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Best Practices

You are responsible for your own safety. You should always be alert and conscious of what it going on around you. These best practices are common to cycling in groups and help everyone cycle safely and comfortably.


  • Hand signal turns and slowing/stopping. Supplement verbally if needed. Signals given with the left hand are more visible to cars than right hand signals.
  • Point out upcoming obstacles/walkers/riders and wave those behind you over if the paceline needs to shift left or right.
  • Call “car back” or “car passing” when cars are approaching from behind. This can sometimes be relaxed when riding in a dedicated bike lane and the traffic is not threatening.
  • Call “car left”, “car right”, or “car up” when you are in front.
  • Call “look left”, “look right” when cars are approaching but not yet a threat.
  • Call “car gone” if a threat that was announced turned off early.
  • Call “slowing” or “stopping”, especially if a hand signal isn’t expeditious enough.
  • It’s nice feedback for the one leading to audibly hear his/her hand signals seconded from someone behind so he/she knows the signals were noticed by the group.
  • Call “all on” if you are the last one in line and everyone is caught up.
  • Relay signals forward/backward if the line is long.
  • The "chicken wing" with the right arm is the MLBC preferred signal for indicating you are pulling off the paceline.

Paceline etiquette

  • Respect the ride’s advertised pace! If we go too fast we are disrespecting riders marginal to the pace and making them feel unwelcome. Blow off steam with intervals and sprints where the route safely accommodates it (Volco, Beacon Light, Sugar Mill, etc.).
  • Be predictable and steady. Do not make sudden moves and try to keep a constant distance from the rider in front of you.
  • If you are leading, slow the pace after turns or stops long enough to allow the line to form back up smoothly.
  • Do not use areobars unless you are the lead or off the back.
  • Keep your hands on the bars, ready to react. Do not ride hands free while in the paceline.
  • Do not overlap wheels. You will be the one who crashes if you clip the wheel in front of you.
  • Do not ride any closer than your skill and the steadiness and predictability of the rider in front of you allows.
  • Be respectful of riders who do not want you too close behind them. If they are nervous when you are close then you are compromising their attention and your own safety.
  • Do not pull until you are exhausted. Pull only as long as you want to and are comfortably capable of.
  • When you are done pulling, while maintaining your speed gracefully drift to the left and give the “chicken wing” signal with your right arm to let the rider behind you know that you are done and for them to take over.
  • If you are leaving the group ride, tell someone so we won't go looking for you thinking you are in trouble.
  • Riders of e-bikes are expected to limit e-assist to a level at which you still need to contribute. NO THROTTLES!!!!


  • Make sure your bike is ready (tires inflated, chain running smoothly, nothing loose, etc.)
  • Carry at least one spare tube. If you have deep dish rims you might not be able to borrow a tube with a long enough stem!
  • Carry enough water for the conditions.