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Average Touring Speed

Old 08-19-09, 06:59 PM
  #1  
leftcoast
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Average Touring Speed

I have become a serious biker this past year and have found "Touring" to be what I love the most.
I would like to connect with others who want to tour but I want to match up well as a rider with whomever that might be. Question is what is a decent average speed for a touring cyclist. It seems a little tougher to figure it out compared to someone who is just a road cyclist on a fast bike. I average 15 - 18 mile per hour on my Trek 520. Up hill at about 6 MPH on a good climb. downhill 35 MPH, and about 18 MPH on a level ride. I "ussually" never dis-mount on a hill and can put in a 7 hour day with a few short breaks. Am I going to find people to tour with or do I need to increase my speed? I'm 51 and in excellant health.

Thx
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Old 08-19-09, 07:07 PM
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I think you're plenty fast.

If you can ride 70 miles a day with a load (7 hours * 10 mph average, including breaks), you're covering plenty of mileage.
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Old 08-19-09, 07:20 PM
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I think you'll do fine- on my loaded touring bike, I often find myself down around 10-12mph. Steep hills might push me down around 3-4mph, loaded- and I'm half your age.
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Old 08-19-09, 08:14 PM
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For proper comparison, you should say how much weight you're carrying. But 18 MPH average on a level, windless road over a long distance is good in my book (given that no road is really level).
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Old 08-19-09, 08:31 PM
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Last time out with 2 full rear panniers, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, 1/2 the tent, handle bar bag, all toll about 40lbs.
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Old 08-19-09, 08:55 PM
  #6  
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Most bike computers keep an average moving speed tally. Many of the journals on the crazyguyonabike.com site list their daily statistics, such as distance, time and average speed, for each day. You can take a look at several journals there to see what others are reporting.

Most bike tourists aren't all that much concerned with speed. Five to seven hours in the saddle at 10-12 mph average moving speed is 50-80 miles covered per day. That's plenty for most schedules.
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Old 08-19-09, 09:02 PM
  #7  
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You'd have to slow down for most people who might want to tour with you. I carry about the same load and consider 12 mph average for 6-7 hours doing good time. On a smooth, level road on a windless day, 14 mph. But I'm 68 and in no hurry.
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Old 08-19-09, 10:43 PM
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I read your numbers and thought they must be in kilometres per hour, not mph. At the end of the day, I usually have an average speed of 19 km/hr.
Check with the Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society ( www.cccts.org ) to see if they have any suggestions.
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Old 08-19-09, 11:04 PM
  #9  
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On my tour short (3 day) tours of between 80-100km/day I averaged about 23kmph. That was with me being 30, in shape and carrying about 35 lbs of gear with me.

That said, half of those rides were into a headwind, so on a good day with no wind or a tail wind that was flat I probably averaged 26-28.

Anyway, the point of the story is -- you're on the fast end of things unless you're riding with >10lbs of gear. Most people who tour would probably prefer a slower pace and really.. why not enjoy the scenery ?
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Old 08-20-09, 05:29 AM
  #10  
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The real questions are

What is your REAL reason for Touring? What is more important to you, miles covered in X time, or what you see along the way? Is the ride the most important part of your tour, or is it the destination?

You see I also ride my road bike in event rides and to train at about the same speeds you list, some times even faster. When I get on my touring bike I change my whole mindset. The ride becomes about, well, just the ride! I have done well over 100 miles in a day and as few as 45, just depends on where I want to go and what I want to see. There was a thread not too long ago about touring partners and it seems that the speed is the least of ones worries when touring with someone else. Myself, I ride alone on tour. One reason I tour is to meet people along the way. Some of my best tour memories are of the people I have had interaction with along the way.

I view the roadie as a sports car type bike and the touring bike as a heavy truck and I ride them this way. It's all good!
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Old 08-20-09, 05:54 AM
  #11  
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I very rarely pay any attention to my average speed when touring. About the only exception is if it's a particularly hard day and I end up with an exceptionally low average speed (so far my lowest was 12.5km/h on hilly, rough and extremely scenic dirt roads in New Zealand). I'd guess it's usually somewhere around 20km/h, but there are so many variables that change from day to day that it's not worth worrying about, and besides, I have enough mid-week training rides at home to measure my average speed should that ever become a concern.

IF I were you OP, I wouldn't worry about it either. Just do a couple of short, "shakedown" tours to work out the distance you're capable of covering in a day, or more specifically, the distance you're comfortable with each day. From what I can gather, people who advertise for touring partners usually worry about that first and foremost anyway. In the end it doesn't matter if you get separated from a touring partner for a while if you start and finish in the same place. In fact, after a few weeks on the road together, you might be quite content with the occasional separation.
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Old 08-20-09, 08:40 AM
  #12  
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Good thoughts. I too have a Road Bike that I ride around the neighborhood and I find that I ride it less and less because it is a different mind set. I am a little more destination oriented but that's something I am trying to change which is why I got a bike computer. I forces me to stay with-in my limits or should I say my "pre-set plans" for that particular ride. I tend to get on my bike and go..... I guess I'm still trying to establish a good comfort zone. Most of the tours that I want to do are long.
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Old 08-20-09, 08:55 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
For proper comparison, you should say how much weight you're carrying. But 18 MPH average on a level, windless road over a long distance is good in my book (given that no road is really level).
+1

