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Is there somehting wrong with not going as fast as you can?

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Is there somehting wrong with not going as fast as you can?

Old 04-24-06, 08:08 AM
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jackb
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Is there somehting wrong with not going as fast as you can?

Why is that so many cyclists assume that the primary purpose of cycling is to go as fast as one can. I understand that racing is a feature of cycling, but why is it assumed that we are all interested in racing. I like to go fast for the fun of it, but the last thing on my mind when I ride is achieving the highest average speed I can get. This competitive view of cycling does much to destroy the pleasure of riding with others if the others have speed in the back of their minds. We are not all racers, yet the industry assumption is that we are andthat we need all the high tech gear to go faster. As crazy as this world is, I would advocate a decrease in speed rather than an increase. Things are much too fast already. What's wrong with just crusing along at a comfortable speed? One still gets a workout, but then again, the purpose of cylcing does not appear to be just getting a workout. It's fun to ride like it's fun to walk. When I walk I don't strive to walk as fast as I can.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jackb
Why is that so many cyclists assume that the primary purpose of cycling is to go as fast as one can.
Don't think it is unless there is a reason. Sunday I did a 40 mile mile and pushed for the whole of the way. The reason for that though is that I am training for a ride that will take it out of me. My normal sunday rides will be over a 30 mile distance and will be taken at a far more leisurely pace. True I will not be dawdling- but it is at a far lower pace to enable me to enjoy the ride and the scenery.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:22 AM
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You know Jack, there's nothing wrong with going your own speed but there is something wrong with worrying about what other people are doing.

If you can't ride with one group find another that goes your speed or if you want to improve a little faster than you'd normally want to go.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclintom
You know Jack, there's nothing wrong with going your own speed but there is something wrong with worrying about what other people are doing.

If you can't ride with one group find another that goes your speed or if you want to improve a little faster than you'd normally want to go.
Presumably the way for the OP to "improve" is to go faster? Is that it? Yep, the OP is on to something "wrong" that cyclintom, among others, doesn't understand.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:32 AM
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It seems every other day a new post on how fast can/have you gone. I've never had a thing for speed, i'm a cadence guy and ride by that.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:50 AM
  #6  
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Unless you race, fast is just for improving your overall conditioning. And there is some attraction to me to try riding in a pace line occasionally --just to check it out. Sorry if I blow past you sometimes. I'm just trying to improve my aerobic condition and health in general.

Long group rides are like parties where you mingle and converse. But some parties may not be for you. Find the ones that are.
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Old 04-24-06, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jackb
Why is that so many cyclists assume that the primary purpose of cycling is to go as fast as one can. I understand that racing is a feature of cycling, but why is it assumed that we are all interested in racing. I like to go fast for the fun of it, but the last thing on my mind when I ride is achieving the highest average speed I can get. This competitive view of cycling does much to destroy the pleasure of riding with others if the others have speed in the back of their minds. We are not all racers, yet the industry assumption is that we are andthat we need all the high tech gear to go faster. As crazy as this world is, I would advocate a decrease in speed rather than an increase. Things are much too fast already. What's wrong with just crusing along at a comfortable speed? One still gets a workout, but then again, the purpose of cylcing does not appear to be just getting a workout. It's fun to ride like it's fun to walk. When I walk I don't strive to walk as fast as I can.
To each his own!

I think it is great when bicyclists ride:

1. For fitness

2. For pleasure

3. To improve

4. For commuting

or for any other reason.

I won't criticize someone's riding for speed if they don't criticize my riding for pleasure. Or, vice versa!

