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  1. #1
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    how fast should 55 y/o be able to ride?

    due to life schedule, i can only manage around 50-60 miles a week, 2,500 - 3,000 miles a year.

    i've never raced or joined a bike club, so i have no buddies to compare with, no experience riding in a group. i've done centuries, but always solo.

    i don't necessarily train by how fast i can ride. rather i train based on duration of ride, or target cadence, or heartrate, or power output, or climbing vs. endurance vs. LT intervals etc.

    so my question is, what's a reasonable expectation for how fast i should be able to do a 30-mile ride?

    i don't need guys who race answering the question, i'm not in your league. but how about the enthusiast riders, guys who ride up to 4-5,000 miles a year? at age 55, how fast should i be able to ride 30ish miles and feel good about myself that i'm a bona fide cyclist?

  2. #2
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    I rode 4300 miles last year and 3300 the year before.

    I ride at a leisurely pace at whatever cadence feels natural. I often average about 10 miles in an hour which includes stops for photo ops. and/or chatting with other cyclists or hikers. I firmly believe that any pace that's fast enough to maintain balance and keeps you from tipping over is fast enough to qualify you as a bona fide cyclist. Of course, that's just my opinion.

    Perhaps you could ask yourself why you ride and then just set out to accomplish those goals, as we all tend to have our own individual reasons for cycling. In my opinion...be it for speed, endurance,weight loss, basic transportation, recreation, or meditation....it's all cycling and it's all good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Hard question to answer for me, there are so many variables. I would think I could do a flat, windless 30 miles in around 1.5 hours, maybe a little more. Never timed myself and never think about average speed, however.
    I ride 5-6K per year and I'm 56.

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    OP, what bike do you ride and where?
    3000 miles a year is a recreational cyclist.
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 03-17-11 at 08:10 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Fast enough to enoy YOUR ride. Some times I ride fast(in a relative sense), sometimes not so fast. If your enjoying your ride, isn't that fast enough?

  6. #6
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    First check with your dr and make sure you are fit for strenuous exercise.

    As big john said, there are too many variables to be able to compare average speed. Like Cranky said find a comfortable cadence and keep it there. If you are serious about improving, get a HR monitor and a cyclo computer that measures cadence. Get some clip in pedals and concentrate on pedaling in circles. Most of us are mashers from our younger days. It's very inefficient, and not good for your knees or hips. Google "efficient pedaling techniques."

    Do wind sprints 3 or 4 x a week and in 3 months you will be amazed at your improvement.

    So Fla is very flat, and for 6 months (summer) the winds tend to be low. That is about the best scenario to compare, but not many can duplicate those conditions.

    I rode 6900 miles last year and averaged about 17.5. Most of the rides were in flat fla. When I ride in upstate NY my average drops to about 15. I'm 63. Been riding 2 yrs. Nerve been much of an athlete.
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  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    You should be able to ride fast enough to get there before the beer is all gone.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    rck
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    I hit 50mph last year going down a big hill. Scared the beejeesus out of me but was pretty exciting nonetheless. As to the OP, I'm with cranky ride at whatever speed it takes to enjoy yourself.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    30 miles is one of my favorite loops and with one stop along the way I allow 1.5 hrs but it's usually more like 1 hr 15 min. I think I average around 16 mph. I'll be 52 in a couple weeks. I'm not a roadie ...
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  10. #10
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    30 miles is one of my favorite loops and with one stop along the way I allow 1.5 hrs but it's usually more like 1 hr 15 min. I think I average around 16 mph. I'll be 52 in a couple weeks. I'm not a roadie ...
    ???

    When I divide 30 miles by 1.25 hours I get 24 mph. Most of the local roadies probably can't hang with you on that pace.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    ???

    When I divide 30 miles by 1.25 hours I get 24 mph. Most of the local roadies probably can't hang with you on that pace.
    Even 1h30m is 20 mph

  12. #12
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    my recollection of duration may be off, also it's probably more like 28.9 miles - plus I'm going by my computer's avrg reading

    edit - dam its been 6 mos - now I remember - i used to tell my kids I would be back in 2 hours and always home sooner. the 1 break I took varied from 10 - 20 minutes
    Last edited by rumrunn6; 03-17-11 at 09:43 AM.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  13. #13
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I belong to 2 clubs. One is more moderately paced (15 mph ave for 50 miles), the other has 2 groups that are paced @ 17 and 20. For an average rider I would say 14-15 is a good first goal.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I don't understand why I am so slow. This chart shows average speed, and my average moving speed is usually about .5 MPH faster. The last few elevation numbers are wrong -- Garmin is having an issue with their web site. I'm 57.



    Anyway, my average speed is rarely more than 13 MPH, but it sounds like many average 15-20 MPH.

    My daughter did a century with an average of 15.5 MPH, but I whipped her butt when she was home for Christmas.

    I'm hoping that it's the hills that keep me so slow.
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  15. #15
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Once last fall when the weather was especially nice I did a 30 mile route on my commute to work. I'll never forget the time, 1:59:59.0 and I think I was riding the LHT.

    For me, 15mph is decent, considering it is watch time, not bike computer, so the stop signs and street lights have an affect. I've done 50+ miles @ 17mph or so, but that was rural and the longest ride I've ever done up to that point.

