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Cycling Speed

Old 08-03-11, 12:27 AM
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zazenzach
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Cycling Speed

So, just figured out today that I'm averaging about 14-15 mph. This strikes me as extremely slow

i'm pretty active (lift weights and jog mainly) but have a lot more bodyweight (muscle mass) on me than typical cyclists. Am i just not pushing myself hard enough or something?

So I'm just curious, what are you all averaging?
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Old 08-03-11, 12:56 AM
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Don't have a computer, don't know my exact speed.
I commute 17 miles in 1 and a half hour. This is with
hills and stop signs/lights.

How long have you've been riding? What kind of bike?
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Old 08-03-11, 01:14 AM
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zazenzach
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i usually am riding on a lugged steel touring frame. been riding for several years now, just recently gotten into it more intensly because I'm basically attempting to commute 100% by bike now that I'm in a big city.
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Old 08-03-11, 06:24 AM
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Averaging 14-15 certainly isn't "extremely slow." Actually, it sounds pretty, er, average, depending on what kind of bike you have and where you're riding.
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Old 08-03-11, 08:20 AM
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FWIW, I'm basically in the same boat.

I run regularly. Am in pretty good shape. Average right around 15mph. I've been riding a titanium road bike and have cut a bit off my time, but not a lot.

There are lots of things to consider when comparing to other riders. First is what terrain you ride on. My commute, although only 12 miles each way has a lot of hills. According to mapmyride app. one is a cat 4 climb. Although not "hardcore" by any means, it is a lot slower than if I had a commute on the flats.

The second key is traffic. If you have stop for traffic and/or navigate through a city you're never going to have a high average speed.
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Old 08-03-11, 08:44 AM
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Average MPH is a pointless metric IMHO. It does not accurately reflect what bike you are riding, the terrain, weather, etc.
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Old 08-03-11, 08:58 AM
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For road riding with occasional stops that is pretty normal. On my road bike when I'm not impeded by hills and traffic I usually ride about 18-20mph but those things drag the average down.
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Old 08-03-11, 09:29 AM
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That is an AVERAGE. When you are riding, you certainly go faster than that. Every time you have to slow down or stop because of obstacles or waiting for others ( even if your average speed is not calculated while stopped), it is affected by slowing down to stop and accelerating back up to riding speed. SO "averaging" anything over 14 mph is certainly not slow.

Last edited by bigbadwullf; 08-03-11 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 08-03-11, 09:50 AM
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I got from Amsterdam to Warsaw Poland, and back averaging 7 mph,
enjoyed the Trip .
on the way back I passed thru Czechoslovakia , enjoyed the Pilsner.
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Old 08-03-11, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by zazenzach View Post
So, just figured out today that I'm averaging about 14-15 mph. This strikes me as extremely slow

i'm pretty active (lift weights and jog mainly) but have a lot more bodyweight (muscle mass) on me than typical cyclists. Am i just not pushing myself hard enough or something?

So I'm just curious, what are you all averaging?
Jogging and cycling are two different things. If you want to get faster at cycling, concentrate on cycling. Do some intervals, hill repeats an long sustained climbs (20 mile climbs with 5000 ft gain). This really picks up your cruising speed and average.

My averages as a bigger rider with more weight than the average cyclist. At 220-230, these are my averages on a bike I got on sale for $1050, nothing fancy. I don't race and might be considered between fast and and average rider.

These rides are stops included. On many of these rides, I only stop to refill my water. Unless it's a climbing century, I really don't need to stop.

100 mile ride with 2 partners organized Solvang Century- 18.1

100 miles solo Palm Spring century ( 2 occasions) 17.2 and 17.4

111 miles Tour De Tucson solo- 17.6 (my first century)

62 mile Casa Grande- solo 2/3 of ride/partner final 1/3- 19.3

100 miles Ride Around the Bear 10,000 ft of climbing solo- 13.8 ride time/12.9 total time including 30 minutes of breaks

Bike trail rides: no traffic no stops:

86 miler at 18.5 with 3 other riders

50 miles solo at 19.0

100 miles (several occasions) 17.0-17.3

10 mile sprint from a dead stop 22.6 average

Wife riding with me 42 miles- her best average 18.4. Typical average 16.5-17.0
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Old 08-03-11, 12:00 PM
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I do not know what you mean by "average" speed. Some people seem to mean their usual "cruising" speed. A true average speed is different and is almost always about 2 mph lower than the cruising speed.

