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

How Fast do you Ride?

Old 02-26-08, 08:40 PM
  #26  
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GuitarWizards' advice was good - try not to get offended by some of the other's reaction - this question gets asked quite a bit, and it is winter and the guys have to entertain themselves somehow.

Don't worry about average speed or components, just get some miles in and concentrate on learning how to ride smoothly and hold a good line. When you're comfortable with that, try to find a good "no-drop" group ride hosted by a club or team in your area. You can learn a lot by observing the other riders and by asking questions.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:45 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
..... Due to a friend, I will soon be upgrading much of my componetry to DA/Ultegra and will be using Ksryium ES wheels.
If they are free or a good deal go for it. Otherwise just ride and upgrade the wheels later. Spend your money of good bike shorts.

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 08:46 PM
  #28  
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one method I like is to push really hard on my commute home, only going home because I'm not a morning person and clothing drenched in sweat while at work is not something I enjoy much.
20~25mins of self torture.
I tend to like to stick to 35~40km/h and keep it there while torturing myself.
problem with most roads and trails around here is that you have to slow or stop a lot, so I prefer to set a certain speed and hold it, instead of looking at the average of my computer.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:52 PM
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Hey Mike-I (re)started cycling over a year ago now, at 6'2" and 200 lbs. Down to 185 or so now. No, at your weight you won't be winning any hill climb races or grand tours , but on the flats weight matters much less.

You're not getting the answers you want because ave speed REALLY does mean FA... Sure you want to know how you're measuring up (I know I did), but the only way to do that is join group rides and/or race (or use a power meter). I have a loop I've been doing for months now, and although the general trend is probably up in terms of ave. speed, there are so many variables (mostly wind) that my "scores" are all over the map.

I'd second GuitarWizard's advice. Enjoy it for now, build up the legs, and try joining a club or doing some racing. That'll give you an answer pretty quick, rather than compiling lists of unknown people's averages on unknown courses in unknown conditions...
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Old 02-26-08, 08:56 PM
  #30  
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27.71937712309874 MPH *exactly*

And oh yeah, it matters baby.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:57 PM
  #31  
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What some of the folks are trying to say is that average speed is simply one measurement of how you're doing.

In order to improve average speed, you need to mix up your riding. For example, if you want to do a heavier bench press, you don't do your max bench every day. You do some other structured thing (pyramid or lighter weights and higher reps or whatever). Then after some specific training, or in the case of benching, simple recovery, you try your max again.

Likewise, in cycling, if you are constantly focused on your average, you'll be missing out on the training you need to go faster, be more fit, etc. Average is like doing the exact same workout every day. Although you'll eventually improve there are much better ways to go about it.

You may do one ride where you sprint for 10-15 seconds every time you get to one of those underpasses. Your average speed will probably suffer, it'll make you sore, but after a day or two, once you recover, you should be marginally stronger. Multiply this over a few weeks or months and you may find that your overall average is now 17 mph instead of 15 mph.

You're at the speed where increases plateau - this is because air resistance increases exponentially. At around 17-19 mph it becomes substantially more difficult to increase average speed.

The best way to increase average speed, your overall cycling ability, and add an element of errr unpredictability to your riding is to do group rides. Find a shop or a club or a list of rides and look at joining ones that, at first, claim to average 15 mph. Then work your way up to faster rides. I think you'll find the incredible assortment of riders, equipment, ability, and etiquette to be astounding. And your riding will improve exponentially, I guarantee it.

Group riding will pressure you to perform on the bike in a way that solo riding simply cannot accomplish. Racing is one step beyond that, if you so desire. Either of them will significantly and immediately improve your speed, and you've probably figured out that the speed is the key. If your outward leg was 23 mph, your overall avg would go up. If you returned at, say, 15-17 mph, you'd be looking at a 17-18 mph average. Speed is the key to this particular game (avg speed) and the best way to improve is to ride with others who are, at least for the moment, faster than you.

hope this helps and good luck with improving your average speed,
cdr
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Old 02-26-08, 09:13 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
What some of the folks are trying to say is that average speed is simply one measurement of how you're doing.

In order to improve average speed, you need to mix up your riding. For example, if you want to do a heavier bench press, you don't do your max bench every day. You do some other structured thing (pyramid or lighter weights and higher reps or whatever). Then after some specific training, or in the case of benching, simple recovery, you try your max again.

Likewise, in cycling, if you are constantly focused on your average, you'll be missing out on the training you need to go faster, be more fit, etc. Average is like doing the exact same workout every day. Although you'll eventually improve there are much better ways to go about it.

You may do one ride where you sprint for 10-15 seconds every time you get to one of those underpasses. Your average speed will probably suffer, it'll make you sore, but after a day or two, once you recover, you should be marginally stronger. Multiply this over a few weeks or months and you may find that your overall average is now 17 mph instead of 15 mph.

You're at the speed where increases plateau - this is because air resistance increases exponentially. At around 17-19 mph it becomes substantially more difficult to increase average speed.

