How Fast

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Sambu, 15 Apr 2010.

  1. Sambu

    Sambu Active Member

    Location:
    E.yorks
    How fast is a respectable speed to go on the flat on a road bike for a begginer? and what sort of average should i be looking for over a 15-20 mile ride?

    sambu
     
  2. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Location:
    Manchester
    I dont know what a respectable speed is to most people, but I have been cycling now about 3 months and can give you my averages over a number of distances. I do not measure rolling average (i.e. my timer doesnt stop when I am stationary or travelling below a certain speed) I measure true average over the entire journey time.

    I ride an average speed when training over 10-20 miles around to 16.5-17mph if there is little traffic and not many stops at lights (i.e if i go out early saturday or sunday morning), more like 15-16mph if commuting, due to traffic and lots of traffic light stops. My longest ride yet has been 50 miles, average speed over this distance was 15.8mph (it was effected by a crash, a 10 minute stop to take details of driver and recover).

    Top speed on the flat, 31mph.



    Unless you wish to race, then I wouldnt worry about your speed in the beginning, worry more about your level of enjoyment and general fitness.
     
  3. palinurus

    palinurus Guru

    Location:
    Watford
    Don't worry about it. All sorts of things will conspire to bring down your average speed. If you want to keep an eye on your progress then perhaps ride a loop (all left turns and no traffic lights or tricky junctions) or an out and back course as hard as you (sustainably) can and record your average speed. Do it every now and then and see if you improve. Remember that you'll be slower on windy days.

    But if you want a target then how's about 20 mph over a flat 10 mile course (on your 15 -20 mile ride you could use the first 5-10 miles as a warm-up)
     
  4. Debian

    Debian New Member

    Location:
    West Midlands
    What does it matter? So long as you enjoy the ride does it matter if you average 8mph or 18mph?
     
  5. It depends a lot on what bike your on, purpose and route (hilly/flat/mixture) etc.

    If you are on a heavier bike but sightseeing is your purpose 11-12mph is fine.

    If your on a lighter bike around 14-15mph on a mixed route.

    If you are really trying hard you want to be just over the 15mph.
     
  6. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Location:
    Manchester
    OP may intend to race, or seek a group to ride with and wishes to see what sort of pace would be expected of them?
     
  7. Debian

    Debian New Member

    Location:
    West Midlands
    He may well wish to know that, but that isn't what he asked.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Sambu

    Sambu Active Member

    Location:
    E.yorks
    thanks for the replies, my reason for askin was that i want to get better, and be good lol. ive only been riding a month or two on my dads giant defy3. seen quite a bit of improvement as to be expected. i just wondered what sort of speed i should be aiming at.
     
  9. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    Location:
    Solihull
    John Kemp Starley ( the man responsible for the Safety Bicycle ) and William Froude ( the man responsible for the Water Brake Dynamometer ) reckoned...

    A reasonable average power output from a healthy man over an hour's exertion would be about 100 Watts.
    On Starley's bicycle, this was a flat road speed of about 12.5 mph ( with all the baggy clothes and top hat ).

    Nowadays, humans who start cycling have changed very little, but the bikes and apparel have.
    Therefore, it may only require 80 Watts to propel a modern Hybrid type bike forward at 12.5 mph.

    I posted a chart somewhere showing NASA's interpretation of 'Healthy men'. This, as I am informed, was the qualification criteria for becoming one of their 'space guinea pigs' back in the sixties.

    Thus, a beginner cyclist would be wholely expected to put up HALF of NASA's threshold, i.e. 100 Watts continuous output for 1 hour.

    On a modern bike, on a flat stretch of road with no wind effects ( an indoor track ) that would be about 14 mph :smile:
     
  10. Banjo

    Banjo Fuelled with Jelly Babies

    Location:
    South Wales
    Trouble with a question like that is there are so many variables.Smoothness of the road surface ,wind, bends junctions etc then the bike itself tyres make a big difference.

    If you ride the same route regullarilly it will show if you are getting quicker against your personal best .

    I think the best way to gauge yourself is against other riders .
     
  11. Simba

    Simba Specialized Allez 24 Rider

    My averages range from 12mph on windy days upto 17.5mph when there is little wind.

    If I measure my average of averages its around 14.5mph. Top speed on a flat is 29mph and 41mph on a descent. All this on a 13kg aluminium mountain bike adapted for road use... Semi-Slick Road tyres etc.

    Oh and Ive been back on the saddle since August last year, I am reasonably fit and getting fitter.
     
  12. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    Location:
    Solihull
    I used to compare myself with the 'Top pros'.
    On my first lightweight back in the seventies, I was able to average half of what the pros were doing on a 'flat' stage of the TdF. They had closed roads, drafting and drinks supplied. I had traffic, wind resistance 100% and had to stop for drinks.

    As the years went on, I got to 2/3 their speed.

    When I went out with the club, I found I could keep up and even take the lead a few times.

    Now I don't go on the fast rides and Audax instead. If I can get back to the finish before it closes, that's all that matters.
    I aim for overall 12.5 mph, which means an 'on the road' average of 13.5 and a cruising speed of 14.5 - 15 mph.
     
  13. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    Location:
    Solihull
    Is that 14.5 mph over Audax Randonnee distance?
     
  14. Simba

    Simba Specialized Allez 24 Rider

    No but on my regular rides my computer is usually around that speed. If I really push myself I can get an average of 17+mph. I have 3 routes I commute on for variation. One is 11 miles, one is 16.5 miles and the last is 12.3 miles

    All have a similar number of climbs and descents, similar gradients also.

    The other day I did the 16.5 mile trip in litterally 1 hour at 16.5mph average I was well happy. My lower drag from not wearing tracksuit bottoms and the move to cycling shorts probably has something to do with that too.
     
  15. nigelb

    nigelb New Member

    I'm in no sense fit, and have weight to lose, but I manage a 7 mile ride (to work) in somewhere between 29 and 45 minutes wall-clock time.

    For me, the best encouragement is to see what you can do now, and then see how it improves with time. We're all different shapes/sizes/ages/fitness levels, but if you find a circular route that takes you say an hour, do it regularly, see how long its taking t get to the various points round it, and start to chase those points, aim to beat your "average". Wind/traffic/tiredness will conspire to stop you, but it gives you something to aim for.

    Commuting, I find having someone in front of me is a big encouragement. If they can cycle at that speed, then it means its worth me trying to. With some, I aim to keep them in sight until the roundabout. Others, I aim to overtake before the roundabout! I haven't found anythinglike another cyclist to encourage me to cycle consistently faster.

    However, at 51, and 15 stone, I don't think I'm really cut out for the group cycle rides (and tbh have other things to do with my evenings and weekends).

    Most of all, enjoy yourself :-)

    Nige
     
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