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Thread: Speed for 50 +

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    Speed for 50 +

    Hi.
    I started riding last year and did 800 miles last summer, nothing the winter,,and restarted May this year.
    I'm interested in seeing what my times are like compared with other 50+ riders
    I've been on a couple of other general forums and the speeds there are awesome and frankly intimidating.
    So. I'm now doing around 90-100 miles a week basically mixing 10's and 25's . I'm doing 16mph for the 10's and 13-14 for the 25's. Should I keep going or take up Knitting ?

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    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    All I have to say is that if you have to take up knitting, then so do I.

    The more I ride, the more I just think that most everyone just would enjoy the activity. Getting exercise out in the fresh air is a pretty righteous experience.

    To illustrate: My eighteen year old daughter's boy friend has been begging to come out riding with me. But, he has no bike. Yesterday, I'm trying to fit him onto one of our other bikes and telling him that we can do an easy family ride Saturday. Understand, he runs track and everything. He told me that he'd like to push it some. He has helped me with bike mechanical work and seems to know what he's doing, so I asked him what he'd consider pushing it to be. He told me that he and a friend had once ridden to a nearby movie theater together and that that ride had "destroyed" my legs. How far was it? Three or so miles.

    So, your doing 90-100 miles a week would dumbfound most non or casual riders out there. I'd say you're doing pretty great!!!

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    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I'm on a low-end xc mtb and those are about my speeds, as well. I do about the same amount of mileage as well. I'd say save the knitting needles for another time.
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    KeithA is right; it's all relative. What kind of bike you have and what kind of roads (or paths or whatever) you ride also have major effects on speed. On my Tsunami T-1 recumbent, I average 17 - 18 mph on my 25 mile rides.
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

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    displaced AZ Wildcat Clayton's Avatar
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    Keep riding!!! I strongly agree with the earlier notes especially the comment about what's relative.

    Being outside riding is more important than the speed. Getting to the top of a long climb is more important than how long it took to get there.

    As was said, the bike, roadway and weather will dramatically effect speed. My 33 year old Falcon will get me to work averaging 15mph. The Orbea will average 18mph on the same route. When my wife and I are out together on the Santana tandem riding the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene's (rail trail) we generally average 20mph.

    We probably are more concerned with distance than speed. KeithA's comment reminded me of the reaction we get from friends when they ask, "how far did you ride today?" My wife get's a real kick out of telling them about our 60 to 70 mile rides. We don't tell them about riding centurys since they can't seem to believe it anyway.

    Keep riding and don't be too concerned about the speed. Just enjoy the fact that you can.

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    fmw
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    Sounds to me like you're doing great and, unlike knitting, your riding contributes positively to your health and fitness. I'm 61 and I can crank pretty hard if I want to. Usually, I don't want to. I'm not riding to race or break records. I ride because I enjoy it and because it contributes to my health and fitness. I try to keep my solo rides around a 15 mph average. It's good exercise, I don't miss any of the sights and I don't beat my old body too hard. Occasionally, I'll ramp it up to make sure I can still do it but that's not very often. I also crank it up any time a dog wants to race. They usually win, though.

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    I think you're doing just fine. Average speeds depend on a lot of factors besides the rider's strength. I'm thinking about things like hills, traffic, road conditions, and how often you have to slow for stop lights/signs to name just a few. As far some of the speeds that are posted, well some riders are just really fast (which definitely does not include me). Plus, some of those posted speeds may have been "enhanced" just a bit.

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    Heck, I'm happy to do 12-14mph on my rides. Granted its pretty hilly around here and I'm riding an older bike but I don't know that I need to go any faster than that. Besides its easy to rationalize by suggesting that I'm taking time to smell the flowers, as it were!

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    Senior Member glassman's Avatar
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    I think you are doing good. I have been averaging 18-19 on my 15 - 20 mile runs solo but I just started riding with a club this week and riding with them I have the same average but heart rate is 20-25 average lower and I am not as tired. This week is the first time I have ridden behind anyone and I stayed about a half bike length behind. I usually ride solo but after riding with the local club this week, I plan to join and ride twice a week with them. It's a lot of fun riding with others.

