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Old 04-28-12, 10:19 AM   #1
jlever
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Change needed

Hello all,

Just back into cycling for a few months. I successfully completed a 44 mile charity ride last weekend, but my problem is that I can't ride at any real speed. I usually average 10-12 mph.

My coworker says that I need a road bike. I'm riding a Specializes Tricross with 32c tires.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,

John
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Old 04-28-12, 10:49 AM   #2
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It takes time and miles, do it on a regular basis and you will see and feel your progress!

Over time your form will improve and you will then be wanting a more efficient bike!

It also depends on your present state of health.

Good luck and be patient and don't forget to enjoy!
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Old 04-28-12, 11:27 AM   #3
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After a winter of not riding much and I was lucky to see 12 mph. Luckily after a month I am back up to 14.5 but throw in a couple of extra hills and I am back to 12.
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Old 04-28-12, 11:29 AM   #4
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As VNA said, the speed comes with ride time. The more you ride, the better and faster you become. Don't rush it, it will come to you. As for the bike, unless you really want a road bike now, I don't think you need one at this point. I would work on riding the cross bike until you start to see a really good improvement and then start to consider a road bike. I worked up my speed and endurance on a hybrid before getting my first road bike. I don't ride at racing speeds, but I can keep up with most group rides if I really wanted to. So, ride, ride, ride and ride and enjoy every pedal stroke.

Edit: If your wheels will handle 25 cm tires, you may want to try those on your bike while riding on the roads.
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Old 04-28-12, 11:29 AM   #5
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10 to 12 MPH for just getting back into cycling isn't bad. You don't have to run 32s on the tri cross and you might be slightly faster on 28s. But it takes time to build up. Once you get back to cycling fitness then you can decide if you need a road bike but it will not automatically make you faster right now.
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Old 04-28-12, 11:35 AM   #6
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What's wrong with riding at 12 mph? Are you a racer? Of course if you want to ride faster, the harder you ride the faster you will get until you reach your maximum potential. I've discovered that when I was much younger and wanted to ride fast I was not in any better physical condition than I am now when I no longer ride for speed. I was in good shape then and I'm in good shape now, though age has taken some toll on my physical abilities. Riding fast gets one in shape for riding fast. I didn't notice any transfer of fitness to other outdoor activities I pusued back then. I've been a strong hiker and skier all these years and still am despite just cruising along on my bicycle. But, everyone is different.
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Old 04-28-12, 01:47 PM   #7
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I have a club ride tomorrow so today I rode a mere 20 miles to stretch the legs. As I rolled along on the local bike path at 17 MPH. two you guys on full squish mountain bike passed me doing 19 MPH. I was pressing on the pedals - they were lazily spinning. I believe it was Lance who said it's not about the bike. Celebrate what you have.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:51 PM   #8
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Yeah, what's the rush? Anyway, there might be some controversy on how to get faster, but traditionally you are supposed to build up a base of endurance mileage before you work on speed. A few months of riding isn't much of a base. It also depends on your terrain. I had a great ride today and I sought out some hills to build my confidence. My legs a felt good at the end of the ride. My average speed: 12 MPH. Oh well.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:59 PM   #9
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I've been feeling the same way with 11-12mph average speeds, was thinking of getting a faster bike to. End of March I went on a group trail ride and two ladies older than I went right past me on mountain bikes. Today a couple were behind me and closing, I was at 14mph, and they passed me on flat bar bikes of some type. I now know I need to get into much better shape before getting another bike. But I'm having fun and seeing lots, today an otter crossed the road right in front of me.
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Old 04-28-12, 03:01 PM   #10
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I'm no athlete (by any stretch!) but on my Tricross with 32s at 95+ PSI, 17-18 mph on the flats with no wind isn't difficult. ~15 mph average over a 20 mile ride is usually about where I end up. I've never had the sensation that the 32s were slowing me down, and I'm able to negotiate gravelly sections that my friend on his 25s (23s?) has to avoid. Dunno about the OP, but my Tricross has more roadie in it than I have in me!
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Old 04-28-12, 03:20 PM   #11
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Wait until you can switch to race/training 23's. That's a real sweet treat.
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Old 04-28-12, 07:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlever View Post
Hello all,

Just back into cycling for a few months. I successfully completed a 44 mile charity ride last weekend, but my problem is that I can't ride at any real speed. I usually average 10-12 mph.

My coworker says that I need a road bike. I'm riding a Specializes Tricross with 32c tires.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,

John
You do not NEED a road bike. Until recently, I was riding a comfort/hybrid(really a comfort) that was heavy(probably 34+ lbs) with 38C tires. I started back in April '11 and by the beginning of June I was averging near 14.5 mph. By Sept or such, my avg was 15.5 to 16.4 mph. You have to work at it and it takes time. Now, I have moved to a roadie, but that was so it was easier to get back up to speed after stops and to make hills simpler. I also wish to get faster, but not to be faster, but so I can do greater distances in about the same time it takes to do my 23 mile rides now. I'd like to be able to get to 27 to 30 miles in just a bit over what it takes me now on avg for 23 miles--and a lighter more aero position of a roadie will help me with that.

