paceline configuration?

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JTyre
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Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JTyre » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:29 pm

Until Jill fractured her's on last Wednesday's farm ride I thought a clavicle was a musical instrument.

Some folks are asking, is there something safer than a double paceline (see Fig. 1a)? Jill, Mary, and others, utilised a slow rotating paceline in a fondo last summer and swear by at. If I understand it correctly, a slow rotating paceline is a rotating paceline (see Fig. 1b) but where two riders come upfront together, pull, and then fall back together. In this way, the peloton is always just two abreast, which seems a safer proposition than sporadically four abreast in a double paceline (i.e., the situation that led to Jill's owie).

Comments?


Figure 1a Double paceline
Image

Figure 1b Rotating paceline (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere :))
Image
Last edited by JTyre on Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Robgrant
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Robgrant » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:46 pm

Sorry to hear about the accident and injury.

Having ridden the slow version of 1b in Ottawa (maybe Dave D can chime in here) there are pros and cons. I will refer to the fast lane on the outside and the slow lane on the inside opposed to the illustration.
The outside row pace is inconsistent as it yo-yos from steady with the inside line to faster so the outside rider(s) can get ahead of the inside line. Seems OK with a smaller group (as there is less of a slinky effect) but doesn't seem to work that well with a larger group or at faster speeds.
Rob

LouiseF
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by LouiseF » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:56 pm

I was on an OBB ride once where they did some kind of rotating pace line where riders puled through in pairs. I am sure I am not explaining it well but it looked like John's second picture except that the first and second rider from the slow lane stayed at the front, pulled for awhile, chatted and then both went back into the slow lane and the next two from the "fast lane" pulled through. Although since there was the time at the front it wasn't really that pace-line like in terms of a fast and slow lane. I found it really odd at the time but it actually really worked well. And it meant that you got a chance to chat with every single person on the ride since when you went back you were beside a new partner.

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Rolf
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Rolf » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:56 pm

JTyre wrote:If I understand it correctly, a slow rotating paceline is a rotating paceline (see Fig. 1b) but where two riders come upfront together, pull, and then fall back together.
I’d enjoy discussing this... when I can figure out why you describe Fig. 1a when explaining your understanding of Fig. 1b.

Image

In my experience, slow smooth pacelines can be a nice way to ride. I've found a successful slow paceline depends on someone who has a good set of lungs and the respect of the majority of a group, otherwise they usually ramp up or get too choppy.

Other thoughts: (a) pacelines (even if slow) cut down on socializing, bigtime (and some of us ride more for the social than the physical benefits), and (b) even if slow and smooth, there are a lot more vectors and calculations going on as when pacelining you're only gauging speed by the rider in front of you and not the other line; you're also transitioning at the front and back much more frequently.

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JTyre
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JTyre » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:52 pm

Rolf,

Regarding your first sentence. Fig. 1a is what the farmers do on Shelbourne. Fig. 1b, with a tweak, is what they might consider doing instead. Fig. 2 is what I’m going to do to you when I come over in 10 minutes.

Figure 2
Image

Cough up some better Rolf wisdom, my little penguin.

p.s. Just back from the RJ with JP and the break is lined-up nice with no surgery required :D.

L2R
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by L2R » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:08 pm

My recollection of what we did last year (and I was part of Jill's group; there were 8 of us) was that we rotated through every 3 minutes in a clockwise direction in the formation John shows in 1b. There was no faster or slower side as it wasn't continuous. Whoever was pulling at the front called out "rotate" or gave the rotation signal after about 3 minutes and we rotated in that way. When rotating, the person pulling at teh front left went over to the right side and 2 people from the left side came to the front, with one of them moving to the right side. Same thing 3 minutes later. It was much safer than having 4 abreast in a sometimes crowded gran fondo. I think we did it that way pretty much for the whole 160 k. Mary, Maureen, Shawn, Ann, Joan, Amy? Chime in here. I may have it wrong. Suffice to say, whatever we did regardless of my potentially faulty memory, we had lots of comments from other riders about how smooth we were and how well we worked as a team :) I think rereading Louise F's post, she is describing the same thing.

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Rolf
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Rolf » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:22 pm

This sounds like a great concept, um, Eltuare (Eltuare? Elarar? How does one pronounce “L2R”?) I’d be game to try it, if I ever return to regular road riding.

