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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    central Idaho mountains
    Posts
    53

    65 and new to cycling

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    I've been riding now for a few weeks and have worked up to 16 mile rides, but my average speed stays the same, right at 8 mph. How do I get faster?
    I either ride on a mostly dirt rail trail or paved/dirt back roads. I have a Specialized Crossroads, which is a comfort bike. Do I need a different bike? Or is there a way to improve on this bike?
    Shelley, Great Grandma Beginner
    1991 Specialized Hard Rock
    2012 Trek Superfly100 AL Elite

    Occasional blogging at: My Mountain Home

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    8 mph is really quite good on dirt. Keep at it and welcome to TE.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    central Idaho mountains
    Posts
    53
    Oh, I didn't know that. I am always reading about people averaging 12-15 mph so I thought I was extremely slow! And not improving.
    Shelley, Great Grandma Beginner
    1991 Specialized Hard Rock
    2012 Trek Superfly100 AL Elite

    Occasional blogging at: My Mountain Home

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    Cycling is a multi year sport. It can take years to really build up. So you are off to a great start!

    To get speed you need a strong foundation of lots and lots and lots of base miles. Keep riding and you'll build endurance. Once that's established far later this year or next season add hills, interval work, maybe lift weights.

    But without a solid foundation of base miles all that's for naught. So keep riding. Speed will come.

    Most posting 15 mph+ are on road bikes and not on dirt. So you are doing great. Slicks would not hurt (smoother tires if you have knobbies on the comfort bike) but really ....

    8 mph on dirt with a comfort bike?

    You rock!
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    central Idaho mountains
    Posts
    53
    Okay--now I really feel encouraged! I'll keep at it, and be patient. Thanks
    Shelley, Great Grandma Beginner
    1991 Specialized Hard Rock
    2012 Trek Superfly100 AL Elite

    Occasional blogging at: My Mountain Home

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    Most posting 15 mph+ are on road bikes ...
    The saddle to cranks geometry of a comfort bike is meant for ... comfort, not efficiency. The cranks are probably further forward than a road bike. This means you can't use gravity (your body weight) to help push the pedals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    8 mph on dirt with a comfort bike?

    You rock!
    Ditto!
    Laura

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,952
    What the others said, you are doing fantastic! Also, welcome to TE and to cycling

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    I think you're doing amazingly! Keep on keeping on! It can seem like it takes forever to see improvements, but they do happen slowly. One day you'll look back and see how far you've come. Good work!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,302
    I have almost 4000 miles under my belt now, having ridden since April of 2011. I am 57. The last couple of weeks I have been riding rural roads, a mix of gravel, dirt, and pavement on my hybrid bike. My average has ranged from 9.6 to a high of 10.7. The surface and the bike matters. I do much better on pavement with my road bike. As does time riding. Just putting time in the saddle will improve your speed.

    Welcome to TE!
    Trek Madone 4.7 WSD
    Cannondale Quick4
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate, original owner
    Terry Classic


    Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek420 View Post
    Cycling is a multi year sport. It can take years to really build up. So you are off to a great start!!
    This is so true and very important. It takes a long time to build strength. But guess what? Cycling is fun, so it doesn't really matter. You can enjoy yourself even if progress is slower than you'd like.

    Consider this: do you need to go fast? I'm quite happy being slow.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Just putting time in the saddle will improve your speed.

    Welcome to TE!
    Patience, grasshopper But seriously. I'm thrilled beyond belief to be at 8 mph on my utility/hybrid/commuter mobile.

    I've learned here that building speed and endurance is like building a house. You need a strong foundation or the whole thing collapses. Don't worry about speed, you are doing great!! Just keep getting TITS. Everyone get your minds outa the gutter that's Time In The Saddle. Or as some trainers say: take LSD . Long Slow Distance.

    Also for us gals (I'm 56) we need to cross train especially weight bearing. I would not let cycling be the exclusive deal for you.

    You've obviously got some fitness going on so depending on that let's say 3-6 months hence start doing a little interval work?

    Then we'll enable your addiction by helping you shop for a road bike.
    Last edited by Trek420; 07-30-2012 at 08:20 AM.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    central Idaho mountains
    Posts
    53
    Yes, my mind is already drifting toward a road bike!

    Today I rode the rail trail into town for some lab work, a fasting blood draw. I decided to take off the bulky panniers and, lo and behold, my speed increased! I was going strong on the way in at 9.5 to 10 average, but much slower on the way back. I finally stopped to eat a luna bar and that perked me up. I also noticed that bending lower and sitting back allowed more power to transfer to the pedals, and that's probably why I'm thinking road bike.

    I don't know why I think I need to go faster but I guess that's one marker of improvement, but distance would be another, and maybe better, marker.
    Shelley, Great Grandma Beginner
    1991 Specialized Hard Rock
    2012 Trek Superfly100 AL Elite

    Occasional blogging at: My Mountain Home

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Posts
    487
    There is a thread on bikeforums.com devoted to riders over 50. It is really fun. Inside of that thread is another one for riders 65+. I wish we had one of those here!

    I also gave up on average mph meaning anything. You can ride all day at 14 mph but if you have to keep stopping for streetlights and what not you will never actually ride at an average of 14 mph!

    There is one trail I ride that has very little stopping for anything. I can always average 14-17 mph on it. Another trail I ride that is very similar to it I can never get beyond 12 mph. There are just too many stops signs and lights. It is also busy and if you get behind a group, you often to have follow at their speed until you can pass them.

    And if you ride around the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis, MN, the trails have a speed limit of 10 mph (as if anyone follows THAT).

    So to me, average speed is relative. Just ride and enjoy!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,975
    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    There is a thread on bikeforums.com devoted to riders over 50. It is really fun. Inside of that thread is another one for riders 65+. I wish we had one of those here!
    We have several large threads titled "Is there anyone/someone here over 30 ... 40 .... 50 ...." I just can't find them at the moment.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    543
    Quote Originally Posted by kajero View Post
    There is a thread on bikeforums.com devoted to riders over 50. It is really fun. Inside of that thread is another one for riders 65+. I wish we had one of those here!

    I also gave up on average mph meaning anything. You can ride all day at 14 mph but if you have to keep stopping for streetlights and what not you will never actually ride at an average of 14 mph!

    There is one trail I ride that has very little stopping for anything. I can always average 14-17 mph on it. Another trail I ride that is very similar to it I can never get beyond 12 mph. There are just too many stops signs and lights. It is also busy and if you get behind a group, you often to have follow at their speed until you can pass them.

    And if you ride around the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis, MN, the trails have a speed limit of 10 mph (as if anyone follows THAT).

    So to me, average speed is relative. Just ride and enjoy!
    I would second the idea of having a dedicated thread for 50+!! So who do we ask to get that? Not just a thread, but a regular topic, like the "new riders" or "touring" topics.
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

 

 

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