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A group riding formation, where riders line up side-by-side with the lead rider slightly ahead of the others.

Example usage: 'We decided to ride in an echelon formation to make the most of the wind.'

Most used in: Europe, where the windy conditions are often ideal for echelons.

Most used by: Road cyclists, who are likely to be riding in a group.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 2/10

Also see: Paceline, Peloton, Rotating Echelon, Single File Echelon,


What is Echelon Cycling?

Echelon cycling is a type of cycling technique used by cyclists to increase speed and efficiency while riding in a group. It is a formation in which riders line up in a “V” formation, with the lead rider at the front and the other riders forming a diagonal line behind them. This formation is designed to reduce wind resistance and help the riders draft off of each other, allowing them to ride faster and conserve energy.

Echelon cycling is also known as “paceline” or “drafting” and has been used in professional cycling since the 1950s. Studies have shown that riders in an echelon formation can save up to 40% of their energy compared to riding alone. This technique is especially useful in long-distance cycling, where riders can conserve energy for the final sprint.

Echelon cycling is not without its risks, however. Because of the close proximity of riders, there is an increased risk of crashes and pile-ups. It is important for riders to be aware of their surroundings and the other riders in their group when riding in an echelon formation.


The Origins of Echelon Cycling

The term 'echelon cycling' has been used since the early 1900s to describe a particular type of group cycling. It originated in the Netherlands, where it is known as 'koerspel', and was then adopted by the French, who referred to it as 'echelon'.

Echelon cycling is a form of drafting in which riders form a line or 'echelon' behind the first rider, taking advantage of the reduced wind resistance that the first rider experiences. This allows the group of riders to travel faster than they would be able to on their own. The riders in the echelon take turns leading the group, with each rider taking a turn at the front and then dropping back to the end of the line.

The term 'echelon cycling' has been used since at least the early 1900s, when it was first adopted by the Dutch and French cycling communities. It has since become a popular form of group cycling, particularly among competitive cyclists. It is also used by recreational cyclists, who often form echelons in order to cover longer distances more quickly.

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