The best way to increase average speed, your overall cycling ability, and add an element of errr unpredictability to your riding is to do group rides. Find a shop or a club or a list of rides and look at joining ones that, at first, claim to average 15 mph. Then work your way up to faster rides. I think you'll find the incredible assortment of riders, equipment, ability, and etiquette to be astounding. And your riding will improve exponentially, I guarantee it.

Group riding will pressure you to perform on the bike in a way that solo riding simply cannot accomplish. Racing is one step beyond that, if you so desire. Either of them will significantly and immediately improve your speed, and you've probably figured out that the speed is the key. If your outward leg was 23 mph, your overall avg would go up. If you returned at, say, 15-17 mph, you'd be looking at a 17-18 mph average. Speed is the key to this particular game (avg speed) and the best way to improve is to ride with others who are, at least for the moment, faster than you.

hope this helps and good luck with improving your average speed,
cdr
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Old 02-26-08, 10:46 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
I am quite happy to stick to golf
how fast is your golf swing mike?
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Old 02-26-08, 10:56 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
Disappointing.

What I thought might be a legitimate question from a beginner, looking to maintain fitness and improve, seems to have been taken by some as a joke or an insult. I don't see many riders my size out there on the "Tour of Anything," I'm certainly no professional cycler, nor do I aspire to be one. I am riding to improve, to live longer, and to have fun. I am quite happy to stick to golf, I will continue to pursue my other interests, but I will also continue to ride and hopefully improve. What speed should I be going before it is legitimate, or before I can waste your time with a question?

If I have somehow insulted you, am wasting your time, or sorely underperform, feel free to ignore the post and move on. I certainly will.

Regards,

Mike
Sorry Mike for your disappointment with the response. I guess most experience riders here meant good with what they think is an overall better approach in your training thus missing the gist of your questions. Its like me answering a golfer how to hit 300 yard drives but asking what is hisscoring average. I am an avid golfer(I'm in Socal also) until 15 months ago I had open heart surgery. Since then, I pick up cycling to try to exercise & improve my health & strength. Today, I just installed a Cateye computer on my bike & take it for a ride around Rosebowl, for the first time I found out all about my average & max speed. I understand totally your question & where you are coming from, for I was gonna post the identical question you had in the SoCal forum wanting to know how others avg speed at the Rosebowl loop. I just want to have a reference so I can gauge myself & know what pace I should take to improve myself. I know I didn't answer your question but hope others will.

Fairway & greens!

Bernie
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Old 02-26-08, 11:03 PM
  #35  
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I don't agree about avg speed meaning nothing. After all, the race winner has the highest avg speed, no?
As for me, I'm happy with any avg over 30kmh / 19mph for 3 or 4 hours on the flats.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:25 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
I don't agree about avg speed meaning nothing. After all, the race winner has the highest avg speed, no?
As for me, I'm happy with any avg over 30kmh / 19mph for 3 or 4 hours on the flats.
Average speed of a specific ride/race is not meaningless. Trying to compare across them is.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:25 PM
  #37  
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Thanks to guitarwizard, logdrum, CDR, jrn and the many others for your replies, advice and drills. I'm not really concerned with my average speed. I can ride faster, I can ride slower. The point is to ride and to keep riding. It is my hope to improve not only how fast I ride, but technique and my overall ability to be a good cyclist and more importantly, to have fun.

I appreciate the humor on this site and even the out and out sarcasm. It's not my intent to raise anyones ire, but keep the jokes coming. My skin has been thickened over the years, so no worries. My only disappointment comes with the expectation of a Bike specific forum, that people would be an advocate for the sport and be supportive of those who are beginners. For most, this is the case. I will try to be more specific with questions in the future. As a former Div 1 swimmer, and having competed in the National Championships and I would call myself an expert in the pool. Because of my good fortune with that sport, I take every opportunity to support the sport that gave so much to me and take advantage of every opportunity to be an advocate. I guess since I had the opportunity to compete at an elite level, I never really had that "wanna be" attitude towards sports. I certainly do know my limitations in cycling, but again, will strive to be the best that I can. When I began running, I had a goal of completing a marathon and did this/last year on Super Bowl Sunday. That goal took a lot of time and hard work to accomplish, so I have no reservation in knowing that to become even an average cyclist will take quite a lot of effort. I truly do appreciate the thoughtful, and not so thoughtful responses.

Fink, I swing my irons around 95mph and woods around 105mph, my handicap is 7.8, but I'm trending up. Everyone else, keep the jokes coming, I'm getting a lot of good material.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 02-26-08, 11:35 PM
  #38  
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Riding a pretty level route here in Dallas, 22.5 mile loop, my maximum average speed so far is 15.8 mph. That seems about par for the area, a few more serious cyclists going a little or lot faster, lot of family-type people going slower.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:42 PM
  #39  
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Well I could tell you my average, but I'm not sure if it will mean much to you. I drive 7 miles every morning to school and it takes me about 22 minutes. I guess it comes out to be about 19 mph or so. Truth is that some days I might catch a lot of stop lights and also cars might be jerks. Also, my route is fairly flat with the exception of a catwalk I use now and then. Too many variables though, I have to agree with the rest of the group. I'm more interested to know TOP speeds. Mine is 30 mph on a single gear, so I just want to see what top speeds are possible on multi gear road bikes.

