What ExBMX said made the most amount of sense to me (btw, sorry this is bolded – I don’t know how to turn it off!)
I viewed the “real” road as the right (single) lane and the lane on the left as the oncoming lane – to be used by vehicles and passing bicyclists. Having said that, I tended to be just right of the middle line because the general speed I rode at tended to be faster than most people on the right. When I was alone (well – never alone completely) or in a line of people with 20 feet or more between bikes, I was all the way right.
The real problems came when I found myself in packs – often coming upon a pack – and I had to move further left to pass. There was always someone or a group of someones who had to pass me as well. Often, I would be in the process of passing a pack, and one of the aforementioned pace lines would come screaming up on my left when I was already left of the center line.
For me – the reason for having the rule of no pace lines is simple – there are simply too many riders and too many rider speeds to allow for pace lines to work 100% of the time. They work 50% of the time – but eventually, they will have to split up or slow down when they encounter packs of less experienced, slower riders. Regrettably, rather than split up or slow down – they tended to yell and demand.
One of the primary reasons I decided to ride Ragbrai was because of the no pace line rules and the variety of abilities. Am I upset that there are people who are indignant that pace lines were formed anyway? No. Am I upset that some in the pace lines were rude or indignant themselves? No. Am I going to settle in behind a pack until the pace line 200 yards back passes? No.
If there are people who want to form pace lines who are upset at the average bicyclist who signed up to ride Ragbrai because they are inexperienced, then they will either have to continue to be upset, change their attitudes, or find a different venue to ride.
Seems pretty simple to me!