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Thread: how slow am I?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The middle of North America
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    776

    how slow am I?

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    I was reading a post and the writer mentioned " at the slow speed of 13.4"

    I thought "Oh Oh" my average speed is 13.5 and I thought I was doing OK

    I ride about 100 miles per week with each ride being a minimum of 20 miles (have done up to 60 in a day this summer) Finished a 3 day tour with a total of 158 miles last week and you guessed it my average speed was 13.5

    I am not a super strong rider but then again I am not a weakling either.

    To make a longer story longer What I want to know is what are some of the averages out there and what kind of conditions are you riding in.

    A typical ride for me here on the wide open prairie usually includes a minimum of a 10 mph wind. I ride a loop so am not getting a good tailwind benefit.

    Closer to reality on the wind ( I always check weatherbug before I go) it is 14 - 20 mph

    Also I always do at least one hill that is 1/2 - 1 mile long with about an 9% grade (we live in a valley) - I know that is an average killer I have yet to make it up faster than 7mph

    The remainder of the various routes are rolling with the odd flat stretch

    I have been working on my shifting and cadence and have found good improvement over last year.

    I am not first in on the club ride (the Hammerheads are) but neither am I last
    Last week one of the Hammerers pulled me for 5 miles then I teamed up with a friend who was faster than me so I pushed hard to keep up - my average for 25 miles that night was 14.3 (wind of course was about 18mph) no big hills

    Oh yeah, I am riding a specialized sequoia and using clipless pedals


    It's about the journey and being in the moment, not about the destination

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
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    5,672
    Your speed seems fine to me.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,473
    Just as one frame of reference, here is the ride classification system used by a local club to define their ride paces. And, by the way, I average about 14.3 on my 30-40 mile trail rides. We are neither the fastest nor the slowest. I can live with that while I keep working to get better.


    Easy: Under 10 mph
    Leisurely: 10-12 mph
    Steady: 12-14 mph
    Moderate: 14-16 mph
    Brisk: 16-18 mph
    Strenuous: 18-21 mph
    Super Strenuous: 22+ mph

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2
    your speed is fine..I am much slower than you...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florida panhandle
    Posts
    1,498
    Depends on what you're going for. Are you planning to race at some point and want to get faster for that? Or would you just like to go faster so you can get to a particular destination faster? If not, who cares what your speed is if you're getting the fitness benefits you want and enjoying your rides?

    My speed is slower than yours, though it's improving without my even trying, just because I'm riding more and improving my pedal stroke and aerobic capacity. I wouldn't mind being a little faster, but it's not really my goal. My goals are fitness and joy--if I'm not having a good time on the bike, something's wrong, regardless of speed. What I do measure are time, distance, and heart rate--those seem to be good indicators of fitness for me. But your goals might be different from mine.

    Having said all that, 13.5 mph, esp. with the headwinds you mentioned, sounds pretty respectable to me.
    Bad JuJu: Team TE Bianchista
    "The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress." -Roth
    Read my blog: Works in Progress

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    What the others said. I live in the Chicago area, so I understand the winds. Don't you love how they just shift on you? I've done rides in Iowa and Wisconsin, and by far the hardest part of riding in the open is the wind. That will certainly slow anyone down.

    My average speed is faster than yours, but so what? I train to be fast, so I ride with clubs that hammer and sprint. I guess I just like to go fast. I'm not a racer, but I am competitive. On a flat ride, like my commute to school, I average about 20mph. On a hilly route, I average 15 if I'm lucky. If there's a good headwind, I drop to about 17-18mph on a flat route. On club rides we cruise at 22mph with sprints to 30mph. When I ride with my friend who's just getting into cycling, I go 11mph to stay with him. So I guess it all depends on what I'm doing. I think what's most important is that you're having fun. One thing I've noticed since going slower is I take time to see what's around me.

    My $.02.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    471
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad JuJu
    My speed is slower than yours, though it's improving without my even trying, just because I'm riding more and improving my pedal stroke and aerobic capacity. I wouldn't mind being a little faster, but it's not really my goal. My goals are fitness and joy--if I'm not having a good time on the bike, something's wrong, regardless of speed.
    Having said all that, 13.5 mph, esp. with the headwinds you mentioned, sounds pretty respectable to me.
    I totally agree! I have only just increased my speed to 14.3, having been at 13.1 for the longest time (it seemed)! Our rides are usually on rolling hills (and some of them I am just barely able to keep the wheels turning) and sometimes very flat areas with lots of wind! Just work at riding with a steady cadence, and ride as often as you can and you will improve whether it's a goal or not!
    My SO and I do century rides, and the main reason I wanted to increase my speed is so that we wouldn't be riding into the night - long after all the others had finished!
    And if I'm not having fun, I'm not gonna be riding!
    "The bicycle was the first machine to redefine successfully the notion of what is feminine. The bicycle came to symbolize something very precious to women - their independence."—Sally Fox

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    I live, pretty much, where beta lives (I'm riding out to your neck of the woods today, beta, for the OP parade and bbq at my sisters!).

