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Lots of people use mileage as a training yardstick of sorts, but it seems to me this is not an exact measure by any means. I live in a suburban area and usu. do several 20-30mi rides and a longer 40-55mi ride each week (as the Midwestern weather & my job allow). I've noticed that I generally do 16-18mi in an hour on these solo rides in the suburbs pretty much regardless of how hard I try to ride between the turnarounds and waiting at stoplights. It's easier to pile up the distance on rural roads where you can keep a good steady cadence going for miles (e.g. did a 45 mi rural charity ride at a conversational pace & averaged 17+mph feeling great, so I did 30 more mi for some tempo work).
I think this may be like the EPA fuel economy estimates for cars- city vs highway mileage. My fuel sure seems to get used up faster in the stops/starts of city riding. Cars seem to ave around 1/3rd better MPG's on the highway. Is this about right for cyclists, or am I FOS?
 

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Of course, your mileage may vary...

Just like a car, we use relatively more energy getting up to speed from a stop than staying at speed, so your idea seems right on. (And then, there's the whole uphill/downhill, headwind/tailwind, cold/warm thing, too.) Think of your urban rides as interval training and your rural rides as endurance work.

Personally, I'd rather measure my training by time and effort, given all those variables.
 

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Frequent question

Oldteen said:
I think this may be like the EPA fuel economy estimates for cars- city vs highway mileage. My fuel sure seems to get used up faster in the stops/starts of city riding. Cars seem to ave around 1/3rd better MPG's on the highway. Is this about right for cyclists, or am I FOS?
Questions get asked all the time about "What should my average speed be?" The answer is that with lots of hills, wind, or stop signs/lights, it's pretty hard to compare on ride with the next.
 

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That's why most coaches recommend training by hours, not miles.

Accelerations definitely take more energy than maintaining constant speed. The biggest example of this I had recently was riding a 63-gear-inch (that's pretty small) fixie with another rider with a geared road bike. Every downhill, he'd coast away, and then I'd have to sprint to close the gap. Ditto for corners that I had to brake for because they were too sharp to pedal through, but he coasted through. Was I EVER tired at the end of 4 hours.
 

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perhaps investing into a powertap?
hours doesn't take into account intensity
Heartrate doesn't take into account temp/humidity
Power = output
this will be my next investment...

and unless you keep a journal, a power meter is just an expensive toy
 

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Power meter junkies and pros measure their training not in hours or miles, but in kilojoules. Kilojoules are a unit of actual physical work -- a joule is one watt of power for one second.

Cheers,
Ari
 

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powertap are great, I had one for a couple of years but sold it for financial reasons. I personally only think of time and intensity on a ride. I have one training partner who is obsessed with average speeds and the time it takes him to finish certain routes (amazing how his best times are always when nobody else is around). When someone asks me what I want to do on a ride, My response is always "2-3 hours" or something like that. I live in the mountains so trying to compare average speeds and distances to someone who rides on the flats is impossible.
 
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