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  1. #1
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    what is a good AVERAGE speed for cruising on flat terrain?

    the subject says it all....

    what's a good average pace... and what's the range of speeds from newbie to elite racer?


    basically i want to have a "gauge" to measure whether i should lengthen my rides at the same pace, or go the same distance and just ride harder. right now i'm riding at 13.5 mph for 20 miles.
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

  2. #2
    Powered by: meradi's Avatar
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    New to riding here (at least new to riding longer distances for fun as opposed to riding everywhere when I was in college).
    I usually average 13-15 miles per hour for about 20 miles, and 16-18 for ten. Depends on how "flat" the route is though.
    It can be difficult to find the time to ride more than 20 miles, well, for me anyway.
    Brian

  3. #3
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Average speed usually refers to the verage over a whole ride, with starts, slowdowns, nature breaks, etc. Cruise usually refers to the steady speed maintained by a paceline [or an individual] for a leg of a ride. Both are subject to a whole lot of variables, including wind speed and direction, road quality, your personal fitness and the kind of group you're riding with.

    So, to answer your question, it's hard to say.

    However, to give you an idea... I recently did a 81 km [50 mi] solo ride in a moderate headwind on the leg out at an average speed of 28.6 km/h [18 mph], with two 30 km sections where I cruised steadily for 36 km/h [22.4 mph].

    I have also been on group rides where the average is closer to 35 km/h [21.7 mph], with cruise around 40-45 km/h [25-28 mph].

    Of course, it depends on what kind of ride you're doing, and I do a whole lot of recovery/LSD rides around 25 km/h [15.5 mph] average, with 30 km/h [18.6 mph] cruise.

    I know that doesn't answer your question, but there is a whole range...
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  4. #4
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    Originally posted by meradi
    New to riding here (at least new to riding longer distances for fun as opposed to riding everywhere when I was in college).
    I usually average 13-15 miles per hour for about 20 miles, and 16-18 for ten. Depends on how "flat" the route is though.
    It can be difficult to find the time to ride more than 20 miles, well, for me anyway.
    Brian
    You sound like you're in almost the same shoes as me. I also used to ride my bike to all my classes in college, but i am new to long distances. You're right about riding being time consuming.... as fun as it is, it just takes a huge chunk out of the day. i can only find time to do it on saturdays . what kind of jobs do these people have that let them ride all the time!? LOL
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

  5. #5
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    I'm a freelance writer and university professor. I have pretty flexible hours... So I do manage about 15-18 hours of riding a week...
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  6. #6
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    This is a tough question to answer. . . but I remember wondering the same thing when I started cycling seriously. I just wanted to know how fast I was compared to the rest of the cycling universe - there were no clubs or group rides nearby - and still aren't.

    Turn on OLN and watch the pros race and you'll see them cruising effortlessly at 25mph for miles. Granted, they are sharing the work at the head of the peloton, but 25mph is moving right along. When things start to heat up, the peloton will string out and speeds will move to 30-35mph. The sprinters will hit 40+.

    For a solo cyclist a 20mph average for a ride is something like the holy grail. It's really humming along, but is attainable.

    I'm 42 yrs old, a sport-class XC racer and ride 3 to 5 times a week, road & MTB. This Tuesday on a hard, race-pace solo ride I averaged 19mph over 30 miles with 1,500 ft. of climbing. On the flats with a slight headwind I cruised at 21 -25mph. On the steepest climbs I was down to 7mph. I was spent afterwards.

    On a recent 60 mile ride with 3,000 ft. of climbing I averaged 17mph with 24 of the 60 miles in a brutal headwind.

    Not everyone has to go "fast" (whatever that means) to enjoy cycling, nor do you have to race. Have fun first. Your motivation to improve will come all by itself.

  7. #7
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by deliriou5

    what kind of jobs do these people have that let them ride all the time!? LOL
    I used to spend 10 hours a week commuting by car or tran and on foot to work. Now I spend that same 10 hours commuting by bike. If I can get in a nice weekend country road ride, 13 hours a week isn't unusual, and it's easy to pile up 5000 miles a year or more.

    RichC

  8. #8
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    I usually use flats to pull my averge up!! Works wonders for a low average to get on a flat road and just hammer like hell!
    J/K

    In a paceline with my buddies we usually maintain anywhere from 21-30 mph, depending on how strong everybody is feeling and how long the flat is. If we know there's hills coming up then we keep the pace a little slower and save some power for the hills. But if we know the route is pretty much flat the whole way, it's balls to the wall all the way. Except for beer Fridays, it would be wrong to hammer on beer/casual Fridays.
    Booyah!!

  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    I'm going to go out on a limb and pretend that there's a simple answer to your question. Simple is a relative term, as you'll see by all the qualifiers that go with my "simple" answer.

    A good recreational rider, on flat terrain, on a circuit ride (i.e. moderate wind that helps the same distance that it hinders) riding 20 miles on a road bike should be able to average 18mph.

    I define a good recreational rider as someone who takes their cycling seriously, but doesn't race or frequently "train 'til pain."

  10. #10
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    thanks everyone. Time to go work up some speed .
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

  11. #11
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    I usually use flats to pull my averge up!!
    This brings up something I was wondering about. Can a rider usually make a better average on the flat than he/she can on hilly terrain?

    At first glance you would think that the fast downhill compensates for the slow uphill, but it doesn’t work that way, does it?
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

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    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MikeR


    This brings up something I was wondering about. Can a rider usually make a better average on the flat than he/she can on hilly terrain?

