Posted by: wheelywonka | October 5, 2010

What Geese Can Teach Us About Riding in a Paceline During the Ride to the River This Weekend

I encountered this while attending a workshop today, and (of course) it made me think about cycling and pacelines and teamwork and 160 amazing miles on some of the smoothest pavement in Texas this weekend during the Ride to the River.    It was written by a Robert McNeish, Associate  Superintendent of the Baltimore Public Schools in 1972, and is frequently used in team building exercises.

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Geese in flying V formation

Click here for a great multimedia version of this.

One last Hillfest tomorrow, then it’s time for the Ride to the River, and it looks like the weather will be unbelievable! 

See you on the road!


  1. Honk, honk, honk!!! 🙂

  2. Great story – I think I’ll share this at work!

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