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Thread: how slow am I?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    the foggy wetlands,los osos,ca

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    Quote Originally Posted by salsabike
    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
    I am with you on those fugures there. I seem to be a lot like you. Now going down hill I have managed 34 mph. So much fun.
    Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
    > Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Huntington Beach, Ca
    I'm a total newbie and I think I average under 13 mph most of the time. I'll have a better idea after I do a 50 mile ride with some climbing on Thursday. Sometimes I feel like I'm really slow, particularly when I look over on PCH and see the groups of club riders blow past me like I'm standing still, but eh...I've only been riding for two months and I'm sure that I'll keep improving
    Last edited by Brandy; 07-04-2006 at 08:04 AM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Asheville, NC
    what eden said...

    different rides are going to give you different results. when i started i was slow in comparison to the local riders...20 mph. now to those girls in the mtns i was fast...i now live in the mtns and have been working on my speed but not by looking at average speed unless it is the same route i am comparing...some routes i average 13-14 some i average as high as 18...the hills are to blame! you have wind...each day is different there so it may be harder to judge.

    average speed is better taken seriously in a controlled environment.

    pedal on and enjoy!!!
    I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    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.
    Right...this morning I decided to just go by time instead of miles. My computer doesn't calculate average speed, just top speed, miles, time. So this morning I rode for 1:32, on a hilly route. Sometimes I was going under 4 mph uphill. On one hill, I was going side to side, because it was so steep and I didn't want to push.

    At the end of the ride, I'd gone 15.2 miles. That's an average speed of just 6mph. I'm happy with my ride, though, because it met my goals.

    *Oh, I meant to day that a week or so ago I did a ride on the town trail in which I had a 16 mph average. It wasn't the distance I did today, though.

    Last edited by Tuckervill; 07-04-2006 at 08:17 AM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Concord, MA
    You are doing fine. Unless you want to start training for racing or have a need for speed, your average will go up with experience, time, and maybe a little specific effort. When i started cycling, my average was probably around 12. That was on a mountain bike with slicks. After I got my first road bike, I did work on improving, and it went up to about 13.5. Now it's about 15.5, but the reason it isn't going up higher has to do with the kind of riding I do and who I ride with. I live in an area that's not flat, mostly rolling, but also with some hard climbs. When I ride by myself or my husband on shorter rides (15-25 miles) my average tends to be between 15.5 and 16. What's surprised me is that it's creeped up, even after moving to a house where every ride ends with a 10-15% grade climb. But, when I ride longer distances, I go slower. Perhaps this is self defeating, but I am riding for fitness and fun, not just speed. I also ride with people who tend to average around 13-14. That's fine with me, especially, if it's after a day that i have done a harder ride. So my average goes down. If you look at my Bike Journal stats, it will probably say my average is 14.7 for the year, a result of this type of riding.
    The club rides I lead are advertised as intermediate; the average tends to be around 14. Sometimes there are slower people and they are fine. We just wait at the tops of the climbs for them. This is social riding, not hammering. I finally found a group ride where I can keep up and even be in the front. The average is around 15. I usually drop almost everyone except the leader on the hills, but I am a slow descender, so I lose there.
    So, unless you have a need for more speed right now, give it time and a little work and you will improve.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Marin County CA
    There's always going to be someone who's faster than you.

    There's always going to be someone who's slower than you.


    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.

    2011 Volagi Liscio
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    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Eden
    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.

    This is useful information. My computer reads 12 mph for my average, but that'swith hills, wind, stop signs, etc. WHen I look down on the flats, going steady at a comfortable pace, I think I'm averaging more like 14-16 or so...

    I keep reading the posts about average speed and they make me feel really slow..

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Florida panhandle
    Quote Originally Posted by maillotpois
    There's always going to be someone who's faster than you.

    There's always going to be someone who's slower than you.

    And if you're as fortunate as Goldilocks was, you might find someone to ride with who's "just right."
    Bad JuJu: Team TE Bianchista
    "The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress." -Roth
    Read my blog: Works in Progress

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Memphis, TN
    When I started cycling, I picked up by Greg LeMond. He urged people to train by time, not by mileage. I found this really does help.(i,e, doing an hour ride versus going out for 15 miles)
    Speed: maillotpois hit it on the head. I think some people (form past experience in real life) associate max speed with average speed.
    An example. Today I did Glendora Mountain Road with Warren. I averaged 12.9, so that means I'm slower than you , right? Going up (there's about 2500 feet of climbing in 6 miles), I was averaging about 6.5mph. Better than my last time up. Going down, I doing around 35(Getting better at hairpin turns). We going to come through La Verne(An LA suburb), but they were having a parade, so we wound up in Pomona (a less "desirable" city, if you get my drift), We were doing about 20mph through there since it was fairly flat .
    Unless you're racing, the only person you really need to compare yourself against is yourself. Sounds like you're doing fine
    Last edited by Fredwina; 07-05-2006 at 09:18 AM.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    The ride leader who is resonsible for an awful lot of my enjoyment and strength and endurance says "There will always be someone older AND faster than you."