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    Hey! I take issue with the "unlike knitting, it will contribute to your health'...statement. I am a cyclist--pushing up on 50, who averages 16 mph on my road bike, rolling hills of the Palouse in Eastern Washington--Northern Idaho. I am also an avid knitter--have been for almost 40 years--both activities contribute to my health and well being--that being said--I agree with most everyone who says ride for fun and fitness--I find myself racing my bike computer, and really, what good is that? I could be watching the hawks circle above, listening more intently to the birds, sneaking a look at a fawn lying in the tall grass, or watching a great blue heron take flight upon hearing me ride--all at the sake of a lousy mile or two per hour. And still have a great sense of satisfaction. So, as with knitting, it is not just about the end result, it is also very much about the process, or why do it?? We all love what we do...so enjoy!

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    Since when is speed an issue?
    I don't give a toss so to speak so I stopped using a bicyclecomputer.
    Simply enjoy the ride like I do on my long trips ( 80, 100 or 145 km roundtrips).
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron19
    Hi.
    I started riding last year and did 800 miles last summer, nothing the winter,,and restarted May this year.
    I'm interested in seeing what my times are like compared with other 50+ riders
    I've been on a couple of other general forums and the speeds there are awesome and frankly intimidating.
    So. I'm now doing around 90-100 miles a week basically mixing 10's and 25's . I'm doing 16mph for the 10's and 13-14 for the 25's. Should I keep going or take up Knitting ?
    YES!

    (it was a Yes or No question, wasn;t it?)


    being from France, you may not know what a 'troll' is, but this is a good one.

    well, why not do both?

    the great thing about cycling is that if you're about 'speed', it can be that. If you're about 'touristing', doing miles is part of the equation. If you're about socializing with the 'beautiful people', it definitely is about that.
    If you're about industrial art, design, elegance, color, intellectual challenge, engineering - it is fundamental to all that. If you're about being and creating awareness how we can reduce our 'negative' footprint on the earth's environments, it is central to that. If you're about an espresso after a short bimble to your favorite café, itz the best way to do that.
    But the absolutely bestest thing is that you can be any of these things at any point of riding your bike, ride that 'wave' to its eventual 'shore' or instantly become any of the other things in the middle of your ride.

    BTW, I absolutely luv riding my motorcycle at any and all speeds over most any road, but riding my pedal bike at 12 mph (20 Kmph) is always way better.

  13. #13
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    your averages aren't bad for an old un, but if you are averaging 16mph for a ride, then at some point you are doing more than that. I have a training scheme that works for me on my training rides. On the 30 mile road ride on the Tandem, there is a straight stretch for about 1 mile, slightly up hill. We try to see what speed we can keep comfortable at for this stretch. INo sprinting, but keep in extra pressure for that mile. The average for the 30 miler is 16 mph. We used to do this 1 mile stretch at a constant 20/21mph. We are now up to 24/25mph, and although I am puffing at the end of it- I am not on the verge of collapsing. Similarly, to increase sprint speed and Hill climbing, we have a couple of short sharp rises for about 200 metres that we do go for. That does get the lactic axid going, but after a summer of doing this, we can keep the sprint up for longer, and the recovery down the other side is getting shorter.

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    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Why the concern about speed? If you want to go fast, get a motorcycle! Most of the 50+ year old riders I see are going your speed or slower.

    It all depends on what you are trying to get out of your cycling. It sounds like you might be looking for more. If you are looking to be race competitive, then you will have to train yourself up to a faster speed. I'm a bit faster than most in the 50+ group (average 20 mph for my 50 km training ride, 18.5 mph for the 100 km training ride, and 17 mph for a "ride all day" pace). In my 20's and 30's I rode LOTS of miles (5,000 to 6,000 per year) and in my 40's I cut way back on my riding but did other things to stay in reasonable shape, so I'm not coming into this "fresh". Back then I wasn't racing and rode at speeds similar to what I ride now. I don't consider this to be anywhere near bike racer performance, but I find it enjoyable and I get a great workout. I do use cycling for cross training for fencing which I do competitively.

    All riding is good. Last weekend I rode most of my 30 mile training route with my 9 year old son with me on my commuter bike at around a 11 mph pace. While I didn't get that much training benefit from it, I got a lot of enjoyment from it. I never drop my son and I hope when he's 18 (and I'm 60) he'll return the favor.

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    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Are you people superstars? I generally cruise at about 22 km/h, which is about 13 mph, and I am passing way more cyclists than pass me, regardless of age.

