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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Average Speed

Old 09-29-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Average speed is not a good measure of effort. If you want a good measure, get a power meter
Spend hundreds of dollars to measure effort? No thanks.

I generally ride the same route solo, average speed is a great measure of effort.
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Old 09-29-22, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bikehoco
Spend hundreds of dollars to measure effort? No thanks.

I generally ride the same route solo, average speed is a great measure of effort.
Does the wind blow where you ride?
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Old 09-30-22, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
I’m posting this in the 50+ forum just because you guys can likely relate. I’m going on 62 years old, have been (road) riding continuously since I was 20 years old. Like many of you…’back in the day’ (20s and 30s) I could generally maintain a 20mph average on my rides without a lot of difficulty…even up to distances of 40-50 miles. Of course as the years have worn on, my average speeds have decreased. These days, the distance of my rides are anywhere from 15 miles up to 50-55 miles, and I’m averaging just 14.5 (+/- a fraction), and almost all my riding is alone. There aren’t a lot of sponsored/supported rides in my area, but I did come across one last weekend…a metric century. I figured “Oh, I’ll get to ride along with people.” But there were just 80 riders signed up for the entire event (which included rides of 12 and 25 miles), only 25-30 of us in the 100km ride. So much for riding with people. I was alone for all but maybe 10 miles. No other bike even in view. When I finished, my average speed for the 62.5 miles, without even pushing myself, was 15.5 mph. IMO, that 1 mph is a significant difference. But I just don’t get how it happened. — Dan
Sounds like you had a great event. Personally, I don’t pay attention to average speed. Like others have mentioned here it really depends on the terrain. The wind, and weather conditions can play a significant roll too. Have fun and stay safe.
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Old 09-30-22, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
If one gets lucky, after 70, they are still riding regularly and strong - without regard to speed/power/distance - and loving it. Saddletime rules. There are other opinions, but being over 70, those do not concern us either.

Or turn the activity into a hobby, not a bad one to age with.


Reminds me - I need a group shot outside before Winter sets in. And a thorough cleaning of my garage space to coincide.


Clear your handlebars and your mind will follow!
between this thread about average mph and another about cadence I appreciate the sentiment you posted. I will be 71 in a few weeks and I can get caught up in some of this but recently adopted the attitude of just being grateful to do 25-30 miles 2-3 times a week on some pretty nice dedicated bike paths. I average around 13-14 mph and I consider it slow but just being out in my bike for a couple of hours is a blessing.
be well
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Old 09-30-22, 10:15 AM
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Wildwood’s statement about saddle time makes sense as we get deeper into our 70s. Looking at his garage I figure if he rides each bike an hour a day he still will get a couple of hours sleep. That is good saddle time.

Mike
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Old 09-30-22, 04:51 PM
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Two recent rides after 5 weeks off post COVID with low wind. .68 in two months.



Relatively flat

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Old 09-30-22, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jtmav
between this thread about average mph and another about cadence I appreciate the sentiment you posted. I will be 71 in a few weeks and I can get caught up in some of this but recently adopted the attitude of just being grateful to do 25-30 miles 2-3 times a week on some pretty nice dedicated bike paths. I average around 13-14 mph and I consider it slow but just being out in my bike for a couple of hours is a blessing.
be well
This! Mostly, I don’t really care about average average mph. But when a noticeable increase happens I notice. Time in the saddle is really the most important thing these days. Just a curious circumstance is all.

