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Is there something "magic" about riding at or above 14 mph

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Is there something "magic" about riding at or above 14 mph

Old 05-18-15, 08:10 AM
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macbride
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Is there something "magic" about riding at or above 14 mph

I read recently that if you are riding to get fit then either you need to ride with an average speed of above 14mph or ride for a bit longer.
Why 14mph? That’s the speed where you start to fight your own wind resistance so it becomes much harder work and you’re giving yourself a good workout, much of your energy is devoted to just pushing through the wall of air in front of you.
To the physicists out there, is this true?

source: https://highwaycyclinggroup.wordpres...average-speed/
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Old 05-18-15, 08:20 AM
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14mph? That's slow. I'd have to coast half the time.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:20 AM
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You only need to ride 10mph because Googlemaps assumes you will ride at 10mph and stop completely for all red lights, and all lights will be red.


The writer defines 14mph as the comfortable zone between moving and fighting the wind. I personally don't think 14mph is bad for recreational riding, cruising along the beach, recovery riding, or enjoying a scenic century.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:23 AM
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The article says that it is because that is when wind resistance comes into play. However, the article seems way too complicated and, just skimming it, contains a few contradictions. If you are new to riding and struggling with fitness, just ride more. If you are only comfortable riding at 10 mph, don't try to jump up to 14, just push yourself bit by bit and make improvements. So many people like to complicate things. Just get on you bike and go for a ride. Unless you have a specific training goal, just get out there. Any ride is better for your fitness than sitting on the couch.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
14mph? That's slow. I'd have to coast half the time.
I think it's slow to an avid rider, but the page is more directed to beginner riders looking to start measuring their performance. I didn't start using a cycling computer until 6 years after hard riding, but I the first numbers I was interested in was average speed (and cadence) when I started. Heart rate and power are for more dedicated athletes.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:25 AM
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I'd say 14mph is too slow for training for CAT races. But if you want to burn calories and enjoy your ride, you're doing fine.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Panza View Post
the first numbers I was interested in was average speed (and cadence)
These are very important statistics. But don't forget the odometer.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:29 AM
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14 mph a magic number? I doubt it. That said, although I do have a PhD in Physics, it's not in fluid mechanics, but based on my cycling experience, 14mph is no wall where things magically get harder. Of course so many things affect average speed: wind, hills, your bike, you.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:47 AM
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No there is nothing magic about 14mph. Average speed on a bike is an extremely poor metric for fitness. It happens to be an excellent metric if you're running but on the bike there are far too many factors that affect speed that have nothing to do with your fitness. Factors like tires, riding position, wind, clothing etc all have a significant impact on your speed.

14mph on a MTB with baggy clothes on trails can be very fast and difficult to achieve. 14MPH on a road bike with a decent position and clothes takes about the same effort as walking.

There are three significant sources of resistance to be overcome when riding a bike: gravity, wind and rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is a function of the type of tires you have and varies linearly with speed. Wind resistance, on the other hand, increases with the square of your speed so quickly becomes the dominant effect at higher speeds. Gravity only comes into play on hills.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:10 AM
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If I can ride up hills at or above 14 mph, that would be magical. But that's not going to happen.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:37 AM
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no
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Old 05-18-15, 09:46 AM
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This is a blog right? I wouldn't put too much money on what this person is saying. 14 mph isn't going to burn a bunch of calories, unless you're riding at this pace for 60+ miles. Even then it's still slow - fitness wise. My easy rides are often above 14 mph. I don't burn many calories when I don't get my heart rate very high. I don't think you can judge how good of a workout you got from average speed. Too many variables, mainly elevation changes/grade of roads ridden.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:59 AM
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If you are looking at a computer telling you your speed, you're not looking at the road. You will crash and die, then your fitness will not matter. :-)
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Old 05-18-15, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
If I can ride up hills at or above 14 mph, that would be magical. But that's not going to happen.
LOL, good one!
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Old 05-18-15, 10:43 AM
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3 is a magic number, not 14.
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Old 05-18-15, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
14mph? That's slow. I'd have to coast half the time.
That's what makes it "magic..."
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Old 05-18-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post

There are three significant sources of resistance to be overcome when riding a bike: gravity, wind and rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is a function of the type of tires you have and varies linearly with speed. Wind resistance, on the other hand, increases with the square of your speed so quickly becomes the dominant effect at higher speeds. Gravity only comes into play on hills.
A much larger portion of rolling resistance is the type of road surface you are riding on. You can lose 2-3mph on rough chip and seal road vs. a nice smooth black top for the same watts of effort.

The trifecta of crappy road, evil quartering headwind while going uphill will be the true test of your determination.

Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
I don't think you can judge how good of a workout you got from average speed. Too many variables, mainly elevation changes/grade of roads ridden.
On an out and back course with moderate hills with the wind not changing while you're riding, average speed can be a reasonable guesstimate of effort and your workout.

< 14 very easy
14-15 easy
16-17 moderate effort
18-20 strong effort
21+ very strong effort

Last edited by andr0id; 05-18-15 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-18-15, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
3 is a magic number, not 14.
Yes it is. It's a magic number. Somewhere in this hip hop soul community....
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Old 05-18-15, 11:04 AM
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There is going to be a crossover point where wind resistance becomes the predominant force on the bicycle (since aero drag is by velocity squared and most other forces, such as momentum/acceleration and rolling resistance, is constant or linear with velocity). 14mph is probably about right. If you ride a fixie, it becomes pretty obvious. 14mph on the flat (with little wind, of course) is right around that point of a sweet, effortless roll where momentum is doing most of the work.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:13 AM
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I average 30 mph on my rides. I have my wife drive me up to the top of hills, and pick me up at the bottom. I'm in excellent shape.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:14 AM
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What would be the magic number for a sprint?
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Old 05-18-15, 11:20 AM
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With my heart problems and blood pressure meds, that's about the speed where I start getting dizzy and hallucinating glitter and fairies and unicorns, so yes, magic.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:29 AM
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wow you guys are fit...
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Old 05-18-15, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
A much larger portion of rolling resistance is the type of road surface you are riding on. You can lose 2-3mph on rough chip and seal road vs. a nice smooth black top for the same watts of effort.
No cobbles where I ride
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Old 05-18-15, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by macbride View Post
To the physicists out there, is this true?
We don't have no dang physicists in here, just some guys that slept at Holiday Inn.
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