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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-21-04, 10:20 AM   #1
super-douper
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Why am I so slow?

Maybe I'm not slow, but it sure seemed like it last night.

last night i was in a hurry to get home but still wanted to get my heart rate up for a few mins, so I took the shorter long way home, 4 miles. I was turning onto a major road and had to stop for a roadie that was passing before I turned right to follow in the same direction. He looked like he was just cruising on a sunday afternoon ride. He certainly didn't look like he was goin fast, so I said to myself "Self, now you're going to have to pass this dude" So I began hammering so I could pass before the obstacles that were in the bike lane up ahead.

Well, me and my trusty old Fisher MTB were cruising along at around 25mph to try to catch this leisurly roadie. No dice. I wasn't even catching up. I shifted, 26mph, nothin....WTF?

I've never had a road bike, havn't ridden one either, but 25mph seems fast. I was pushing it, maxed out...and this dude looked like he was relaxing, letting the weight of his legs push the pedals.

It is possible that when he saw a jack-ass on a MTB with a rack trunk and airwalk shoes in his toeclips that he kicked it up a notch so as not to get passed or allow me to draft (I wouldn't draft anyway, I'd rather get the full workout).

I usually cruise at 19 - 20 mph on rides up to 30 miles, I thought that was decent. I know that road bikes are faster, especially if they're not carrying a full day's clothes and gear for work and tools (this dude was out on a rec ride, no bags or even tools that I could see), but I thought that I should be able to catch someone thats just cruising if I'm maxed out.

Am I slow? What the hell happened? Maybe my cyclocomputer is not calibrated correctly and I was really going 11mph, but i'm pretty sure it's correct.
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Old 10-21-04, 10:28 AM   #2
BenyBen
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Try a road bike, with high pressure tires, and you'll see that it doesn't compare. I also have an MTB, and a road bike. When I take my road bike, I usually get 5-10km/h more with the same effort.

And no, you're not slow if you can go 25mph on an MTB, that's very good!!!!
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Old 10-21-04, 10:54 AM   #3
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He kicked it up..had to. Most people I know don't cruise that fast.
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Old 10-21-04, 11:04 AM   #4
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Or get some slicks for your MTB.

I rode passed a cop that was sitting with a radar gun clocking people.

I don't have a bike computer, so I yelled out to him, "How fast am and I going?" and he said 10mph. That was a moderate speed for me. I have an old 7 speed too, I've noticed that makes me alot slower. A 1998 Gary Fisher Kaitai.

That guy was probably kicking it up a notch when he passed you.
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Old 10-21-04, 11:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon-UT
Or get some slicks for your MTB.
I should have mentioned that I do have slicks. I noticed a huge difference when I put them on. Well worth the $20 I spent on them.

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Originally Posted by Shannon-UT
A 1998 Gary Fisher Kaitai.
Mine is a 1994 Gary Fisher Mamba. Everything is original except the brakes that I replaced a few years ago with v-brakes. It's getting old, but I'm a little attached. It was my first mountain bike.

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That guy was probably kicking it up a notch when he passed you.
I sure hope so, I thought I'd been doing pretty good lately. Oh well, I guess I'd better kick my training up a notch!
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Old 10-21-04, 11:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by super-douper
Maybe I'm not slow, but it sure seemed like it last night.

last night i was in a hurry to get home but still wanted to get my heart rate up for a few mins, so I took the shorter long way home, 4 miles. I was turning onto a major road and had to stop for a roadie that was passing before I turned right to follow in the same direction. He looked like he was just cruising on a sunday afternoon ride. He certainly didn't look like he was goin fast, so I said to myself "Self, now you're going to have to pass this dude" So I began hammering so I could pass before the obstacles that were in the bike lane up ahead.

Well, me and my trusty old Fisher MTB were cruising along at around 25mph to try to catch this leisurly roadie. No dice. I wasn't even catching up. I shifted, 26mph, nothin....WTF?

