There are situations when words cannot be used, e.g. during heavy wind or when someone is out of breath. Is there an universal hand signal to communicate a proposition of a chain gang behavior to fellow cyclist?

  • If one of the drafters feels the leader has pulled too long/etc, they've ridden up and overtaken the leader to become the new leader.
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 14:16
  • Exactly, this is what I do. But sometimes other cyclists think that I show off or I want to race, so I'm looking for a way to communicate them my intentions.
    – Helbreder
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 18:11
  • I've heard of those people being called "Cat 6 racers". Some are idiots, others use the opportunity to test themselves. As long as they don't present a danger to themselves or those around them, I don't pay that much attention.
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


I prefer to come ahead of the other person and once I'm far enough in front of them that they can see me (but still not completely ahead of them) I'll point at my rear wheel with my right hand (i.e., the hand that's closest to the other rider). Usually they'll either pull forward ("no thanks - I'll keep pulling") or drop back slightly ("thank god - what took you so long?"). On the few times when there's been confusion I've found that they'll usually pull around you if they didn't want to draft.



There are a number of different ways to initiate a paceline via hand signals, but the most common one I've seen and used is to make a circle with an upwards pointed finger.

Watch Peter Sagan (white jersey, yellow/red helmet) do this in the following video.

He's joking in this situation, but note that his fellow sprinters all know that he's referring to starting a paceline, which is why Greipel (green jersey) checks the gap to the rest of the peloton.


Here's an easy recipe that I've seen used in a number of casual riding situations with anonymous cyclists:

  1. You should take the first pull, so pass the rider on the left. Make sure you're going slow enough that she can actually hitch a ride without a massive sprint.
  2. When your rear wheel is passing her front wheel (ie. about the time she can see you without having to turn her head), pat your upper butt/hip a couple of times on her side. This should be a friendly "come here" gesture.
  3. When it's safe to do so, pull in front of her. You may also consider slowing down slightly to further communicate that you aren't interested in blowing by her. (But don't slow down so much that she'll just have to pass you again!)
  4. Once it looks like she's on, slowly and evenly accelerate up to your desired pace.

Keep in mind that some people aren't comfortable drafting and that others may not even understand the concept, so of course this won't always work.

  • 6
    Um... not a roadie here (by any stretch of the imagination), but that's not what I would think if someone made that gesture. Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 3:49
  • I may not be describing it well, but fwiw it's felt pretty illustrative the few times I've seen it.
    – ladenedge
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 5:47
  • 1
    "When your rear wheel is passing her front wheel (ie. about the time she can see you without having to turn her head), pat your upper butt/hip a couple of times on her side." signals the initiation of a gang execution. Under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law you are allowed to use deadly force in self defense.
    – emory
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 22:47
  • @Emory - that sounds serious.
    – Helbreder
    Commented Jun 30, 2012 at 19:09

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