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I'm too slooooooooooow

Old 07-30-19, 02:24 PM
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mpizzle421
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I'm too slooooooooooow

Quick question for the riders..

I've been riding for the last 3-4 years or so (during good months in the midwest of course). I bought a Trek 7.2fx a few years back.

Been steadily riding since April of this year (I think I have 50 or so rides in). Generally speaking, I ride between 12-20 miles depending on how much time I have. I'm fortunate enough to have a nice trail near me. I get about 2 miles of compressed gravel, 10 miles of pavement, and then another few miles of gravel. No significant hills. Either minor incline or minor decline but it mostly appears to be flat. I clock in between 12 and 13mph on average but feel as though I should be much faster.

I was actually kicking around the idea of upgrading the bike but not sure what I should do. Assume the problem could be me as the engine as well. Any suggestions or thoughts?
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Old 07-30-19, 02:53 PM
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Avg. 12-13mph doesn't sound all that bad to me. I don't own a hybrid (yet) but many that I ride with own them and I doubt avg over 13mph on a good day. Now, we aren't out trying to ride fast, but many times aren't just poking along either. Mostly riding for enjoyment, fitness, and good company. The first thing that comes to my mind, and the easiest to change on the bike are the tires. Maybe try a thinner, higher pressure tire with less tread. Also, always check tire pressure before you ride--sure you know, but you can lose 1-2lbs of pressure/day. And keep the chain clean--maybe switch to a "dry" chain lube-you'll need to apply more often, but the chain will be clean, and won't slow you down like a "gunked up" chain may.
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Old 07-30-19, 03:38 PM
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guachi
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It might be you. You can change up your biking to best take advantage of your time on the bike as far as training goes. For me, the best thing I did was get a power meter, though mine is part of my turbo trainer (Wahoo Kickr Core) and I have not yet purchased a power meter for my bike.

A power meter not only allows me to focus my training it isolates other factors (wind, road conditions, elevation).

Last edited by guachi; 08-01-19 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:53 PM
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canklecat
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That's about my average speed on my hybrids, around 11-14 mph, depending on terrain and how hard I feel like pushing.

Beyond around 14 mph wind resistance becomes a significant factor. That's the main limitation to a typical mountain bike, hybrid or city cruiser -- we're more upright or our arms and chest are catching more wind using flat, riser or most swept bars.

On my road bikes putting in the same effort is good for 15-16 mph, mostly because the riding position is more aerodynamic and efficient. And at 20-25 lbs, the lighter road bikes are a bit easier on climbs. But not necessarily as comfortable as the hybrid.

But you can improve your conditioning as effectively on a hybrid as on a road bike. For a couple of months I mostly commuted 6 miles to and from physical therapy appointments using my 30 lb hybrid. The route was hilly, good for interval training -- maximum effort on climbs, then riding easily for recovery on the flat and downhill sections. The cardio improvements translated to my road bike rides. I wasn't as fast on the hybrid, but the expended effort was the same.

Keep your hybrid. You'll probably still enjoy it. I do with mine, especially casual group rides around the city. I mostly use the road bikes for solo workouts in rural areas, and occasional fast group rides.

But if you're curious about the difference a drop bar road bike can make, rent, borrow or buy a good used one. I see good used older road bikes for well under $300, and some for under $200. Just be sure it's the right size. You won't need to make any other major changes right away -- no need for clipless pedals/shoes, etc. After getting the hang of the difference in balance and handling you'll probably average 14-16 mph on the road bike with the same effort.
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Old 07-31-19, 02:56 PM
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12-13 mph sounds about right to me. I have been averaging around 13 mph for a long time. Attached is my last couple of weeks.
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Old 08-01-19, 12:38 AM
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The tires on the 7.2 look like 32c tires so they aren't knobbly mountain bike tires but they also probably don't have the lowest rolling resistance. Combine that with a typical upright riding posture and it probably takes about 100 Watts to bike 12 mph. That's not that much. However, to go 15 mph it would take about 170 Watts as the power need to overcome wind resistance triples or so.

