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Average MPH

Old 06-11-17, 09:53 AM
  #101  
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Average speed on a commute, here is one way to put it into perspective.

When I Strava my commute, it is about 7 miles each way because I crop both ends off. I don't want the exact addresses shown, and the ends are parking lots which aren't relevant to my efforts. But the interesting thing about that is: on literal door-to-door timing to figure door-to-door average speed, the time I spend puttering through the parking lots is more than the difference between as hard as I can go and easier than I ever go on the main part.

In other words, it's only about 4 minutes faster if I push it, from say 15 mph to 19 or 20 on the main part, but I can easily spend 5 minutes at the ends. So my average speed might be faster if I don't try to go fast. If I don't take a shower, and count that as part of the commute, I am several minutes faster if I go slowly. Just saying, if the time taken in the commute is the objective, getting a lot faster isn't necessarily the most effective approach.

I understand wanting to go faster, just to be faster, and I still want that. To answer your question, how long might it take to improve 1.5 mph from 12.5 to 14, a road bike might do that now over a mtb or hybrid, but more seriously you can probably already ride at 14 mph - it's just a matter of how far. Increasing that (without some formal training plan) is a matter of more riding, and more riding at threshold. I'd expect you can do that in a few months with some work, under a year at most if you don't do much else but continue to do the commute, with good efforts now and again.
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Old 06-11-17, 10:52 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I'm doing 1037 miles/hr, just sitting in this chair.
Must be a red chair.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:33 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I'm doing 1037 miles/hr, just sitting in this chair.
Yeah, but I'm going faster in SC and doing it backward in my west facing chair.
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Old 06-11-17, 12:58 PM
  #104  
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What's helped me...

Hi,

I'm 55 and have recently gotten serious about riding again. I started as cross training for my running habit. Here are some things I notice that helped my speed.

Clipped in pedals

Probably the biggest difference for me came when I went to clipped in pedals (SPD). Went from 13-14 to 15-17 average right away. More pedaling efficiencies, I guess.

Group rides

Also could tell a difference when riding in a group. When you tuck in behind others you can feel the difference when they are blocking your wind. Speed is till governed by the leader, but found maintaining that speed much easier even when above my average.

Upright position

One thing that hurts me is my upright position. I really like my Fargo and Trucker position but being upright is not so aero. I'm ok with that. I'd rather be comfortable. I'm not a racer.

Cadence

I second those who mention cadence. Going at higher cadence speed (75-80) will really save your knees and get you in better shape for higher speeds. My cadence right now is around 65 and I'm working to get it higher.

Like most athletic performance improvement it is a work in progress. I'm getting better over time but I don't obsess about it. Well, ok, I kind of do. One thing I'm going to try is using Strava over the exact same run to see how I'm improving. Even the same run on different bikes would be interesting.
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Old 06-11-17, 02:41 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by franksj View Post
Hi,

I'm 55 and have recently gotten serious about riding again. I started as cross training for my running habit. Here are some things I notice that helped my speed.

Clipped in pedals

Probably the biggest difference for me came when I went to clipped in pedals (SPD). Went from 13-14 to 15-17 average right away. More pedaling efficiencies, I guess.

Group rides

Also could tell a difference when riding in a group. When you tuck in behind others you can feel the difference when they are blocking your wind. Speed is till governed by the leader, but found maintaining that speed much easier even when above my average.

Upright position

One thing that hurts me is my upright position. I really like my Fargo and Trucker position but being upright is not so aero. I'm ok with that. I'd rather be comfortable. I'm not a racer.

Cadence

I second those who mention cadence. Going at higher cadence speed (75-80) will really save your knees and get you in better shape for higher speeds. My cadence right now is around 65 and I'm working to get it higher.

Like most athletic performance improvement it is a work in progress. I'm getting better over time but I don't obsess about it. Well, ok, I kind of do. One thing I'm going to try is using Strava over the exact same run to see how I'm improving. Even the same run on different bikes would be interesting.
I'm a luddite in that I still use toe clips and straps. Straps are not real tight since I need to pull out at the many stoplights, and I'm wearing workshoes with non-skid lugged soles.

Group rides - Not too many riders in my area... I don't see ANY on my commute! I don't want to be limited to where and when they ride, so I just ride solo.

