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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 05-07-07, 01:45 AM   #1
wiles9
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Average Speed ?

I just wanted to know the average everyone does in here, the more posts the better !! Reading in another post in the Cramps thread by cyclocommuter brought this point up for me...

So things, i think could be useful for me, and any other newbies to touring out there are :

On a long distance, fully loaded tour:

Whats your overall average speed?
Whats your avg on steep uphills? (gradient dunno, i just want to see the difference)
Do you tend to push for more speed on downhills or let her roll for a rest ??

I know these questions have a huge varience in answers, but if you back up your speed with reasons, i could probably learn something from it!!

The other point was breaks:

how long do you guys cycle each day on a tour?
How long do you stop for breaks ?

Um... and Cadence. My girl was looking at some computers that had this included in the package (was going to be polar, but they are not Mac compatible! )... any opinions on the usefullness of Cadence ??


Lots of questions!!
Cheers!
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Old 05-07-07, 03:20 AM   #2
Juha
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I only bother to check my avg speed at the end of the day. Somehow I usually end up in the 22-24 km/h range. Add a kayak trailer, and my avg drops to 16-17 km/h.

I try to maintain a steady effort throughout the day. I don't knowingly push unless I really have to (steep uphill, for example) or unless it's great fun (unusually steep downhill, for example). I don't measure my cadence, but since it gives the rhythm to the weird songs I tend to hum, I can tell if it changes a lot.

Breaks: I've found it's easier for me to stay properly hydrated if I drink by a rigid schedule and stop for a moment to do it. I take these 2-5 minutes drinking breaks every hour or so. While I'm at it, I may eat a small snack too. My "real" food breaks can be anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depends on situation. I rarely ride more than 6 hrs / day, breaks excluded.

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Old 05-07-07, 04:14 AM   #3
FidelCastrovich
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I've only done one fully loaded tour, with my GF, and we averaged 15-17 kph. On the uphills it drops to 7-10, otherwise it's somewhere around 18-20.
She is the weaker link, so maybe if i were to go on a tour alone, the speeds would be higher. Don't know.
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Old 05-07-07, 04:27 AM   #4
becnal
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100km per day. About 15 kph.

Make sure you keep a bunch of Snickers or similar bars in your handle bar bag. That way you can munch and drink consistently throughout the day.

The rule is: Eat BEFORE you are hungry, drink BEFORE you are thirsty, rest BEFORE you are tired.

Last edited by becnal; 05-07-07 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:13 AM   #5
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Your average speed loaded will be about 3 km/h slower than your average speed unloaded.
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Old 05-07-07, 12:19 PM   #6
NeezyDeezy
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My speed loaded is much slower than my speed unloaded.
Unloaded - 27 kph
Loaded (40 lbs more) - 18 kph

Last edited by NeezyDeezy; 05-07-07 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 05-07-07, 12:24 PM   #7
eric von zipper
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From this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) on the flat lands of N. Carolina fully loaded:
Total distance: 148 km (92 miles)
Avg speed: 21 kmph (13 mph)

*I had some serious wind at my back on Sunday for nearly 60 km

I love using cadence on my roadie, but I see no need for it on my touring bike.
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Old 05-08-07, 02:51 PM   #8
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Just came off three days loaded down in very southern Illinois which is rather hilly, ave. 11 mph or 18 kph. But each is different and while last year we averaged 85 miles per day on one tour, I normally like to keep it to no more than 70-75 miles per day, much less likely to burn out that way.
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Old 05-08-07, 06:13 PM   #9
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Speed 17-19 km/hr touring. Unloaded I get along at around 24-28 on anything over 50km
It depends a lot on how far you are going and how hilly/windy it is. If you only have 90km to cover you can push yourself a lot harder and have much longer rest stops than if you have 160km.
I take hills very easy. 7-8 for the steepest. Don't go crazy on the downhills, though it is fun!
I usually spend close to 8 hrs on the bike. I try to get to where I am going an hour before sundown and time my afternoon stops accordingly. It is nice to stop for a coffee every hour in the afternoon when you are not in a hurry because you got going early and covered 100km before lunch!
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Old 05-08-07, 06:45 PM   #10
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What does average speed matter when you're touring? I never keep track of my average speed, touring or otherwise. You're out there to relax and enjoy yourself on a tour, not to race or set some sort of speed record.