All it took is for someone to stop lazily relying on an entirely inappropriate GIF to explain the concept, and it became crystal. :D

John: I’m very glad to hear about your wife’s bone. Now come over and let’s see about that fishy little wing of yours...
Last edited by Rolf on Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

amyeee
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by amyeee » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:21 pm

Yes - I was a part of the rotating paceline group at the Langley Fondo. It's wasn't as much a slow rotating paceline, as a double paceline, that rotated two places, every two minutes or so. So, there are still two riders on the front, who ride together, chat, and decide when to rotate off the front. Once the two riders on the front decide it's time to rotate, they tell the group (via hand signal, the word "rotate" etc.), and then in our case, the rider on the left slows down, the rider on the right moves over in front, also slows down, and the next two riders from the right hand lane rotate into the lead two positions.

I'm not capable of demonstrating with fancy graphics, but basically, two notches of the rotation happen one after the other, then a pause (for two minutes, or an acceptable time), and then another two notches of the rotation happen. So, you still have a "partner" you ride with on the front, and you both rotate off the front at pretty much the same time. (Obviously with an uneven number of riders, you get a new partner each time.)

A major benefit is that the group is always two rides wide, and never four riders wide. It's a very predictable shape for drivers or other road users, and looks pretty slick.

Amy

Bosie
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Bosie » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:15 pm

I think the slow paceline works well if its being used to socialise and not go faster than the group could go if just pulling in pairs.

The OBB ride employs it and its always a bit of a disaster as some folks want to go faster than others and so if you are in the outside lane, it feels like you are being half wheeled the whole time. You dont really have the option of dropping back if the guy in the inside lane doesnt want to and then if you get into that lane and try to drop back, the guy in the outside lane drops back too...

In addition, for those who dont want to pull, there is no easy option to sit out a turn or sit in if you arent feeling that strong.

I think provided its treated as a slow alternative to two up riding and there is lots of communication, it can work. I think the problem arises when folks start confusing it with the normal paceline...(it looks like one after all).
Craig B.

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JTyre
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JTyre » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:51 am

Thank you Craig. According to you and Rob this configuration is unstable in the wrong hands. That's not good. In the situation that Jill and friends describe their group was working together at a constant pace where race conditions dictated a neat formation. Instability was not an issue.

I can see now that calling this formation a "slow rotating paceline" gives the wrong impression. It need not be slow and it is not a paceline. It's a regular two-abreast where riders come up rather than back; in three words or less I don't know what to call that.

Personally, I think that a double paceline on Shelbourne, a ragged mess at the moment, is treachery; made worse when individuals set their own pace rather than following the group pace. In my view, and it's just that, a smooth two-abreast is the way to go on Shelbourne (and maybe also Henderson).

John

Bosie
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Bosie » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:19 am

One other point related to this:
Something that folks can practice is riding in a much tighter 2 up formation.
Its very noticeable as one moves higher up the groups how much more comfortable the faster groups are with riding closer together at higher speeds. Maybe 10cm between bars. 5 cm from the wheel in front. In the slower groups, because often there are a number of folks new to group riding, the gap between riders can often fit another rider in:).
Similarly, when one peels off after riding 2 abreast, falling back quickly is important so as to avoid blocking the road.
[The other debate is of course whether having a bigger presence on the road is actually safer:
having a less tight 2 up forces cars to pass in the oncoming lane, (which they dont like), but is safer from our point of view than having them squeeze past in our lane...]
Craig B.

Claire
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Claire » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:10 pm

Bosie wrote:I think the slow paceline works well if its being used to socialise and not go faster than the group could go if just pulling in pairs.

The OBB ride employs it and its always a bit of a disaster...
I think that's a bit unfair/inaccurate. The OBB groups employ this to good effect on the way out to Sidney, which is steady but no-drop (and, in the not-first group, is fairly social and conversational).

It's just as Amy describes. The group is always two abreast - no scary four-wide riding. You can choose to pull longer or shorter, in consultation with the person beside you, and you get to ride and chat with everyone in the group. Lister and the youth team do this regularly (calling it, aptly, "speed dating").

"Slow paceline" isn't quite the right name for it, but it's close. It's more of a two-up stepwise rotation.

As long as you understand that when the person ahead of you moves up a slot, you tag along behind, this method does make sense when you're in it.

I think TS should employ this for our Sunday rides, if not others. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's quick and painless.

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myboys
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by myboys » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:04 pm

Before the Langley Fondo, I had never heard of the the two-abreast rotating line. But it took about thirty seconds to figure it out. There is no “slow” or “quick” lane. You simply ride at the front, then fall back two places to the right. And the next two riders on the left side take the lead. Easy-peasy.

