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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
YES, another average speed question. Please dont reply, It all depends... Or just ride for fun.

I rode this morning in a relatively hilly area and average 16.3 mph. I rode for an hour and felt that I got a good workout. I almost always ride alone so I cannot determine if this is fast or not. My objective is to increase my overall fitness level and lose some weight.

So is 16.3 good or can I expect to improve a lot in the next year?
 

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If improved fitness and weight loss are your goals, speed is irrelevant.
anyway, I think speed is relative to environment condition.
I've got the tools to measure heart rate, candace, average speed...
When I'm on the trainer, I use them to motivate myself.
On the road, they are all pretty useless.
Time or distance, enjoyment and how feel are all that matter to me.
 

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Muaythaibike said:
YES, another average speed question. Please dont reply, It all depends... Or just ride for fun.

I rode this morning in a relatively hilly area and average 16.3 mph. I rode for an hour and felt that I got a good workout. I almost always ride alone so I cannot determine if this is fast or not. My objective is to increase my overall fitness level and lose some weight.

So is 16.3 good or can I expect to improve a lot in the next year?
It's good for a beginner. I always use this rule of thumb--if I'm getting passed by a ton of people I'm riding slow. If I don't get passed and mostly pass others then I'm riding fast.
 

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Yo no fui.
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Muaythaibike said:
Please dont reply, It all depends... Or just ride for fun.
It depends, unless you ride for fun. Oops.

How about this one: use the search function.
 

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Pablo said:
It depends, unless you ride for fun. Oops.

How about this one: use the search function.
I averaged 55 down this.

<img src=https://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/content/images/2006/04/28/1_cant_be_that_steep_420x270.jpg>
 

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If your objective is to increase your overall fitness level and lose some weight, why are you worried about speed? Just ride as strong as you can, for as long as you can. Don't worry about the numbers. Do that and you definitely can expect to improve a lot in the next year. Speed will come as a byproduct.
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
I always use this rule of thumb--if I'm getting passed by a ton of people I'm riding slow. If I don't get passed and mostly pass others then I'm riding fast.

Hey....that's a good way to judge....how come I never thought of that?

My average speed over the past 5300 miles has been 15.00 mph (2 years)

hilly...windy....55 yrs old....
 

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I started out this season at just under 16mph on a hilly 15 mile ride. I'm now over 18mph on the same ride, riding that ride 2-3 times per week (plus some other rides).

If you're looking to improve average speeds on a hilly ride, the biggest gains can be made in the slowest parts. In my case, deliberately concentrating on one particular flattish section after a long steep hill (where I was tired and tended to slack off) got me about 1mph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The bike computers that all of us have measure average speed, as well as top speed and distance. How can we say that numbers are not important? Almost everthing we do in our lives in measured. How can we say number are not important. Almost everything we do in our lives in quantified in some way. Why is it so bad to measure biking progress? I choose not to gauge progress by time on bike. But wait would that not require measurement as well? Any other sport that I have ever participated in number were important. Scores for sporting events. Times for running. Almost everything.

But wait, how do you measure pleasure? I may be the minority but I did not buy a bike just for fun. I use it as a way to get in shape for other athletic pursuit in my life. If I want to enjoy myself I can think of so many better ways. What I do enjoy about my bike is the ability to athletically challenge myself. For that I need measurements and a frame of reverence. No disrespect intended but I do not view biking as some sort of Zen activity that puts me in touch with myself.
 

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The problem with using average speed as a metric is that it's not an absolute measurement, the way that the score in a soccer match is. There are too many variables that affect average speed to legitimately compare one average speed to another, especially between riders. For example, my average on my commute might only be 13 mph, but a good hard training ride yields an average of 16 or 18 mph. Different bikes, different goals. I can hang with my friend Bill when we ride together, but I know darn well that he's a much stronger rider, and whats a recovery ride for him will rip my legs off. Different riders, different fitness levels.

Average speed is a great way to compare your performance over time and under similar conditions. If your average on a favorite loop goes from 16 mph to 18 mph over the course of a few months, I'd consider that a demonstration of progress. But don't fall into the trap of relying too heavily on it.

IMHO.
 

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It's not that numbers don't matter. It's just that you shouldn't try to measure your numbers against somebody else's. If you want to measure your own progress by tracking average speed, then by all means, do so. Even with that, however, you run the risk of comparing apples to oranges because of the many variables, e.g., wind, air temp, time of day, solo versus group, etc. Few rides, even over the same route, are created equal. So that takes brings us back to the original advice. Just keep riding and you'll likely see improvement.
 

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Indysteel said it well. It's not that numbers never matter; it's the false reliance on average speed, in some abstract sense, that's misleading. When people say, "it all depends," they mean something specific. Your speed on a given bike ride "depends" on several variables other than your fitness, including hills, wind and traffic. Unless those factors are the same for two rides, it's meaningless to compare the speeds. In other words, you can't say, "Rider A averaged 16 mph on his ride, and Rider B averaged 18 mph on his, so B is faster," unlesss you know an awful lot about the riding conditions.

So you can use average speed to measure YOUR OWN progress (though to do it meaningfully requires you to ride the same course, and then try to correct for variations in conditions (wind, traffic)), but you can only use it to compare yourself to others if they're riding the same course under the same conditions.

So you need to find a local time trial series, and get out there and start testing hyourself against others, if that matters to you.

In your initial post you said, "I almost always ride alone so I cannot determine if this is fast or not." Exactly right. But you also cannot determine it by posting a number here and asking people if it seems fast to them.

I'll bet you can go faster if you keep working at it, but it all depends.
 

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Muaythaibike said:
The last 2 posts make a lot of sence. Thanks.. So measure the same course over time..Easy enought. Thanks

I want to build killer endurance and stamana. I think biking will help do it....
Biking will indeed help that. Long rides are the best for that, but some hard rides are important, and fun, too. A lot of people have worked out their own personal time-trial courses, where they can periodically test themselves. If you want to do that, try to find a route that has light traffic, and as few intersections as possible. The ideal course would be along a single road, without lights or stopsigns. You start someplace, go out to a turnaround, and go back to the start. The out-and-back format somewhat reduces the effect of wind.

I have a personal course that's 3.5 miles, so 7 miles total, with two stopsigns I have to run (but turning right both times, so "relatively" safe), and generally very light traffic. It's mostly rolling, with a killer hill (about a third of a mile at about 14%) at about 2.5 miles. My informal goal (see, I use numbers, too!) is to average 20 mph on it, but I haven't quite done it, and maybe never will, as age battles with training.

One more thing I'd like to respond to:

I may be the minority but I did not buy a bike just for fun. If I want to enjoy myself I can think of so many better ways.
Personally, I can only think of one or two:)
 

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buy a power meter.:D over kill for most non racers but it will give you the watts put out regardless of the road or weather conditions. I think there are comparisons on line to determine how your performance measures against various levels of cyclist.
 

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I like to measure my progress by the time it takes me to get up a certain hill. Find a hill that takes at least 20 minutes to climb (if you have any in your area). Time yourself up it. Keep track of your times to keep track of your progress. Of course, your progress won't be monotonic, but it's the trend you care about. It similar if you are trying to lose weight and weigh yourself every morning. You weight will have natural fluctuations due to causes you can't quite pin down, but that's not important because it's the trend you care about.
 
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