The only reason I can think of for wanting to have some vague idea of your own personal average speed is to help you with route planning. If you feel comfortable travelling at 15 km/h, including short breaks, and your whole trip is going to be 5000 kms, then you know that the 5000 kms is going to take you 333.3 hours. If you plan to ride for 8 hours a day, your trip will take you 42 days of cycling. And then you can plan your trip around that.

But knowing other people's average speed won't help you with that. Go out and do some test rides to see what your personal average speed is.

However in answer to a few of your other questions:

-- up steep hills I've been down to about 4.9 km/h riding, and about 3 km/h walking.
-- in the past I've aimed for 80-100 kms a day, but in the future, I think I'll aim for 50-80 kms a day ... you get to see more if you ride less
-- breaks depend entirely on what's out there. I've done short 10 minute breaks to use the toilet all the way up to breaks lasting several hours because my cycling partner and I decided to take a swim in the ocean in the middle of the day rather than continue cycling through the heat.

The nice thing about self-supported touring is that it is up to you. You get to make the decisions. You get to decide when to get up in the morning, when and where to stop for breaks, how fast or slow to travel, when to stop for the night, etc. etc.
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Old 05-11-07, 08:25 AM   #11
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On long loaded tours our milage varies a lot, we tend to do over 100 kms a day if its paved. A lot of days seem to be in the 120-140 km range, with 6-8 hours in the saddle.
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Old 05-11-07, 08:57 AM   #12
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Hi,

While self-contained touring, my average speed is about 10-11 mph. On steep uphills (like in western VA or KY where the hills are beyond brutal), my speed might be 5-7 mph. In those states I walked a few. In CO, though, I almost never walked because the grades are much easier.

On downhills, I go for extra speed but with a limit due to the load, or the steepness. Extra steep, long hills can burn out brakes or pop a tire especially in hot weather. It's good to stop occasionally to let brakes and tire rims cool down.

My miles per day average is around 50. My record miles in a day was 74. I tend to smell the roses along the way and take more frequent breaks than most cyclists. My breaks usually last 5-10 minutes but with a long luxurious lunch. If the riding day is especially long, I may take a additional long break around late afternoon.

I may follow my cadence during part of my riding day. I think it's helpful but based on my riding style and goals I find no reason for worrying about it for any length of time. Although maintaining a particular cadence may be the most efficient way of riding and maintaining mileage goals, it's not necessarily the most enjoyable.

David in FL

Last edited by David in PA; 05-11-07 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:09 AM   #13
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I do 10 miles an hour on average, that's 16 in Senate approved Freedom Furlongs.

That's what I calculate my trip mileage based on, and I probably do about 80 mi. /day. I am probably riding 10-12 hours a day, but stopping, shopping, etc... cuts into that a lot.

The most comon speed I see when I look down at the speedo is 13 or 14 MPH. I drop to about 6 on hills. I can do about 19 in ideal conditions. Downhills vary, but I don't hit any really big numbers unless i'm in the mountains on a perfect road.
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Old 05-12-07, 02:40 PM   #14
wiles9
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Hi everyone thanks for the input.

@Machka, your right, its not a HUGE amount of importance to me, and you basically covered all the reasons why i wanted this info, mainly route planning. It was also good to see how close i am to everyone elses. Remember this is completely new to me, and until the tour date, i wont get much time for 8 hours a day, as i have exams coming up.

So everyone, thanks again, its been an interesting read for me and my girl, and its good to see such slow speeds on the uphill... im SURE we will get to that speed when fully loaded haha...
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