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· Frog Whisperer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the years I have seen people reporting their average speeds at 20 mph+.
I need to know...
I have six basic questions:

1) what kind of general terrain are you riding (approx ascent/descent per ride)
2) what kind of atmospheric conditions (wind speed relative to direction of travel)
3) what kind of road conditions (smooth versus cracked and pot-holes)
4) how far is your average ride?
5) group or solo
6) age

I know I am not fast, but I am strong and can ride all day, easily 60 miles without a break or dismount, and like hills and climb well and am VERY RARELY not in the first few up a hill on a group ride.

But I have NEVER averaged 20 mph for more than 15 miles without a nasty fast tailwind or at minimum, flat ground

I feel pretty good averaging 16.1 for 45 or 50 miles with 1500 ft of ascent and descent on a mediocre road surface (either cracked or chipsealed over cracks with a good 1/2 into a 10 mph better headwind.

I don't care what your average speed is, but IF you are in the over 20 range.....I am curious about the above questions.
 

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Another thing to consider is how average speed is being measured. Is this the distant coverage over the time you leave the driveway to the time you return? I have my computer set to 'auto', so it's only recording time while the wheels are moving, not sitting at lights, etc. I always measure my speed the same way and only use it to assess my performance on a given day, and not for comparison to others. For me:

1) what kind of general terrain are you riding (approx ascent/descent per ride):Usually absolutely flat.
2) what kind of atmospheric conditions (wind speed relative to direction of travel):I ride a loop, and my speed is always best when there's absolutely no wind. But it's not unusual for me to be heading into 30 mph gusts.
3) what kind of road conditions (smooth versus cracked and pot-holes):Excellent road conditions.
4) how far is your average ride?: Tough to say, but I ride at least 250 miles/week. Over 300 miles isn't uncommon.
5) group or solo: Usually solo.
6) age: 49, male.

For me, on my usual 38.6 mile flat loop, a 20 mph run is my goal, which I've hit once. In the 19's I'm doing OK, 18's I'm not really pushing it, and 17's usually when the wind is killing me.

For my loops with climbing, I've had a great ride if I can hit over 18 mph.

But this is just me for gauging my work-outs. I'm certain I can readily by dropped by someone 'only' averaging 16 mph for their runs. Just too many variables for cross comparison.
 

· Frog Whisperer
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
fwiw, I measure my speed and distance with gps, and use my "moving average" I tossed the computer after a few years of duplicate data....and yes I measure from home back to home.

Wonder what 38 miles of flat would be like....???? never done that....sounds kinda fun....
 

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I measure from home back to home.
Although there are not a lot of lights on my flat runs, this would probably drop me a 1 or 2 mph. Next time I do it, I'll check it out.

Wonder what 38 miles of flat would be like....???? never done that....sounds kinda fun...
It's a hoot when there isn't much wind. Unfortunately when I ride along the SF Bay, that's rarely the case, and the wind makes it downright unpleasant enough that I head into the hills to escape it. :)
 

· waterproof*
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T0G, your avg sounds like mine under similar conditions - what I call "real world speedo avg". And I'm a decent cat 4 master racer.

I think a lot of guys will be rolling along at a nice cruise and look down and see 20, and go, "gee, I'm cruising at 20 so that must be my average"

Others are doing group rides, which, well you know.

And then there's the crowd that never read their manual and haven't set the speedo accurately. They're beyond help.
 

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Touch0Gray said:
Over the years I have seen people reporting their average speeds at 20 mph+.
I need to know...
I have six basic questions:

1) what kind of general terrain are you riding (approx ascent/descent per ride)
2) what kind of atmospheric conditions (wind speed relative to direction of travel)
3) what kind of road conditions (smooth versus cracked and pot-holes)
4) how far is your average ride?
5) group or solo
6) age
Much of it depends on the terrain, bike and if I'm riding with a group or not.