Even on an unloaded road bike sustaining 18mph all day is difficult. That's on the higher end of my start to finish average for supported century rides.
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Old 08-20-09, 11:33 AM
  #14  
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On my latest tour carrying about 20 lbs on relatively flat roads, average speed worked out to 10 km/hour (6 miles per hour), including breaks for leisurely lunches and enjoying the scenery.
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Old 08-20-09, 01:17 PM
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With banana breaks and photo ops - 10mph is a good ballpark.
A little faster with tailwinds on the flats.
A little slower in mountainous terrain.
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Old 08-20-09, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
About the only exception is if it's a particularly hard day and I end up with an exceptionally low average speed.
+1

I also regard a low average speed as a sign of a tough day. Sometimes a slow average is a badge of honor about how you were able to tough it out.
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Old 08-20-09, 05:23 PM
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It depends!! And touring is not about the speed you can maintain on the bicycle. It doesn't really matter. One day you might take several hours to do a short distance because of terrain, road conditions, weather conditions, and scenery (taking lots of photos) ... another day you might take a relatively short time to cover a fairly lengthy distance because of terrain, road conditions, weather conditions, and lack of scenery.

Go out on a relaxed, casual loaded tour this coming weekend ... and see what happens.
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Old 08-20-09, 10:10 PM
  #18  
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Speed really does vary. On my recent tour, I found a certain 50 km stretch especially grueling. It took me five hours, and afterwards, I was wiped physically and mentally. I spent the next two days resting.

Yet I have an acquaintance who completed the same route in two hours, and was fresh as a daisy.

The differences? There are three that I know about...

1. It was my fourth straight day of hard riding, and in retrospect, should have taken the day off.
My acquaintance was on the last leg of a two day trip.

2. My acquaintance had tail winds most of the way, while I faced headwinds.

3. My acquaintance was 28 years old, and I am 53.
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Old 08-21-09, 11:58 AM
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We keep pretty good journals of our trips. On one 74 day trip we averaged 50 miles a day @ 12 mph. This included the 3 rest days so the daily average would be just a tad higher, but the speed is about the same. We also found that on multi-week tours we average about the same, 12-13 mph, for the trip. Daily averages tend to vary a lot depending on hills and headwinds. We had a one day average in Wyoming of about 6.5 mph becasue of wind. I had to pedal hard downhill just to get up to 10mph! However, we have also had some 15-16 mph days. It all depends; going through Cleveland one time we had to stop for about 40 traffic lights, which really blows the average. This is all fully loaded with about 35 lbs of gear.

PS. We are old farts, but we ride a lot and are in deceent shape.
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Old 09-13-14, 03:24 PM
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I think average speed IS important to know. One needs to allot the correct amount of time for a given distance based on their skills, planned stops, etc. As well as give credence to rest days. Unless one is fabulously wealthy and can tour open endedly. But that's not most of us I'm guessing.
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Old 09-13-14, 04:09 PM
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Averaged out over about 10,000 miles of actual riding a fully loaded touring bike all over the USofA = 13mph. Part of the fun of touring is looking around at the scenery. If I were in a rush, I would buy a motorcycle.
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Old 09-13-14, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
I think average speed IS important to know. One needs to allot the correct amount of time for a given distance based on their skills, planned stops, etc. As well as give credence to rest days. Unless one is fabulously wealthy and can tour open endedly. But that's not most of us I'm guessing.
I take a different approach on longer trips. Prior to the trip, I get a rough "mileage budget". For example, perhaps I'm going 3000 miles and ask is seven weeks ok. That is ~60 miles/day including my rest days. Based on my past trips, terrain and other things I might want to do off the bike - decide if that is OK or not. When I start the trip, I keep rough track of how I'm doing against my "budget". If I am "ahead", I might more easily take a rest day with inclement weather than if I am "behind". I might take alternate routes and adjust as I go. Very little of that has to do with my average speed because I'm not maxed out riding all the daylight hours. So if one day my average is lower - I just spend some more time in the saddle compared to another day where the average might be higher.

However, I don't pay much attention overall to average speed - either while on tour or even prior to the tour when planning the trip.
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Old 09-13-14, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
I think you'll do fine- on my loaded touring bike, I often find myself down around 10-12mph. Steep hills might push me down around 3-4mph, loaded- and I'm half your age.
That's me! I was hope'n somebody would put up those figures!
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Old 09-13-14, 07:38 PM
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I track moving average speed on my Cateye computer, and it runs 11.8mph when I'm touring solo on a loaded bike.
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Old 09-13-14, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
I take a different approach on longer trips. Prior to the trip, I get a rough "mileage budget". For example, perhaps I'm going 3000 miles and ask is seven weeks ok. That is ~60 miles/day including my rest days. Based on my past trips, terrain and other things I might want to do off the bike - decide if that is OK or not. When I start the trip, I keep rough track of how I'm doing against my "budget". If I am "ahead", I might more easily take a rest day with inclement weather than if I am "behind". I might take alternate routes and adjust as I go. Very little of that has to do with my average speed because I'm not maxed out riding all the daylight hours. So if one day my average is lower - I just spend some more time in the saddle compared to another day where the average might be higher.

However, I don't pay much attention overall to average speed - either while on tour or even prior to the tour when planning the trip.
I was just thinking about this today and thought pretty much the same thing. Basing more on mpd than mph is a better way to plan, I think. Since I have to call myself a beginner, I'm looking at my mileage for each of the last three months and looking at my progression that way. Now if I can stay on track and still do my otr trucking job......
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