    When I was 35, 25 years ago, I was on a group ride and at one point was riding along with an old guy who told me he cycled 100 miles the previous day. He said he was 70 (twice my age) and I asked how he did it. He said to just ride at your own pace and you can ride all day. I have followed that philosophy when touring and found that to be completely true. Don't worry about what others are doing.

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    if you want to enter the TDF next year i would suggest that you take up knitting, otherwise my suggestion is as follows: get rid of the cycle comp, enjoy the scenery and keep on bikin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk
    Why the concern about speed? If you want to go fast, get a motorcycle! Most of the 50+ year old riders I see are going your speed or slower.

    It all depends on what you are trying to get out of your cycling. It sounds like you might be looking for more. If you are looking to be race competitive, then you will have to train yourself up to a faster speed. I'm a bit faster than most in the 50+ group (average 20 mph for my 50 km training ride, 18.5 mph for the 100 km training ride, and 17 mph for a "ride all day" pace). In my 20's and 30's I rode LOTS of miles (5,000 to 6,000 per year) and in my 40's I cut way back on my riding but did other things to stay in reasonable shape, so I'm not coming into this "fresh". Back then I wasn't racing and rode at speeds similar to what I ride now. I don't consider this to be anywhere near bike racer performance, but I find it enjoyable and I get a great workout. I do use cycling for cross training for fencing which I do competitively.

    All riding is good. Last weekend I rode most of my 30 mile training route with my 9 year old son with me on my commuter bike at around a 11 mph pace. While I didn't get that much training benefit from it, I got a lot of enjoyment from it. I never drop my son and I hope when he's 18 (and I'm 60) he'll return the favor.
    First thanks to everybody for the input and a major APOLOGY to all you knitters out there !!
    You're right MOLLUSK , I am trying to get a little bit more from it , mainly, A local club does Sunday 50 milers at an average of 15 mph and I'm trying to get the speed & distance up so that I can handle that.
    Thanks again

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron19
    You're right MOLLUSK , I am trying to get a little bit more from it , mainly, A local club does Sunday 50 milers at an average of 15 mph and I'm trying to get the speed & distance up so that I can handle that.
    Thanks again
    We have all quoted averages at you and you may be feeling that you are not up to standard. Are we quoting our milage and speed on hilly routes? flat roads? Twisty country lanes?- all of which will affect our averages and our energy usage. I have a route that is 40 miles on a fairly flat area, one or two rises and one long drag for about 3 miles-- but NO hills. I average 16mph on this ride on the Tandem, and believe me the Tandem is fast. Why so slow? It is country lanes and plenty of twists and turns and not too much distance between the corners. No real chance to keep a sustained high speed and plenty of braking to bring the speed down for the corners. If you can do a 10miler at 16mph then you are ready for the club 50 miler, Just being with other riders will drag you along. If it is too much, you can always say sorry- see you next month.

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    Thanks for the apology! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I will ride my age--which I will be happy to do at any speed!

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    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron19
    First thanks to everybody for the input and a major APOLOGY to all you knitters out there !!
    You're right MOLLUSK , I am trying to get a little bit more from it , mainly, A local club does Sunday 50 milers at an average of 15 mph and I'm trying to get the speed & distance up so that I can handle that.
    Thanks again
    There is lots of good advice in the roadies forum about how to up your average speed. Read some of those threads and scale things back accordingly. Working on increasing cadence is good and once you have a good number of "base" miles you can start doing intervals. Intervals are NOT fun, but they give you great training benefit for your time spent on the bike. Your average speed doing the 10 mile ride is more than OK for the club ride you mention. Your average speed for the longer rides is only a little low, but the excitement of the group ride and the chance to draft some of the time will probably bring you up to speed. It may also give you the incentive to push yourself that extra little bit. I'd mostly worry about the "sitting" muscles. You'll be in the saddle quite a bit longer than you are accustomed. You may also find that you need to eat some on a fifty mile ride.