Dan
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Old 10-01-22, 09:47 AM
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My bikes are all basically tour bikes with IGH, so with 3 or 4 drinks they are 50 or 74 lbs.
On a good day my moving avg. is 14 mph on an all day ride. Some rides I got it up to 16 with a tail wind at the half way point. After lunch I always putter a while and so the avg suffers.
My GOING speed is generally about 15.5 mph +/-- half the wind.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 10-01-22 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 10-02-22, 02:12 AM
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I'm 76 and have been riding for about 40 yrs. Over the years I've lost significant power and gained that 10 lbs I can't lose. All pretty normal so I don't expect my MPH today to be what they were then. Having said that, it's important to remember that on any ride (s) there are many variables such as elevation, wind, air density, temperature, etc. that are going to affect your ride. Unless every variable is the same from one ride to another it will be impossible to make 100% accurate comparison. OTOH you can see trends for a general idea.
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Old 10-02-22, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
I’m posting this in the 50+ forum just because you guys can likely relate. I’m going on 62 years old, have been (road) riding continuously since I was 20 years old. Like many of you…’back in the day’ (20s and 30s) I could generally maintain a 20mph average on my rides without a lot of difficulty…even up to distances of 40-50 miles. Of course as the years have worn on, my average speeds have decreased. These days, the distance of my rides are anywhere from 15 miles up to 50-55 miles, and I’m averaging just 14.5 (+/- a fraction), and almost all my riding is alone. There aren’t a lot of sponsored/supported rides in my area, but I did come across one last weekend…a metric century. I figured “Oh, I’ll get to ride along with people.” But there were just 80 riders signed up for the entire event (which included rides of 12 and 25 miles), only 25-30 of us in the 100km ride. So much for riding with people. I was alone for all but maybe 10 miles. No other bike even in view. When I finished, my average speed for the 62.5 miles, without even pushing myself, was 15.5 mph. IMO, that 1 mph is a significant difference. But I just don’t get how it happened. — Dan
Assuming the route is a loop, I would discount wind and altitude, at least as gross factors. What I recall from my last metric a number of years ago, is feeling very relaxed as the miles went on, and the miles passing by very quickly. My suggestion is that if you got into a zone like this, your efficiency went up because you stopped thinking about the act of propulsion, and your body remembered to do what you used to do.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Assuming the route is a loop, I would discount wind and altitude, at least as gross factors.
Yesterday I rode a route I do quite often. My average on this course, in general, is about 13.5-14.5 mph as a portion of it is in the City where I am constantly slowing for traffic, signs and lights. Yesterday was windy, more than usual, and there were some pretty high gusts at the start. From the start I was into the headwind and the gust and It was brutal at times. By the time I reached the turn around point the winds started to diminish and shortly after they subsided.

So for the 1st half I was into a headwind with strong gusts and for the 2nd half I didn't get the benefit of a tailwind. Bummer for me but at the end my average speed was quite a bit lower and I came in at 11.6 mph..

I don't think you can completely discount wind based on my experience as the wind strength and direction can change, sometimes drastically, on the ride as this was my experience yesterday.
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Old 10-02-22, 03:15 PM
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Most our pedal effort goes into overcoming air drag. Even a 10 mh headwind drops my average speed by 3 mph. A tailwind is another matter as a friend and I had a strong tailwind coming off the ocean as we pedale southeast on Hwy 1 in Big Sur and we were chatting with a couple guys in a VW microbus and they told us we were pedaling at more than 30 mph.

What I like about my new Specialized Creo e-bike is that with a 8-10 mph headwind, common where I ride, the motor compensates and I can maintain an average speed of 18 mph with 25% of the effort done by the motor.
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Old 10-02-22, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I don't pay attention to average speed.
Originally Posted by raqball
Not sure why cyclist obsess over average speed as there are far too many conditions and scenarios that will cause massive fluctuations.
My favorite cycling aphorism is "Average Speed Is For Average People"
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Old 10-02-22, 08:26 PM
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I've been trying for years to just once complete a ride at a speed that is above average. Can't I beat distance over time? No matter how fast go, I'm stuck. I can raise my average speed (with great effort), but beating it? Just once? Is that a lot to ask?
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Old 10-03-22, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I've been trying for years to just once complete a ride at a speed that is above average. Can't I beat distance over time? No matter how fast go, I'm stuck. I can raise my average speed (with great effort), but beating it? Just once? Is that a lot to ask?
I don’t think you’re asking too much, but to reach the goal you may have to change your riding tactics. Interval training, maybe some hill climbs could have a beneficial result. Not telling you what to do but my experience, at almost 71 is, been there done that and the work wasn’t worth it to me. I just want to get out for a couple of hours and ride with a lot of effort purely for fitness goals not time. I’ve been blessed with pretty good health and was a runner for 20 years but now at this age I feel very blessed to ride for 25-30 miles and recover without a lot of issues, in spite of plenty of arthritis in both knees and some spinal stenosis. Good luck
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Old 10-03-22, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Calsun

What I like about my new Specialized Creo e-bike is that with a 8-10 mph headwind, common where I ride, the motor compensates and I can maintain an average speed of 18 mph with 25% of the effort done by the motor.
Well, there's the answer. If you're concerned about average speed just get an e-bike.
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Old 10-03-22, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by raqball

I don't think you can completely discount wind based on my experience as the wind strength and direction can change, sometimes drastically,
Of course you can't discount wind. Unless, by some miracle, you have a steady strong tailwind for a large portion of the ride, a windy ride will be slower.

Same with climbing. You lose more time on the climbs than you gain on the descents. Not to mention the climbs kick your ass so you are more tired later. At least that's been my experience. A 5000 foot century is harder than a flat century and a 10,000 foot century is a lot harder than a 5000 foot century.
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Old 10-03-22, 09:08 AM
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Maybe I provided too much info in my OP, and I think there’s a lot being read into it. All I’m saying is that on roads that I frequently ride, in conditions that I frequently ride in, on a bike that I frequently ride, without the company of other riders…I somehow managed to average 1 mph faster, without trying, on a longer-than-average ride for me. IMO that 1 mph is noticeable.