So... if you want to go faster you can save some watts with different tires and a whole lot of watts by getting more aero on your hybrid bike. You can easily cut your power requirements by 30-40% that way.
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Old 08-01-19, 12:49 AM
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Bike upgrades, up to and including a new bike, can get a little more speed out of your current fitness. So you can spend a little to lot of money and get a little improvement. It's just a matter of budget.

Far more potential improvement is in improving your fitness, as in power output and endurance. You can put some time and effort into training, and you'll see results. The more you put in, the more you get out. From simply riding more miles, to a structured training program, you can put into it whatever you want. It's just time and effort.

Fitness + bike will obviously get you the most improvement.

Oh, and we're pretty much all too slow, some of us are just faster than others.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:46 AM
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How hard are you working? If you're not breathing hard, ur doin it rong. Go up a gear, try intervals, build up the engine.

Also, what are your goals? Go faster? Build muscle? Have fun? Get where you're going? If your goal is to go faster, you definitely have the wrong bike; do what they said above and find a good used road bike. If it's any of the other goals, you're on the right bike. That said, there's no law that says you can't have a fast bike for when you want to go fast. HTH.

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Old 08-01-19, 01:10 PM
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Others have brought up excellent points, I'll just add my own anecdotal experiences:
  • I am markedly slower on my fitness bike for the same effort (Trek FXS6 vs. Cannondale SuperSix Evo). Like 2-3mph slower on an 85% effort endurance ride. If I try to go all-out, that margin will grow. I have never measured but I'd bet I can go 5mph (or more) faster on my Super6 at full effort.
  • Korina brings up an excellent point. After getting back into cycling, my first 3-4 weeks I gained so much speed and endurance from riding every day. But then I began to plateau. I still had gains, but they were much smaller. That was because I was doing 85% target heart rate rides of about an 70-90 minutes. I was able to do those rides unbroken, and I was less tired than each previous ride, but my mph gains went from 12mph to 16mph in the first 4 weeks, to only gaining about 1.5mph in the next 3 weeks. So now I'm trying to do sprints, tackle short but steep inclines, and go all out, even leaving the saddle for the climbs. I did that the last two rides and I came home much more tired and sweaty for the effort, but we'll see if keeping this up does more to increase my speed and endurance.
Good luck!
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Old 08-01-19, 02:12 PM
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rumrunn6
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we always want to go faster ... me included *sigh*
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Old 08-01-19, 04:28 PM
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A road bike will be faster than a hybrid, but no doubt you can get faster on your hybrid. Some structured training can do a lot, and there are many flavors of this. You should include intervals, hill climbs and holding a steady cadence at a moderate effort for a period of time. Also riding with other riders who push you to go a bit faster.
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Old 08-02-19, 08:12 AM
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Too slow for what?

If you're riding in a group and find yourself exahusted at the end, Or you can't keep up with your spouse, Fine. That might justify making some changes.

But if you are a recreational rider like myself and just want to get some excersize and adventure, What does it matter.

I ride a pleasure bike with a bolt upright seating giving me the areodyamics of a bus, and 2" wide low pressure (30 - 35 psi front) tires for a smooth ride over nearly any terrain. And love it. It is so comfortable I feel I can ride forever.

When I got it last year I was happy averaging 12 mph both directions. It has slowly crept up to about 14 mph with the same effort. I bike for pleasure at a moderate intensity mostly. If it's not fun, what's the point. Sometimes if I'm feeling athletic, I might sprint to 20 mph. I could care less about numbers, They are what they are.
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Old 08-02-19, 11:30 AM
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Appreciate all of the input.


I pushed myself today pretty hard and I averaged 13.3mph over 12 miles. So a little under 55m riding. My heart rate averaged 150 which for me is about 85%.


That's riding harder than I typically would (I would prefer an average heart rate of 135 or so just to keep the ride enjoyable). I don't think I could have kept the pace up a whole lot longer to be honest but who knows.


My level of fitness - 41, 5'9" and weight 215. (That's down from a dangerously obese 280 a few years back). Guesstimate of 20% body fat give or take.