We take up much less room on the road, and it’s actually much smoother. And you can go like stink just as easily in the group, or not. And based on personal experience, staying at the back is just as simple.

I’ve only done ever it once, for 160km, and it worked great. Thanks to John for bringing it up, because I’ve often thought that Tripleshot should incorporate this into its rides.

Cheers

Mary

LouiseF
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by LouiseF » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:10 pm

And just b/c its my own personal pet peeve, half-wheeling can happen in any configuration where you are riding two abreast. And it's ANNOYING!

Bosie
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Bosie » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:22 am

I think that's a bit unfair/inaccurate. The OBB groups employ this to good effect on the way out to Sidney, which is steady but no-drop (and, in the not-first group, is fairly social and conversational).
In my experience of the OBB ride the "frisky" folks like to pull for longer and harder. This means that when a less "frisky" person ends up on the left, they have no choice but to hang on until the guy on the right has dropped back. If they peel off left, then it negates the purpose.

Alternatively, someone starts a nice conversation with the bloke next to them and then have to stop because the group is moving up. They decide not to and sit a bike length (now two) back while they finish the conversation. This creates problems.

Finally, if you decide to "sit in" on the back and wave people through people get antsy because it kind of creates a weird dynamic whereby those behind are quite happy to sit in and eventually 4 people end up rotating on the front.

Ive never seen it work well in the ride out to Sidney, but that might be because of the dynamics of that particular ride where the frisky folks are mixed in with the less frisky ones.

It might work well on a TS Sunday ride, but Im not betting on it :)
Craig B.

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JTyre
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JTyre » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:48 am

Bosie wrote:
It might work well on a TS Sunday ride, but Im not betting on it :)
As someone who ate a ham sandwich for lunch fifteen years in a row, I'm probably not the best person to argue for change, but on this consequential issue I will.

I'll accept Bosie's (not a) wager and raise him a beer that this configuration will work well.

Once Rolf gives me a day pass from the cross hell that I'm stuck in, I'll be very happy to give this configuration a go. And Bosie, bring a bottle opener (smiley winky face).

John

Marcus
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by Marcus » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:55 am

I think there is a difference between the Langley fondo rotation and the wheelers rotation. As I read it, two riders move up and over in the Langley rotation so that there are two fresh riders on front. In the wheelers rotation only one rider moves up and over which results in the rider still being on the front but in the other line until the next rider moves up and over. Because I am one of the less strong riders I tend to move up and over sooner than most because I will still need to pull on the new side until someone else moves up and over which can be accomplished sooner by asking the rider beside me to do so. If a 2 rider alignment is going to be tried, I would suggest being clear on whether the Langley or wheeler method is being used. Also, I have never experienced a problem with sitting in on a wheelers ride. As always, you just have to tell people what you are doing.

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JTyre
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JTyre » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:55 am

Thank you for noticing that distinction Marcus. The Langley formation is definitely where two riders come up and over.

John

shawn
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by shawn » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:50 am

The double paceline technique that we used in Langley was taught to me by JP Robinson who coached the Tour we Rock group for many years. Yes, I believe that Lister uses it with the juniors and that they call it "speed dating" because you get to spend a few social minutes beside one person and then move on.

I like this technique because it keeps the group tight and predictable to other road users, and because we are never wider than 2-abreast. We had many positive comments from others at Langley!

I make it a point to coach this technique during the women's clinic ( in addition to the typical TSC double paceline ) because it is likely they will see it on other group rides.

It's social, but not necessarily slow. That's up to the group. Tired riders can still sit in. I think it can basically be used at any time where our traditional 2-up formation is used. It's very simple to switch between "speed dating" and a continuously-rotating paceline.

For Langley we employed the method explained in this link:
http://teamrace.com/ride-guidelines/

JamesB
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Re: Is there a safer paceline configuration?

Post by JamesB » Fri May 18, 2018 11:15 am

Joining this discussion a little late here, but I'd be in favour of at least trying this "speed dating" formation and group riding technique.

The last club I rode with used this technique in almost all "non-racing" scenarios. While I'm still learning the ropes here at TS (and loving them so far!), I feel unnecessarily "vulnerable" when we are 4 or more across in a non-racing or non-closed environment.

Another possible "benefit" of the speed dating technique is that as the riders who are finishing your pull, you don't have to "work" to stay with the group. It actually flows really nicely and feels like it's a slightly more relaxed pace-line experience.

For sure it's more social but it's also easy to make it a more "spicy" by making minor changes in tempo or speed, and as others have mentioned, even transition into a rolling pace-line.

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