  • On a hilly Time Trial (about 600-700 feet of total climbing) I averaged 25.1 mph for 20 miles.
  • My goal for the state ITT championships in August is to finish a 40K TT between 55 and 56 minutes (26.57 mph - 27.05 mph)...very flat course
  • On our TTT team we averaged 27.55 mph for 27.3 miles....very flat course with low wind.
  • On a team group ride not long ago over 70 miles with about 4500 feet of climbing we averaged 20.3 mph
  • On a flat route I do for recovery rides of 30-35 miles I usually average around 18.5 mph...on the same route on my TT bike doing a medium-hard effort I average 22 mph - 22.5 mph.
  • On my 55 mile 4500 foot regular training route I average 17.5 mph - 18 mph solo.

So I can average 20+ mph solo and with a group depending on what I'm doing.

On almost all roads they vary in condition from really smooth to chip seal roads most have some pretty rough spots along the way.

I'm 37 years old, a CAT 5 racer (though I regularly stay with our CAT 3 guys and beat beat many of them on a regular basis) and am working toward upgrading as fast as I can.
 

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Its easy, most are BS (especially solo rides). Go over to motionbased.com and search for some routes in your area. You'll get more accurate numbers from people who are serious enough about riding that they have spent a couple hundred bucks to record their data. You still won't find lots of 20+ rides.
 

· Frog Whisperer
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yeah, I kept looking down this week and kept seeing 26....27....28.....then I'd come around a bend and start climbing a grade into a 20 mph wind and watch the speed drop to 12.......kinda screws with the average. My gps is generally right on, but on my bikes with computers I ALWAYS rollout the distance to calibrate them.

Normally I do not ride with the gps data page up, only the map.....but this week I was being stupid
 

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Stop signs and lights, and slowing for them (and starting up again), play havoc with average speeds. On one of the group rides that I do, I get back and see an average of 21 and think, "Crap, we were goin' 23 in the "easy" parts". It doesn't take much to drag an average down.
 

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I don't use a computer because I don't really care how fast or far I am going. I do usually time my rides. In the half-ironman I did last summer I averaged about 20.5 mph on the bike leg (56 miles, gentle rolling hills, some wind). I'm not particularly fast.

Paul
 

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I ride 18miles during the week and have a 45mile route on the weekends. The 18 miler is just about dead flat and urban and the 45 miler is mostly flat to rolling and mostly urban. The short route is a loop and the long one is out and back and the roads are mostly good. I'm 54yrs old and most all of my riding is solo.
My averages tend to be in the high 17s to the mid 18s with the occasional foray into the low 19s. I tend to have a higher avg when the ride starts into a headwind and it's easier to deal with cause I'm still fresh. Also being urban riding I get a pretty good draft while on the busier streets.
A couple of weeks ago I did a 66mile ride that started into a massive head to crossing head wind which meant that it finished with a tail to crossing tailwind. I had a straight up my fannie tail wind for a good 30 miles and managed a 19mph avg for the entire ride. My computer recorded a top speed of 32mph and it felt like I was riding a motorcycle during that tailwind. This ride was rural and rolling with little traffic and mostly good roads.
I don't expect to have a day like that again any time soon!
I've never raced but have riden on and off for most of my life.
These days I ride to maintain my health and eat carbohydrates!
 

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1) what kind of general terrain are you riding (approx ascent/descent per ride)

Relatively flat, just a few small hills, a couple overpasses, etc. I don't really have any idea how many vertical feet it would translate to, but it can't be all that much.

2) what kind of atmospheric conditions (wind speed relative to direction of travel)

Often there's at least a light wind, 5-10 mph is quite common, and sometimes it's in the 15 or 20mph category. It seems like it's usually in my face on the home stretch too. I can't decide if I like it better that way or not...

3) what kind of road conditions (smooth versus cracked and pot-holes)

It varies from being pretty smooth to rough and having some pot-holes, cracking, etc. More than half of it is the latter.

There's a bit more slowing/stopping than I'd like, either for stop signs or for having to turn onto different roads. Some of the roads have several 90 degree curves too and those that do are pretty narrow and a little dicey in spots. Overall though, I like the routes I ride and there's not a lot of traffic.