Riding position - My hands aren't on top, on the hoods or drops. I primarily ride with my palms on the forward bend of the bars (think shoulders of the bars) with fingers facing forward. Not exactly upright, but also not in an aero tuck. This position gives me room to breathe with my middle-aged 'aerobelly'.

Cadence - Yes, spin rather than mash. My 'sweet spot' is using around an 80-inch gear, at around a cadence of 80 for a riding speed of 17.5-18.5mph.

Strava? Don't need it. I use County and State road mileposts and the time to travel that mile to calculate my speed. Time? good old $10 Casio digital watch... 1 mile in 3 minutes is 20mph, 4 minutes is 15mph, and I just interpolate that every 12 seconds in between is close enough to 1mph...
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Old 06-11-17, 03:55 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
I have a slight correction -- earlier I said that my average commuting pace was 17mph. I rechecked the distance and it is not 12.5 miles, it is more like 12.0 (actually 11.96) that I make in ~44 minutes. That makes my door-to-door commuting 'average speed' -- including traffic lights -- to be 16.3mph.
Question, why do you account for traffic lights? I think that throws off any comparison against yourself. I can wait at traffic lights between 1 (good day) to 5 minutes (stupid lights are too long!) on my commute and this could really affect my average and throw off comparison. True, waiting at a light allows me to recuperate a bit and might allow me to go faster when I move again but the stopping/starting time negate that I believe.
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Old 06-11-17, 03:57 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
That's more of a power output consideration ...
So I still rely on speed to some extent. But it helps only if I compare my own efforts to myself....

So it's difficult to evaluate my progress against others -- which isn't really my goal anyway. I'm just concerned about my own progress, so it's easier to create my own segments that I can repeat.
Yeah, I'm only interested to compare myself to myself. I'm not a competitive person. I'm mostly concerned with the power output: that's what the body is doing. The speed is a result of many things mostly outside my control like rolling resistance, grade, wind speed, weight, etc. But since I'm too cheap to install a power meter, I have to use avg speed for a known route as an indicator of I'm improving or not!!!
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Old 06-11-17, 04:00 PM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by hisownself View Post
Yeah, I'm only interested to compare myself to myself. I'm not a competitive person. I'm mostly concerned with the power output: that's what the body is doing. The speed is a result of many things mostly outside my control like rolling resistance, grade, wind speed, weight, etc. But since I'm too cheap to install a power meter, I have to use avg speed for a known route as an indicator of I'm improving or not!!!
Same here. I can't justify the cost of a power meter and related doodads when I spend only $200 for a good used bike!

So I just create my own Strava segments, set 'em to private, and compare myself to myself in speed from ride to ride. The Strava power estimates are semi useful.
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Old 06-11-17, 04:46 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
Question, why do you account for traffic lights? I think that throws off any comparison against yourself. I can wait at traffic lights between 1 (good day) to 5 minutes (stupid lights are too long!) on my commute and this could really affect my average and throw off comparison. True, waiting at a light allows me to recuperate a bit and might allow me to go faster when I move again but the stopping/starting time negate that I believe.
Because I'm comparing the whole commute time in my 'average speed' for the commute. I don't use a bike computer, smartphone app, or other such. Just total distance and total time.

My 'moving speed' is measured between mileposts on the County and State roads that I generally ride on, using my watch to keep time. I suppose I could use the stopwatch function, but full seconds are close enough for me. 1 mile in 3:00 minutes is 20mph, 4:00 is 15mph, and I interpolate the in-between speeds by 12 seconds (one-fifth minute) between those two - thus 18mph is 3:24 or close enough for my purposes... My goal is 3:20 or faster 'splits' per mile. I used that 'milepost method' of speedometer while on tour, too! For longer distances - say 50-miles or more, I'll slow it down to a 16mph pace.

Of course, all of that goes out the window with a stiff headwind! The other day, I had a 14- gusting to 23mph wind about 20 degrees to the right of a direct headwind on most of my commute home.. Flags snapping in the stiff breeze! My door-to-door time went up to 55 minutes - including one really-long traffic light, for a 13mph average. My riding speed was down to just over 15mph.
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Old 06-11-17, 06:28 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
You'll ride faster in a group than by yourself since you're not in front braking the wind for the entire ride.
I know that is usually true, but it is usually not true for me. In a group, when they are going fast and it is a little too much for me I get winded and fall behind. If I am on my own I can dial in exactly the fastest pace I can keep up without overextending myself.

