Average Speeds

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5Thumbs
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Average Speeds

Postby 5Thumbs » Wed Nov 07, 2012 18:18 pm

Done about 5 rides now since getting my first road bike and already the distances are becoming a bit easier. This got me thinking about how you measure your progress.

So, do people keep track of average speed and if so what do you regared as reasonable for your own performance? I appreciate there will be some super fit racers out there but for us beginners.....

I also know conditions like wind and hills will vary so just looking for broad brush view. So far in my first 5 rides totalling 180 miles I've struggled to break the 15mph barrier. Frankly I've found this a bit depressing as I started on about 14.6 dropped to 14.2 then went back up again so no real evidence of progress as such :( . Still it's early days, but it would be handy to have some kind of target in mind

saprkzz
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby saprkzz » Wed Nov 07, 2012 18:39 pm

I used to be so fixed about average speed, but the more you ride and monitor your rides you notice how something so little can effect your average speed and in realilty you feel you have riden much better, for example.. You make excuses.. " ah man if that guy hadnt stopped me to ask directions".. or " damm if i hadnt got stuck at them lights"

I think its good to measure for a guide (or is fun the right word :roll: ) but, cadence / HR / Time over a distance / Ave Speed, all people measure differently, so find what works for you.

On a sportive which I tend to really oush myself, I will average just shy of 21MPH over 40 miles, and 19 on a hilly 62 miles, but there was 4 of us working together, so if i was on my own it would probably be around 17-18MPH, it looks great on strava :P

Simon Masterson
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Simon Masterson » Wed Nov 07, 2012 18:39 pm

My fastest average speed is around 25mph. On other rides it has been considerably lower.

I measure my rides against the clock. I often note the average speed, but usually only for interest. It's certainly not something I measure on an ongoing basis, as my riding is not (at the moment, anyway) constant, and when it is I measure the time in which I complete runs. Average speed is a measurement that many use, but it does not tell you a great deal; it can't tell you very much about the lows and highs of your ride, which are what you need to address most. It also varies wildly depending on terrain and distance; I would strongly advise against comparing others' numbers to your own unless they live in the same area as you.

But you're expecting too much of yourself. It takes most people months - some quite a few - to build the core fitness needed for high performance cycling. 5 rides isn't enough. Work hard, eat properly, rest adequately and maintain a positive mental attitude. If you put in the work you WILL see progress.

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elderone
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby elderone » Wed Nov 07, 2012 19:22 pm

I think your doing fine as a beginner and shouldbe pleased with your speed.Im also a beginner and after 7 weeks i average about 15mph in a hillyish area.to measure myself i do the same 20 mile circuit and my average as gone up to 16mph on that route fom 13mph when i started..If i ride on flat road i can cruise at 23-24 mph but round here thats rare.so try picking a route and do it occasionally and that is a good marker,conditions can change times but you,ll get a general idea.either wat keep at it and it will improve.
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Sprool
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Sprool » Wed Nov 07, 2012 20:26 pm

I started out 8 weeks ago around 12 - 13 mph on a 10 - 15 mile ride, I now do same distance at 15 - 16. If i get too fixed on pushing myself for a better average speed sometimes i forget to enjoy the ride!

Crispyapp
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Crispyapp » Wed Nov 07, 2012 21:12 pm

As said above unless your riding the same route every time then average speed doesn't really mean anything. As a beginner I would suggest you measuring yourself on how did I feel when I finished. If you feel tired then you might be at your limit, if you feel you could do another 10/20 mile then you can afford to push harder. Eventually you will notice yourself pushing further, harder and your avg speeds will increase.

I've been cycling most of my life, I'm 35 used to race as a 2nd cat and I'm telling you now I could never push an average speed of 25mph in the areas I cycle. Not a chance. By the way the area is the Yorkshire dales. So the guy who can ride at 25mph above must be on pretty flat terrain. Oh and to prove this the etape du dales sportive fastest clocked time is just short of 6 hours. Over a 112 mile circuit. That's an average of 18.6mph and that's done by an elite racer.

