I had a great ride last night. It was the “Bro Ride,” a group that meets up in Hermosa Beach at 5:45 PM on Wednesdays and does a 35-mile pedal through the city during rush hour. You would think that’s dicey but you’d be wrong. Thanks Matt Miller for keeping things safe and fun.
In addition to the obligatory flat tire change we also did some paceline practice on Westchester Parkway. Joann Z., Kevin S., Tom D., Joey C., Geoff L., and Matt were all amenable to receiving some screamed instructions by a rabid Wanky, and four of the riders did their first paceline ever, acquitting themselves quite well.
You take it for granted that everybody’s done a rotating paceline before but that’s not the case. We did a little seminar at the curbside before starting, and I told everyone not to worry. “I’ll be screaming like a batshit crazy drill sergeant. You’ll never be in doubt as to what you should be doing.”
Funny thing is, it took very little instruction other than yelling “Pull off!” “Pull through!” and “Quit surging for fuck’s sake!” at the right time. Before long people really got the hang of it and commented on how much fun it was. Riding a paceline takes huge concentration, not to mention trusting the wheel in front of you. In LA, where group rides are more akin to mobs, and where there aren’t many unbroken stretches of road where you can rotate, the Parkway proved perfect.
Basic riding skills can be taught quickly, you just have to stop what you’re doing at the time, divest yourself from the moment of “being in the ride,” and take a minute to talk, practice, and learn. Good stuff.