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Old 04-14-05, 05:43 PM   #1
Machka 
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Speed at which you travel on a tour

Before I did any kind of serious touring, I had an impression in my head of how fast I would travel each day with my loaded touring bicycle. Interestingly, the various people I've talked to about touring have pretty much the same impression.

What I thought, and what other people have assumed, is that a cycle tourist, riding a loaded touring bicycle over varied terrain and in varied weather conditions, should be able to cover 100 kms a day in about 4 hours.

I discovered that was not even remotely true. It took me closer to 8 hours a day, and on some occasions as much as 10 hours!! Although that did include at least an hour for lunch, and a couple short breaks to use the toilet or pick up something to drink, it was otherwise pretty steady riding.

I'm just curious ... for those of you who have toured frequently, did you find that it takes a lot longer than what you expected? Can you cover 100 kms in 4 hours with a loaded touring bicycle? Am I just incredibly slow?
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Old 04-14-05, 06:11 PM   #2
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fully loaded touring over varied terrain i travel on average 75 miles per day at an average speed of between 12-13 mph.

That's about 6 hours of riding time and does not include time off the bike (average speed calculated only when wheels are moving)
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Old 04-14-05, 06:12 PM   #3
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Well the most I ever did on a single day was 78m/125Km and that took all day, probably 8-10 hours. But for the most part I had not thought about my speed prior to the trip. I made no plans to do more then 50-60m/80-96km in a day (the above was an aberration) with 35-50m/56-80km being typical. I expected to reach my destination in a whole day and took the time to do so. But for me the its more about the tour than the riding per se.

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Old 04-14-05, 06:54 PM   #4
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It depends. Sometimes, I can only do about 10 or 15 miles per day. That's on the days when there are a lot of hills and stuff. Mostly, I do about 20- 40 miles per day, depending. I don't rush a tour, and I usually don't plan. I carry a lot of stuff, so I'm sure that has something to do with it too.

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Old 04-14-05, 07:19 PM   #5
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lets see 100km = about 60 miles ,right?anyone?
most all my trips are short in nature but around 60 miles in 8 hours or so.that includes rests and breaks. my last camping weekend was only 47 miles on the first day and it took almost 7 hours exactly(left at 8am and arrived at 3pm)I think actual ride time was around 5 hours.like 9 mph
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Old 04-14-05, 08:54 PM   #6
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On my tour last summer, I rode from about 9am to 8pm everyday. I had a couple hours of breaks in there of course. (lunch, nap, dinner, cool bookstore, etc..) So I'd say maybe 6-7 hours actual riding per day. I knew that at 8pm I had about an hour before it was totally dark, so that gave me time to look for a place to camp and then set up. I averaged around 65miles a day.. My best was 101mi, I had a few days over 80mi, and of course the few under 50. Speed? ummm.. Couldn't tell ya.

30 miles before lunch was a good pace.

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Old 04-14-05, 09:05 PM   #7
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I have done 2 tours down the Pacific Coast. The first trip was pretty structured and we traveled anywhere from 35 to 70 miles per day. The second trip we tried to go alot more by feeling rather than the stress of making it to a specific point. I think that if I were riding cross country would be alot different than the Pacific Northwest just because its all so awesome it just seems wrong to rush it.

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Old 04-14-05, 09:13 PM   #8
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Loaded touring is much slower than randonneuring. After all, one is loaded and one cannot draught.

My average cyclocomputer-read speed hovers between 19 and 21 km/h, but I don't do 100 km in 5 hours because I stop on average 10-15 minutes every 2 hours, eat once in a while and even stop to take pictures or visit scenic places. And when I tour with my daughter, I add a couple of playgrounds to that.
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Old 04-14-05, 09:22 PM   #9
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Michel, so true.

I thought I had a picture of my first ever loaded tour. You could barely see the bike! I was trucking that stuff up and down the hills in Italy. And I needed to stop every hour for a gelato and a cola. Some days, I think I would be lucky to get in about 10 miles. Plus, the views were so good, and I never knew if a town I'd be riding through would be interesting enough to stop for the night. Sometimes I'd stop for a few days, and sometimes, it was just an overnight trip. Other times, I wouldn't stop at all.

Sounds like the opposite of randonnuring.

