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  1. #1
    Da Big Kahuna
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    What is reasonably possible?

    I tried wading through some threads that deal somewhat with my questions, but found a lot of messages that didn't give the specifics I'd like to see, so let me try a new thread.

    I started riding just before my 52nd birthday and now it is three years later. I ride year round (live in Hawaii).

    What I want to find out is what others around my age and older manage on their rides, especially if they are at least 10 miles long. For me, I can usually average 15 mph at a nice steady cruise (pushing, but not working up a sweat) for 12 miles. I'd like to be able to do that on longer distances as well as go faster, but it would be useful to me to know what others can do when riding ALONE (I rarely get to ride with others).

    My best is 26 miles at 15.8, but that was an exception. More commonly I might do those 26 miles closer to 14 mph if winds aren't bad.

    So:

    What is your age?

    How long have you been riding?

    How fast do you average on a solo ride of 10 miles or more without trying to kill yourself?

    Thanks, Bob

  2. #2
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    My best is 26 miles at 15.8, but that was an exception. More commonly I might do those 26 miles closer to 14 mph if winds aren't bad.

    So:

    What is your age?

    How long have you been riding?

    How fast do you average on a solo ride of 10 miles or more without trying to kill yourself?

    Thanks, Bob
    age = 57 going on 58

    experience = probably 10-15 years total broken into 3 time periods, big at 10-12 years of age, raced at 21-23, , last 4 serious (>1500 mikes/year)

    last question is HARD. I keep a very good journal. I've averaged some rides 10, some at 18+. last 3 years, if I figure total miles (around 5000) / total time (remember this includes warmup, ride like heck, and cooldown, I average about 15.1.

    I'd say an easy ride is 13 to 14 avg, I consider a HARD ride to be 18+ - but Ive had some VERY HARD rides were i only averaged 10 (hills, head wind, etc.)

    hope this helps.
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  3. #3
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Baron
    last question is HARD. I keep a very good journal. I've averaged some rides 10, some at 18+. last 3 years, if I figure total miles (around 5000) / total time (remember this includes warmup, ride like heck, and cooldown, I average about 15.1.

    I'd say an easy ride is 13 to 14 avg, I consider a HARD ride to be 18+ - but Ive had some VERY HARD rides were i only averaged 10 (hills, head wind, etc.)
    Well, maybe I should clarify. I guess we all have big variations in our speeds based on route, wind, and just whether we are tired from previous rides or not. My route is pretty much the same (not much in the way of choices on an island with mountains across the middle!). If I am tired, I don't really think of it as a normal ride - though I do note in a general sense whether I'm improving in that aspect too. Likewise with wind - if it is really bad, I just know I'll be slow no matter what. I basically am seriously measuring rides when I'm not tired and the wind isn't too bad (say no more than 10 mph, preferrably no more than 6).

  4. #4
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Age: 54
    Riding seriously since: Last season
    Avg: Varies quite a bit. My neighbor hood has lots of "rollers", some flats. Normal rides are 15-40 miles (15 is the standard quick ride that I can get in on weekdays). I average between 15-20 mph (between 45 min and an hour for that loop). That range reflects "pretty easy" versus "pretty tough" for me. I'm looking forward to this season, as I was really improving when the snow started falling. My goal is to be a better climber and do more long distance (e.g., centuries).

    Good luck. Hawaii sounds like a nice place to ride...

  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    What I want to find out is what others around my age and older manage on their rides, especially if they are at least 10 miles long. For me, I can usually average 15 mph at a nice steady cruise (pushing, but not working up a sweat) for 12 miles. I'd like to be able to do that on longer distances as well as go faster, but it would be useful to me to know what others can do when riding ALONE (I rarely get to ride with others).

    My best is 26 miles at 15.8, but that was an exception. More commonly I might do those 26 miles closer to 14 mph if winds aren't bad.

    So:

    What is your age?

    How long have you been riding?

    How fast do you average on a solo ride of 10 miles or more without trying to kill yourself?

    Thanks, Bob

    Age 58 and been riding for 15 years. Only took up cycling as knees shot through running in youth and wanted to retain fitness that I had after my 10 year old beat me over 100yard dash.