    That "what's average" thing works both ways, too. If you're going on a ride and they say, "oh, we only average about 14," they're sort of referring to the average at the end... or what they were averaging in March... so most of the time out on the road, they're going 17 or 18 - but since they already dropped you, they don't notice.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    North Central Florida
    I'm going to start using my max speed for my average now, then, if that's allowable. My speed is 49.1mph! ;-)

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

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    The Red Stick
    I agree with lots of the comments here. Your average speed shouldn't matter too much. Wind, hills, stop signs, etc. all affect average speed. As long as you're enjoying yourself - have at it!

    Where I ride, it is FLAT. The only "hills" are into driveways. I run into a lot of wind here (averages 10-20 mph). I ride in town in the neighborhoods where there are a lot of stop signs, so that slows me down. My computer tells me I average 15 mph, pretty much regardless of how long I ride (10 miles or 30...). As Eden said - your average pace when you're going good is usually way different from the overall average. In between stop signs and on the long straight sections (I ride on the periphery of town for part of my loop), I average anywhere from 16-20, depending on how I'm feeling). So, my point is that there is a lot of variability within a ride. And as long as you're enjoying yourself, there's not much to be gained to compare yourself to others. As MP said - some are faster, some are slower than you. Have fun!
    Elizabee (age 5) at the doctor's office: "I can smell sickness in here...I smell the germs"

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    like eden said, I see 2 types of average speeds mentioned here. I suspect our gal Eclectic is talking about the average for the entire ride duration. that counts hill climbing, and slowing for lights/stopsigns, crazy drivers etc. That also means on flats, she's probably pedaling at 16-20mph. that's mighty fine to me!

    I admit, I use average as compared to myself to see how I'm doing. but that said....

    last fall I lived on the east side of work. I had a downhill commute to work that was very straight, and if I had a nice fast speed, I could miss the majority of lights, allowing me to have some phenomenal averages. also, I've discovered that when there's winds, they come from the east in the mornings and from the west in the evenings. a benefit if you live on the east side.

    Now, I've moved, my route is different, and when I'm going south, it's downhill(slightly) and when I'm going west in the am, it's headwind (not now, the high summer killed the winds). my speeds dropped - or did they? more lights which I have to stop for make for an average killer. on your routes, do you have hills? yup, they kill total averages.

    so, you can be a good rider, able to sprint up above 22 on flats and have an average of 14-15. It depends on alot of elements. it's hard what folks say about averages. I know when i talk about them, i refer to the entire ride, not the speed i can ride at on flats without headwinds

    And it doesn't really matter if i think pedaling at 10 is slow. it doesn't matter if i pedal at 16, 18, 20 or even 25! nor if V does, or any other gal here. it really comes back to you the rider.

    When you ride, do you enjoy yourself? Do you feel like you are exerting enough energy to satisfy the endorphin addiction? Are you enjoying the scenery as much (or not as much) as you would desire to? are you keeping up with the people you'd really rather keep up with? Hammer heads are notorious for being, well, hammerheads. there's not a ton of chatter. and many of the recreational speeds lead to the best conversations. but then, maybe you're a racer at heart, and that ammonia burning smell in your nose just sends you into cyclist heaven. or maybe going slow enough to notice that absolutely phenomenal sunset. I don't know. the truth is, cycling needs to be about you and what you want. As soon as you make it about being as good as, or better than or whatever, you'll lose the joy you get from it.

    (please note, this is different from having "rabbits" to inspire you to push a little more to get better, or as inspiration to tackle things you never thought you could do before. )
    Last edited by ladyjai; 07-04-2006 at 05:08 PM.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    I rode with a guy who was so worried about his average that he would go flying up to a stop and then slam on his brakes, instead of slowing down gradually, like the rest of us. Drove me bonkers!

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The middle of North America
    Thanks everyone! I am feeling much better. And I think there is truth to statement that with time and more riding I will get stronger. Once again patience is the key.

    I do believe in riding just for the sake of the love of riding but then I get into the “mob” mentality on group rides or when riding with someone stronger than me and I don’t stop to take into account the variables. (the last gal I rode with was great and patient - she is a tri-athlete and trains 3-4 hours a day - HELLO of course she is going to ride stronger)

    I liked the list re the rider categorization - it would really clarify some of the rides if we used it. . . I think I'll introduce it

    Thanks again for the perspective readjustment


    PS I do take the average from when I leave home until I arrive back home - If I took my fastest time it would be 40.5 whoo hoo

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



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