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Question about actual mileage

Old 10-04-20, 11:22 AM
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coffeesnob
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Question about actual mileage

For those of you who do long distance cycling. What % of the miles logged are actually while pedaling. I know there are a lot of variables that can occur such as going down hill or having an all uphill climb. I just was wondering because on my spin bike I am always pedaling while on my bicycle I coast etc...
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Old 10-04-20, 04:15 PM
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StephenH
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
For those of you who do long distance cycling. What % of the miles logged are actually while pedaling. I know there are a lot of variables that can occur such as going down hill or having an all uphill climb. I just was wondering because on my spin bike I am always pedaling while on my bicycle I coast etc...
I would guess for me that maybe 5-10% of the time is coasting, but that's going to vary depending on the riders, the route, the wind, the riding companions, etc.
There are people riding fixed-gear bikes who automatically have zero percent coasting, although they will have periods of zero-effort pedaling.
The "better" riders I know seem to avoid coasting, and will pedal on a downhill (small hills in this area, it's not the Rocky Mountains) and try to keep their cadence up. But some of us like to mash and pedal hard on the uphills and coast on the downhills, too.
On flattish land with a headwind, you can have miles and miles of practically no coasting.
Get into some long climbs and long downhills, you can have miles and miles of mostly coasting.
If someone is drafting you, you need to be pedaling the whole while, pretty much, so your speed isn't yoyoing up and down.
Riding a tandem, you can coast, but it's a bit more awkward transitioning, so desirable to keep a more constant pedaling pattern.
I know one rider who has a regular pedal-pedal-pedal-coast- routine, even on uphills, so to each his own.
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Old 10-04-20, 07:20 PM
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I think randonneurs tend to coast more than most recreational riders. There is barely any point to pedaling down many hills. One time on an Eastern PA 1200k, some volunteers were greeting riders on a route with a lot of local recreational riders. They could tell if a rando was approaching because the locals would pedal down a hill, but the randonneurs would coast.
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Old 10-04-20, 09:07 PM
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I have a lot more miles touring than brevets, thus my answer is oriented towards touring.

I am not pedaling when approaching a stop sign or stop light. I am not pedaling when going fast enough down a hill that I run out of gearing. Otherwise I am pedaling. And shallow downhills, I pedal down those to if it means that I can carry some of that speed up the other side of a valley.

Based on that, in areas where there are lot of intersections, like communities, maybe 5 to 10 percent of distance is coasting as I approach stop lights or signs. In hilly terrain, maybe 20 percent of distance is coasting down hills. Where it is flat (think Southern Florida), maybe 1 percent is coasting.

In hilly terrain, even if 50 percent of the distance was coasting, that might represent less than 15 percent of the time on the bike, downhills are quicker than steep uphills.

There is no single number.

The graphic is the elevation profile from the day I rode from East to West on Going to the Sun Road, data from my GPS. Maybe 40 percent of the distance was coasting, but the steep uphill took a lot more time than the downhill. The coasting did not take much time at all.

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Old 10-05-20, 09:41 AM
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I use the elevate plugin for strava (only works on chrome afaik) and it'll figure out the % of time pedalling on a ride. I did a flat 200k yesterday and pedalled 87% of the riding time. On a hillier 400 that I recorded ~3800m on I pedalled 81% of the time. I like to coast when I can, I definitely tuck and coast down any hills that will let me do that.
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Old 10-06-20, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
I use the elevate plugin for strava (only works on chrome afaik) and it'll figure out the % of time pedalling on a ride.
That sounds cool! I looked and couldn't find anything similar for Firefox.
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Old 10-06-20, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
That sounds cool! I looked and couldn't find anything similar for Firefox.
Yeah it's a bummer, there is a beta version apparently but the developer said he's working on a stand-alone app so that might happen sometime. Elevate is the only thing I use chrome for.
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Old 10-08-20, 08:01 AM
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It depends

I use Golden Cheetah which keeps track of everything and went back an looked at the % of time spent coasting on all of my brevets this season. It ranges from 0% on the 200k season opener to 31% on the third day of the Iron Porcupine.
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