    I ride a mountain bike and off road I can manage 10mph over a 25 mile ride that takes in about 500metres of climbing, Off road is different as thanks to the set up of the bike, capabilities of the bike and the terrain, you are going to be slower in any case. We do occasionally do road rides, but these are still done on knobbly tyres pumped up to 60 psi and over a 25 to 30 mile ride we can get in an average of 12 mph, but this is not pushing it.
    However, We do the odd 65 mile road ride and for that we set the bike up with slicks, and my best time in 2000 was 4 hours and 10 minutes. knock off the 10 minutes for the check in points and we averaged 16mph. for the 65 miles. Funnily enough, this is the same average we did the following year on a 100 miler.

    Then in 2001 after a Prostate op, we did the 65 miler in a force 9 gale that always seemed to give a headwind, and in torrential rain for the 5 1/2 it took to do the ride. an average of around 11mph. Last year did the 65 miler at age 57 on a Mountain Tandem set up with slicks in a ride time of 3 hours 45minutes, but we did have to wait a fair time for the rest of the group to collect together about every 10 miles. It actually took 5 hours for the whole of the group to finish.

    Sorry its a long answer, but as you are fairly new to riding, Don't worry too much about time. 15mph is not a bad speed for a newbie, even if you are on a road bike(At least I presume you are). What I would do to improve is work up to a regular 25 miles and then find a metric century (65 miles) to do later in the year. That is where you will find out what sweat is.

  6. #6
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry its a long answer, but as you are fairly new to riding, Don't worry too much about time. 15mph is not a bad speed for a newbie, even if you are on a road bike(At least I presume you are). What I would do to improve is work up to a regular 25 miles and then find a metric century (65 miles) to do later in the year. That is where you will find out what sweat is.
    Yeah, I use a road bike (a Felt F-35 now).

    My rides at the very beginning were about 12 miles out, rest for an hour or so at the beach, ride back.

    Not long after that, I went slightly further to bring the total distance to 26 miles (still resting in the middle). There were occasional long rides, eventually doing a couple centuries - but with lots of rests!

    For several months I have been riding 25-40 before stopping to rest and then finishing up with another 14-20 going back home. Some rides are even further - I did three metric centuries in a week and 9 since early December.

    I just want to do those things faster because I enjoy the ride more that way.

    It sounds like, from replies so far, that I should be able to get that speed up. One change I think I'll make soon is to cut to 3 rides a week. I dropped to four when I started riding further and I found it much more comfortable to usually be "fresh". By dropping to 3, I can always have a rest day after every ride like I had when I started. If I can do 50 miles each normally, that would actually be better than this year.

  7. #7
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I tried wading through some threads that deal somewhat with my questions, but found a lot of messages that didn't give the specifics I'd like to see, so let me try a new thread.

    I started riding just before my 52nd birthday and now it is three years later. I ride year round (live in Hawaii).

    What I want to find out is what others around my age and older manage on their rides, especially if they are at least 10 miles long. For me, I can usually average 15 mph at a nice steady cruise (pushing, but not working up a sweat) for 12 miles. I'd like to be able to do that on longer distances as well as go faster, but it would be useful to me to know what others can do when riding ALONE (I rarely get to ride with others).

    My best is 26 miles at 15.8, but that was an exception. More commonly I might do those 26 miles closer to 14 mph if winds aren't bad.

    So:

    What is your age?

    How long have you been riding?

    How fast do you average on a solo ride of 10 miles or more without trying to kill yourself?

    Thanks, Bob
    Age 64. Took up cycling last June. Shortest ride in a week is 27 miles. I ride at least 5 days a week. Did just under 200 miles this week. The slowest I ever average on a solo ride is in the high 16's. In group rides I do a lot of the pulls, but they are usually yelling for me to slow down. On our 38 mile group ride today, we averaged 19.28 mph with a rather slow warm-up. Would have been much faster, but had to slow for the group numerous times on my pulls. I hit 35.9 on the flats the other day on a solo ride - that was a real rush.