I bike 2-4 days per week and train with weights 3x per week. Weights I've been doing for several years but much more committed to a program over the last 4-6 months. Truth be told leg day was 2 days ago and I suspect that probably held me back some because squats and leg presses have me wobbling a bit still.


Goals - I haven't established anything specific. We can call it general fitness, but as with anything else it's nice to see improvement (that I measure with speed / distance).

Program - Nothing formalized. Open to suggestions?


I'm also still learning. I have not traditionally paid attention to things like pedal cadence, etc. Typically I pedal at a higher gear until my heart rate gets outside of my target for the ride and then shift down. Today I tried pedaling at a higher cadence at a lower gear (was aiming for 90 but no good way to measure) and hit a PR for my 12 miles. I'm also not 100% sure when it's appropriate to be in 3rd. vs. 2nd. gear (left side). There certainly seems to be some overlap in terms of effort between the two depending on where I have the rear derailleur set.
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Old 08-05-19, 09:21 AM
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Following this thread, I've been wondering why I'm so slow avg 9 mph. I assumed it was my sight seeing touristy style of riding, but even when I'm on a paved path my avg is about the same. LOL, two girls passed me on the Gainesville Hawthorne Trail while chatting to each other and one didn't even have her hands on the handlebars. I'm not *trying* to haul ass, but WTH?
So what is the avg mph on your hybrid?
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Old 08-05-19, 09:38 AM
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We'd have to know a little bit about your bike, the condition it's in, how it's set up, your riding style and overall fitness, etc.

For example, yesterday was at a friend's house. His wife asked me to take a look at a bike they bought her from Costco like a decade ago, which was making a sound. It was a cruiser style fixie with fat, underinflated tires (which I couldn't inflate up because I didn't have my pump...or any of my tools for that matter) and a rusty transmission. I rode it (seat was probably 4" below my riding position) around just to hear the noise, determined it was inside the rear hub which means she'd have to take it into the LBS because it was beyond my ability to solve it given what tools they had in the house.

I probably couldn't have ridden that bike 9mph without giving myself a heart attack. Now I know yours is probably nowhere near that bad, but just using that as an illustration that there are a lot of factors that can limit one's top speed.
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Old 08-05-19, 10:08 AM
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Easy solution to going faster ….. stop riding on gravel. I have an FX2, have mediocre fitness, average 14.5-15, but only ride on payment.
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Old 08-05-19, 10:31 AM
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@mpizzle421, I'd say enjoy the ride; some days go for distance, some days go for effort. Make sure to enjoy the scenery. I wouldn't worry too much about cadence; find what feels comfortable.

As for shifting, the appropriate gear is the one that feels good; hard enough that you're working but not so hard you have to stand up to make the pedals go. Don't forget your front chainrings; I usually stay in the middle ring for flats and go to the smaller one for climbing. You will likely end up in the large ring since you're going for speed.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:19 PM
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Great advice from Korina. Also it helps if you're mindful of your form. One thing going to clipless pedals/shoes did for me was make me realize how much energy I wasted with poor form.
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Old 08-05-19, 02:13 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by bikehoco View Post
Easy solution to going faster .. stop riding on gravel. I have an FX2, have mediocre fitness, average 14.5-15, but only ride on payment.
On pavement, I can average 18+ mph on my FX3, and peak out at about 24 mph. On gravel, it is not a fast bike at all. I do much better on my CX on gravel.
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Old 08-10-19, 06:35 PM
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I was cruising on my fastroad at 17 mph but got blasted by an army of roadies, they were probably doing 25+ mph. If you were riding a flat soft pavement you would probably be faster.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:37 AM
  #21  
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When I had my comfort bike I would average around 8 to 10 mph on my rides which where around 10 miles or just a little longer. I just took out my new Specialized Crosstrail on Sunday and did 15 miles with 13 miles being asphalt and the other parts where gravel and averaged over 11 mph but didn't have to pedal very hard to go that fast so pretty happy with that since I just started riding again. I just ride and enjoy the scenery. Me and my buddy ride about the same pace so we shoot the bull as we ride and just have a blast doing it.
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