Dan

Last edited by _ForceD_; 10-03-22 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I've been trying for years to just once complete a ride at a speed that is above average. Can't I beat distance over time? No matter how fast go, I'm stuck. I can raise my average speed (with great effort), but beating it? Just once? Is that a lot to ask?
strategy is all wrong. go to the top of a long hill, start your ride and ride back home. that should give you a boost.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
When I finished, my average speed for the 62.5 miles, without even pushing myself, was 15.5 mph. IMO, that 1 mph is a significant difference. But I just don’t get how it happened. — Dan
As in, you're... surprised that athletic performance is lower at 60 than it was at 25?

There are lots of things that happen as you age, including:
• Loss of muscle mass
• Loss in ability to recover quickly
• Loss of aerobic capacity / vo2max
• Lower testosterone levels
• Metabolism changes that result in weight gain

Everyone is different, of course. For one person these changes can happen gradually, for others more rapidly. You can counteract some of it by changing your training methods and nutrition, but ultimately the losses are inevitable.

It's also not clear if the numbers you're thinking about in previous years were while drafting or riding solo; I'm sure you realize that riding in a group or paceline provides a huge aerodynamic advantage. In this situation, that may require something like finding a more popular event, or riding with clubs that will suit your preferred pace.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Jtmav
I don’t think you’re asking too much, but to reach the goal you may have to change your riding tactics. Interval training, maybe some hill climbs could have a beneficial result. Not telling you what to do but my experience, at almost 71 is, been there done that and the work wasn’t worth it to me. I just want to get out for a couple of hours and ride with a lot of effort purely for fitness goals not time. I’ve been blessed with pretty good health and was a runner for 20 years but now at this age I feel very blessed to ride for 25-30 miles and recover without a lot of issues, in spite of plenty of arthritis in both knees and some spinal stenosis. Good luck
My post needed a smiley. Sorry. Not one word of it was serious. If I can ever achieve a ride at an average speed faster than the distance divided by the time, I will have just entered some different realm or time space.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
Maybe I provided too much info in my OP, and I think there’s a lot being read into it..

Dan
No, it's just that average speed is a hot button subject on BF. A lot of people have opinions on what it means and how useful it is to even be aware of.

Personally, I never even thought much about it until I read about it on the forum. It means nothing to me and the only time it has ever come up on a ride is when some one says something about it, like "We averaged xx mph so far".

When I ride I only know what time I left and when I got home. I hear about how many miles from others or from mileage indicated on the club schedule. When I ride alone I don't know how many miles I rode unless it's a known route. I use no electronics on my bikes but I average about 150 miles per week, conservatively.

I have a friend who is a data junkie. He tracks everything and can rattle off stats about it all. "That climb is 1050 feet in 4.2 miles". Or "Last time we did this route we averaged 16.5 mph and this time it was 17.8." I only know how I felt during and after and how much fun I had.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
As in, you're... surprised that athletic performance is lower at 60 than it was at 25?

.
No, he was surprised that his average for the ride was faster than normal.
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Old 10-03-22, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
I'm 76 and have been riding for about 40 yrs. Over the years I've lost significant power and gained that 10 lbs............................................
I'm 72 now and 7 years ago this March I had my *BOYS* removed thanks to PCa (Prostate Cancer) so all strength and endurance began declining immediately. Needing to stay aware of abilities I DO FIND that comparing Average Speed over the same roads while factoring in weather is important!

The one day Cross Florida Ride from Cocoa Beach to Spring Hill at almost 170 miles is one of my measurable metrics helping to track my decline. The first 100 miles I ride non - stop except for lights and signs (no pit stops) and I usually draft for the first 50 miles then on my own until I can grab on to a group as they pass by. The 100 miles MUST be done (my goal) in under 5 hours and the first 3 years 2016, 2017 and 2018 I did so but in 2019 with 2 stops thanks to a flat and another mech. I was unable to meet my wife at the 100 mile mark in 5 hours so disappointing but understandable.

A few years ago back home I could SOLO 100 miles non stop but now it requires multiple stops. My 72nd Birthday Ride in July was only 101 miles with my 71st at 115 miles and before that they were always Double Age plus 1 mile. Keeping track is important and comparable for myself but not so for many.

Dr. George Sheehan a Cardiologist, first 50yo to run a sub 5 minute mile at 4:47 and died from PCa 4 days before his 75th birthday said ---

​“We are each an experiment of one.
A unique, never-to-be repeated event.”

so simply do what's good for you.
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Old 10-03-22, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger
strategy is all wrong. go to the top of a long hill, start your ride and ride back home. that should give you a boost.
Wow, what a helpful comment.
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