Very Long Question – very short answer.
To be able to fully understand my question I must tell you a little bit about my background, current situation and fitness level so you can help me with the technical part. If you don’t have the patience or the desire, just scroll down and answer the simple question.
I come from an athletic background that includes 3 years as a sponsored water polo player (age 18-21), 3 years as an adventure racer (age 23-26) doing 6, 8, 12 and 24 hours non-stop biking/running/kayaking and some decent running (5, 10, 15 miles keeping a sub 9 minutes/mile). I have a decent background in mountain biking (not the most technical man out there, but quite decent) and just love bicycles since I was 6.
Now I am 31, semi sedentary for the last 2 years (doing 2-3 miles on treadmill 1-2 times a week), spending a lot of time studying and communing between Tampa and Orlando twice a week. I am a graduate student and work part time, so the amount of time that I spend seated definitely increased for the last 12 months. I went from being 159lbs to 174lbs and my body fat went from 6% to 23% in 24 months. I am not in the best shape of my life
Since 2001 (last race), my nice mountain bike was hanging and, to adapt to my new lifestyle (graduate students shouldn’t be driving SUVs to commute twice a week approximately 80 miles each way) I got a sedan. I needed a bike that could fit in my car so I could stop having excuses to NOT ride. To make the (already) too long story a little shorter, ended up with a folding bike (for those interested, a Giant Halfway RS – rear suspension – with 7 speeds, 13-32 cassette)
Nice bike, needed a bigger chain ring (now featuring a nice 54T to compensate for the 20”wheels), faster/skinnier slicks and now I am semi-happy with my little thing, doing 70 minutes rides and being able to keep an average of 18miles/hr when I put a little effort (remember, I am in Florida, no down hills around here).
OK, now we can start talking about the technical part of it. I want the bike to go faster. I am getting tired from the spinning but not feeling the legs as I used to while racing. I just ordered the dual drive internal hub from SRAM (3 internal gears, 9 speed cassette, 11-34 Mega Range). But my real question is:
Who needs an upgrade, my bike or myself? In other words, the SRAM dual drive will give me 3 extra higher gears (one internal and the 12 and 11T from the cassette), but will add some weight and dragging to the bike. It will make it harder to pedal (which, by the way, is what I am missing) and even with the loss of efficiency and extra weight, be a little over geared if compared to what I have now. Should I just learn how to spin more efficiently or should I pursue my desire to hit the pedals harder? Will I benefit from the dual drive internal hub? After all, it’s a US$340.00 investment into a US$400.00 bike…
Thank you for any input about SRAM Dual drive technology, gearing and the technical aspect of just going faster.
For those with no patience, this is what I am asking:
To obtain faster average speed with my little bike, should I just learn how to spin more efficiently or should I pursue my desire to hit the pedals harder since I feel them soft and way too fast when I am speeding? Who needs an upgrade, my bike or myself?
PS: Picture of current configuration of my little folding thing. Just the seat is not up-to-date on this picture (I got a nice Specialized road seat, no more wavy coils)