Thread: Average MPH
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Old 03-28-17, 10:21 PM
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The type of bike you ride will have an effect on speed. While the human engine is always going to be the biggest factor, things like tire tread, width, and rolling resistance, bike geometry and aerodynamics, equipment level and weight will have an effect. How big of an effect varies a lot, and also generates a lot of argument on forums here, weight and component level being two big ones.

The most practical thing you can easily alter right now without spending much money is your tires - narrower, less tread, lower rolling resistance all mean more speed, at a tradeoff of less ability different substrates and conditions. Ultimately you will probably come to the multi-bicycle ownership solution known as "n + 1", n being the number of bikes you own currently - many of us enjoy various riding disciplines and end up buying different classes of machines for different rides. For a club ride, you can probably pick up 3-4 mph by switching from an upright hybrid with wider, gripping treaded tires to a road bike with an aero riding position and narrow road slick tires and clipless pedals - at least I know that is my differential in average speed between my hybrids and road bikes.

I guess the other thing you can do that could contribute is to maximize your overall health, treat any limiting health conditions, and condition and train your body like an athlete to the extent of your ability and willingness. Honestly, you can never judge a book by its cover, back in 2014 when I was at a really ideal weight for me, 160 @ 5'11" with a new 16 lb carbon road bike, I was regularly smoked on an evening route I did by an older man with a pretty substantial beer belly riding a heavy-looking mt bike with a plastic crate cargo carrier on a rear rack. I didn't have a problem with anything about the other guy - the problem was with the fact that I signed up for a 5 month triathlon coaching group class, bought a pride and joy bike, took private swimming lessons and was pushing myself harder through month 3 into month 4 and felt like crap and progressively worsening, dizzy, weak, tight chest, chest pain when I ran, held my breath between strokes in the pool, etc. My average speed on the bike was not much either, like 12.8 mph. Been diagnosed with a microcytic anemia prior and that was ok - and it wasn't the same kind that of feeling. Turmed out I was asthmatic - looking back I always was, but I never had the classic wheezing and gasping for breath presentation. In fact my air intake capacity when tested was 98% of expected normal, but exflow was 41% prior to albutetol. Proper diagnosis and treatment of that made everything that took any exertion easier, from running 5K to taking the stairs. And yes, I'm still slow, even treated for everything it all still takes its toll, I plod along on a road bike at 16-17 mph on average, with some top 10% days when I can do more "normal" speeds.

Last edited by DaveQ24; 03-28-17 at 10:54 PM.
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