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Old 04-14-05, 09:30 PM   #10
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I am easily distracted by attractions when I travel, like cheap-and-cheerful places to stay. On a recent tour I found myself passing through a mountain village. Although it was only 3:30 p.m. and I had planned to go further that day, the sight of a rustic village with an inn and a restaurant caused me to lose my resolve to pump out those miles... so I stayed. I showered, napped, washed my clothes, had an excellent meal, strolled the cobblestone streets, called home, read my book, planned my next day's route, and was sleeping by 10:00 p.m. Another perfect day!

I don't keep track of the distances I travel, but my guess is that the furthest I have cycled in a day is 70 km, or about 44 miles. On one trip I estimated my average speed to be 18 km/hour (11 miles per hour). Not speedy, but I always arrive somewhere!

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Old 04-14-05, 09:52 PM   #11
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I never travelled hilly terrain yet but in an average day I would do around 100km... I am not in an extraordinary shape, quite the contrary, so I take my time and make a few visits along the way in order to rest a bit. My longest day was around 180km and was surprisingly easy to do... you just have to budget more time on your bike. My guess is that I am averaging 20 km/h on a flat terrain
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Old 04-15-05, 01:30 AM   #12
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I'm a light traveller, sleeping in hostels every night. My load is limited to around 8kg (=same weight as my bike). Last year during my trip Brussels - Nice (France) (1300km) my overall averages were as follows:
- speed (while cycling) 23,6 km/h (max on 1 day was 30,6 km/h but with a lot of wind in my back)
- distance: 110km a day
- travel time including stops: 6h30 (of which about 2h for stops)

I was not extremely well trained, before I left I had about 500km of training in my legs. But I bike already for many years, so my legs are a bit used to it.
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Old 04-15-05, 04:39 AM   #13
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When we are planning a long tour of several months we always work on 2000km a month and it's never been far wrong in 8 long tours. A daily average doesn't have the same simplicity when calculating where you can travel (OK, let's see - 4300km at 75km a day, ah, that's... whereas the same calc at 2000km a month can be done mentally: two months and a bit)

Our daily tally has ranged from 13km when we came across a waterhole just after we left camp and it was so pleasant looking we stayed, up to 176km when we crossed Quebec into Maine in one long, long day. But on a long tour, 2000km/month is a sure bet. At least for us.
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Old 04-15-05, 04:52 AM   #14
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I have done five trips between 800 and 1,000 miles each. The average rolling speed for each trip has been from 10-12 miles per hour. It is difficult to maintain any average higher than that due to frequent stops for map checks, traffic conditions, road conditions, breaks, meals, water replenishment, etc. In a group of 2 to 4, I always estimate the time rolling at 10 mph so I can judge just how long to take for seeing sights along the way and still get to the destination on schedule. Works most of the time.
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Old 04-15-05, 05:47 AM   #15
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Short answer: You ride as fast as you need to go. Applies equally to ordinary touring or randonnees.
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Old 04-15-05, 07:02 AM   #16
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I concur with Bruce Northcutt. 10-12 mph avg when I factor in the normal activities of the day. On the bike that usually equates to about 12-14 mph avg. I plan tours based on 65-70 mile days but I'm not ridgid with that schedule. At times I will ride 90-100 miles if it is an area I don't have much interest in or if I'm just into riding that day. I will take the extra miles I gain and use the extra time to spend in areas I want to explore.
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Old 04-15-05, 07:20 AM   #17
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I always use a travelling time of 10mph, which includes all the various stops I make.
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Old 04-15-05, 07:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spanky4x4
lets see 100km = about 60 miles ,right?anyone?
100 kms= 62.13 miles, or .6213 kms per mile.
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Old 04-15-05, 07:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourbike
100 kms= 62.13 miles, or .6213 kms per mile.
Ummm... 1.6 km per mile. I round an imperial century (100 miles) to 161km, just so no-one complains. Sorry to be picky, tourbike.
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Old 04-15-05, 09:24 AM   #20
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There are days when you eat the bear and days when the bear eats you. While touring in Scotland, my wife and I covered 50 miles in 8 hours one day. That included a crossing of the Spittal of Glenshe which is a nasty mountain pass in the middle of Scotland. It included a granny gear downhill on the west side because the wind was blowing into our faces at about 50 miles per hour. Hardest downhill I've ever done!

Another day we covered 50 miles in 2 hours because we had the wind at our backs. Didn't leave until noon and finished the day at 3 (including a hour long stop at a museum). Quite possible the best day ever.

