slow improvement

i am enjoying my bike and can do about 30miles without too much trouble. i have done 50 miles and enjoyed it but struggled the last 6ish. the troubleis i ride by myself and some days i just cant get going. i dont seem to be getting any fitter. i am very slow uphills getting down to 5mls ph on some, although these hills i did have to stop half way when i first started. i can go quite fast on the flat but only for short distances. i dont feel ready to join a gruop , i would slow everyone down. please can anyone offer any advice. thankyou


Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
My experience is that cycling is much better in a small group, but still very do-able on your own.

Can be tricky finding someone to ride with. All my close friends would not even think of cycling at my pace for the distances I want to do. Fortunately I managed to find a social group on here who have improved my distance cycling no end. I don't set off as fast, and therefore last much better now. Hills have also become a conquerable challenge rather than pure masochistic dread.

So, option No.1 is to post on here or find a ride in the CC and informal Rides, Clubs and Events section and join up.

Second option is to ride to a destination, rather than a circular ride. It avoids chickening out, or cutting the route short.

Third option is to try to persuade a friend/husband to join you.

Fourth option is to find a cycle club that does social rides.


Well-Known Member
I can't help much with the speed, as I'm also quite slow myself.

For motivation, have you tried plotting some routes on Bikehike or similar, create a route and ride it to see how good it is. Bikehike is good also as it gives the elevation, so the bad hills can be avoided. I tend to create routes missing as many main roads as possible, sticking to the lanes if possible. My last one was 25miles, my next two are 35mile and 55mile, gives something to build up to. My target is to do a 100miler sometime this year.


Man or Moose!
How slow is slow?

I went along to a local clubs intro ride on sunday, and it was averaging about 16-17 at a guess, but people started dropping off the back, so the quicker guys slowed down to suit their pace with no grumbling at all. So what Im saying is, you wont be holding up a group (well maybe you might a little, but they wont mind unless you have signed onto a ride that has a minimum level required to complete and you sign on regardless)
30 miles without any trouble and you've enjoyed a 50 miler (which is something i have'nt completed yet) you are doing brilliantly .. Well Done

Just keep plugging away and most importantly enjoying your cycling the fitness will come and hills will get easier and by your own admission you no longer have to stop on the hills so you are already seeing the benefits .. the cycling clubs around here have different rides for different levels from beginner to experienced (quick) riders, pop along to a club night and see how you get on, its alot easier to get the motivation when your riding in a group

Good Luck and keep pedalling


Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
There are few substitutes for group-riding to help improve your cycling, but it's not the only way.
Problem is that cycling on your own, most tend to fall into similar patterns of effort, this is disrupted when group riding, so you need to make your own disruptions!
'Interval' training is much talked-about as a way of improving performance and many will advocate this program or that regime, but they're dull and mecanistic.
The Swedes do 'Fartlek' training which is similar and more fun when out on your own. Put simply, it involves sprinting between fixed points on your route, example from one set of lights to another, or, the 100 metres to the next signpost etc. and then twiddling along for a few minutes until you recover and then finding another good section to give it the beans!
Periods of full effort and recovery will help you go faster and further in the long run.
Same with hills... practice them, over and over again, alter your technique, attack some, spin gently up another.

Big T

You just need to find the right group to ride with. Our club's Saturday ride is quite sedate, covering 30 miles with a cafe stop in the middle and averaging 12-14 mph, ideal for beginners or the not so fit. Our Sunday rides are 50-70 miles, average 16-17 mph and much more of a challenge.


Cycling in Scotland
Auld Reekie
Check and see if there is a CC forum ride in your area...


Resting in suspended Animation
What FabFoodie said, especially

Problem is that cycling on your own, most tend to fall into similar patterns of effort, this is disrupted when group riding, so you need to make your own disruptions!
You might benefit from logging ride data on paper, spreadsheet or a website. It's quite easy to convince yourself overall you're doing more miles than you are or fewer.

I would say not to beat yourself up about 50 miles, they are difficult anyway. Many much better riders aren't necessarily knocking them out solo all the time. I didn't get comfortable doing 40 milers on my own till I'd done quite a few. I found 30 miles quite an easy distance to do solo and once it got beyond that very difficult.
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