4) how far is your average ride?

20-30 miles, depending on the exact roads I take. Usually it's closer to 20.

5) group or solo

Mostly solo or with my girlfriend but occasionally with a small group. The group rides are a slightly different/varying route that involves a little edge of the city riding.

6) age

28
 

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I witnessed today how fast bikes can move. I was in the tail of the 8 men group going into the strong headwind and the speedo was above 20mph most of the time. I couldn't keep up so I fell behind. When I was still about 4 miles to the turn around point (12 miles each way) the group was coming back and with the tail wind they must have been doing 30 mph or better. The first couple of miles had stop signs and turns so the ave. speed is lower than just the cruising section (20 miles total) and mine was 16.1 mph. I am sure the fast guys' ave speed was well above 20 mph. The terrain was flat.
 

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I can never to 20mph average solo. But I can easily average 20mph on a Saturday morning training ride just sitting at the rear of a peloton for 40 miles. In fact, this group usually averages 21mph by the end of the ride and that includes all the start and stops from traffic signals, including a couple of small climbs thrown in.
 

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On an overall 30 mile ride (the average length I do), with maybe 400 feet climbing from hills? virtually solo (usually 2 or 3 friends riding behind, but not drafting)... about 14 mph average (but that includes riding around on city streets at the start/end and midpoint for maybe 15-30 minutes each. I think my fastest avg was 17.

on a ~10 mile flat segment of road with no stoplights, mostly smooth (but not slick and new), slight crosswind, with aerobars: 27-29 mph (27 on my old steel roadbike, 29 on my aluminum bike, both with aerobars, but the alu with bullhorns).

I've gotta admit I'm kind of a speed freak (hence the aerobars) but after my last accident I'm going to try to go a little slower, maybe try a little more climbing... but I love that long, flat stretch that just screams at me to go as fast as I can.
 

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Weight as a factor?

Pre-divorce; 20 to 30 mile hard rides, solo. 21 to 22 mph. I'm in New England, not many flat rides.

Post divorce; 16 to 18 mph, same rides, but 30 pounds heavier. Yikes! Must put down the desserts! I figure each pound is roughly a tenth of a mile slower. Group rides are better, if I can hang on in the hills.....
 

· Frog Whisperer
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
cyclesport45 said:
Pre-divorce; 20 to 30 mile hard rides, solo. 21 to 22 mph. I'm in New England, not many flat rides.

Post divorce; 16 to 18 mph, same rides, but 30 pounds heavier. Yikes! Must put down the desserts! I figure each pound is roughly a tenth of a mile slower. Group rides are better, if I can hang on in the hills.....

shoot...lol....I forgot the "marital status" category.....

does this POSSIBLY have to do with the taking your frustrations out on the pedals "pre-divorce" as much as the weight?
 

· Frog Whisperer
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I will add that I could easily pull out many 10 mile segments and have averages well in excess of 22 mph...but I am really talking average for an entire ride.

edit: Sport Tracks summary shows a 5,364.34 mile "moving average" of 15.0 mph right on the button
 

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This is an interesting thread I try to stay out of these conversation but I like when you meet someone and they find out you ride and they say (from a conversation this weekend at my neighborhood pool)

Him: Do you ride bikes ? Me:Yes I do how could you tell… the tan is a sure give a way..
Him: Do you ride a lot? Me: I ride some
Him: Do you race? Me:Yea I do endurance MTB races and some local road races.
Him: Wow we should ride together. Me: Well I like to ride by myself it makes me stronger
Him: I am pretty good started riding this year and I average 25 MPH on the local 30 mile ride. Me: You must ride with a group..
Him: Yes the local club Action.. this is where my wife hit me as she new I was about to say something shitty..

I know I am an ass but I hear this same conversation every time I meet someone who rides.. No one I race with has an average 25 MPH speed for a 30 mile ride it just gets old..
 
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