I've never had a road bike, havn't ridden one either, but 25mph seems fast. I was pushing it, maxed out...and this dude looked like he was relaxing, letting the weight of his legs push the pedals.

It is possible that when he saw a jack-ass on a MTB with a rack trunk and airwalk shoes in his toeclips that he kicked it up a notch so as not to get passed or allow me to draft (I wouldn't draft anyway, I'd rather get the full workout).

I usually cruise at 19 - 20 mph on rides up to 30 miles, I thought that was decent. I know that road bikes are faster, especially if they're not carrying a full day's clothes and gear for work and tools (this dude was out on a rec ride, no bags or even tools that I could see), but I thought that I should be able to catch someone thats just cruising if I'm maxed out.

Am I slow? What the hell happened? Maybe my cyclocomputer is not calibrated correctly and I was really going 11mph, but i'm pretty sure it's correct.

Good lord. 20 mph average is VERY nice on a MTB. Some people can't do that on a road bike. You have everything calibrated? Downhill? You should consider getting a cyclocross bike, man. You'd be untouchable.
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Old 10-21-04, 11:16 AM   #7
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I've noticed when guys pass me on bikes, they are peddaling so fast I swear their wives must be in labor or something.

They're actually people in my work and they are still dressed in work clothes, no helmets either.
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Old 10-21-04, 11:20 AM   #8
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Good lord. 20 mph average is VERY nice on a MTB. Some people can't do that on a road bike. You have everything calibrated? Downhill? You should consider getting a cyclocross bike, man. You'd be untouchable.
Yes, I usually average 19 - 20pmh on my rides. They're mostly flat though. Sometimes I've tried to go slow, like the day after a hard ride, but my body and my bike seem to be most comfortable at 20mph. I also really only use 1 gear and never shift (unless I'm going up or downhill or trying to catch someone).

I've been eyeing the Surly Crosscheck. I'm trying to tell my wife that I NEED it, and that I won't be getting rid of either of my other bikes. She's not going for it. I guess she'll learn to live with it when (if) it comes home :-) I've also thought of making the Mamba into SS or Fixed gear, since I only use the one speed, but I really don't want to put that much money into such an old bike. Especially since it isn't the right size. It's a 15.5" frame and I'm 5'10". The Mamba actually fits my wife pretty good, but she doesn't ride. Maybe I'll make her ride, then I'll only have 2 bikes and she'll have 1.
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Old 10-21-04, 11:23 AM   #9
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Boy, I wish I could cruise at 20mph for 30 miles. It's more like 15mph. My bike is heavy (touring) but still...And even at 15mph, I hardly get passed by anyone except some roadies, so no, you're not slow. 25mph for me is a case of strong tailwind on smooth pavement, pedaling like crazy. Can't keep that for more than a minute or two.
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Old 10-21-04, 12:35 PM   #10
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Bah! The wife needs to learn who da boss.
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Old 10-22-04, 04:36 AM   #11
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Get a road bike. If you can cruise at 20 on an MTB, you'll be at 25 on a road bike. I average 22-25mph on the flats with no real effort on my road bike. I did the MTB/Slicks option before I went to a road bike for commuting on roads. There's one guy on my morning commute that I think is about to crack and buy a road bike. I've passed him so many times, and he always trys to keep up, hangs for a couple blocks then drops off. Last time I went by him, his comment was "Man I need a road bike". FWIW, there's a 6 block stretch of 35mph road on my commute with parked cars on one side, median on the other, and about 9-10 feet of lane. I take the road and hold my speed at 29-30. So to answer your question, no you're not slow, MTB's on the road are slow, and road bikes are really that much faster.
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Old 10-22-04, 05:06 AM   #12
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Amusingly, when I was ordering my mountain bike there was a guy looking at road bikes and had taken a LeMond out for a spin. He came back and his exact words were "I feel almost guilty going that fast with that little work". Almost made me change my mind about ordering a mountain bike right there.
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Old 10-22-04, 05:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
just let the weight of your leg push the pedal down. think circular motion as you do it.


