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I ride 1 or 2 times a week, usually 20-35 mile rides. I average anywhere between 15 to 17 mph.


The slower route is quite flat, and pretty easy, with a few short climbs here and there. About half of the route is on a multi user trail. The course is usually fairly windy, and there are a lot of stops and slows. On my way out and back, there are at least 30 intersections or stops. I don't have to come to a complete stop at the intersections along the trail, but I have to slow to a near stop usually, look both ways and then pick up speed again.


The trails also get very busy and so I have to watch my speed, as it is busy with walkers, dogs, kids and who knows who or what else.


On the second route, there are a lot less stops and intersections (maybe 15-20) for the equivalent distance. Also, this particular trail is very lightly used. I can average close to 17 mph on this course, now.


I enjoy cycling very much, but I play other sports and mix up my activities quite a bit so I doubt I will be riding more than 4 times a week on longer rides.




If I ride more frequently, say 3-4 times a week, how much can I increase my average speed?
 

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You're going to need to ride more if you want to get faster. You're hardly riding at all.
Crowded MUTs are lousy (and dangerous) places to ride fast. Get on the road where it's safer.

Why do you want to improve your average speed? You're not racing, why does it matter?
 

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You ride 1-2X/week and want to know what your average speed will be if you ride 3-4X/week on busy MUT's and stop 20-30X? Seriously? Why worry about average speed on those routes? Why at all unless you're competing for something.
 

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It sounds like your current rides are in areas where you can't really go much faster safely (due to congestion on the MUT)? I have this problem also. My commute in particular is in a heavily congested area, and I just have to resolve to ride at a reasonable pace to stay safe. Some days are better than others.

If I'm looking to cut loose, I have to go find a route where there are long uninterrupted stretches where I can maintain a steady speed and cadence.

If time is a limiting factor for longer rides, doing some power/intervals work on the indoor trainer is a good way to improve without committing a lot of time.

Zwift is a pretty fun way to do indoor stuff, and with the recent additions of group ride and race functionality, it's getting to be a better social platform as well.
 

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You would need to commit to cycling. That means the making the time and planning your training rides appropriately, then worrying about doing rides specifically to increase your average pace. There are a ton of great threads about that on RBR. Yes, at a basic level, increasing your riding will help you to get faster if you approach it with a plan or simply select better routes, climb a lot, climb more, increase distance, climb more. Recover. 4X20s. Repeat. But really, if you want to get faster you need to make cycling a front burner activity.
 

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Ride a a lot, and ride hard. Push through the pain. Get yourself atleast a heart rate monitor and throw in interval training.

Or say screw all that training crap and drop 5k on carbon bike LOL.
 

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It sounds like your current rides are in areas where you can't really go much faster safely (due to congestion on the MUT)? I have this problem also. My commute in particular is in a heavily congested area, and I just have to resolve to ride at a reasonable pace to stay safe. Some days are better than others.

If I'm looking to cut loose, I have to go find a route where there are long uninterrupted stretches where I can maintain a steady speed and cadence.

If time is a limiting factor for longer rides, doing some power/intervals work on the indoor trainer is a good way to improve without committing a lot of time.

Zwift is a pretty fun way to do indoor stuff, and with the recent additions of group ride and race functionality, it's getting to be a better social platform as well.
Yep, well said. MUTs are the worst place to get faster. Find some nice roads out in the country and do speed intervals, or attack all the climbs. Do one or two 15 mile or hour rides during the week, then do the speed intervals on the weekend on a longer ride, 25-50 miles. The longer rides train recovery, just as important as power.
 

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Average speed is greatly affected by starts & stops and by hills. And wind!

I posted this on another forum, for a new rider. You sound more experienced, but a lot of this still applies:

Speed vs power
Boosting an average speed by a couple of mph is no easy task.

It takes a lot more power to go just a little faster. For example, see this bike speed calculator. Taking the default settings, 85 watts gives 14 mph. It takes 138 watts to reach 17 mph. That's 60% more power to go 20% faster! And doubling the power to 170 watts only gets to 18.5 mph.

Being more aero helps somewhat. The same calculator shows 85 watts in the drops gives 15 mph.

So, realize that each small speed increase is a good milestone, and you are making progress!

Riding
Try a little of everything, and skip a day or do an easy ride after a long or hard ride. Do some longer rides, maybe 2 hours to start with, and see how you do sitting on the bike that long. More riding time is probably more helpful than more hard efforts.

On another day, try some short, fast efforts with easy pedaling in between. Even better, find some (easy to moderate) hills to climb--I have more motivation to push on hills, instead of random flat road sprinting. It's all good.

