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So, I recently got into road cycling and have been riding for a few weeks. My average speed for most of my rides is around 25 km/h for the first 40 km and drops to 15 or 20 km/h for the next 20 or 30 km. I want to know if the speed that I'm riding at is considered as "slow" or "walking pace" or is the speed that I'm going at pretty good. I'm not sure what speed I should be aiming at.

Note:

I am preparing for long distance rides, mostly flats more than 80 km. So I want to know what speed I should be aiming for, not to win, but the speed that one should ideally be at.

  • 1
    A good start could be sustaining your average at 25 km/h the whole ride. It's probably because food and specially drink that your average drops. There are good reads about nutrition on and off the bike here. – gaurwraith Jul 23 '18 at 14:58
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    Well, walking pace is a pretty well-defined pace: around 5km/h. – David Richerby Jul 23 '18 at 16:33
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    Concern here is not the average speed, but the drop off in speed. The speed drop indicates a power output drop of 50%. Its likely you are over training and risking injury - You will get more benefit going a bit slower at the start. Aim to finish at the same speed you started. – mattnz Jul 24 '18 at 0:07
  • Are you including traffic light stops in your calculations? Or is this 25 km/h only while rolling ? – Criggie Jul 24 '18 at 0:24
  • @Criggie Including traffic stops – Roshan Jul 24 '18 at 7:25
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There is no such thing as an ideal speed you should be aiming for. It doesn't matter how fast you ride, there will always be faster riders, and there will also be slower riders. The main thing is that you give it your best and try to enjoy your ride.

At events here in the UK it is typical to see riders averaging from 16-35km/h and everything between.

Edit: Advice above is for a typical sportive ride - if you have intentions to race things are a bit different and you should expect to need to be able to hold a bunch travelling at 35-40km/h for 2hrs for entry level road racing.

  • "There will always be faster riders", unless you are wearing a yellow jersey, that is ;-) To the fastest rider, there can't be a faster rider by definition (who that is depends on the definition of "fastest rider", as the existence of the other special jersey colors testifies). But for the rest of us, this answer is spot-on. – cmaster - reinstate monica Sep 9 at 14:07
  • @cmaster on any given day though, there are likely many riders faster than the yellow jersey. hell, you can win any of the grand tours without winning a single stage. – Paul H Sep 9 at 14:21
  • @cmaster unless you are wearing a yellow jersey But put that yellow-jersey wearer in an equivalent-level track sprint or keirin event and he's no longer the fastest rider. So it even applies at the world-class level. Even the 70 kg Bradley Wiggins Tour de France winner would lose on the track to the 85 kg Bradley Wiggins Olympic gold medalist, and the 70 kg Bradley Wiggins would drop the 85 kg Bradley Wiggins on Alpe d'Huez. And Wiggins competed in relatively long "endurance" track events and not short sprint events. – Andrew Henle Sep 9 at 14:24
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Based on comments, your average speed is fine, and is decently fast. More-so when you consider it includes stop time at lights and so on.

Your endurance needs training - to do this you need to ride slower, for longer. If you have a speedo, aim to ride at 20 km/h for more than the 2 hours.

Another option is to find a destination that is about 2 hours / 40 km away, ride there, lunch and rest, then ride back in the same day. Aim to keep that 20 km/h speed up the whole way.

Once you have that comfortable, add some very short "intervals" of max power effort for 10-15 seconds, with 10 minutes of casual riding between them. Get 4-6 of them in on each leg and you're training nicely.

Finally work on shortening the midpoint stop. Maybe scarf down a gel or bar but stay over the bike, and ride off pretty quickly. You want your muscles to change their behaviour and be able to keep working at the same lower effort for longer.

4

25 km/h for 40 km isn’t slow (unless you are comparing yourself to the professional peloton).

If you are just getting into road cycling you're are likely not performing at your actual potential. Even if you have good cardiovascular fitness your body will not be adapted for cycling.

Instead of thinking in terms of a target average speed, think about what training you can do (even if that is just general riding a couple of times a week) and what improvements you can make with that training.

One of the best ways to improve is to ride with other people who are just a bit faster or who have more endurance than you. You'll also pick up knowledge about things like nutrition and fueling a long ride.

  • How would you judge a 21-22km/h average on 40km mostly flat with enduro bike, would the person weigh around 95kg ? – Olorin Sep 9 at 13:46
  • @ujsgeyrr1f0d0d0r0h1h0j0j_juj This site does not work like a discussion forum. If you have a question you should ask a new question, but really the question is not suited for this site as it's pretty much opinion-based and hence off topic. – Argenti Apparatus Sep 9 at 13:56
  • Whereas the OP's question isn't ? – Olorin Sep 9 at 15:48
  • @ujsgeyrr1f0d0d0r0h1h0j0j_juj, true, but this question probably should have been closed for the same reason. You can ask and see what response you get. – Argenti Apparatus Sep 9 at 15:51
  • And as this question has no close vote, you therefore didn't vote to close it, preferring making more points with an answer, against the site basic recommandations. :) No problem for me though. – Olorin Sep 9 at 15:55
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As others have pointed out, average speed isn't a good measure of fitness or competitiveness on its own. However, you may benefit from being able to compare your efforts to others and also track changes in your own results. I would recommend you look into an app like Strava. If you ride the same course regularly, you will be able to see how your times/speeds vary over time. You can also look at how others are performing on the exact same parts of a ride.

If you want to take it to the next level, you could add a power meter so you can track your FTP, max watts, and watts/kg. This is a much better gauge of effort than speed alone because it accounts for varying terrain.

It is easy to go overboard when it comes to integrating data into your riding, but there are definitely some great tools out there help focus your training and understand your progression.

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    +1 for recording your efforts over time. Strava's a great way to do that. – Criggie Jul 24 '18 at 9:39
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I am 74 yrs of age and ride a selection of bikes, mainly modified,Cannondale,Giant, Gary Fisher, here in the flat remote padis of Central Thailand .My preferred bike is a Giant onto which I have grafted the front end from a 125cc Honda Nova, dis brake and all, laced into a s/steel 700C rim..I have fitted a single chainwheel of 60 teeth,a modified recumbent item . I can manage one lap of the Bueng Chawak Lake perimeter road (16km) in 42 mins . This feels pretty fast , but of course by Olympic standards this a mere snail's pace . Nevertheless for me, maintaining 22-23 km on such a heavy bike and at such an age is undoubtedly fast . Everything is relative is it not ?....

  • Welcome to Bicycles! Our goal as a Q/A site (rather than an typical forum) is to have detailed and relevant answers to fairly specific questions. Your answer has been flagged as "Not an Answer" or is getting downvoted by the community because it either doesn't answer the question, or doesn't add valuable information given the answers that already exist. Please see the Tour for an overview of how this and other Stack Exchange sites work. Answers like this will often be deleted or converted to comments, but we hope you will stick around, become an active user and contribute to the site. – Gary.Ray Sep 12 at 1:58

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