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Good average speed for a beginner?

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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

Good average speed for a beginner?

Old 05-15-12, 10:17 PM
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SyL
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Good average speed for a beginner?

I'm a newbie looking to get into riding. I recently bought a road bike, but couldn't ride much because of winter.

Tomorrow will be my first ride. I'll be going about 40km with some friends. yea, it ain't far but we arn't pros. What is a good avg speed/cadence to maintain on this ride? I don't wanna set my standards to high otherwise will diminish my interest.
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Old 05-15-12, 10:23 PM
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For a beginner try to keep your cadence around 80-90rpm.

Speed depends on the terrain, anything around 15mph(on flats) is good for a first time rider.

Good luck!
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Old 05-15-12, 10:27 PM
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For your first ride out forget about speed, have fun and get used to the bike. If you want a goal I would set it on cadence. Don't worry about speed for a few weeks.
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Old 05-15-12, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SyL View Post
first ride...about 40km
Ah, to be young again.

If you're riding with friends, just keep up with your friends. Don't set a goal, just have fun.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:31 PM
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Just ride.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:51 PM
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Ok thanks for the advice guys. It's a group of four: 3 newbies and an experienced cyclist and we are all 19. I'll take your advice and just ride!
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Old 05-16-12, 12:24 AM
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My first time out I rode at an incredible 9mph with a max of around 11mph. For 3 miles. Came back and sat down on soft stuff all day.
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Old 05-16-12, 12:37 AM
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Depends on hills, traffic, etc. of course. For your first ride, be happy if you can finish 40km in less than 2 hours total time.
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Old 05-16-12, 01:05 AM
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Average speed is an utterly useless indicator, because of hills and wind. Riding on a bicycle, you feel every hill even if you never noticed that it was there before. A measly 2% grade that you'd never recognize as a "hill" can drop your average speed by as much as 5 mph. Light wind can mess with your speed almost as effectively. I agree with others, just ride.

But just as a point of reference, on an ideally flat course with zero wind and a road bike with slick tires, almost anyone can do 15 mph, well trained cyclists can maintain 21 mph for long periods of time and 27 mph for a minute or two.
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Old 05-16-12, 06:36 AM
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What they said.. just ride. You dont want to have your first experience dictated by a speedometer. Have fun, enjoy the bike and scenery.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:16 AM
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For a first ride, just ride and have a good time. Actually for any ride, that's not bad advice. If you want to start improving as you ride more, search around for some training advice. There's tons of it here and elsewhere on the internet. For now, I'd just focus on getting some miles down.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:23 AM
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Don't worry about speed or candence right now. Go out and have fun.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:26 AM
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Ride to have fun.

Takes about 500 miles of fun before you should be concerned about speed.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:40 AM
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When I first got my road bike, I went out to a park on the far side of town and rode the roads out there before riding in traffic.

My first ride on a real road, I was hauling - cruising at around 25 mph. I thought I was awesome, a natural. Then I turned around to come back. That's when I found out about the tail wind I'd had.

I was doing 8-10 on the way back. It was pretty miserable.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
My first ride on a real road, I was hauling - cruising at around 25 mph. I thought I was awesome, a natural. Then I turned around to come back. That's when I found out about the tail wind I'd had. .
I have done that so many times I'll think "Man, my legs are feeling good today, I'me definitely getting stronger", then turn around to come back.
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Old 05-16-12, 07:52 AM
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Yeah, as others have said...I wouldn't worry about speed/cadence just yet....but to answer your question. I have a 40yo friend who just got into cycling and on his first few trips out, he averaged about 14-15mph maybe for 12 miles. The cool thing is that speed/endurance come quickly at first. We rode together earlier this week and after about 5 weeks, we did right at 40miles and I would guess his average was 17ish maybe? Granted he drafted a bit....I was impressed that at times he could keep up with us around 20mph for maybe a mile and then would drop back.

One of the best things you can do to improve speed is to ride with people faster than you. That will force you out of your comfort zone.

Last edited by Terry66; 05-16-12 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 05-16-12, 08:08 AM
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Whatever your legs want to carry you at is the right speed. I averaged 11-12 over my short evening route until I built up some strength. Now I average 13-13.5 over a modest ride of 10-20 miles. Average speed is different from normal cruising speed.
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Old 05-16-12, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
Whatever your legs want to carry you at is the right speed..
My legs are lazy. If I listened to them, I would ride at least 4-5mph slower and would quit halfway.
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Old 05-16-12, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SyL View Post
What is a good avg speed/cadence to maintain on this ride?
The one you maintain.

Look, one man's fast is another man's slow. It's going to depend how many hills you climb, how strong the headwind is, how many lights you stop for, and whether you're drafting a fit lady with well-toned leg muscles. Average speed is only meaningful when you do the same course over and over and over and over and over again.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by androidtt View Post
My first time out I rode at an incredible 9mph with a max of around 11mph. For 3 miles. Came back and sat down on soft stuff all day.
I was the same - my first ride was 5 miles, and I "hammered" it at a blazing 14mph ... and then collapsed, and could hardly walk for 2 days!

To the OP - 40km may be too far for your first ride. I would suggest a shorter distance, and definitely, a slow speed. Build up speed and distance slowly, and you might be amazed by how fast you get to 100km rides at 18mph - and better.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:21 AM
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40 km/~25 mi is a pretty healthy first ride. Your rear end is going to tell you that it ain't happy before you get halfway, in all likelihood.

Think cadence, not speed. The first reply hit it right on the head. Ride in a gear that lets you keep an 80 bpm cadence.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Terry66 View Post
My legs are lazy. If I listened to them, I would ride at least 4-5mph slower and would quit halfway.
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Old 05-16-12, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SyL View Post
Ok thanks for the advice guys. It's a group of four: 3 newbies and an experienced cyclist and we are all 19. I'll take your advice and just ride!
How fit are you? If you're capable of doing sub 34min 10k runs you'll be faster than if you've been basically sedentary for the past 6 months.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:53 PM
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Ok thanks guys for the responses. I'm not really looking to go pro or anything, just as a little hobby. I'll make it a practice to not look at my computer as much as possible. The ride today failed to start, but I'm going back out on Saturday.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:59 PM
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I think you and your friends should go pro.

Why not.

You'll all end up riding fast together anyway. By the end of the summer you all could even consider joining the cycling team.
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