Your doing great, keep it up and don't let it bother you.
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Mikey41
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Mikey41 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 22:26 pm

You're doing just fine I'd say. On my current routes, even the hillier one, I end up averaging either 13.x or 14.x mph. More than happy with that after only 3 months cycling. I'm only looking at improving fitness for a longer distance.

I have had a 20mph average on a 0.9 mile (effectively flat) Strava segment giving it everything, I was breathing out my @rse at the end of it, no way I could keep that up for more than 3 mins :lol:

I'm measuring progress on how I feel at the end of a long ride more than average speed.
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Bobbinogs
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Bobbinogs » Wed Nov 07, 2012 22:46 pm

Crispyapp wrote:As said above unless your riding the same route every time then average speed doesn't really mean anything. As a beginner I would suggest you measuring yourself on how did I feel when I finished. If you feel tired then you might be at your limit, if you feel you could do another 10/20 mile then you can afford to push harder. Eventually you will notice yourself pushing further, harder and your avg speeds will increase.

I've been cycling most of my life, I'm 35 used to race as a 2nd cat and I'm telling you now I could never push an average speed of 25mph in the areas I cycle. Not a chance. By the way the area is the Yorkshire dales. So the guy who can ride at 25mph above must be on pretty flat terrain. Oh and to prove this the etape du dales sportive fastest clocked time is just short of 6 hours. Over a 112 mile circuit. That's an average of 18.6mph and that's done by an elite racer.

Your doing great, keep it up and don't let it bother you.


Sound advice.

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Re: Average Speeds

Postby oxoman » Wed Nov 07, 2012 23:08 pm

Don't worry about average speeds, you go fastish on the flat, faster downhill and slower uphill. Average speed is just a number. When i started i managed 12 mph average on a 10 mile bumpy run, I managed just under 15mph on sunday over 69 miles. so what its a number. Enjoy the ride and health benefits and bugger the Average speed thing.
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simona75
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby simona75 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 23:52 pm

Dont read too much into the average speed of others. Cyclists recounting their average speeds are like Golfers stating the length of their drive or anglers describing the size of their catch (i.e normally sprinkled with a little exaggeration)

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ALIHISGREAT
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby ALIHISGREAT » Thu Nov 08, 2012 00:29 am

5Thumbs wrote:Done about 5 rides now since getting my first road bike and already the distances are becoming a bit easier. This got me thinking about how you measure your progress.

So, do people keep track of average speed and if so what do you regared as reasonable for your own performance? I appreciate there will be some super fit racers out there but for us beginners.....

I also know conditions like wind and hills will vary so just looking for broad brush view. So far in my first 5 rides totalling 180 miles I've struggled to break the 15mph barrier. Frankly I've found this a bit depressing as I started on about 14.6 dropped to 14.2 then went back up again so no real evidence of progress as such :( . Still it's early days, but it would be handy to have some kind of target in mind


Average speed isn't great for measuring performance improvements... although over time you will notice a progression if you are getting fitter.

Its better to track performance on smaller sections of rides -> hills are generally ideal for this given that environmental factors will affect you less.. although there will still be some variation due to factors other than your legs.


I use Strava for this purpose -> I track my rides with my Android phone then upload them to Strava where I can compare my performance on 'segments' with my own performances, and the times of other riders.

Simon Masterson
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Simon Masterson » Thu Nov 08, 2012 08:53 am

Crispyapp wrote:As said above unless your riding the same route every time then average speed doesn't really mean anything. As a beginner I would suggest you measuring yourself on how did I feel when I finished. If you feel tired then you might be at your limit, if you feel you could do another 10/20 mile then you can afford to push harder. Eventually you will notice yourself pushing further, harder and your avg speeds will increase.

I've been cycling most of my life, I'm 35 used to race as a 2nd cat and I'm telling you now I could never push an average speed of 25mph in the areas I cycle. Not a chance. By the way the area is the Yorkshire dales. So the guy who can ride at 25mph above must be on pretty flat terrain. Oh and to prove this the etape du dales sportive fastest clocked time is just short of 6 hours. Over a 112 mile circuit. That's an average of 18.6mph and that's done by an elite racer.

