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  1. #1
    Member Surlyrider's Avatar
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    Internet Speed Inflation??

    I'm just curious. I'm in my early 50s, as is a longtime friend of mine. Both HS athletes and both kept fit all our lives. For years we have both worked out, are trim and stay in shape. He's a HARD rider and I ride hard for fitness. He lives in MN and commutes (weather permitting) often, 20 mile round trip and I ride about 12 miles daily for fitness. MN has a huge bike community and he is RARELY passed (riding alone on his mountain bike no less) at average speeds of 17 mph or so. He passes the vast majority of riders he sees (and he sees a lot) including almost all folks on higher end road bikes. I ride (alone mostly) on a designated bike road near Dallas, and am RARELY passed, but pass most folks I see, including folks on road bikes, at my average speeds of 17-18 mph plus (average for the whole ride) on my Surly Crosscheck.

    For all this, all over the internet, it appears people are routinely riding 20-25 mph for LONG distances. Where are these folks? A good friend of mine, age 30, just completed an Ironman in Houston. He is far and away the fastest rider I know or have seen - in amazing shape, routinely rides centuries on weekends and his avg. speed for the 112 mile riding portion of the Ironman was 21.75 mph.

    What gives? Are people just reporting the fast speeds they ride when with the wind on flat ground or am I just really slow even though I think I am in good shape? Overall usually get in a couple thousand miles per year now.

  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    LOL.

    Dont believe much of what you read on the internet, it's full of people who are unable to distinguish between reality and their dreams of winning the TdF.

    I'm 57. I ride about five times your annual mileage. It is very unusual for me to cover more than twenty miles in an hour. Mostly, on a training ride with a decent amount of climbing, I might ride at 15-16mph. I don't think I'm slow. Not in the real world, anyway.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Perhaps you need to test a hypothesis? Ask NOS88 about that.

    You are never passed by anyone if you don't ride a bike
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    Slogging along rubic's Avatar
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    On the internet, especially on these forums, it is required, ;-) to add 5 mph to your actual speed. It's the internet, it must be true.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    "You can't always believe everything you read on the internet" ​Abraham Lincoln
    "The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles" Butch Cassidy

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    I'm much slower in person.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Canard View Post
    "You can't always believe everything you read on the internet" ​Abraham Lincoln
    ...Vampire Hunter.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1611224/

  8. #8
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    There is a lot of embellishment on the internet. But with that said, there are some very fast riders out there that can do a century in less than 5 hours, I am not one - got close a few years back when I was drafting a paceline machine on a pancake flat century, they spit me out after about 60 miles. I would suggest you find a bike club in your area, ride with the A group and then if you can keep your tongue out of your spokes you can post what ever speed you like. I have never been able to keep up with that group in our area - they are aliens.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  9. #9
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    When it comes to cycling, you can't trust anyone about anything, except me.

    A pointless, story, but what the hey. I was cycling along a road when I was overtaken by a roadie. He was a nice chap and we rode together for maybe ten miles or so. He said it was his slow and easy riding day. He didn't have any trouble overtaking me, so I believed him.

    When I got home I downloaded my Garmin to Strava. Strava gave me an "extreme" score because I had pegged out my heart rate for so long.

    The problem was I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor. My Garmin had picked the other guy as he was pegging his heart rate out on his slow and easy ride. We were roughly the same age, BTW. The liar.

  10. #10
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    For what it's worth:
    The DC Randonneurs website has a page that says that less than 1% of all official RUSA 200km brevet finishers finish under 7 hours = which is 17.8mph or less.


    I assume that the fast riders can go faster over shorter distances, but being human, woould eventually slow down.

    So, over what distance are you figuring that people might be inflating their reported speeds or comparing your own speed to? It could be an apples and oranges thing - he's reported a half mile distance and you're thinking over 20 miles....

    Other considerations, drafting or not, faired or not, recumbent or DF, flat terrain or hilly... and on and on.... Like I said, apples and oranges, maybe?????

    Then again, your Ironman friend would be in the 1% of the RUSA finishers time-wise. Can you keep up with him riding an "equal" bike?
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 06-09-12 at 04:52 PM.
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudelsack View Post
    the problem was i wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor. My garmin had picked the other guy as he was pegging his heart rate out on his slow and easy ride. We were roughly the same age, btw. The liar.
    rotflmao!!!

  12. #12
    Slogging along rubic's Avatar
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    Okay, I challenge anybody out there to a 'virtual' race. I'll spot you 4 mph and still beat you by 1.

