One thing triathletes are not known for is group riding skill. To be more precise, they are not known for having good group riding skills. There are advantages to riding with a group. The first is safety. Group riding is also social and motivating. Many triathletes see little point in riding in a paceline, but if you want to ride in a group with cyclists you need to know how to ride in a paceline.
Triathletes are not known for having especially good group riding skills and many would benefit the free clinics and classes that many local bikes shops offer. Mike Peavy, owner of Cyclesport, in Chico, does a fantastic job of teaching new cyclists basic bike handling, paceline, and group riding skills. The class gets new people riding and introduces them to the local cycling community.
Where triathletes have a bad reputation for going wrong is trying to ride their time trial bikes in a paceline or peloton. Although there is generally little risk in a casual, non-competetive paceline ride, time trial bikes are not ideal for riding in pacelines. The bullhorns are perfectly shaped for hooking road bike drop bars and their aerobar extensions are perfect for impaling others. These characteristics make them even less ideal, and even dangerous, for fast, competitive group pack rides like the local “world championship” ride of the week, which is probably a lot like an informal bike race (in Chico this is known as the “Fast 50“). This is why, if you plan to convert your road bike to a triathlon bike and ride it in fast and competitive pelotons, the “shorty” bars used in draft-legal International Triathlon Union racing are the way to go (a good example is the Profile Design T2+ DL). If you want to ride your time trial bike in a paceline, stay out of your aerobars.
If you want to ride in your time trial position ride off the front or off the back. Rotate to the back first. If you want to ride off the back of the paceline, drop back, give yourself some room, and then get into your aerobars. If you want to ride off the front, after you rotate to the back of the paceline come around the side and then get into your aerobars. If you start when you are at the front of the paceline you could blow it apart if part of the paceline tries to follow. Besides, the point is to get far enough away from the group to safely ride in your time trial position, which is the whole point of riding a time trial bike in the first place.