    I seem to have the biomechanics necessary to ride well, and at 5'11", 152 pounds, my current body fat is 5.2%. I love to ride, and have entered my first race one month from today, and intend to qualify for the FL senior games during the event. BTW, I turned 4500 miles total today, and I can't wait to build my base up.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member GeezerGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    For me, I can usually average 15 mph at a nice steady cruise (pushing, but not working up a sweat) for 12 miles.
    Thanks, Bob
    I'm the same age (55) and average about the same speed of 15 mph over the season. I only bike 7 months a year and the first few rides after 5 months off are about 12 mph. When I was 25 I averaged about 20 mph. The pace has been slowing down just a wee bit every year since then.

  9. #9
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > The slowest I ever average on a solo ride is in the high 16's. <

    DANG! And 27 miles is the shortest trip?! I'm assuming you are not going at a pace that would just wear you out - espciallly for that distance. In other words, that would be a good steady cruising speed?

    > I hit 35.9 on the flats the other day on a solo ride - that was a real rush. <

    Was the wind a big help or is that just how strong you are? I've only hit 30+ on a downhill or a really strong tailwind (pretty rare).

    > I seem to have the biomechanics necessary to ride well, and at 5'11", 152 pounds, my current body fat is 5.2%. <

    I'm 5'8" and around 150. Don't know the body fat thing.

    Guess I need to work on intervals.

  10. #10
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerGeek
    I'm the same age (55) and average about the same speed of 15 mph over the season. I only bike 7 months a year and the first few rides after 5 months off are about 12 mph. When I was 25 I averaged about 20 mph. The pace has been slowing down just a wee bit every year since then.
    I'm lucky that I don't have to start over after long winter layoffs. I apparently am not slowing down yet, but having only started a few years ago, that is nothing special. One of the reasons for asking what others are doing to get some idea of how far I can go - both in ability and age - before I will have peaked.

  11. #11
    Wes
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    I am 65 (or will be next month). When I ride by myself I try to average around 14 for a 25 or 30 mile ride. If I ride with others I ride faster but I dont keep up with the studs, not even the lady studs.

    I have been riding forever. I love it, even if I can not go fast anymore.

  12. #12
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes
    I am 65 (or will be next month). When I ride by myself I try to average around 14 for a 25 or 30 mile ride. If I ride with others I ride faster but I dont keep up with the studs, not even the lady studs.

    I have been riding forever. I love it, even if I can not go fast anymore.
    That sounds about my typcial pace if wind isn't an issue, but you are 10 years older. Well, at least I can plan on not getting worse for another decade!

  13. #13
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    > The slowest I ever average on a solo ride is in the high 16's. <

    DANG! And 27 miles is the shortest trip?! I'm assuming you are not going at a pace that would just wear you out - espciallly for that distance. In other words, that would be a good steady cruising speed?

    > I hit 35.9 on the flats the other day on a solo ride - that was a real rush. <

    Was the wind a big help or is that just how strong you are? I've only hit 30+ on a downhill or a really strong tailwind (pretty rare).

    > I seem to have the biomechanics necessary to ride well, and at 5'11", 152 pounds, my current body fat is 5.2%. <

    I'm 5'8" and around 150. Don't know the body fat thing.

    Guess I need to work on intervals.
    My 27 mile ride is my Monday ride which is an easy spin. I can cruise along rather comfortably in the low 20's - assuming zero wind. I have gone for an extended period at 31 mph riding the wheel of a very successful bike racer who I ride with a couple of times a week.

    My 35.9 did have a light tail wind, but I have done 33 into a headwind on a club sprint.

    As with any aerobic sport, it unfortunately comes down to your parents. Genetics plays such a major role. For example, as a youngster, I entered a track meet that was designed to find new track talent, and I ran a 5:36 mile with no training. That aerobic engine has really enhanced by progress with cycling, and I have kept my legs strong by doing 20 repetition squats for years - a very painful exercise BTW. Also, I am very competitive by nature, and won the national masters 10K cross country championships about a quarter of a century ago.

    I never really liked running, but put in about 30,000 miles of running training to simply accomplish an end - win races. Conversely, I love cycling, and rue the fact that I did not discover it sooner than a few months ago.