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron19
    You're right MOLLUSK , I am trying to get a little bit more from it , mainly, A local club does Sunday 50 milers at an average of 15 mph and I'm trying to get the speed & distance up so that I can handle that.
    Thanks again
    AH the goal. Cycling seems good for those or forth with them.
    You;re prolly not far off riding this. The question is if you've done that much time in the saddle (whatever the group claims is the ride time length). If you haven't done the 3.5 hours that this pace would call for, then it might be best to get some 3.5 hours rides in, on your own. Speed is less important than consistant saddle time.
    Lasting - anyhting over 1 1/2 hour rides I would take some nutrition. Stuff that is easily digested by your system. I like Bananas, and for a bit longer ride, powerbars and gel pacs. Lotz a water - I prefer one 'large' water bottle every 20 miles or so, more if itz hot or humid or both. Find a way to carry at least 2 large bottles.
    I would suggest doing any shorter rides this group may also be doing, such as weekday evening rides. It will give you a good idea of how the group dynamic happens and who the riders are. Some will greatly affect the ride makeup, others will be less impactful.
    RIde conservatively in your first outings. By that I mean itz more important to perform consistently than to jackrabbit thru the ride. The mark of an accomplished rider, quietly being in the group, no matter the terrain or circumstance.
    If you have some time before you 'plan' to join the group, spend that time climbing - lottza climbing.
    Not only are the usual places where groups break up, on climbs; but climbing training is the quickest way to upping any rider's strength and speed in the speed range that you're talking about.
    You can use other methods, but none assure developing strength and speed and ALSO assure greater climbing prowess.
    Itz hard to imagine doing 50 miles without significant climbing , so a 15 mph avg pace is a bit more than an easy jaunt.
    Climbing, itz the real thing.

  22. #22
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    I think any speed is better than doing nothing but assuming a flat route with a decent bike assuming you'll put that 100miles a week in for the next year or more 17-18 mph for 25 miles is a reasonable goal. There are so many variables however that the most fun I find is keeping a journal and try to beat your own best times on the same route. Running down a thirty something and a fortysomething on my 30 mile loop this morning was also quite enjoyable. Yesterdays 40 mile ride in 100 degree heat was way off my PB. So I guess I am in the opposite camp. I love my cycle computer and my heart rate monitor and my training log. I get to compete with myself and thats what's fun for me anyhow...knit two pearl one...thats what my gramma was always saying..I know what knitting is but what the @#$%^& is pearling?

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    Please do not go Knitting. We need more of you not less. My wife and I are 63 and here is what we did this weekend.
    Friday I went on a flat Illinois paved trail with 18 cross roads where you should stop.
    22 miles in exactly 70 minutes.
    Saturday I went on a lime stone path in Wisconsin. 46 miles with perhaps 20 cross roads with stop signs. Time was 2 hours and 45 minutes.
    Sunday, my 63 year old wife and I went on the same 46 mile trail with the goal of beating my Saturday time with a Tandem. We matched it and called it grounds for a celebration.
    I must tell you that we are very determined and focused on speed.
    That all said, I am a slow poke compared to Metropolitan bike clubs which focus on racing. That makes me humble.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck5.2_in_CA
    I think any speed is better than doing nothing but assuming a flat route with a decent bike assuming you'll put that 100miles a week in for the next year or more 17-18 mph for 25 miles is a reasonable goal. There are so many variables however that the most fun I find is keeping a journal and try to beat your own best times on the same route. Running down a thirty something and a fortysomething on my 30 mile loop this morning was also quite enjoyable. Yesterdays 40 mile ride in 100 degree heat was way off my PB. So I guess I am in the opposite camp. I love my cycle computer and my heart rate monitor and my training log. I get to compete with myself and thats what's fun for me anyhow...knit two pearl one...thats what my gramma was always saying..I know what knitting is but what the @#$%^& is pearling?
    Thanks Chuck, I do keep a log and am always pleased to see PB's. I run 10 different routes and have PB'd 6 in the last 2 weeks . Unfortunately there is almost no flat (I wish) round here and every ride involves as much uphill as downhill.Today for example I rode 60km (37 miles) out & back @12.5 mph . I spent nearly 2/3rds of the time going uphill for 1/2 the distance !! Herein lies the story. I think I've gotta improve the climbing and i'm working on it.
    Thanks again
    Ron

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    I like seeing this kind of post. I have logged 360 miles now and my speed has inproved each week. i have a mx bike and am averaging 16 mph on rolling hills. i found a good hill road yesterday and plan on riding it a lot. my average rides are in the 20 mile range. i am doing it for the fun and the exercise, the stess relief is an added bonus.

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