And sometimes we can combine a lot of reasons together into one great ride! That is a REALLY great ride.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:06 AM
  #8  
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Personally, I love going fast. I love roller coasters and motorcycles too. So, for me the holy grail is to find a way to go faster on a bike without having to increase effort! Since this isn't likely to happen, I focus more on fitness (I use a heart rate monitor to keep from riding too fast for my current fitness level) and enjoy the heck out of the times when I can fly within my fitness/workout targets. I also do at least one ride per week where I deliberately slow down and take time to see the sights (smell the roses at it were). These are usually longer rides than the rest of my weekly jaunts. I find that this slower pace refreshes me. I think a steady diet of it would not be of interest, however.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:25 AM
  #9  
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Even racers don't go as fast as they can all the time. Going fast is only important if going fast is important! (That sounds kinda zen!) We're all in this for different reasons, with different abilities, goals, and levels of commitment. Do the speed that makes you happy, and let others do the same.
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Old 04-24-06, 09:26 AM
  #10  
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usually all I do is hammer, rather 20+ miles or 60+. and have one recovery day a week, real easy riding.
last two sundays I just kind of spun/pedaled around, no hurry what so ever, quite enjoyable
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Old 04-24-06, 09:27 AM
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On of the functions on my computer is average speed. Thus when I cycle through after a ride I note my average speed. When I note a new high average speed I am pleased as is so when I note a new higher distance measurement. I ride for elapsed time and for pleasure. Some of the pleasure I derive is from riding new routes, or climbing a long hill, or riding to a new destination. I derive occasional pleasure from hammering or sprinting to the next stop sign or going faster up a hill I regularly travel. I ride my own ride which usually differs somehow from my last ride and certainly differs from your ride.
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Old 04-24-06, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by jackb
...We are not all racers, yet the industry assumption is that we are and that we need all the high tech gear to go faster...
+1 for industry stupidity regarding the assumption that ALL buyers want race bikes! There's nothing wrong with speed for those that want it (even I want to sprint sometimes), but the MAJORITY of riders are ill served by racing-geometry frames that are twitchy, harsh, and delicate.

Unfortunately, there's no end in sight for the current trends. The only market niches that buck the trends are doing well, though (Rivendell comes to mind).

Cheers!
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Old 04-24-06, 10:20 AM
  #13  
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I love riding fast occasionally. However, my "fast" is laughably slow by many people's standards. If I hit a stretch of flatland with the right wind (or no wind) I can do 17 mph for a while. Down a hill, I've hit 25 mph (and got the weebie jeebies immediately). I cannot imagine myself EVER riding faster than that. Nor do I want to.
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Old 04-24-06, 10:51 AM
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There's nothing inherhently "wrong" with riding at any speed, fast or slow, as long as you're riding safely. What's right is what's right for you at that particular time.

Like some others here, I like speed. I enjoy downhill skiing for the same reason. I enjoy pushing myself, I enjoy competition, and I enjoy racing. For me, the competitive view that you try to go as fast as you can doesn't detract from the experience, it adds to it. So yeah, for me speed is what it's mostly about on a bike. You and I are just different.

My wife is not nearly as into speed as I am. We ride together a lot, and when we do it's about enjoying the day and having a good time. So I slow down and enjoy myself in a different way. Spending time with her is even more fun than going fast!

I don't really agree that the industry assumption is that all cyclists are interested in speed. Bike manufacturers are in business to make money, and there are a lot of riders out there who ride for enjoyment and moderate fitness, but who aren't speed freaks. So along with racing bikes, manufacturers also make lots of comfort bikes, commuter bikes, and so forth.

I ride a Trek bike, so I'll pick Trek as an example. You go to their web site (www.trekbikes.com), click on "Road", and you'll find the Madone as their high-end racing bike. Carbon, titanium, and thousands of dollars. But click on "Bike Path" instead and you'll find a whole bunch of fitness, hybrid, comfort, and even cool cruiser bikes. Comfortable bikes at reasonable prices. There's a market there, and they've got bikes to fill it.

That's the cool thing about cycling... there's something in it for just about everybody.
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Old 04-24-06, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
+1 for industry stupidity regarding the assumption that ALL buyers want race bikes! There's nothing wrong with speed for those that want it (even I want to sprint sometimes), but the MAJORITY of riders are ill served by racing-geometry frames that are twitchy, harsh, and delicate.

Unfortunately, there's no end in sight for the current trends. The only market niches that buck the trends are doing well, though (Rivendell comes to mind).

Cheers!
More materials to choose from and more or less relaxed geometery and with just about any group level you want,theres lots to choose from.
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Old 04-24-06, 12:27 PM
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Nothing wrong with going as slow as you like... but the health benefits tend to be greater at the higher work load end of things.

Personally I love a nice relaxing slow ride too. My wife and I quite enjoy an easy ride down the the beach every now and then.

My commute is more dangerous if I focus on speed vice traffic.

But in order to do my heart and lungs the most good, I do have to work on speed from time to time. It's just the way things work.
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Old 04-24-06, 12:27 PM
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I don't know. I started wondering about this several years ago. I started to see article after article about setting a new PR (personal record) or PB (personal best) in Bicycling mag. And I realised, PR/PB really hold little interest for me. In fact I get generally grumpy about our socity(in the US) that seem to believe that everything should be faster and faster. The entire concept of 24/7 sucks.

Sorry to rant, but I think thats its all part of the same illness/view that is so prevalent here in America.


Go as slow as you want and smell some flowers, and take a look at the world that surround you.
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Old 04-24-06, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jackb
Why is that so many cyclists assume that the primary purpose of cycling is to go as fast as one can.
I think the primary purpose of cycling depends on the person doing the cycling. We all have our own reasons. I don't get upset with the slower riders of our group. They have no desire or no ability to go faster, and that's OK. Likewise, they don't get upset with the few of use that like to push ourselves to get fitter (faster) as that's OK too. We regroup regularly and usually do lunch afterwards. We're all happy just to be out in the fresh air and still be capable of riding.

Here in this part of Florida most riders I see are older and like riding at a liesurely pace, either alone or with others. I'm glad to see them on a bike, and always greet them with a nice "Howdy" as I blow by. I do wish more of them would wear helmets though, but that's their choice.
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Old 04-24-06, 12:50 PM
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Seems to me that there is some question about context. I had read jackb's original message as deploring the general practice of a large number of cyclists of blowing past you while you're out cruising along in the city. So you quickly up the pace and sit on this guy's wheel, and little by little, the speed goes down until he's moving slower than you were originally, and it dawns on you that this guy wasn't just cruising along at his own high speed, he had only given in to his competitive instincts in order to prove to himself (erroneously, it turns out) that he could ride faster than you.
It's been my experience that people who ride bikes, males in particular, tend to be very competitive people. And the most competitive seem to be those who don't race. Racers usually do such hard sessions that they tend to ride very relaxed when just out riding. Non-racers seem to want to go hard all the time, just to see who they can drop, and I think this is the segment jackb is alluding to.
When I'm out on rest days, I'll often take the fixed gear bike, or I'll be out on the tandem with my girlfriend, so it doesn't matter who passes and how fast. On serious training days, I'll be out on the carbon fiber Trek where I can do some serious damage to overly-competitive pretenders, especially on the hills. My favorite trick is to drop the guy on a hill while riding very relaxed, then let the guy catch up on the descent, and then tell him I can't climb - I usually get dropped in the races - because I'm a trackie.
I once had a guy try to drop me on a hill. I spun up behind him until he blew up, and then he tried to tell me, "hey, pretty good for over 50, eh?" to which I replied that I was probably older than he was before I accelerated away. Yeah, I guess most guys on bikes are just too competitive.

- Luis
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Old 04-24-06, 12:56 PM
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Anybody that rides a bike starts off with a favorable impression to me. I don't care if they go faster or slow. Now if they are fast and sneer at the "Freds" or go slow and curse the "Roadies" my impression will change pretty quickly.
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Old 04-24-06, 01:13 PM
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I enjoy mixing it up, I also use a heart rate monitor and use cadence to shift. Once in a while I'll switch just to see the speed. As an instructor once said, " its not how fast you can go, it how long you can go fast". As far as a workout you workout in that target area to get the desired results. When I want to smell the roses I work the hills, and boy do I suck it all in.
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Old 04-24-06, 02:33 PM
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This is one reason I tired of club riding.
I've ridden in fast pacelines with the wannabe racers, and it was fun for awhile. But I began to realize...cycling has become a microcosm of the very society I'm trying to escape.

If we like to ride as much as we say we do...why do we ride so fast? It just makes the ride end sooner.
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Old 04-24-06, 06:08 PM
  #23  
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A lot of good discussion. My view is that one of the great things about participating in an individual type aerobic sport is the fact you can pretty much do as you please. One day you can hammer it out, another day you can spin the legs and enjoy the sights. I like at least one day a week to crank it up and see what speed I can sustain over the course of the ride, other days I might do some intervals and other days may be a nice even pace that keeps me well within my aerobic threshold. We all know that speed work will improve your overall fitness level. To quote the Isley Brother's "It's your thing, do what you got to do, I don't care who you sock it to".
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Old 04-24-06, 06:09 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Louis
But I began to realize...cycling has become a microcosm of the very society I'm trying to escape.


+1
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Old 04-24-06, 06:31 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by shokhead
More materials to choose from and more or less relaxed geometery and with just about any group level you want,theres lots to choose from.
Materials choice, yes - relaxed geometry (unless you're buying a "comfort" or "hybrid" 30-pound clunker), NO. Name me three mid-level, drop-bar bikes with 72/72 degree geometry. I don't think it can be done. Manufacturers now consider 73 and 74 degree head and seat tubes "relaxed." It just aint so!
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