In Iowa 2 years ago, I had a 60 mile ride in a little over 2 hours because I had a howling tailwind. Oddly, corn and soybeans don't look any different at 30 mph than at 10 mph. Still boring as hell! Paid for it the next day when the temperature shot up to 90 and the wind was in my face again.

The best thing to do: Turn the bicycle computer upside down on the bars so you can't see it . You still get to count the mileage but you can't see how fast you are going. Ride, eat, stop for pie, repeat as needed.
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Old 04-15-05, 09:37 AM   #21
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My last major tour was following the TransAm across VA and about 70 mi into KY. LOTS of hills and mountains, and it was "full" tour with camping gear (which I feel is the absolute best type of tour). My record day was only 56 miles. Most days I did between 30-52 miles, roughly.

One reason for my short mileage was my age and level of fitness (which got a lot better towards the end). But I don't want to rush things, anyway, but intead want to savor ever sight and sound every "pedal" of the way. I take lots of breaks. Finding a little park in a tiny town to enjoy my lunch is one of countless simple pleasures that can be found along the way.

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Old 04-15-05, 12:35 PM   #22
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In the Fall of 2004 three of us rode 215 miles from Cumberland, MD to Washington D.C. on the C&O Towpath.

Day One
Start Time 10:30 am
Total Miles 62.4
Avg Speed 10.6 mph
Moving Time 5:50

Day Two
Start Time 8:30 am
Total Miles 59.6
Avg Speed 10.3 mph
Moving Time 5:44

Day Three
Start Time 7:30 am
Total Miles 48.1
Avg Speed 9.8 mph
Moving Time 4:54

Day Four
Start Time 6:45 am
Total Miles 45.4
Avg Speed 11.0 mph
Moving Time 4:07
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Old 04-15-05, 04:54 PM   #23
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I typically find that my mood seems to affect the speed of travel more then anything else. Sometimes I just want to reach my destination(s) for the day as quickly as possible so that I can partake of some activity that I've been looking forward to. These stops could be museum visits, historical sites, lunch stop etc.

Other times I just enjoy pedaling slowly and taking my time, breathing in the peace and quiet and enjoying my opportunity to be away from normal life.

During my recent "A Breath of fresh air tour" I traveled 95.5 km in 4 hours and 11 minutes on Day One and 95.0 km in 4 hours and 56 minutes on Day Two. This was a lightly loaded tour to a friend's home in a nearby city.

During my Round Lake Erie tour I averaged 120 km/day for distance. This was a fully loaded/self-contained tour and my fitness level was better then it is today. I was also lighter! Two examples from that tour include 111.5 km in approx 4.5 hours, and 178.44 km in 7 hours and 54 minutes.

During my Round Lake Huron tour 103 km in 5 hours, 6 min, 169 km in 8 hours and 5 minutes. Again fully loaded.

These are all actual pedaling times and are not total elapsed time. If you actually factor in all my stops for pictures, food, siteseeing etc then in reality my day starts around seven am and ends around dark.

Other factors that can definately influence your speed include winds, attitude, food, terrain, road surface, load distribution etc.

I don't worry about speed too much. Generally I aim for an average speed of 20 km/hr. Sometimes I am below that speed and sometimes I am above. I love to ride but I don't let any need for speed slow down my urge to look around when I'm on the road.

I think it's fair to say that when I tour it's about the journey rather then the destination. I suspect many people feel the same way.

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Old 04-15-05, 07:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Ummm... 1.6 km per mile. I round an imperial century (100 miles) to 161km, just so no-one complains. Sorry to be picky, tourbike.
Woops, that's what I get for posting right after I wake up. Well, at least I got the first part right. And a kilometer is .6213 of a mile, not kms per mile. Thanks for setting me straight.

Last edited by tourbike; 04-15-05 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 04-15-05, 08:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyccommute
The best thing to do: Turn the bicycle computer upside down on the bars so you can't see it . You still get to count the mileage but you can't see how fast you are going. Ride, eat, stop for pie, repeat as needed.
This is the post of the month. Brilliant idea. Saves on electrical tape, too! (for covering up the display)

One of the things about night riding is that you can't see the computer display unless you turn on some sort of light. Average speed does drop at night, but it seems to be of less concern compared with day riding.
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