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Speed improving?

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Old 07-27-06, 02:57 PM
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stapfam
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Speed improving?

Just went out on my local coffee run (And a pie of course) and it is only a 20 mile ride with a drop of 30metres or so in the 10 miles to the coast. Straight down to the coast and back on a cycle trail- what I think you call a MUP. Plenty of dogs and walkers about -for which you have to slow down unless you want a bar mascot in the shape of a Yorkshire Terrier. Just getting into the road bike and tonight decided to up the speed between the Obstacles. I can only push so hard and beyond that will wear me out( Remember I am a distance rider and not a speed merchant). There are a few slopes on this run so once I started on these 10% slopes for 1 to 200Yards- I decided not to change down on gearing but up the effort to keep the speed up. It worked for me tonight, but remember these are not hills. Then on the way back also decided to keep the cadence up between 85 and 95. When the cadence dropped- instead of changing gear, I put in more effort to up the cadence. Once again it worked. Lots of walkers about tonight so lots of slowing down and restarting, but I have a couple of averages for this run from a couple of weeks ago. With just this couple of techniques tonight- I upped my average for the ride by 1.5 mph.

I will stress again that this is not a speed run, and this is on the road bike, and there is no way you can get up speed on this ride until you get onto the road proper for the last couple of miles before the pie stop. Even on that road bit- I used the same technique when the cadence dropped and on the 2.7 miles of fairly flat road with no junctions or roundabouts- I averaged 18mph.

Only problem is that I have now set myself a target. I'll now have to try a few hills to see how I get on with them, but after a hards days work- I do not feel like tackling the hills round here. Problem is that to do one on a circular route you have to do at least two of them and 1x15% hill for around 1 mile is quite enough for me at present. Perhaps next week when the weather gets a bit warmer- Only in the high 80's at present.
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Old 07-27-06, 03:29 PM
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So, what gives you the speed on a road bike? Is it the 9 or 10 gears as opposed to only having 8? Is it the size of the chainrings? Is it the skinnier tires? Is it a lighter frame? Is it all of those things?
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Old 07-27-06, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dauphin
So, what gives you the speed on a road bike? Is it the 9 or 10 gears as opposed to only having 8? Is it the size of the chainrings? Is it the skinnier tires? Is it a lighter frame? Is it all of those things?

I would say a bike that is 5lbs lighter- No front suspension, No wide knobbly tyres and a riding position that is more aerodynamic. This coupled with not having rocks strewn all over the road and something akin to Black Ice on the downhils (Green Chalk- Chalk with moss growing over it) And not too many trees jumping out in front of you on the tracks.

Mountain bikes and road bikes are set up differently and a road bike does not do very well on trails I ride offroad on and the mountain bike does not do exceptionally well on the road. I have only had the road bike for about 2 months, so am just getting to understand how to get it to work, and for it to get the best out of me. Thats why I was surprised tonight that I managed to get an improvement on my speed- just by adapting my riding effort mimimally. If I were to try this on the Mountain bike, I doubt that I would be riding the 3rd or 4th hill, and I definitely would not be doing the long rides on the Tandem.
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Old 07-27-06, 05:21 PM
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Way to go! 18 MPH over 20 miles on a MUP with interuptions. Hmmm, that means you were reaching some high speeds, easily over 25 MPH. Like you, the mountain trail is my favorite, but I ride MUPs and I have a road bike. Suffice it to say, I would be thrilled if I could average 18 MPH on the road or on a MUP, especially with interuptions.
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Old 07-28-06, 01:00 AM
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Was there any wind on the ride Stap? And what you just went thru is what got me back out on the bike a few years ago...the wind in your face, the feeling of freedom and alot quicker speed than the mountain bike allows on a single track. A tailwind pushing you 30+ mph with little effort on your part is a feeling close to true freedom. And with the price of fuel going the way it is, it may be the next wave of the future for us ol' bi-peds to get around economically. Keep us filled in on how you get along with that road bike while we figure out how to fax pie back and forth across the big pond...
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Old 07-28-06, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Baggsy
Was there any wind on the ride Stap? And what you just went thru is what got me back out on the bike a few years ago...the wind in your face, the feeling of freedom and alot quicker speed than the mountain bike allows on a single track. A tailwind pushing you 30+ mph with little effort on your part is a feeling close to true freedom. And with the price of fuel going the way it is, it may be the next wave of the future for us ol' bi-peds to get around economically. Keep us filled in on how you get along with that road bike while we figure out how to fax pie back and forth across the big pond...
Only a 5 mph wind and in my face on the way down and at my back on the way home.

As an aside- I like this road riding!!! 20 miles last night and I did not have to wash the bike down. No mud- Cow pat or sheep droppings on it. Had to watch out for the Dog Crap all over the trail but that was even less than normal.
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Old 07-29-06, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dauphin
So, what gives you the speed on a road bike? Is it the 9 or 10 gears as opposed to only having 8? Is it the size of the chainrings? Is it the skinnier tires? Is it a lighter frame? Is it all of those things?
I would say all of those things. How much gearing contributes depends on what combinations you have, also. I run an unusually long (and wide) combination - 63/52 rings with 11/34 cassette and 185 mm crank arms. On level or slightly downhill runs, I can effortlessly reach very high speeds. I can be cruising along at 25-30 mph on a slight downhill without much effort at all. Skinny tires at high pressure will roll with less resistance and also present a more aerodynamic profile. I run very high pressure in my tires - 145 lbs and run the skinniest width I can find - 700/23c. The bike, itself, is also more aerodynamic (mine is slightly less so than a full-fledged road bike - my bike is a cyclocross). Perhaps even more important is the rider's position. I can vary the speed at which I go down some hills by 5 mph or more depending upon whether I sit upright or crunch myself low. The difference is amazing and not something that I can feel - I have to check the cyclometer to note the difference. It actually feels faster when I take a hill in the more upright position, but a glance at the cyclometer quickly confirms that a lower position allows more speed.

At some point, I'd love to fit my bike with fat slicks just to see how it might feel and handle but I'm guessing that could be fairly expensive - and, if I don't care for the ride or favor my skinnier tires, those fat wheels/tires will just sit around in the way forever.

I'm no expert on all of this - but the above are my impressions.

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