    All that aside, it's hard to say what a good time for you is. I suppose it's whatever you can manage and still stay healthy and happy while you do it.

    As for your bonafide cyclist concern, I sure as hell wouldn't worry about that.
    Last edited by scroca; 03-17-11 at 10:41 AM.
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  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiptest View Post
    due to life schedule, i can only manage around 50-60 miles a week, 2,500 - 3,000 miles a year.

    i've never raced or joined a bike club, so i have no buddies to compare with, no experience riding in a group. i've done centuries, but always solo.

    i don't necessarily train by how fast i can ride. rather i train based on duration of ride, or target cadence, or heartrate, or power output, or climbing vs. endurance vs. LT intervals etc.

    so my question is, what's a reasonable expectation for how fast i should be able to do a 30-mile ride?

    i don't need guys who race answering the question, i'm not in your league. but how about the enthusiast riders, guys who ride up to 4-5,000 miles a year? at age 55, how fast should i be able to ride 30ish miles and feel good about myself that i'm a bona fide cyclist?
    I fit the description. 54 Years old, 3000 to 5000 miles a year. Never raced.

    I have a 36 mile loop I ride several times a month. I start in the city, so I have some stop & go before getting to the suburbs where I can ride for an hour without stopping. My route is flat and I ride solo.

    I'm between 17 and 18.5 mph, depending on wind, clothing and fitness levels.

  17. #17
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    TromboneAl, adding hills to the ride makes you stronger, but will drop the average. For flat rides my Tues and Thurs group (when I am off to ride with them) will average 17. If we ride a hill workout, it drops to 14-15.

  18. #18
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    There are just too many variables for a simple answer. The type of bike you're riding, the wind speed and direction for the day, the number of hills or elevation you'll be riding, what you ate for breakfast that day, if your tires are inflated properly, the number of traffic lights and stop signs you have to deal with, etc. all have an impact on how fast one rides. Perhaps the question should be, "How fast do you want to ride?" Do you have a goal in mind? If not, why even think about it?
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  19. #19
    Pat
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    Well conditions are just about everything. I used to commute 12 miles one way. I think my lowest average speed was something like 7 miles per hour into a howling headwind. My highest average speed was 27 mph and I probably could have broken 30 with a warm up beforehand. Climbs will really reduce average speed also. I think I averaged something like 5 mph up Teton Pass in Wyoming.

    On flat rides, I can average about 18. To average a certain speed, you have to cruise faster than your average by about 2 mph or even more. In the loop through the area I live in, even on fast group rides, I have never been able to average over 20 mph (or at least I don't recall it). Out in rural areas where one can cruise for long distances, averaging over 20 is not that hard in a group.

  20. #20
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I'm 56, started commuting two years ago, and have been actively riding a road bike for a year. I do a wide variety of riding, from commutes to fast group rides, and I have just started racing a few weeks ago. Average speed has so much to do with your riding environment (how many stops; how much climbing) that comparisons are difficult, but here are my totals for February:

    Count...................35
    Distance..........564.49
    Time.................35:40
    Elevation Gain....12,949
    Avg Speed...........15.8
    Avg HR.................133
    Avg Bike Cadence.....84

    If I am just riding for an hour or so, with no training related goals or restrictions, my 'moving average' will be between 18 and 20 mph, at a cadence of 95-100. Cadence is both more important, and more comparable: RPM over MPH !!!!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  21. #21
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Al look at this http://bikecalculator.com/wattsUS.html. You're on the right track but need to add data for wind and temps
    Hi 'o Silver away

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Speed is so variable, it's not really a good metric for a forum like this. I've been on rides where I averaged 23+ for fairly long distances (metric century, for instance but on others struggled to average 16 mph. Terrain, weather, and type of bike all make a huge difference, as do traffic signals and stop signs.

  23. #23
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm 50, 210 lbs or so, riding 8,000 miles a year. On my Raleigh Sojourn, I'll average between 15 and about 16.4 mph on a 30 mile open ride. This is the speed from my computer, which stops timing when you stop rolling. It'll be lower if there's lots of traffic or stop signs, "open" means very few stops required. There's older guys in my club that can ride circles around me, so that's not especially good. There's also older guys that are slower than me, for that matter. Going all out on a 20-mile time trial a while back, I got it a bit over 18 mph. I once did a 100k averaging 19 mph, but I think that was a tailwind-both-ways situation that I've never repeated.
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  24. #24
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    I'm 55 and have ridden a bike most of my life, but mostly for commuting and recreation- roughly 3-5000 road miles a year plus some small fraction of that on MTB trails. Almost all my road riding is urban or suburban in character with substantial hills. My actual average for a ride is around 11-13mph due to climbing and traffic lights. I'm in good shape since I'm a runner, but am too small to be a fast cyclist- someone else could probably have a faster average in my riding conditions.
    Last edited by rnorris; 03-17-11 at 02:02 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    I don't understand why I am so slow. This chart shows average speed, and my 57.
    Anyway, my average speed is rarely more than 13 MPH, but it sounds like many average 15-20 MPH.
    It's the real world you are showing with hills, etc. What I was saying was under ideal, flat conditions.
    Sometimes when I ride in the mountains my average speed is around 10mph. It shows how average speed is misleading and pretty much a useless metric.

    rnorris, too small? How could one be too small to be a good cyclist? Smaller is always better in the hills. Trust me on this.

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