Another thing is it takes a fair bit of riding time for a cyclist to build up to be able to ride at a steady 17-18 mph pace. Even being very fit in other sports will not help much. There is not much transfer. Think of it this way. Micheal Jordan was a really good professional basketball player (an large understatement). But he was just another minor league baseball player. I have ridden with ex elite tennis players, hockey players, professional body builders and others. They were good but not great. As I said, the performance does not transfer from other sports to cycling and vice versa.

Size is not a huge disadvantage in cycling. Large cyclists often do well in being able to push high speeds on flat terrain (they tend to have big engines). Of course, being large really is not good for climbing hills. I often see light women climb hills very well.

So if you lost a pile of weight and looked like the proverbial 90 lb weakling from the waist up, you would almost certainly climb better. But unless you are a professional cyclist, why would you want to?
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Old 08-03-11, 12:14 PM
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I just calculated my morning commute speed. I ride 14km in around 35 minutes. I am an experieiced cyclist and have participated in races, endurance rides, and recreational rides for a couple of decades now. THere are dozens of others doing a similar commute and I among the faster ones.. I seldom get passed when I am on pace to do 35 or so minutes, and I pass a lot of people...

Anyhoo, (14 km/1.6 km/mi)/(35 min/60min/hr) = 15 mi/hr
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Old 08-03-11, 02:14 PM
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About 15 years ago, when I turned 50, I decided to enter the local senior Olympics just to see how I could do. I trained on my usual "workout" road course, a 2.5 mile loop around the nearby park.
At the time, I was in between "good" bikes (I had a nice Trek in the layaway) and was riding a Raleigh "technium" that I had built up from the rescued frame.

The 2.5 mile route incorporated two hills on each leg, and depending which way you went around one was almost a mile long and about a 6% gradient.
At my best, I would average (according to my computer) 18-19 mph around this course.
That would include going downhill at a bit over 30 mph and up the biggest hill at a little over 10 mph.
So.... depending on terrain I too would consider a 15-ish mph average to be decent.
If your route is quite flat, that's rather slow. If you're dealing with hills.....
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Old 08-03-11, 02:17 PM
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Tiger Woods sucks at anything other than golf. Ever seen him throw a ball? My grandmother has a better arm. There used to be a video clip on the internet of him throwing a golf ball into the crowd and it is nowhere to be found now.
But I bet he rides a bike fast when chasing skirt...
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Old 08-03-11, 02:31 PM
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zazenzach
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thanks for all the responses guys, helped a lot
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Old 08-03-11, 03:58 PM
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On normal 40-50 mile rides with 2500-3500ft climbing I get 15-16 mph. On Sunday I did a 100 mile flat century and I really pushed myself to the limit and I got 18.6mph average.

After the first 50 miles my average was about 20.5. Then on the way back after taking a break my legs just died on me. I think my body ran out of energy(Didn't eat breakfast before riding)
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Old 08-04-11, 10:51 AM
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Thats not slow at all, having said that IMO enjoying the ride is of more value than speed for most of us.
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Old 08-04-11, 03:14 PM
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For me it's so dependent on wind ( moreso than terrain)

FWIW I ride a Scott S60FB for my commute. My work gear weighs ~15-20lbs on a rear pannier

The other day I had a 15kmh (9 mph) tailwind on the way to work. My avg speed according to bike computer was 31 kmh (19.25 mph). Max was 48 kmh (29.8 mph)

yesterday I had a 35 kmh (21.7 mph) headwind on the way home. My avg speed for that was 23 kmh (14.2 mph)

Mind you, I'm also generally slower on the ride home than ride to work
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