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Beginner Cycling

what is considered a good cycling speed?

asked over 4 years ago | Report

I am a runner. I know what a good pace in running is, for beginners to advanced/elite. I have no idea if how fast I am going on a bike even means something when it comes to triathlons or cycling races. I am just beginning to train for tri's, and since I am a horrible swimmer and can ride a bike, I thought I would focus more on the bike ride strength for now. Any advice??

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  • Are you looking for a speed for training or for racing?

    As a beginner myself, I tend to average about 13-15 mph on flat roads. I'm not racing though, and I ride for my health at the moment, not training for anything in particular.

    But as with all things, it's more about your effort than your speed. If your heart rate is racing at 13 mph, then back off and work up to a speed that works for your body. On the other hand, if you breeze though 15 mph without a spike in the HR, then by all means go faster! Good luck.

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • Kv
    Kv Sendmail

    Since your'e just starting it's a good time to break yourself of the mindset of average speed. It's especially tough for runners. However, in cycling, average speed is a very poor metric to measure performance by. There are many factors such as elevation, gradient, wind speed and direction which all play a role. I whole heartedly agree with the recommendation for effort rather than speed. 13 mph averaged over a mile on a 6% grade is a much greater effort than 19 mph averaged over three miles on a flat straightaway.

    Since you're just starting, work on building an aerobic cycling base. Although your fitness from running will give you a head start, cycling is different enough that it will take some work. Keep riding and slowly incorporate interval training. Same basic principle as running - hard efforts followed by recovery.

    After a couple of months head out with some local rides and find people who are faster than you are and try and keep up. The first time or two you're likely to get dropped but each time out it gets easier and you stay with the group longer. The best way to get faster is to find people who are faster than you and stick with them. Again, don't worry about speed.

    If you've got the disposable income, the best and most accurate way to measure cycling performance is with a power meter like a Power Tap or SRM. It measures the force you put into the pedals, so things like elevation, air resistance, and wind direction are taken into account.

    Good luck, welcome to the awesome world of cycling.

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • Good cycling speed is a direct product of having a good power/weight ratio. The leaner you are, the less power you need to put out to achieve a good power/weight ratio and resulting speed. What defines good is really dependent on what level you strive to be at, as well as what kind of bike you're riding on, and in what conditions, and for what duration and distance. This number is also much different for women than it is for men. A combination of www.analyticcycling.com and Andy Coggan's power/weight ratio chart will help you figure out what's good based on the level you strive to perform at. Sorry I can't give you an actual number. I will say though that anything 30km/h and above is decent. 40km/h is a strong number to strive for for time trials. That will definitely make you competitive at most all sub-pro race levels.

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • Yes, your speed absolutely means something. Obviously speed can make the difference between a win and a didn't win. It can also make the difference between finished and abandoned! Put simply, cycling is about strength and endurance. Strength will help you accelerate and climb. Endurance lets you go the miles. You need to work on both.

    My advise would be to use a cyclocomputer and HRM, heart rate monitor, to manage your training. There is tons written about using an HRM for training and you can find a lot on the net. A good cyclocomputer will give you all the speed/distance stats you'll need to judge performance. Over the course of training you'll be able to see improvement which, imo, is much better than relying on perceived exertion.

    Good luck!

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with what a lot of others have said, but you sounded like you wanted real numbers, so here are a couple of my opinions (and yes, you should get a cyclocomputer, the Cateye Mity 8 does everything you need for like 20 bucks)

    Average when just out riding (like, my 7 mile commute to work) I avg about 17-18 mph.

    When I push it, I can usually do a bit better than 20.

    These are not great numbers. I am a person that just got back in to riding last summer, and logged maybe 30 miles per week most of the time. I did go for a couple longer rides (50+), but most of the time it was back and forth to work.

    I'm currently training for a duathlon, so really need to start building my cycling again.

    Good luck!

    answered over 4 years ago |Report

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  • I bought my first road bike in June 2010 and entered Tri's the next month. I used my Garmin Forerunner 305 until I bought a Garmin Edge 500 because I love numbers and wanted to know my speed. I looked at the results of races to see where I need to be. For me, it's all in the speed because if I don't have that, I won't place near the top; it doesn't matter what my power is at that point.

    answered about 4 years ago |Report

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  • Beginners 13-15
    Decent riders: 15-17
    Better: 18-19
    pretty good 19-20
    Lower cat 3-4 Racers 20-22
    upper cat 1-2 racers 22-25
    winners 25+

    Every course and condition is very different on a bike. it's not quite like swimming or running, as a little wind, a rougher road, whether you're in a pack or solo, if you're on a TT bike or a road bike, the grade and number of hills- all dramatically effect speed. A flat, smooth open ride- add a mph or two. A hilly or windy ride, subtract a couple. Riding solo vs in a group- a 2mph difference or more.

    answered about 4 years ago |Report

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  • Ok. Here's my two-cents worth. Define your goal. Don't even bother with average speeds and ride times. Go out on the bike and leave the watch and computer at home. Start out easy and build up to whatever level provides the results you're looking for to achieve your goal. You can always change your goals and adjust your riding style accordingly. After a year on the bike then add the cycle computer. Now you have some conditioning base to reference, and here's where you can have some fun with the numbers. AVerages may have more significance for the end results you seek. Yeah. You'll get a kick out of seeing your performance levels improve, but keep your riding style aligned with your goals. If your cycling for fun and fitness, don't go out and torture yourself trying to chase higher averages. You'll burn out, loose interest, and likely give up the sport. Good luck.

    answered about 4 years ago |Report

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  • "don't go out and torture yourself trying to chase higher averages. You'll burn out, loose interest, and likely give up the sport"

    Sage advice..

    I am not training for anything but 50.. I rode 100k yesterday and passed several people on the way out that were 'training for something' most of the first half I was going 20mph or faster and freezing my tail off.

    Get a nice bike.. get a watch.. get a course.. Ride like hell.. repeat.

    answered almost 4 years ago |Report

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  • Find some experienced cyclists to ride with. You will soon learn who is competitive and the more experienced will share with you.
    I have been riding for 21 years and am about to be 60 years old. My slow rides (with young grandkids) are 10-13 mph; terrain is mostly flat with a few small hills. Medium rides are 14-16 mph. Good rides for me are varied terrain with some long, gradual hills and an average speed of 16-17. Cadence training with a strong tailwind is 18-14 mph average. My average distance per ride is about 20 miles. Cadence rides will be up to 35 miles.

    answered about 2 years ago |Report

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