Triangles work better.

http://www.thesportfactory.com/article_253.shtml
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Old 10-22-04, 05:47 AM   #14
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I use parallelograms myself
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Old 10-22-04, 07:11 AM   #15
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I use parallelograms myself
Mines more of a scribbling
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Old 10-22-04, 04:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by super-douper

I usually cruise at 19 - 20 mph on rides up to 30 miles, I thought that was decent.

You have no idea of what Id give to be able to average 20 miles an hour on my cyclocross bike. I average 15, maybe a touch over...of course, I'm a newbie, so I hope to get there by next summer...or so...
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Old 10-22-04, 04:36 PM   #17
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You have no idea of what Id give to be able to average 20 miles an hour on my cyclocross bike. I average 15, maybe a touch over...of course, I'm a newbie, so I hope to get there by next summer...or so...
Would you give me your bike? We could trade. Your cyclocross bike for my lightning fast MTB (including likely mis-calibrated cyclocomputer).
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Old 10-22-04, 07:35 PM   #18
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I recently bought a road bike and was just amazed at how much faster it was than my MTB. I was running out about 12-14 on the MTB and jumped up to about 18-20 with road bike? Sure feels like night and day...

So how fast is fast? What should I be shooting for?
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Old 10-22-04, 11:13 PM   #19
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On a flat, with no headwind, you shouldn't be too pressed to push 20-22. Throw a headwind in, and things change drastically, and you'll find yourself loosing 2-4mph. On the other hand, make it a tailwind and you can push 25+ Just make sure to yell "On your left" every time you pass an MTB. Some of those guys spook when you go by them so fast. Oh, and if you want to have fun, slow down and pass them slowly, then ease the pace back up, checking behind you for an explosion, as they blow up trying to hang.
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Old 10-23-04, 03:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Would you give me your bike? We could trade. Your cyclocross bike for my lightning fast MTB (including likely mis-calibrated cyclocomputer).

Heh...we could, but I'm afraid I'd look down at your cyclo 'puter and see an average of six mph...my commute would never end. While that does have it's good points, it definitely doesn't lend itself to food being put on my table. ;-)
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Old 10-25-04, 11:03 AM   #21
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A more realistic speed for commuters is about 15-18 mph which should be relatively easy to maintain in fair weather conditions and a well conditioned aerobic system. Since it's not everyone's goal to work out your anaerobic system; around my alley only the few speedy ones get about 18 - 22 mph a couple these fellows seem bike messengers. Anything above 20 requires a significant amount of effort to be put out regardless of bike type.

When I started to commute this past Spring I was barely able to keep about 14 mph. I had to veer off the road to be really sick one morning the first week & I thought was on good shape. Nearly 3000 miles later I can say that I am one of the fast ones, quitted smoking and lost about 10 pounds ( I still drink beer) just last week I had that chase game on nearly perfect conditions for about 10 miles, during the last stretches we we furiously pedaling at 28 mps, later at the office I saw to my amazement the we peek at 31!
Hanging in there for dear life last minutes my only thought was 'cmon man just give it up! while fueling more on pride than glycogen and oxygen I knew that I had only few more seconds feeling that my lungs were on the border of collapsing the guy shifted direction and rocketed for a ped bridge access to cross Michigan Ave.

I like to think that he stopped to catch his breath under the bridge, while I decelerated and continue riding next to the raising sun. I felt robbed from the bragging rights to have passed a beautiful racy yellow road bike while commuting on my humble hybrid Trek.

"There's no such a thing as tough, just trained and untrained, which one are you? " D. Washington
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Old 10-25-04, 01:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phiber
Good lord. 20 mph average is VERY nice on a MTB. Some people can't do that on a road bike. You have everything calibrated? Downhill? You should consider getting a cyclocross bike, man. You'd be untouchable.
LOL, that's exactly what I was thinking! 20 mph avg on a MTB is great! You ought to get a road bike, you would LOVE it!
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