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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 03-01-11, 01:57 PM   #1
daven1986
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20mph average commute

Hi all,

I know some of the answers will be "depends on the engine", "depends on traffic lights", BUT given some traffic lights and some nice clear sections where I can go for quite a while without being slowed by lights. Is 20mph average possible for a 5 a day commuter? I want to get my commute time down to 30mins (10 miles)!

The last time I measured my speed I was averaging around 14-16mph - that was about a year ago.

Thanks

Daven
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Old 03-01-11, 02:02 PM   #2
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All I'll say is good luck with that.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:08 PM   #3
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My morning commute avg is 18 mph over 10.5 miles, one way. Unfortunate part is that I hit anywhere between 10-13 red lights and have to "slow roll" through 5 or so stop signs. Getting the average speed up can be tough with some many stop/start moments.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:11 PM   #4
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I've been commuting for 20 years and never averaged close to 20mph. I can get my average up to 17 on a good day, but hills, wind, traffic, city streets, and generally riding safely take their toll on average speed. I have no problem cruising at 20mph, but averaging that is wholly different level.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:12 PM   #5
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Is 20mph average possible for a 5 a day commuter? I want to get my commute time down to 30mins (10 miles)!

Try it and report back.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:23 PM   #6
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I used to be able to average around 20...sometimes faster on my 9-mile commute. However, that was pushing pretty hard on low-traffic 2-lane country roads with only a couple stop signs and a few rolling hills. I have a completely different commute now.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:24 PM   #7
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im sure you can do it.

just push as hard as you can for as long as you can.

on a really good day i can do about 17mph avg......
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Old 03-01-11, 02:29 PM   #8
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http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/timetr...le-time-trial/

It's very possible, but you'll need to do a lot of physical work and may need to look into more aggressive positions. Plus, wind could make it impossible some days.

The traffic lights, and traffic, may also make it impossible.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
I've been commuting for 20 years and never averaged close to 20mph. I can get my average up to 17 on a good day, but hills, wind, traffic, city streets, and generally riding safely take their toll on average speed. I have no problem cruising at 20mph, but averaging that is wholly different level.
That's what I find I run into as well, but I commute in town. With a rural commute, in my area, there's definitely a chance you could have a 10 mile TT.

I generally cut the speed down more, because it takes 15 minutes of my time to change and 5 minutes to take it easy.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:31 PM   #10
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About how long does it take you now?
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Old 03-01-11, 02:31 PM   #11
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Sounds like I could at least get it close. That'd be good enough for me just like to set myself a goal and having an impossible goal would be rubbish. I think I'll go for an average of about 16-18mph each day as my goal for the end of the year.

Thanks

Daven

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About how long does it take you now?
About 40-45 minutes total on my fixed gear hybrid - best has been 36 minutes riding time (not including traffic lights) on my road bike. Going to try to get the road bike out next week if the weather improves.
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Old 03-01-11, 02:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Is 20mph average possible for a 5 a day commuter? I want to get my commute time down to 30mins (10 miles)!

Try it and report back.
Good advise.
The only one here who could possibly do that is 10 Wheels.... And he's old enough to be your granddaddy..
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Old 03-01-11, 02:38 PM   #13
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You're the one really in the best position to answer that.

On the biking leg of a sprint triathlon (about 15 miles), I can average around 20 mph on a fairly flat course. That's after having swam but there are no stops. Weaving around other cyclists can slow you down some and there are corners you can't take at full speed. About the last 1/2 mile I don't push quite so hard and I also ease up to speed in beginning rather than trying to explode out of the transition.

With longer distances it's easier to get the average up assuming you're conditioned for it. Since you're only going 10 miles, every time you slow down hurts you more, as you have to make that up in a shorter overall distance.

I'm not the world's fastest cyclist but I usually finish in the top quarter of my age group. Sometimes in the top 10%.

I think even if you could do it it would be a tough thing to manage to accomplish every day.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:12 PM   #14
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Old 03-01-11, 03:17 PM   #15
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When I get my road bike out next week I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 03-01-11, 03:20 PM   #16
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I couldn't. Don't know about you.

But I'd say if you aren't doing 15mph every day right now, then a goal of 18 - 20 mph once is the place to start. If you get there, you will likely be riding pretty hard. Trying to do that all-out effort day after day is a tall order and probably not a smart thing to even attempt.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:25 PM   #17
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Unless you have altitude issues or a prevailing wind that would prevent it, I suspect you will do it first on the homeward leg. My fastest commute times have always been during the trip home; it may have something to do with the cold beer in the fridge. Of course, my only breakdowns have happened on my trips home too, so both my fastest and slowest legs were the trips home.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:35 PM   #18
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Try to do it 2 times a week to start. Use it like racers do tempo rides. So push hard for the 10 miles on the ride home twice a week. Also you're going to have to continue working spin. Pretty much drop gears until you're hips start doing the Elvis shake, then click it up one. Once you adjust to a faster cadence, you'll be able to push a third tempo ride into the mix in a week. It's possible after maybe 8 weeks. Then again, you'd be adding racing tools to a commuter ride, so /shrug.

I've pushed a 25 MPH pace for 10 miles in the last two weeks, until my daughter was hospitalized with the flu. But that is, once again, preparing for a triathlon this weekend. So I've probably got 2500 miles already under my belt of dedicated 150-200 mile weeks (sans commuting). Probably another 50 a week in commuting....see what I mean?

Obsession, dedication and a little bit of insanity have to be taken in the right dosage to make things interesting

Good luck.
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Old 03-01-11, 03:50 PM   #19
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My gps tracking app tells me i'm generally cruising around 20mph, but with all the traffic lights and occasional hills, it drops my average down to the 14-16 range. Of course, I don't know how accurate it is. My ride is 13 miles. It usually takes around 45min to an hour depending on the lights that I get stuck at, or traffic conditions.
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Old 03-01-11, 04:33 PM   #20
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Get a recumbent.
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Old 03-01-11, 04:59 PM   #21
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Not for me it isn't, but that's not to say you couldn't do it.
My commuter is a tank, my commute has a bunch of hills, and I'm not in good enough shape to bust out with a 16mi time-trial twice a day.
When I lived closer to work (7mi one-way) and rode a flat path most of the way to work (no lights, no crossings, no stops) and just 1 hill afterwards, I could hit 18mph average if I was really pushing it.
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Old 03-01-11, 05:02 PM   #22
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On a road bike, with favourable traffic lights, going all out the whole way, I've been able to do my 9.6 mile commute in about 35 minutes. That's mostly flat, but I have one good downhill section, and one good uphill section (start and end elevations are very close). Like others here, I can ride 20 mph easily enough, but 20 mph average in the city is pretty difficult, at least for me.
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Old 03-01-11, 05:18 PM   #23
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I've hit that on the way to work a few times.. Typically around 19mph, or so, depending on the day.. It helps that I drop about 300 feet over the 10 miles.. I can usuall average about 17-18mph on the round trip.

If I rode everyday, I'm sure I'd be faster..
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Old 03-01-11, 05:33 PM   #24
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If 14-16mph was the starting point, it's definitely going to take some work to pop that up to 20. As you stated, lights and intangibles are your enemy. You'd probably have to roll @ 22-23 mph routinely to make up for city conditions. It takes a pretty accomplished cyclist to maintain that kind of speed.
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Old 03-01-11, 05:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Sounds like I could at least get it close. That'd be good enough for me just like to set myself a goal and having an impossible goal would be rubbish. I think I'll go for an average of about 16-18mph each day as my goal for the end of the year.
That's more reasonable. You'll have to work for it, but 18 shouldn't be too hard on the flats.
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