    The way I discovered it was that my triathlete girlfriend showed up at my house with two bikes on the back of her vehicle and announced that we were going riding. I fell immediately in love with it, and can't wait until the next training session. AAMOF, I love it so much that had I discovered it as a youngster, I would have been tempted to pursue pro status. I settled for jockeying around airliners around for a living.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  14. #14
    Wes
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    At my age, this is how I look at it. I cannot be better then I could have been last year. I can be better than I was last year.

  15. #15
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    That's an interesting question and one that I had to refer back to my cycling log to see what the stats showed.

    What is your age?
    52

    How long have you been riding?
    3 years (But still spend time working on my golf handicap!)

    How fast do you average on a solo ride of 10 miles or more without trying to kill yourself?

    If you added all the miles I rode last year (around 5000) they average 17.3 mph (total miles/time ridden). I typically ride one evening after work (afternoons in the summer) plus a good number of miles on the weekend so I'm averaging about 100 miles per week. I'm in piedmont NC and the area I live in is mostly rollers. The numbers above include those types of rides along with several 100 mile rides with lots of climbing in the NC mountains (like the Assault on Mt Mitchell). The fastest 100k group ride I did last year averaged 23.6 mph which was quite a thrill. I usually feel pretty good about doing a 60+ mile solo ride on the weekend if I average 18 mph. Those usually are done with my heart rate within my target zone for 99% of the ride.

    It's really hard to gauge average speed though as wind can really be a big factor. For example, I did a 90 mile ride last weekend and was only able to average 15 mph as I had a headwind of 10-15 mph on the return leg. I was really, really glad to get home on that one....I've been to Hawaii and can only imagine what some of the winds are like out your way. Give me a good hill over a strong headwind any day!!

  16. #16
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > My 27 mile ride is my Monday ride which is an easy spin. I can cruise along rather comfortably in the low 20's - assuming zero wind. <

    Boy, I'd love to be able to do that! At the 20 mph rate, I could go all the way to the east end of the island and back to my usual eating place in Waikiki (40 miles) in just a bit over two hours (allowing time for some traffic light stops). I could leave home after 3:30 and be done by the time I now have to leave by 2:30 to do!

    I do have some significant hills to (at least they are to me). Are you on the flats for your 27 mile ride?

    > As with any aerobic sport, it unfortunately comes down to your parents. <

    Yeah, that's the ticket - it's all their fault! (grin)

    > I have kept my legs strong by doing 20 repetition squats for years - a very painful exercise BTW. <

    Can you describe that in some detail? Maybe I should look into it. Or maybe not if it can cause knee damage!

    > I love cycling, and rue the fact that I did not discover it sooner than a few months ago. <

    Only done it for a few months!? I'm shocked because I would think that even if you are in real good shape it takes awhile to train the muscles for that specific skill, especially at age 64 when things just seem to take longer.

    Since you are relatively new to it, but very successful, maybe you can provide some insights into things I have issues with (sometimes more experienced people have different viewpoints than a fellow newbie).

    I had a terrible time with bike shorts, though I finally found something that is "okay" (Blackbottoms). None of the others would fit around the leg at the hem so riding up was a real problem. Even the Blackbottoms could proably fit better, but at least they fit okay.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Trogon's Avatar
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    I'm 51 and I've been riding (seriously) since July of 1998. Before that, I had a riding hiatus between college and real-life of approximately 25 years. I rode a lot between ages 5 and 22.

    Last year, I rode 8000 miles (and worked full time in high-tech and had a wife and kids, etc.) 2003=6500 miles, 5500 in 2002 and 4200 in 2001. Mid-2000s in the earlier years.

    My typical weekend ride (both days) is 40-50 and I average 17-18mph, constrained mainly by the stop and go associated with riding on the street.

    My best organized ride was last year's Tour de Tucson on which I rode a 4:57 century and 5:32 for the whole 110 miles.

    I don't train, I don't use an HR monitor, I simply go out and ride as fast as I feel like riding. Short hops around my village - 20 miles at 18mph. 5 days a week during DST, 3 days during the winter.

