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What is a decent average speed for a rec rider?(13 posts)

What is a decent average speed for a rec rider?Giles
Aug 27, 2001 3:39 PM
I see posts here where people are averaging 18-22mph over a ride. Wondering where you ride. I can't manage much more than 17 over hilly terrain on a 20mi ride. Perhaps I need more training :) or a flatter course.

What is the average speed of a rec rider for an hours ride.
It is relative ...Humma Hah
Aug 27, 2001 4:00 PM
... What do you call "hilly"? Some riders might call your hilly "mountainous", or consider it merely "rolling".

But for a general-purpose arm-waving reference number, 18 mph is the "typical" average speed for rec riders, on maybe "moderate" (flat to gently rolling) courses of some decent length. For most people, "average" would mean the reading on a cyclocomputer that doesn't count time stopped, so if you're using overall time and distance, you're probably better than that.

And traffic stops (lights and stop signs) and slow-downs for heavy-traffic areas and pedestrians add time. Such conditions penalize fast riders as heavily as slow riders (to cover a given stretch of traffic lights, odds are you'll spend the same amount of time stopped no matter how fast a rider you are). 12 mph is not unexpected in some urban/suburban areas.
It is relative ...Hilly for me is where ever I rideGiles
Aug 27, 2001 4:23 PM
Really not mountainous, but somewhat. I live in LA near the beach and basically any ride that do is hilly. It could be a short steep 3/4 mile or a longer less steep hill. Going up some of the little canyons is difficult.

There are also cars and light which would slow me down as well, but I didn't think that much. Thanks for the reference point.
re: What is a decent average speed for a rec rider?steveuk
Aug 27, 2001 4:07 PM
17 is very good. When u are a solo riding you are under constant wind resistance so it's not comparable to 2 or more riders who recover while the other/s take the lead thus increasing average speed - especially over a long ride. I think drafting saves 30% output energy. So a solo rider would be expected to be #atleast# 30% slower? But as he has no recovery periods he/she may average more like 40-50% slower over a say a 2-3hour ride. So if u do 17mph solo you could probablly do 25 in a group no probs. Recreational riders i believe average 8-12mph but many will go at more like 5mph especially when looking at the scenery!
not sure about that mathDaveG
Aug 27, 2001 4:45 PM
Steve, your math seems a bit flawed to me. A 30% reduction is power due to drafting (which I agree with) does not translate into a 30% increase in speed. That is because power output must increase exponentially (perhaps cubed) to increase speed. It take about an 8-fold increase in power to double your speed. To address the original post, 17mph over hilly terrain is respectable. However, you are not going to be going 25 with ease in a group.
no, me neither:)steveuk
Aug 27, 2001 6:44 PM
yes it was a bit of maths guess work but i didn't think about exponential relationships between speed and wind resistance - the faster u go the harder the wind pushes you back! i was working to a theoretical model where wind didn't exist! actually if a rider is riding with a tailwind faster than him then my maths would be pretty accurate? the wind is out of the equation so speed would be directly proportionate to power?? And uphill with no wind, speed is dir prop to power output? Your power output figure is based on the wind resistence only right???
some additional stuffDaveG
Aug 28, 2001 4:31 PM
I pulled this off of the internet a while back. You could put it into a spreadsheet and calculate some numbers yourself. Basically it assume mechanical losses are a constant and rolling resistance is linear with speed. The formula factors in grade also:

"There is a well known equation that gives the power required to push a bike/rider through the air and to overcome the friction of the drive train:
P = (Vg*W*(K1+G) + K2*(Va)^3)/375

Where P is in horsepower, Vg is ground speed (mph), W is bike/rider weight in pounds, G is the grade, and Va is the bike/rider speed through the air (mph). Grade is feet or altitude gain per foot of horizontal distance, and while often expressed in per cent, in this equation is used as a decimal (a 6% grade is 0.06). K1 is a lumped constant for all frictional losses (tires, bearings, chain) and units conversion, and is generally reported with a value of 0.0053. K2 is a lumped constant for aerodynamic drag and is generally reported with a value of 0.0083. Note that power to overcome friction and gravity is proportional only to rider weight and ground speed. Power to overcome wind drag is proportional to the cube of the air speed. For reference, 1 hp-hr = 641 calories delivered to the pedals and 1 hp = 746 watts."
K1 not constant - air resistance not universalsteveuk
Aug 28, 2001 5:49 PM
interesting equation but there are problems with it.
K1 - some gears give a better drivechain power transfere than others. i mean some gears generate less friction. I think it's the big gears?? i read that somewhere. so K1 is not constant - unless the same gear is maintained.

also wind resistance vis a ve altitude is not taken into this equation. 1,000 feet up there is less wind resistence for a given speed because of thinner air so K2 needs to be calibrated to altitude?

didn't Eddie Mercks set an hour record at altitude? - less wind resistence so a big benifit there. Maybe he knew a better equation?!
re: What is a decent average speed for a rec rider?FloorTiger
Aug 27, 2001 5:05 PM
This is a question that I too have asked myself -
I will average 18 + on a 40/50 miler by myself (including the occasional light or stop sign). I went out with a group this weekend and the average went up to 21.5 on a 45 miler. Not only does taking turns pulling at the front help, but natural competition and riding with others will keep your attention focused on pace more than scenery. I also feel a little safer thinking that a car/truck can see a group easier than a single rider. That also lets me concentrate a little more on speed. Find a group to ride with every now and then. It can be a lot of fun.
It doesn't matter.Spoke Wrench
Aug 27, 2001 6:27 PM
You will never be satisfied with how fast you can ride. You will always be hopeing that if you ride a little bit more you will be able to go a little bit faster.

Whatever anyone else tells you about how fast other people ride, you have to start at the fitness level that you are at right now.
what's important...4bykn
Aug 27, 2001 10:27 PM
Your average speed is not nearly as important as how big a smile you have at the end of the ride. :-)
so true - nmsteveuk
Aug 28, 2001 5:53 PM
faster than yesterday! nmBreezydz
Aug 28, 2001 4:26 AM