Your doing great, keep it up and don't let it bother you.


Bingo - Hertfordshire is very flat, and the run starts in one of the flatter bits of Bedfordshire...

But I agree with that; sound advice.

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thegreatdivide
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby thegreatdivide » Thu Nov 08, 2012 09:18 am

Laurens ten Dam - 71.8 miles - 3,496 ft (i.e bumpy) - max speed 43mph - average speed 18.2mph

That's a pro on a training ride.
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gaddster
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby gaddster » Thu Nov 08, 2012 09:31 am

having just moved to Dartmoor I can say that my average speeds have plummeted. It's all about the hills. I did a small 28 mile ride the other day with 1000m of climbing, my average was about 16.5 but the amount of effort required easily surpassed my old 50 mile flat routes up in london. It's all relative.
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Melter
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Melter » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:52 am

The problem with the internet is you're subjected to comments from a huge pool of abilities, what this means is that you could well be seeing comments from some of the best cyclists in the country and then, subconsciously, start judging yourself by their standards.

I have sh1tty average times, but still find I pass more than pass me on a long ride.
Don't be downbeat after reading all the elite average times, all the 20mph plus people are not your average weekend warrior. I've even read on here somewhere of supeheros that average over 20mph on a mountain bike...well, maybe Edvald Boasson Hagen posts on here.
I bet a huge % of club riders are in the 16-18mph range when cycling on flattish terrain on their own (but then I come from down South where we're all soft).
If you want to feel good about your averages, go on a group ride, get towed along for a few miles and get your strava times way above the average : )

15 mph isn't at all bad, but you'll get faster naturally with time in the saddle, by next Summer you'll be better than that on an easy ride, it just comes without thinking - it's magic!

edit: Gaddsters avatar is damn awesome :D

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Roadrookie
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Roadrookie » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:02 pm

I have only been riding for a few months so unqualified to offer any advice but for me I enjoy tracking my average speeds as over time you should see some improvement as your fitness improves. I find myself sometimes riding the same route and it is encouraging when you see your times edging down and your averages up. My Garmin makes this process easy to track though. I say keep at it and dont worry about what the specific times are just use them for seeing a trend.

dov2711
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby dov2711 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:08 pm

This must be the most common thread topic where we lose sight of the positives in order to beat ourselves up based on perceptions of what others can do.

Keep riding and dont lose sight of the key measure which must be your own enjoyment and not just speed. I got caught up on the mph for quite a while when getting back into cycling and would beat myself up if I didnt beat this 15mph threshold. It was only after putting a bit of tape over the Av speed indicator when out cycling with my wife (the drop in speed took away from the shared benefits of being out together) that I started to refocus on the fact that I had covered 1000 miles+ during a period of time where I was hung up on why wasnt I progressing like others.

25mph - Kudos, but doesnt have any bearing whatsoever on how I should be measuring my progression; weight loss, sense of wellbeing, sustained committment to changing excercise habits, enjoyment, self image, overdraft, positive role model for my kid etc is far more important.

Now I just ride and look at setting a target of beating one of my times on strava for every 15/20 miles of a ride. If I dont make it, hey ho theres always the next ride and the next...strava shows there are far more in the mid range than the range which some people post as their average .

Just take on board some of the great advice that can be gained from this site and ride

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Re: Average Speeds

Postby blackhands » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:43 pm

I use average power - much more meaningful.

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Wrath Rob
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby Wrath Rob » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:50 pm

Don't worry. Just focus on increasing your time in the saddle and your average speed will come naturally.

If you really want to measure progress, e.g. you're training for a specific goal, then either pick a time trial route and time yourself over that in similar conditions (free but subject to many variables) or invest in a power meter and conduct a FTP test on a regular bases (expensive but accurate). FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is the best measure of progress and you can track it over time to see how your training is working. However, I really wouldn't worry about that for now. For most people its like hiring an accountant to tell you how poor you are.
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amaferanga
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Re: Average Speeds

Postby amaferanga » Thu Nov 08, 2012 15:36 pm

blackhands wrote:I use average power - much more meaningful.


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