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Old 07-16-17, 03:48 PM
  #111  
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I'm 65 now. Ten years ago, if I recall, I could manage 18 mph of flats for half an hour or so. Down hill long stretches, I could cruise the hill and maintain pedal resistance while maintaining a speed of 45 mph (I had an especially large chain ring at the time - actually had a diver pull me over to tell me he had never followed a bike going that fast for that long - but, after all, it was downhill, perhaps on a perfect day, no wind (or whatever wind there was blew at my back, LOL).

I've been out of riding for the better part of 8 years, now. Just started riding (trying to ride) again. I'm heavier now, obviously need to get back into shape, but I still ride. No centuries for me, yet, but I can make 50 mile trips over some very hilly terrain, and, while my average speed is not much over 12 MPH, I don't really care. I'm still riding my bike, still working my legs, still getting my cardio, all is good.

When I come into hilly areas, I could care less what my speed is. I drop to my lowest gear, put my head down (so I become less aware of the uphill distance I have to cover), start humming some tune in my head, and just crank slowly, comfortably. Before you know it, I'm at the crest where I can take comfort in the refreshing ride down the other side.

While I was never a racer, I took a lot of pride in what I could accomplish in my ride just 10 years ago. These days, I'm happy to cover some of those same routes I "conquered" back then, and, while my speed is "abysmal" I take pride in just covering the distance. Each ride make me feel better, I'm regaining some of my muscle tone, and feel very good about having made the effort.

Two great things about cycling: When you ride out, you have to ride back. The second thing is even more meaningful, but I can't recall it at this time, oops.

Caruso
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Old 07-23-17, 06:58 PM
  #112  
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"Practicing going fast" like adding in some 2 min sprints..followed by 2-3 min rest then 2 min sprint. WILL make you faster. imho.
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Old 07-23-17, 07:23 PM
  #113  
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I ride mostly under 10 m.p.h. For me it's about the journey and not the speed in getting there.
I ride an EZ Sport long wheel base recumbent which is heavy but very comfortable and so I enjoy the ride on my big and comfortable seat--like riding in a lawn chair with a cush seat. I am 65 and retired and it's seldom I ever need to be anywhere at a certain time and if I do I just leave earlier.
But I have to say, for years hearing perfect strangers shout out to me as I ride by, "I love your bike" or "cool bike!"
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Old 07-24-17, 07:05 AM
  #114  
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Ride a relatively heavy bike monday through friday, and on the weekends, bring out your twenty-pound rocket sled. You'll get the durability and adaptability of your commuting bike during the week, getting a good workout. On saturday and/or sunday, you can take advantage of all that slogging.
Outside of that...What jon c. said.
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Old 07-24-17, 07:42 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Ride a relatively heavy bike monday through friday, and on the weekends, bring out your twenty-pound rocket sled. You'll get the durability and adaptability of your commuting bike during the week, getting a good workout. On saturday and/or sunday, you can take advantage of all that slogging.
Outside of that...What jon c. said.
As for me, I don't ride for a workout, I ride to get where I'm going and back again. My bike is my transportation and a tool for me and I enjoy the ride and its comfort, being able to enjoy the scenery and the view, but I never ride fast unless I'm going downhill because for me there is no point to it. I've had the same bike for 16 years now because I like it and it meets my needs. I ride slow because that's how I like to ride.
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Old 07-24-17, 08:00 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by elocs View Post
As for me, I don't ride for a workout, I ride to get where I'm going and back again.
That's fine. I admire that approach.., but the subject of this thread is "getting faster".
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Old 07-24-17, 08:03 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
That's fine. I admire that approach.., but the subject of this thread is "getting faster".
Well, I saw the subject of the thread as being "Average MPH" and that is what I was responding to.
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Old 07-26-17, 10:47 AM
  #118  
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My advice is to avoid making speed your God. Learn to ride well. Practice safe riding in a group, spinning, fueling & hydrating, bike handling skills and generally become a better rider. Enjoy cycling. Your speed, whatever it may be, will come.
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