\ ˌpe-lə-ˈtän , ˈpe-lə-ˌtän \
noun: peloton; plural noun: pelotons
1. the main field or group of cyclists in a race.
From the French, literally, small ball, derivative of platoon
First Known Use: 1951
For road riders, a peloton is the most efficient way of riding in a group, where the group, as a whole, rides at a greater speed for less effort than a solo rider could. Riding in a bunch, at speeds going up to 45km/h, calls for a specific set of behaviour for your safety, and the safety of others. In the close quarters of the peloton, not knowing the rules, and proper behaviour, could spell disaster for the entire group. Cycling Malaysia looks at some rules that everyone needs to know when riding in a peloton.
PLAYING NICE WITH OTHERS
When riding in on the road cyclists will usually ride in a group. You will have seen this on certain stretches of road on highway, a large group of colourful lycra clad roadies rolling at a furious pace down the tarmac. If you’re wondering why roadies clump together while riding, it has several advantages. A large group of cyclists is much more visible to traffic, and motorists will usually give extra road space to a peloton. Riding in a group also cuts down on wind resistance, up to as much as 40% if you’re in the middle of the peloton. Riders in a group will also notice the fact that they will move much faster as peloton than as a single rider. If you’re new to road riding, the shoulder to shoulder riding of a fast moving peloton can be a little scary. This is coupled with the fact that your front wheel is 12 inches or less away from the rear wheel of the rider in front. A mistake in such a situation will usually result in a multiple crash, usually of the riders behind you.
A PELOTON NORMALLY TAKES ONE OF 3 FORMS:
This is simply a single file of riders, with all riders taking turns at the “pull” in front, then dropping off to the side and to the back of the paceline, where the sequence starts over. This is a good way of sharing the workload of the pull, and helping the group as a whole save energy.
The double paceline is merely an extension of the single paceline, where you have a line of 2 riders, road space permitting.Double pacelines can move at a pace faster than a single paceline.
The third, and usually only seen in races and closed road rides, is the bunch. This is a large grouping of riders, with no obvious lines to the external observer. Inside the bunch, however, there is a certain order. Riding in a bunch is only recommended for seasoned riders who know what they are doing. Less seen, mainly due to a lack of road real estate for maneuvering, is the echelon. This is a diagonal rolling paceline to deal with the wind coming at the peloton at an angle. This is almost always the provenance of professional road cyclists, as smooth echelon riding, as well as rolling pacelines, calls for a high degree of bike control skill and trust in the other riders.