Working on a faster cadence is helpful. Try riding at one rear shift easier than you would normally do. I counted right side pedal strokes for 20 seconds and multiplied by 3, just to get an idea of what cadences I was using.

Group rides
Group rides can be good motivation to work harder than on a solo ride. The ride seems to go by quickly, and it's fun. It's my main motivation to ride every week, I have to stay in shape to keep up! And the groups know a lot of good routes.

But a lot of group rides can be intimidating or too hard for beginners. On the faster rides, most riders have been riding for years and can ride efficiently for long distances, and are good at recovering in the draft. They can put out short, hard efforts to stay with the group, and then recover quickly.

Find a more casual paced ride. Ask at bike stores, or look for local bike clubs. They may post average speeds for the ride, but note that sometimes the speeds creep up during the year as riders get more fit. And an average speed is often 3 to 4 mph slower than the typical flat road speeds of the group, since hills and stop lights will slow the average speed a lot. Contact the ride leader to see what the ride is like. These rides typically don't do any close drafting, and are a good intro for new riders.

With more fitness and group experience, the faster rides are a blast. The draft behind a half dozen riders can be a 30% savings in power to go that speed.
 

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Oh, and since no one has mentioned it yet, lose weight. I don't care if you are already lean, lose more weight. This is cycling. Sinewy lean, light as hell per height, that will help a LOT. Especially climbing, which is really what cycling is all about.
 

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The old school method using an old school cycling computer is to add another magnet to the front wheel. With GPS, you have to ride more on open roads to get faster.
 

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Oh, and since no one has mentioned it yet, lose weight. I don't care if you are already lean, lose more weight. This is cycling. Sinewy lean, light as hell per height, that will help a LOT. Especially climbing, which is really what cycling is all about.
Depends on what you are doing and where you are riding.

In gusty places like the Great Plains, sticks will have a much harder time of it in our windy surface conditions. They'll just get blown around much more. Similar surface area but much less mass to resist the wind.

In rollery places like the Great Plains, sticks won't have as easy a time either. A 65KG featherweight cannot as easily bomb down a roller-hill and cannot gather near as much momentum to carry them out of the valley as an 80KG rider....the later of whom by coasting alone can coast half way up the next roller.
 

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Everyone I know with racing experience gives me the same answer on this topic and that is interval training. I'm too stubborn to try it as I don't want to turn a cycling pleasure into a chore. That said last year I began to train mid-week and include rides of different durations and I have seen some pick-up in my pace.

Oh and personally it helps to try to ride faster than someone else.
 

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Depends on what you are doing and where you are riding.

In gusty places like the Great Plains, sticks will have a much harder time of it in our windy surface conditions. They'll just get blown around much more. Similar surface area but much less mass to resist the wind.

In rollery places like the Great Plains, sticks won't have as easy a time either. A 65KG featherweight cannot as easily bomb down a roller-hill and cannot gather near as much momentum to carry them out of the valley as an 80KG rider....the later of whom by coasting alone can coast half way up the next roller.
Flat riding is an anomaly. Enjoy. Cycling is about climbing. Your geography is simply inferior for cycling. Yes, I have no argument to your point, that Clydesdales and pseudo-Clydes can do well in terrain exactly suited to their dimensions, it makes no difference where riding a bicycle matters, up long steep hills. THAT'S a cyclist. There is a special place for track cycling for those genetics. But climbing is king when it comes to cycling. There are glorious wonders available for different types of cycling accomplishments but all of the ones people know and care about involve going uphill well.
 

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Focus on endurance. And with such short rides its doubtful you're engaged in any long climbs. Unless of course you just want to be a sprinter.
 

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Flat riding is an anomaly. Enjoy. Cycling is about climbing. Your geography is simply inferior for cycling. Yes, I have no argument to your point, that Clydesdales and pseudo-Clydes can do well in terrain exactly suited to their dimensions, it makes no difference where riding a bicycle matters, up long steep hills. THAT'S a cyclist. There is a special place for track cycling for those genetics. But climbing is king when it comes to cycling. There are glorious wonders available for different types of cycling accomplishments but all of the ones people know and care about involve going uphill well.
Actually, some geographers in 2014 were bored and quantified the comparative flatness in terms of area of states.

Great Plains riding isn't mountainous, but it is far from flat. Take for example my haunts in Nebraska, NE ranks as 20th in terms of flatness in the States in the Union. California is 24th, Colorado is 31. As opposed to Florida which ranks 1st or West Virginia which ranks 47th.

Science: Several U.S. States, Led by Florida, Are Flatter Than a Pancake - The Atlantic

While some states may have some very steep terrain or very tall terrain....the states you tend to think of first in terms of being mountainous are mostly flat (like Colorado or California), which weighs down their score.
 
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