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Old 04-28-12, 07:48 PM   #13
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Just relax and take it one day at a time. I too started on a hybrid bike and I still have it. I too was passed by someone on a mountain bike with hugh tires. He made me look like I was tied to a stump and i was doing 18mph at the time. It all about the motor and there is always someone with a more powerful one.
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Old 04-28-12, 08:11 PM   #14
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Depending on lots of other factors, it is possible to ride considerably faster than 12mph on 32 mm tires.
Keep riding.
Eventually you may decide/figure out that you would enjoy a road bike.
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Old 04-28-12, 09:11 PM   #15
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32s are pretty comfortable and reliable if you're fairly "normal" weight, usually a great choice. If you want to go faster, ride more and work on it. Those are probably decent tires if you want to enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-28-12, 09:42 PM   #16
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Different tires like 25 or 28 will make you a little faster, especially with smooth "road" thread. But what really makes a difference is learning to ride faster. Increase your overally milage slowly (no more than the previous week) until you are riding several days each week. Then mix the rides up with some "intervals" of a couple minutes going quicker than normal - not sprints but efast enough so you are breathing faster. When you do two minutes, then back off, recover, and do it again for a few more times. Spend about 10% of your weekly distance going faster. After a few weeks, your speed will be much improved.
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Old 04-28-12, 11:20 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by OKIE_55 View Post
I've been feeling the same way with 11-12mph average speeds, was thinking of getting a faster bike to. End of March I went on a group trail ride and two ladies older than I went right past me on mountain bikes. Today a couple were behind me and closing, I was at 14mph, and they passed me on flat bar bikes of some type. I now know I need to get into much better shape before getting another bike. But I'm having fun and seeing lots, today an otter crossed the road right in front of me.
...And the otter was easily averaging 15mph.

...But seriously, I've never understood why we always want more speed. Of course, I'm the first to admit I'm not normal.
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Old 04-29-12, 06:02 AM   #18
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But seriously, I've never understood why we always want more speed. Of course, I'm the first to admit I'm not normal.
Because 1) people find it enjoyable, and, 2) it's a pretty direct reflection of your level of fitness and health.

To be able to average fairly high mph at our ages, you have to commit to a diet and level of exercise that most people cannot or will not maintain.
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Old 04-29-12, 03:32 PM   #19
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You rode 44 miles with apparently minimal bike specific physical and mental conditioning. That tells me you are doing just fine. I made the decision to buy a road bike based on two things. First, on a level road I could pedal faster than the bike would go. It cost more to regear the bike than to buy another one. Second, that I just wanted a bike that was more comfortable. Mind you, "comfort" is in the behind and mind of the beholder more often than not.

All that said if you are looking for an excuse to buy a new bike stop. If you can afford it and want it, buy it. If not, wait until you can get more out of a bike than what you own can give.
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Old 04-29-12, 03:42 PM   #20
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I've been a yacht builder for most of my life and in my younger years sailed many thousands of miles at sea. In those years I paid close attention to all things nautical. One of the finest writers in the English language was Joseph Conrad, who had been a ship's captain, wrote stories revolving around ships and sailing in the age of square riggers.

In one short story he had a crusty old shell back of a sailor speak about how 'when it comes on to blow, the ship comes alive and is a living, breathing thing'. This is my experience also. At a point when the wind increases to a certain point, a sailing vessel seems to wake up and becomes responsive in a way you can feel in the soles of your feet. It is also my experience that a bike seems to wake up in just the same way. From time to time, despite my puny efforts, I'm able get my bike up to 18 and even 21 MPH. Sad to say, my fitness is insufficient to maintain this amazing situation for very long but I still aim for it and get there now and then.

Today was such a day. I maintained a higher speed than usual, the bike woke up, maybe I was the one who woke up, cramped toward the end and I'm ready to do it again as soon as possible.
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Old 04-29-12, 06:31 PM   #21
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The owner of our LBS uses his Specialized Tricross to ride centuries. He could ride about any bike he wants, but chose the Specialized.

I rode my cyclocross bike on our club ride yesterday (37 miles) instead of one of my road bikes. My wife and I are getting ready for a tour in a couple of weeks, and she wanted to ride her touring bike. I'm not that much of a glutton for punishment so I compromised and used the cross bike. With 28mm tires it does a good job. My wife did just fine hanging in there at anywhere from a 14 to 17 mph, depending on the terrain. She was running 32mm touring tires on a bike with racks and fenders. Right now she is riding 5-6 times a week, swimming 3 times a week, and doing weight work 2 times a week. She is in good shape. The point is that getting a road bike might add a little speed, but it is really about the engine. There is only about 1-2 mph difference between my good road bike and my cyclocross bike on a 12 mile course I have ridden regularly for 15 years. I think it is a matter of riding regularly, putting in some speed work such as intervals, and having your bike set up to optimize your energy efficiently. My coach used to tell me you have to run faster to run faster. The same goes for riding. Putting on a little lighter tire like a 28mm Continental Gatorskin might also help some.
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Old 04-29-12, 06:36 PM   #22
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You don't really talk much about cadence but I wouldn't be surprised to find that you are pedaling in too high a gear. I believe there is a saying "spin for speed" and it is true. Conditioning, nutrition and time in the saddle all play an important part but learning how to spin separates the luggers from the efficient. Just a thought. Al
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Old 05-02-12, 08:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by jlever View Post
Hello all,

Just back into cycling for a few months. I successfully completed a 44 mile charity ride last weekend, but my problem is that I can't ride at any real speed. I usually average 10-12 mph.

My coworker says that I need a road bike. I'm riding a Specializes Tricross with 32c tires.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,

John


Thanks, everyone, for the replies! I'm going to keep pedaling the Tricross and working on incremental change.

All the best, John
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