  13. #13
    Member Surlyrider's Avatar
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    Drmweaver2's RUSA 200km brevet finishers chart is more in line with my thinking. As for distance, I'm assuming moderate distances of 10-20 miles. I do understand Class A rider peleton's will go very fast indeed, both because the riders are almost universally young and exceptionally experienced, fit riders. further, they have the advantage of riding effectively and efficiently in a peleton. The riding results of folks like Chasm54 and Cyclinfool are both believable and incredibly impressive. Pretty rare overall as well - skilled enthusiasts. On the flatter parts of my ride (if the wind is with me) I can sometimes go at 22-25 mph for a couple miles, on a great day, but always end up heading back into the wind and killing my giddy (temporary) average speed gains.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    "84.7% of internet statistics are made up on the spot" ​ Hedy Lamarr

    There is an oft quoted saying among old sports car drivers: "The older we get, the faster we were!"
    Last edited by Mort Canard; 06-09-12 at 05:21 PM.
    "The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles" Butch Cassidy

  15. #15
    Senior Member Durockrolly's Avatar
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    Go to Strava and see what kind of numbers people are putting up.
    Been chatting to a 14 year old girl online. She's funny, sexy and flirty. Now she tells me she is an undercover cop! How cool is that at her age!?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Durockrolly's Avatar
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    I just checked 10 random rides in the 50+ club section of strava. Not one was over 16.6 average mph and a couple were below 12.
    Been chatting to a 14 year old girl online. She's funny, sexy and flirty. Now she tells me she is an undercover cop! How cool is that at her age!?

  17. #17
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    When I got home I downloaded my Garmin to Strava. Strava gave me an "extreme" score because I had pegged out my heart rate for so long.

    The problem was I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor. My Garmin had picked the other guy as he was pegging his heart rate out on his slow and easy ride. We were roughly the same age, BTW. The liar.
    So what was his max heart rate? He could have been no where near his max. My max HR is scary high, when I have done a stress test they won't even let me get above Z2.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  18. #18
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I don't know. I mean there's definitely internet embellishment, but even so, it depends a lot on the kinds of cyclists you're encountering. On the trail here, I pass lots of riders when I'm "strolling" at 15-16, but I guarantee you none of them are the kind of riders who are serious enough to post on a cycling message board. I'd guess that the same applies in your area.

    On the other hand, at the twice-weekly shop rides I frequent, I ride with the second-slowest group, and when I can stay with them, my average on those rides is in the 18-19 mph range (non-embellished numbers, I promise you). The 3 faster groups average 21 to 25+ (most of them are racers). Granted, those are group rides and they include drafting. Solo rides are something else, and I can manage in the 17s for up to 50 miles (with a couple of rest stops), but I don't think I'm particularly fast by any means. On those occasions when I'm alone on the road and encounter one of the faster riders from the club who is also riding solo, they're always riding at speeds I can't even hope to keep up with.

    So maybe it's exaggeration. Maybe it's conditions. Maybe it's the people in your area.
    Craig in Indy

  19. #19
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Your Ironman friend first swam for an hour, then had to run a marathon after his ride. I bet he's significantly faster when he's just going for a ride.

    I think a lot of people on this site are using a different definition of "average"... one that doesn't count stop lights or climbs, just the speed they see on the bike computer when they are cruising along on flat ground. In a paceline.

  20. #20
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    I'm wondering if most of those riders have the same or similar syndrome that fishermen have, you know the one that kicks in when they are describing the last fish they caught. :

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durockrolly View Post
    I just checked 10 random rides in the 50+ club section of strava. Not one was over 16.6 average mph and a couple were below 12.
    That is a true test. And for this forum it is all Dudelsack's fault. However what are the segment speeds? What are the KOM speeds? And do we have the garmin speeds of the MTB riders dropping cat3 rodies available, another internet urban legend like touring bikes with paniers passing a pace line, even dropping the local weekend club riders? My last century turned in a 16 mph average. Our A group, not my group by the way, turned in a five hour century. I did a windy 40 with some climbing and was lucky to get 13.5 or 14. So yes some do inflate their average I guess. We had a guy that used to ride with us that never set his computer till we were in a pace line and out of town where we would have at least a ten mile run with no stop lights. His averages are always close to 19 or 20. So sites like Strava can answer a lot of the questions some have. And we can continue to look for the fast MTB and Touring bike rider that hunts down and passes evey highend road bike they see, plus search them for any Snipe thay may have captured while training for the bandini Olympics.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  22. #22
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    That is a true test. And for this forum it is all Dudelsack's fault.
    Hey, don't hate the player, hate the game

  23. #23
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durockrolly View Post
    I just checked 10 random rides in the 50+ club section of strava. Not one was over 16.6 average mph and a couple were below 12.
    I don't use Strava. I'd say terrain makes a huge difference, and also, well, there are stronger riders out there.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Blanchje's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort Canard View Post
    "You can't always believe everything you read on the internet" ​Abraham Lincoln


    There are a lot of fast riders out there but I'm not one of them. I reallt think we don't get as much embellishment in this forum. We're mostly old enough to know that when we try and decieve others we really are just fooling ourselves.

  25. #25
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I know the exaggeration happens all the time. What I cannot figure out is besides trying to impress people you will most likely never meet what this accomplishes. In our sport if you do meet up with others these false claims are going to bite you in the ass. You will get dropped like a stone and look like an idiot to boot. I admit a fast ride for me is an average of 15 mph. According to my computer I have hit 18 mph a few times but whoopee, so I had a tail wind or our pancake terrain had a false flat. What ye sow so shall ye reap, Karma will win out etc.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

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