    At first glance you would think that the fast downhill compensates for the slow uphill, but it doesn’t work that way, does it?
    Nope, it doesn't work that way, because you spend more time going up and a non-proportional amount of time going down. Wind resistance is a factor on the way down, but at the slower speeds of a climb wind is less of a factor.

  13. #13
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    well including stops and winds and all that junk usually when i'm done with a ride and look at my avg speed it says about 15.5mph
    Bruce
    AIM AutoAudio2

  14. #14
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    I'm a big boy, 54, 250#+, I ride 20 to 50 miles at a time in the oklahoma hills. My average is 13-15mph.

    Any of you light weights should do 18+.
    I can't ride and Frown!

  15. #15
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    For cruising speed on a nice flat terrain and with minimal head wind I will average around 32 to 35 KMH.

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    20 mph+ cruising speed. Don't worry about your average speed. Focus on the cruising or pace speed. To hang with the faster riders, you have to maintain at least 20+ mph. Just ride a lot and training yourself to spin with the 53 chain ring if you want to cruise at 20+ mph. I am trying to work on my cruising speed too. Currently, 21 is no problem and without effort. At 23, I am at my max. If the conditions allow it (little headwind and smooth road), I can even do 25 or 26 but that is only an exception.

  17. #17
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    Whatever works for YOU!!

    Ride for Fun

    Pat
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    I find it difficult to give any weight to average speed over the total course of my rides. Everytime I think I must have averaged at leat 17-18mph, I look at the readout and see 14-15
    My computer does stop recording upon stops. I think slowing to stops taints the average more than you may think.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    I'm also no lightweight (250#) and averaging around 13-15 mph but there are lots of hills to contend with in my area. I have noticed that if I have a flat road, my speed tends to be near 17-20 mph without working too hard.

  20. #20
    Señor Member Tom_The_Bikeman's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Stops (if included) can REALLY drag down the average times. On my normal commute of 17 km (about 11 mi) I average 30 kmh/18.5 mph on the way in and 36.5 kmh/22.5 mph on the way home with a gain/loss of 125 meters/410 feet.

    Considering it's fairly hilly and including stops, I'm pretty happy with that kind of speed. On the down side, right now I'm not riding at ALL, but it's 6 weeks post car crash, so I can't complain (that much)

    It's the stops which will kill your speed. My best times are always recorded sans red lights.

    ride safely,
    Tom

  21. #21
    Senior Member swekarl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by velocipedio
    Of course, it depends on what kind of ride you're doing, and I do a whole lot of recovery/LSD rides around 25 km/h [15.5 mph] average, with 30 km/h [18.6 mph] cruise.
    :fun: What's an LSD ride? :fun:

    I just broke the 30 kph/18,75 mph wall of average speed on my last trip of 32 km/20 miles. Flat terrain, no particular wind. But then I don't have a road bike! I usually end up anywhere between 22 kph/13,75 mph and 28 kph/17,5 mph on my rides depending on wind and how much oat porridge I managed to stuff myself with before I left.

  22. #22
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by swekarl
    :fun: What's an LSD ride? :fun:
    "Long steady distance." The kind of rides you do early in the season to build up endurance base miles, and throughout the rest of the season to maintain endurance.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  23. #23
    Senior Member bikehard700's Avatar
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    The answer to your question depends on some variables... fitness, equipment, and your goals as a rider.

    I ride 200+ miles a week... about half on a smooth tire MTB, over a rails-trails path, at 12.6mph (avg.),
    between 20-40 miles each ride (avg. stays the same).

    I ride the other half of the weekly miles on my RDB, over a varied coarse including several major climbs,
    one ride is always 75+ miles, the other around 50 miles the next day, always average 15.2... I average about 18 on a flat ride less than 30 miles on the RDB. That isn't much considering a race average (I'm not a racer), is between 25-35 for flat coarses, but I ride for distance, not speed, and because of both knees being surgically repaired (1980), I stay off the "big ring" as much as I can.

    RDB=2001 Cannondale RW700 (upgraded seat to Terry/Fly... what a comfy ride.)
    MTB=199? Cannondale M700 (recently the same upgrade... much happier sit bones)

    I don't know if my stats are average or above... I never ride with anyone, I am self employed, and ride whenever my schedule allows (my busy season is Sept-May... Summers off). So, I don't have much of a way to gauge my riding... I just ride... ... ...
    I feel the pain...
    but there are hills to climb.

  24. #24
    Pat
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    I can average 20 mph solo but that is pushing a little.

    Remember average speed and cruising speed are different. And your computer affects things quite a bit. I used to have a loop I did. I had a computer that I could easily turn off and on. I did the loop a number of times and just let the computer run. And I did the loop a number of times and turned off the computer whenever I slowed down for stop signs, traffic lights etc and turned it back on when I hit cruising speed. I discovered that the difference was something like 2 mph. Of course, the faster you go the greater the effect.

  25. #25
    Queen of the Pea Pile oceanrider's Avatar
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    Guess I'm still a newbie having been riding less than 6 months. It takes me an hour to ride 13 relatively flat south Florida miles on a road bike. That's including good smooth roads, crummy gravel roads, bridges and graded flats with a gentle breeze. Includes stops for lights but no nature/rest stops. Not sure if that means I'm averaging 13mph. I don't have a computer on the road bike yet and there are so many variables. I'm looking forward to taking off around 30 lbs which should increase my speed dramatically.

    On my cross bike I do the same distance, same conditions averaging 11mph according to the computer.
    Last edited by oceanrider; 06-13-02 at 10:06 AM.

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