    My overall average across the last 6.5 years is 16.72mph, 1101 rides, MTB, road, short hops, long hauls, wind, rain, sun, snow and wonderfully ideal days.

  18. #18
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > I usually feel pretty good about doing a 60+ mile solo ride on the weekend if I average 18 mph. Those usually are done with my heart rate within my target zone for 99% of the ride. <

    Well, I can do 18 if push really hard - but only for about 12 miles! Boy, I'd love to do it for 60.

    > I've been to Hawaii and can only imagine what some of the winds are like out your way. Give me a good hill over a strong headwind any day!! <

    winds here in the summer are almost always in the 10 or 15-25 mph range, but I think those forecasts are for daylight hours. I ride around 3:00 AM and it is calmer then, at least sometimes. Generally I would say the mornings typically don't go over 12 or 13 mph (but there are exceptions). As the day moves on, the wind picks up until mid afternoon or so before slacking off some.

    Winter is generally less windy on average. But I do wonder about the wind here sometimes. Lots of mountain valleys can channel winds into you and perhaps cause them to be stronger in some locations. Of course, the big buildings on Honolulu can cause strange wind patterns too.

  19. #19
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trogon
    My typical weekend ride (both days) is 40-50 and I average 17-18mph, constrained mainly by the stop and go associated with riding on the street.
    I don't know whether to feel good about the potential you folks are showing for riding fast when over 50 or be frustrated that I'm a lot slower! (grin)

  20. #20
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    Hi Kahuna - which part of Oahu are you on? I live in HI Kai and am 66. I am trying to get in shape for a San Diego to Dallas Solo tour in mid April. Too old to camp - going to motel it and use up my kids inheritance.

    I don't worry too much about speeds but just try to slog thru the distance. I ride an old mountain bike with slicks - only major modification.

    I've got several routes that I alternate
    1)HI Kai to Kailua and return about 30 miles - I go the back way (Kalama Valley to Sandy Beach) across Makapuu

    2)HI Kai to downtown and back about 25 miles

    3)HI Kai to Kahala Mall and back about 13-14

    4)Airport and back using King / Breratania outbound and Nimitz, Waikiki, Diamond Head back - right at 40 miles

    5)Don't know the route over the Pali to Kailua, but I know there is one.

    As I get into mid march I am going to kick it up a notch and try Kailua to Halaiewa - probably bus back.

    If you need a slow plodder give me an email and we can check schedules - if you are looking for speed - I will start with you, but who knows when I will finish.

    I always stop in the middle for either a coke or a Starbucks.

    Tom Rush
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  21. #21
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I don't know whether to feel good about the potential you folks are showing for riding fast when over 50 or be frustrated that I'm a lot slower! (grin)
    I made my peace with that long ago.

    I ride for pure pleasure - and think others should also. I guess it sort of depends on how you define pleasure. But however one does, be happy with that!

    Personally, I compare myself to no one but myself.

    Life is full of competition and stress. This is one area where I don't have to worry about that aspect.

    Have fun riding.
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Like lots of us, I rode a lot as a kid, then 'outgrew' it, then picked it up again at age 30. Now at age 49.5, I'm faster than I was 15 years ago. In fact, I've been getting a little faster every year since I went to recumbents. Last year I got a PR for a 104-miler - 4:31 (that was a one-way ride with a headwind the whole way.) My last club ride of the year was 30 miles at 24.1 mph on a flattish loop. Most of my evening club rides are in the 20-22 mph range, for 25-35 miles. Weekend rides are a little slower, generally 60-80 miles at 19- 21 mph.

  23. #23
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Another thought TheRCF-If I lived in Hawaii I'd be very lucky to be averaging 15 mph myself. I'd be checking out the beautiful views and forgetting all about trying to get a decent workout, regardless of the time of day. Keep up the great job!!

  24. #24
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > which part of Oahu are you on? I live in HI Kai and am 66. <

    I'm in Aiea. When I extended my ride I started going beyond Waikiki by going over Diamond Head and out to Hawaii Kai. On a good day I'll make it to Sandy Beach. I have climbed the big hill up to Hanauma Bay and around sometimes, but now that I ride so early in the morning, I usually cut through Hawaii Kai were the light is better. I split the big climb up Hawaii Kai Drive by turning at Ahukini. That ends up on Hawaii Kai Dr, but near the top. I'm not a good hill climber so splitting it helps me.

