9 Tips - Groups Riding
1. To build your confidence in a paceline, start by staying one bike length from the rider in front of you, then gradually close the gap as your experience and ability increase. Once you can ride comfortably within a wheel's length, you'll be getting most of the benefit of drafting, which can reduce by up to 35 percent the effort it takes to maintain a given speed.
2. When taking the lead position in a paceline, as the former leader drops to the back, don't accelerate. Maintain the same speed as when drafting so you don't cause gaps to open between the other riders.
3. To stave off muscle fatigue during hard, sustained pedaling, learn to "float" each leg every three or four strokes. Simply let your foot fall without exerting force.
4. For safety, don't brake in a paceline. Doing so will slow you too much, open a gap, and possibly cause a chain reaction. Instead, if you begin to overtake the rider in front, ease your pedal pressure, sit up to catch more wind, or move out to the side a bit. Once you've lost enough speed, tuck back in line and smoothly resume pedaling.
5. If you're leading a paceline up a hill, keep your cadence and pedal pressure constant by shifting to a lower gear.
6. Keep your arms in line with your body, not splayed elbows out. This is an easy way to make yourself more aerodynamic and go faster with no extra energy.
7. When riding in a group, always keep your hands in contact with your brakes, either in the drops or on the hoods. That way, you are always prepared to slow.
8. Don't stare at the rear wheel you're following in a paceline. Let your peripheral vision keep tabs while you look a couple of riders ahead to see what they're doing. Then you'll be prepared if something happens to make them veer or change speed. A paceline is like a Slinky: Little movements at the front magnify and speed up as they flow to the back of the pack.
9. When you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by a hard pace, try this breathing technique: Instead of actively drawing air into the lungs then passively letting it out (our normal pattern), push the air out and let it naturally flow back in. Bonus: Because of how you activate your lungs to do this, it also helps you get into a low riding position and maintain a flatter back.
Peloton-ese vocabulary lesson
OTB is "off the back," and means you've been dropped. OTF is "off the front," and means you've attacked. OTR is "on the rivet," which comes from riders' tendency during all-out efforts to scoot forward on the saddle, where a rivet used to be. Tout adroit is "all to the right" in French. It means the chain is on the farthest-right cog and farthest-right chainring—the biggest gear combo. It's another term for an extended, hard effort.
Mechanical vs hydraulic disc brakes
Although not all disc brakes function in the same way. At a very basic level they all feature pistons that push either one or both brake pads onto the rotor. The differences come with the way that lever force is transferred to the calliper and brake rotor.
At one end of the spectrum we have cable actuated brakes, sometimes referred to as mechanical disc brakes. These function in much the same way as a rim brake, relying on a braided steel cable to move the pistons. The upside of this design is it works in conjunction with your normal, rim brake compatible shifters. Just like rim brakes, they can suffer from cable contamination and are on the whole notoriously fiddly to set up perfectly without rubbing.
In contrast hydraulic disc brakes use a sealed, fluid filled system as the means of actuation. This allows the highest level of braking consistency due to reductions in friction and the fact that both brake pads can move in and out as required. The downside is the considerable expense of dedicated shift levers and system and the comparable lack of simplicity for home mechanics.
However the performance of the the hydraulic system renders the mechanical system nearly redundant. The majority of mechanical brakes only marginally outperform the calliper brake.