Guess I'll run a search, good luck Mike, keep up the biking!
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Old 02-26-08, 11:46 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post

What I thought might be a legitimate question from a beginner, looking to maintain fitness and improve, seems to have been taken by some as a joke or an insult.
Don't sweat the smart ass replies. If you see a reply you don't like, ignore it. They probably didn't mean anything by it. If someone really is out to be a jerk, they're not worth your time.

Besides... you'd probably smoke them on a ride and they know it.

Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
I am riding to improve, to live longer, and to have fun.
Right there you have shown you are riding for the right reasons. The rest is immaterial. Our group T-shirts say: "For Fitness, for Sport, for Fun, For LIFE: Fred's Ride." It doesn't say "For 20 mph..."

Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
What speed should I be going before it is legitimate, or before I can waste your time with a question?
Again, any speed is legitimate, as long as you ride.

On the other hand, if you really want to test yourself, find a local TT and have at it. If you do, I would suggest doing the same TT more than once and looking for improvements each time. Even on the same course, avg. speed will be relative to the conditions of the day. Weight loss, BMI, Watts, average heart rate, resting heart rate, VO2 max, all are different ways to measure improvements.

Ride for FUN first, the rest will follow.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:54 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by mkfmedic View Post
I live in Southern California, Huntington Beach in paticular. It was a beautiful day for a ride today!

Mike
It sure was. I pass through Huntington Beach almost daily on my ride. I tend to ride on PCH, just don't like the trails, I rather deal with cars then with all the underpasses, and clueless walkers.
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Old 02-27-08, 02:05 AM
  #42  
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Don't worry so much about how fast you ride, just ride...

One thing that helps you ride faster is riding with a group, join a cycling group or just ride with them. Plus, riding with people makes riding more fun as well as makes training go by faster.
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Old 02-27-08, 06:31 AM
  #43  
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That's a good pace, especailly for somebody's that just starting out.
Your bike upgrades sound good as well. I have the Mavic ES's and they're great wheels. Light as a feather, solid as a rock.

Your heart rates are good too. Since you used to swim, you can appreciate large lung capacity. I ran (still run) on the eliptical machine at the gym and developed my cardio/lungs. This really helps endurance and the ability to maintain a high pace. As you ride more you will ride longer routes. This will help a lot also. As mentioned before, see if there's a club in your area and ride with them. It's a lot of fun and you'll benefit greatly in performance and skill.

Welcome to cycling and to the forum.
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Old 02-27-08, 06:54 AM
  #44  
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Taken by itself average speed is irrelevant, but in the context of other variables, such as route, HR, wind speed/direction, power, and weather(temp/humidity) it is a useful statistic. I have only recently started cycling, but I keep a spreadsheet tracking most of these variables and I intend to write equations normalizing each variable individually so that I can better draw conclusions from the data.

At the very least it is an entertaining statistic, but it's a shame world-weary elitist jerks feel it's necessary to piss in a newbie's cornflakes without explanation rather than humor the question and explain the statistic's irrelevance, not that you didn't eventually get insightful replies.

Most recently, at 80% max heart rate I rode a 25 mile loop at 14mph into 11mph headwinds and 24mph with the wind at my back.
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Old 02-27-08, 06:58 AM
  #45  
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The only cyclists who wring their hands over average speed are Freds.

The rest of us are happy if we can just stay within cell phone range of the peloton.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:15 AM
  #46  
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Short answer: On an out and back 30 mile ride with stop lights I end with an average speed of ~21mph for a regular solo training ride.
For a hard ride on that same course I will average ~24mph

To answer your real question, you can go faster, but your not doing too bad.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:15 AM
  #47  
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My avg speed is a bit above stop.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:16 AM
  #48  
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You are new to roadbiking and there are many jaundiced responses here so take it with a grain of salt. You are already a pretty good rider for a big boy. You will get nothing but better with a lot of riding. If you want to find out how fast you really are, start riding in groups. You will likely fall into the B group. A group riders are just plain fast and you will find out if joining them. A good solid A rider can solo at 22-23 mph all day long. If you came back at 15 mph you were riding with the wind at 21mph....makes a big difference.
Enjoy it. Find some friends to ride with and if you get fast, go out and compete a bit but mostly have fun and lose some weight like we all want to do.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:18 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
You are new to roadbiking and there are many jaundiced responses here so take it with a grain of salt. You are already a pretty good rider for a big boy. You will get nothing but better with a lot of riding. If you want to find out how fast you really are, start riding in groups. You will likely fall into the B group. A riders are just plain fast and you will find out if joinin them.
Enjoy it. Find some friends to ride with and if you get fast, go out and compete a bit but mostly have fun and lose some weight like we all want to do.
Actually, he sounds reasonably fast, so I was hoping he'd read this thread, get discouraged, and give up the sport. There are enough fast guys, we don't need another.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:21 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
Actually, he sounds reasonably fast, so I was hoping he'd read this thread, get discouraged, and give up the sport. There are enough fast guys, we don't need another.
He does sound like a pretty good rider for a newb.
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