    I am not, however, as fast as beta, since she trains more than I do! On my "old" bike (Marin Larkspur hybrid), fast was 18-19 mph. On my Bianchi Veloche, my top speed so far is 25 mph. Briefly. On the flats with no significant wind and no stop signs, I hang out around 20 mph. Into the wind, I'm lucky if I can maintain 12-13 mph. I can't fathom (yet) seeing "30" on my spedometer! The wind on the prairie...argh! If someone can post an explanation of how the wind can feel like it's blowing from every direction at once, I would appreciate it!

    Speed is nice, I love speed. The light, fast bike really helps. People getting off the bike path for me really helps. The freaking wind just stopping really helps. Training my body helps. As others have said, unless you're racing, do you need to be at a certain speed? You sound like you ride long and hard and well to me!
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    Hey Lise, humid enough for ya? Jeebus!!! It dropped to 88% now at least. It was 94% yesterday. I commuted into work at NMH, then met up with my friend to go to half shell (mmmm crab legs). Riding home was like riding through windy soup. I was so uncomfortable.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    3,387
    You guys are WUSSES with only 94% humidity!!

    My average speed is 14.5 or 15 on long rides. On Saturday's ride, it was 13. That means, under perfect conditions, I'm riding 18-20, but if I hit a hill, then that drops to 4-6 if it's a bad hill, and 13ish if the wind is bad. So no, I don't 13.5 is slow. That's about the average speed of the slowest rider in my group I like to ride with, which means that's the group's average speed.

    On a long tour/ride- it's hard to raise your average speed (but also hard to make it worse!!).

    Aerobars will increase your speed acouple mph or more, effortlessly.

    Nanci
    ***********
    "...I'm like the cycling version of the guy in Flowers for Algernon." Mike Magnuson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    10,576
    Just checked my computer, and my average for my round-trip commute yesterday was 10.9 mph. I can get up to 29 mph going down one of the hills that goes for 3 or 4 blocks before a stop sign, and drop to about 5 mph going up the same hill.

    On the flat bike path with few pedestrians/kids/dogs/riders I can get a faster average.

    Really, 13.5 mph sounds pretty good to me.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    You guys are WUSSES with only 94% humidity!!
    Hey it's not my fault you decided to live in a swamp.

    You think we're bad, one of my teammates for RAGBRAI was in Iowa with a few others of us a couple weekends ago. The humidity was maybe 70% or so. He was like my god it's so humid! Then again he's from colorado.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,104

    humidity -- speed too!

    Desert climate here, but I grew up in the midwest, and was totally blown away one day when someone suggested 25% was awfully muggy!

    Eclectic -- I know exactly how you felt when you read the "slow ride" post! My average speed is around 11.5. Crawling up hills at around 4-5 messes with my speeds horribly! (I get really excited if I can stay above 6 on a hill!)

    Karen in Boise

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    Quote Originally Posted by betagirl
    Hey Lise, humid enough for ya? Jeebus!!! It dropped to 88% now at least. It was 94% yesterday. I commuted into work at NMH, then met up with my friend to go to half shell (mmmm crab legs). Riding home was like riding through windy soup. I was so uncomfortable.
    I know, I was sitting here at the computer at 7:10 AM, with sweat running down my back. Sitting here! What's that about? I'm grateful today's not a "run" day on my training schedule.

    For some reason, I was fine riding yesterday evening. I went out at 6 PM, came back, oh, 8-ish, I guess. Rode 20 miles along the lakefront, stopping to stretch twice. I will say that it was cooler by the lake, felt like 8-10 degrees cooler. 5 blocks west of the lake, the heat hit me.

    An now...to hit the hot pavement and go 9 miles farther west of the lake! Have a great day, everybody!
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    You all may be comparing apples to oranges too. Fess up - some people when they talk about their "average speed" may not be talking about what shows up on the cycle computer, but what they see the most when they look down on the flats.

    If you are going purely by what the computer shows, where you ride will make a big difference in what your average speed is. How many times you have to stop for lights and stop signs or slow for traffic, how hilly, flat, windy, whether you ride solo or in a group will all make a difference in your average speed, but not really compare how strong you are to another person unless they have done the identical ride.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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