Ride Rules and Etiquette

Please take the time to read the following pages and familiarize yourself with the SCFW Rules and Etiquette of riding in a Paceline.  The goal is to ensure a safe and pleasant ride.  SCFW reserves the right to disallow a cyclist from participating in group rides if he/she does not follow the Club Ride Rules and Etiquette, especially if deemed dangerous to other riders.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Participants in club rides should have current SCFW membership but are welcome to join a ride or two before deciding to join the club. Non-members must sign a waiver which is provided by the Ride Leader.


Riders must abide by the following rules for all SCFW club rides or sponsored events

  • You MUST wear a helmet.
  • Bike must be in good working condition and properly maintained.
  • NO headphones or cell phones allowed while riding in the Paceline. This includes using a cell phone as a camera.
  • Do not pass cars at STOP signs or speed bumps.  Because a car has slowed doesn’t mean that it is an opportunity for you to pass.
  • Bike must have brakes – You bicycle must have the ability to modulate speed and have breaking action on at least two wheels.
    • Fixed gear bicycles must be fitted with a hand actuated, front-mounted brake.
    • Freewheeling bicycles must be fitted with hand actuated brakes on each of the front and rear wheels.
    • Tricycles must be fitted with hand actuated brakes on at least two (2) wheels.


  • Do not ride on aero bars in any location within the Paceline.
  • Do not ride too close to the edge of the road. Leave at least one foot on the right side.
  • Do not cross the double yellow line… stay in the lane.
  • The key to a safe Paceline is the predictability of all those involved so please ride a steady and straight line.  If there is an obstacle in the road point it out and avoid it by slowly moving over, not with sudden course changes.
  • Try not to use your brakes.  Sit up or move out of the draft to slow down.  If you must brake, feather your rear brake.
  • Do not pass a car unless it is safe for the entire Paceline to do so and the driver has indicated he wishes you to pass.  Only pass to the left of the car when there is no shoulder or bike lane.  Remember, you are not alone but responsible for the riders behind you.  A courteous and respectful interaction with car drivers will go a long way.
  • You may need to stand to accelerate, climb a hill or stretch.  To avoid throwing your bike backwards into a following rider, shift up before standing to compensate for your slower cadence.
  • Do not overlap your front wheel with the rider in front of you.  If the rider ahead of you needs to made a quick move to avoid something unexpected you will fall along with anyone behind you.
  • When in a crosswind, ride in an echelon provided traffic conditions allow it.  Avoid overlapping wheels when in an echelon.

Responsibility at Three Positions

Riders at the front, the middle and the tail of the Paceline have differing responsibilities.

Lead Rider

  • The lead rider has prime responsibility for the Paceline.
  • Ride at a steady speed, do not coast or brake.
  • Try not to surge ahead when you take over the head of the Paceline.  If you are going to increase the pace, try to keep the group together by doing so gradually.
  • When you take over at the head of the Paceline, and cannot keep the pace set by the riders before you, pull for as long as you are capable at that speed and then signal that you are dropping off.  There is NO expectation from the other riders that you pull for any given amount of time.  Rather, everyone enjoys a consistent pace.
  • During an echelon, ride on the windward side of the lane, and when dropping back drop off slowly towards that windward side.  In a head wind or tail wind, maintain a paceline and ride toward the right side of the road to allow room for other riders to go by or cars to see around you.
  • Call and point out obstacles (cars, walkers, dogs, other cyclists, debris, etc.) on the road.  Also, call out turns, slowing, and stopping.
  • Don’t pull too hard or too long at the front.  Save your energy so you can rejoin the Paceline after falling off the lead.
  • After tight turns, slowly bring up pace to allow everyone to group up again and you hear the vocal alert “last on”.

Middle Rider

  • Pass hazard information backward and forward by calling or pointing them out.
  • Keep a one to two foot gap between you and the rider in front.  Do not overlap wheels, make sudden moves, or allow a large gap to form.  If so, close it slowly and gradually.
  • Look up toward the front of the Paceline or at the back of the rider in front of you.  Don’t get hypnotizedby the rear wheel of the person in front of you.
  • Ride at the leeward side of the rider in front of you.
  • When moving to the front, keep your speed constant.  Do not open gaps by accelerating or sprinting quickly.
  • If you are too tired to assume the lead, pedal a few times and then rotate off the lead.
  • When within the Paceline, and at your limit and wish to drop off, please do so gradually and with a signal to riders behind you.

Tail Rider

  • Call out overtaking traffic “car back”.
  • When the rider falling off the lead is about two bike lengths before the tail, call out “last”.
  • If you cannot keep the pace, call out “falling off”.
  • When re-entering the Paceline after falling off the lead, begin increasing your speed to match the Paceline when you are about two bike lengths from the tail.


  • Sprints are probably the most dangerous part of a club ride, so please always use caution and consider the other rider’s safety.  Winning and being reckless doesn’t endear yourself towards the group.
  • First and foremost these are club rides and race tactics do not apply.
  • Do not force your way into the Paceline to be closer to the lead in preparation for a sprint.  Begin the sprint from where ever you are in the Paceline.  Watch where you are going!
  • The sprint is CANCELLED if there is a car ahead of the Paceline or approaching from the other direction.