Thread: Average MPH
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Old 03-30-17, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tbone2 View Post
Thanks for the replies.
I'm in it for the health and the fun, don't want to obsess on numbers however I think since I am just starting the average speed is a fair gauge of improvement. I use Strave to track my commute occasionally to see how I am doing.
I find that a fast cadence is more comfortable than a slower one in a higher gear so I pick the gear that keeps me spinning at that comfortable pace and I don't stop peddling unless I have to, intersections and such.
Since it is my commute ride that I am tracking the variables are the same I don't bother with Strava on my other rides.

And your right I do roll faster on the club rides but I haven't tracked one to prove it.
There's nothing wrong with looking at average speed to track how you're doing, and frankly, doing solo rides at 16 mph is more enjoyable than 14 mph, and 18 mph is more fun than 16 mph. It's also fun to do group rides without fearing that you're going to pass out or force everyone to slow down. The biggest thing that has happened for me as I've improved from a 10-12 mile rides at 14-15 mph avg to 20-30 miles at 18 mph is that I can deal with wind and hills much better. I used to turn back if I hit a stretch of 10-12 mph headwinds, since I would be struggling in my easiest gears and barely moving. Now I plow ahead.

If you want a fairly simple way to push your pace, do one ride each Saturday where you push your speed as high as you can manage without gassing out. Recover on Sunday, then do your regular commute riding on the weekdays. And don't just start out going fast on those intense rides -- give yourself a few miles to steadily get up to speed. Just push yourself to hold about half a mile per hour more than feels comfortable. Use your breathing to monitor where you are. Over a period of months you'll find yourself making steady progress. Use Strava for all your rides, so over time you can see the patterns.

You have a good bike for commuting and medium speed riding, but you're going to be getting into the speeds where aerodynamics become paramount. Right now your riding position makes your body like a sail, except you're trying to sail into the wind. If you have the flexibility to go to a drop bar (either on your Giant bike, or get a decent used road bike) you'll find it much easier to do solo rides in the 16-18 mph range. You don't need a super fancy or super lightweight bike, just a setup that allows you to be much more aero. That takes some work to get used to riding that way, but it makes a huge difference. Over time you'll go from always being on the top of the bars, to being on the hoods with arms locked, to being in the drops or on the hoods with elbows bent. And you'll be pulling on those group rides, which is a great feeling.
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