More on pace line etiquette When partaking of your water bottle, please keep in mind the following:
if you're not the last one on the pace line, keep your actions very smooth as to not alarm the remaining cyclists.
Where to look?
Ahead as you were before starting to grab your bottle.
Don't look at the bottle, the cage, anything else other than ahead.
If you can't look ahead and deal with your bottle, then don't attempt to until you're the last one on the pace line.
Those behind you worry that
you'll drop your bottle.
you'll swerve around trying to get the top open.
you'll swerve around trying to get the bottle back in the cage.
they'll get splashed.
you'll slow down causing the dreaded slinky effect on the pace line.
Right hand -- to keep your left hand on the hoods for slowing if needed.
Hold the bottle out slightly to the right of your body so those behind you know what you're about to do. This provides a bit of extra caution on their part (e.g. they may back off a foot or so from your rear wheel).
Hold the bottle out slightly to the right of your body when you're ready to return it to the cage -- same reasoning as above. Everyone nearby should be vigilant about your actions.
Don't let go of the bottle when putting it back into the cage until you KNOW the bottle is back in the cage. This takes a little practice. Practice on your solo training rides, not during pace line cycling!
Left hand --- caress the handle bars at the hoods (fingers readily available for braking) lightly, not tightly. Rigidly holding the hoods can cause an accident if you hit a rock or other obstacle. Usually when above 16 mph and you hit something the front wheel will auto-correct its alignment (i.e. keep going the way it was going). It is more difficult for the wheel to auto-correct if you're rigidly holding the hoods.