    > I don't worry too much about speeds but just try to slog thru the distance. <

    For me, going slow is just frustrating. I still get worn out, but for less distance - just doesn't seem right!

    > 1)HI Kai to Kailua and return about 30 miles - I go the back way (Kalama Valley to Sandy Beach) across Makapuu <

    I still don't know the names of the various valleys and such, but I'm guessing that if you hit Sandy Beach you are folliwing a similar route through Hawaii Kai that I do - you come back out on Kalanianaole Hwy at the traffic light at Kealohou St?

    > 2)HI Kai to downtown and back about 25 miles <

    What route do you follow for that? I guess you get off Kalanianaole Hwy where H-1 starts like I do, but then I go over to the little convenience store where there is a water fountain outside, then follow Kealaolu alongside the country club area to Kahala Ave up to Diamond Head, then down Monssarat to Waikiki since I stop there to eat. I've gone on the roads by H-1, but they seem tougher and traffic is certainly more of an issue. Just wondering if you have a route I haven't tried.

    > 3)HI Kai to Kahala Mall and back about 13-14 <

    That is a nice ride since usually you have a wide bike lane. Only problem is when heading back,you usually are fighting the wind and there isn't much to block it on that side of Diamond Head.

    > 4)Airport and back using King / Breratania outbound and Nimitz, Waikiki, Diamond Head back - right at 40 miles <

    I pass by the airport every ride going to Waikiki and back, but I pretty much never get on Beretania - I'm on Nimitz instead, often riding sidewalks if traffic is bad or I just want to minimize risk.

    > 5)Don't know the route over the Pali to Kailua, but I know there is one. <

    I've been up the Pali to where Nuuanu-Pali Dr goes off. I'm not sure how to get through that area though so I haven't tried. It is a goal of mine to cross the Pali though.

    > As I get into mid march I am going to kick it up a notch and try Kailua to Halaiewa - probably bus back. <

    Ah yes, the wonderful bus system - makes it nice to be able to ride as far as you want and if too tired to come back, have mechanical problems, etc, just put the bike on the bus! Helped me many times! From Kailua to Haleiwa isn't too bad except for some climbing around Kailua/Kaneohe area. Not sure what the best route is. Going up towards the Pali tunnels and turning off just before is a hard climb for sure. Going through Kailua, etc, is easier, but a bit further and some places have little space for a bike and the roads curve a lot.

    > If you need a slow plodder give me an email and we can check schedules - if you are looking for speed - I will start with you, but who knows when I will finish. <

    Well, like I said, I ride really early. When I go out to Hawaii Kai, I typically get to Sandy Beach around 5:00 AM or a bit earlier (if I'm later than that, I usually don't go that far since I want to get back and eat at Dukes in Waikiki. When do you usually do your rides?

    If you are slower than me, that can be compensated for simply by my riding a good distance before we meet. That would slow me down considerably! It's 23 miles for me to Lunalilo Home Rd.

    Hey, if you want to ride early, I could always meet you in the Hawaii Kai area and we can bike back to Waikiki for breakfast - I'll treat the first one!

    I even have a table right at the front where the beach is that they always give me.

    Bob

  25. #25
    Da Big Kahuna
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    May 2003
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    > I guess it sort of depends on how you define pleasure. But however one does, be happy with that! <

    Exactly - and when I'm slow, it isn't fun. Unfortunately, getting the speed over distance to be happy requires a lot of work!

    > Personally, I compare myself to no one but myself. <

    The comparisons are to give me an idea of what is reasonable to work for. I mean, if few people over 50 could do much more than I can do, that would let me know that there is little reason to kill myself to accomplish something I probably can't do. But if lots of people are well ahead of me, I know working real hard may payoff - hopefully to the point where I can ride casually and reach 18 instead of 15-16 usually).

    If I reach that level, I may try for more (grin).

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