What Is The Average Bicycle Speed?
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Cycling alone is a pleasant experience, especially when you take a trip into nature. You’re able to ride at your own pace, take in the sights, have as many stops as you like, and head home when you please. That said, sometimes it’s nice to share the joy of cycling with a few friends, or a local cycling group. This brings enjoyment of its own, but it isn’t quite so free as a solo cycle. If you’ve never been cycling in a group before, you might be interested in the average bicycle speed before you go to see how you hold up. While the vast majority of cycling groups aren’t just going to leave a slow rider in the dust, it’s always better to be able to keep up.
In this article, we will discuss the average bicycle speed, what factors affect it, and what you can do to improve your speed.
What is the average bicycle speed?
As you might guess, there are several average bicycle speeds depending on certain factors. The average speed of a professional on a concrete road will be quite different from the average speed of a beginner on a country trail with uneven terrain. Even the average bicycle speed for a commuter differs from the rest of the cycling population. Given these differences, and if you’re looking for the average bicycle speed with a view to joining a group, you should consider what you will be doing first.
Let’s take a look at a few common average bicycle speeds that might be relevant to you. For starters, if you’re looking to cycle along a road, the average bicycle speed for this terrain is 10 mph for beginners. More experienced cyclists will be closer to an average of 15 mph, which can be reached fairly quickly, even if you’re starting from scratch. Practice and dedication will get you there sooner or later, but if you want to boost your average speed quickly, you can even include short exercises at home. A 3-minute Tabata ride a couple of times a week will be vigorous exercise, and it’ll have a huge effect on your average speed. With regular training, you can expect to bring your average speed well past the 15 mph average. As for more uneven terrain, such as you might find while mountain biking, you can expect a slower average bicycle speed of around 9-10 mph, assuming you aren’t hurtling downhill. If you aren’t at any of these speeds just yet, don’t worry; there are plenty of tricks you can try to improve your cycling speed.
Also Read: How Long Does It Take To Bike a Mile?
What impacts a cyclist’s speed?
There are a few factors that influence a cyclist’s speed. Naturally, the first and foremost factor is a cyclist’s physical condition. Fitness, age, weight, and so on have a massive effect on speed, either positive or negative. However, we can only have influence over some of these variables. As much as we may wish otherwise, we can’t stop aging, and with age comes diminishing cycling proficiency. That said, the speed with which age affects us can be influenced. By training regularly, not only will you increase your fitness, which has a direct impact on your average bicycle speed, but you will also lessen the effects aging has on your cycling performance. In short, the more you cycle, the better you’ll be.
In addition to your physical condition, your cycling form will have a significant impact on your average bicycle speed. This is directly tied to your level of skill; more proficient cyclists know how to adopt a good posture, how to handle the terrain, and be energy efficient when pedaling. These points will make for a higher average bicycle speed and better endurance.
Lastly, knowing how to effectively traverse any terrain will boost your average bicycle speed. Knowing a route beforehand, and any potential obstacles that may slow you down along the way, will help you keep up your speed. You’ll know the best parts of a route to stick to, where high-traffic areas are, how weather impacts the route, and so on. As such, you won’t be caught by surprise at any point in a route, and keep a good pace throughout.
Also Read: How To Develop Proper Cycling Form
What you can do to increase your average bicycle speed
Just as there are a few factors that can impact your average bicycle speed, there are equally many ways to actively improve it. Thankfully, much of what you can do to increase your speed is common sense. Let’s take a look at a few in detail.
Get fit, or fitter
We’ve already touched on fitness earlier, but it’s a point worth stressing – your level of fitness will have an enormous effect on your cycling speed. An unfit cyclist will pedal slower and cycle quicker, both of which lower the average bicycle speed of the rider. Improving your fitness, either through repeated practice or specialized exercises, will drastically improve your cycling speed.
Also Read: Building a Peloton Workout Plan
Reduce the weight on your bike
If speed is the main point you’re working on, shedding any unnecessary weight is a good idea. Bring less on your rides, use light clothing, and if you’ve got some spare cash, consider purchasing a bike with a lighter frame. Carbon fiber frames are one of the lightest ones available, but they can be pretty expensive. If you don’t want to spend a good chunk of cash, but you’d still like to shed some weight, you can pick up some carbon fiber parts and switch them out for the ones already on your bike. It’s probably worth visiting a bike shop to do this, unless you know what you’re doing.
Keep aerodynamics in mind
Dressing appropriately for a ride is another good idea. Wearing aerodynamic clothes will let you cut through the air easier, while loose-fitting clothes will catch it and slow you down. You’ll also want to adopt an aerodynamic position, which goes hand in hand with a proper cycling posture. For even better results, you can attach aerodynamic handlebars and pump up your tires, as both will make your ride smoother and quicker.
There is a lot you can do to get a bit more speed out of your bike while out on a ride, but the main parts are your fitness and general cycling ability. Although you can get the best equipment and plan a route right down to every pebble, nothing will improve your speed as much as simply getting on your bike and cycling regularly. Focus on getting in the saddle; worrying about speed can come later, if ever at all.