I've used a Garmin Edge 500 for some years now and before that used a Polar device that included a heart rate monitor. So it's been a while since I used a simple odometer for my bike. I know that Cateye makes (made?) some good ones. The Garmin Edge products are very popular for cycling. If you're interested in one of those, I can find a link to a blogger that has reviewed a bunch of them.
As for speed, it really depends on the person. The club I ride with most often has defined their ride categories as: 8-10 mph, 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18, 18+. Most of our active members tend to average 10-13 or above 15. I am a lonely in-between rider these days, averaging 13.5-14 on most routes that have some hills and topping out around 15 on flat routes. On a very hilly ride the other day I averaged 12.5 mph. Everyone else on the ride (except for the friend I rode with) was faster that, out of sight and up the road and never to be seen again after the first few miles.
To get faster, well you have to ride faster. People often advise interval training for this. Ride very fast, push yourself to work hard, for an interval of time or distance. Then go easy for a while. Then another hard interval followed by another easier one, and again and again. Usually you want a warm up period of easier riding before the first hard interval and an easy cool down period at the end. As for how to define the intervals, to be honest I only really do them on the indoor trainer during the winter so they're based on time, e.g., 1 or 2 or 5 minutes hard effort followed by 30 seconds or 1 or 2 minutes of easy pedaling. But riding outdoors, you can do it based on time or it can depend on where you're riding. It can be from one intersection to the next, from one lamp post to the next, up a hill, etc.
The less formal approach that I take is to (a) ride as much as I can and (b) do some rides with people who are faster than me and try to keep up with them for as long as possible. Eventually I get annoyed and slow down to a more comfortable pace, but in the long run it does help to push myself. You want your leg muscles to be tired at the end.
p.s. one more thing I should add -- I would be faster these days if I wasn't hauling around an extra 10 pounds of fat on my butt. If you're overweight, losing weight typically helps you ride faster. Of course if losing weight were easy I wouldn't be hauling around these extra 10 pounds...
Last edited by ny biker; 08-30-2016 at 12:59 PM.
- Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
- Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
Gone but not forgotten:
- Silver Trek 2000 road bike
- Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles