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How fast do you ride?(17 posts)

How fast do you ride?94Nole
Aug 5, 2002 8:43 AM
Okay, again, I disclaim that I am a newbie and I haven't yet read any of the training books.

Assuming totally flat riding, if I am riding at 15-17 mph and able to sustain that pretty much at will, is it reasonable to think that I could go out and ride with a group?

I think that most people "train" based on reps or rpms as opposed to speed. Is that correct? I find it pretty easy to average 85-90 rpms once warmed up. I probably average around 80 for the extended ride.

I just don't know if that is reasonable pace or if I need ot step it up a notch.

It depends how good the group you're riding with is! nmempacher6seat
Aug 5, 2002 8:48 AM
17-18 mphdirthead
Aug 5, 2002 8:53 AM
I usually ride alone, on semi hilly roads in central Texas. Ride range in distance from 22 - 36 miles. I can hold an average speed of 17 - 18 mph over this distance, depending on the wind. My heart rate stays in the range of 155 - 175 bpm. I am able to ride with almost any group in my area, but not sure about groups where you are. I think you would be just fine in a group, especially since you could draft and save energy. You would probably pick up 2-3 mph by riding with a group.
Riding alone makes you strong. Riding in groups makes . . .morrison
Aug 5, 2002 9:04 AM
you fast.

only way to find out is to try. make sure you know dos and don'ts of pace-line b4 you give it a go.
A pointless story about speedmr_spin
Aug 5, 2002 9:14 AM
A month ago I go riding with a triathete friend. It's a really windy day and we are suffering to go 14 mph. On the way back we get on a road that is famous for being a wind tunnel, usually in our face, for five miles. Today, we fought the wind out and now we get to ride it back.

We are cruising along, trading pulls at around 25 mph. This is sweet because normally, with the wind in our face we'd be lucky to do 15-17 mph. I get a flat. While fixing it, a guy flies past us. After we start again, we can see the guy in the distance. I make the comment "He's our goal. We need to catch him before the end of the road." My buddy says in his best chest-thumping voice, "It's not IF we'll catch him, but how fast we're going when we pass him."

(We don't normally chase down people for fun. But this is a really boring road. We need something to concentrate on.)

We set out in pursuit. It's not as easy as we thought catching the guy but we are gaining. My buddy is pulling when we get really close and he winds it up to 30 mph! We fly past the guy like he's standing still. As the guy working the least (!!!), I shout out a greeting, of course!

We turn onto another road that has a small but somewhat steep hill. We've had our fun, so we're not working too hard, until the guy we passed now comes by and smokes us! He drops us hard, and we scramble to catch up. Just before the summit, we catch him and start up a conversion. Turns out, the guy is 62 years old! Suddenly we didn't feel so proud.

The old man is a beast, however. We start working together to finish off the ride, still with a tailwind. We are flying down a flat road at 30+. Amazing. The wind is dying out, but no one wants to lessen the pace. I'm doing a pull at 31 mph which is killing me, and the old man comes by me so hard and so fast, I can't even catch on! Did I mention he was 62 years old???

My buddy, a very strong rider who does Ironmans, and I both have no choice but to let the guy go.

62 years old. I hope I can ride 15 mph when I'm 62.
Holy cow! Cool post. (nm)jtferraro
Aug 5, 2002 10:27 AM
That WASN'T An Old Man...jromack
Aug 5, 2002 12:13 PM
It was Rumsas' mother-in-law!
Brah! [nm]Ahimsa
Aug 5, 2002 4:41 PM
check with a clubDougSloan
Aug 5, 2002 9:29 AM
Most clubs post speeds to be expected with their group rides. They might have different rides, based upon speed, like "A=20+ mph, B=17-19 mph, etc."

Better to start with a slower group and work your way up, rather than get over your head, suffer, and potential make people wait on you.

Are you Armstrong or Ulrich?Humma Hah
Aug 5, 2002 9:41 AM
It all depends on what is right for you. The only way to tell is to try many ways and see what gives you the best time. I'll guarantee that's what the pros do. Armstrong is a fast spinner, Ulrich comparatively slow. A number of top pros would qualify as mashers, pedaling slower than most would say is "optimal", but it is optimal for them.

Select a route you ride normally on which you can get good, consistent times. Do some training at higher and lower cadences (don't just do the test with no experience at that cadence). Then do an informal time trial and see how you do.

I'm a singlespeeder. Most people who try singlespeed or fixed are amazed at how well they can do with only one gear. The human being has a broader powerband than most derailleur-addicted riders realize. Cadence is not so important as power output, which is usually a function of cardiovascular capacity and blood chemistry.
re: How fast do you ride?hairywinston
Aug 5, 2002 10:05 AM
My advice is rather simple. Do what works for you. I try to keep a very high cadence, but I do that just to work on my spin. It keeps the lactic acid moving out of your muscles faster too though. I find that I am much better off at the end of the ride that way. I generally pull the majrity of the time on our group rides, and I still tend to be able to ousprint most into the end of the ride. However, we have a girl that rides with us that pretty much rides the same gears throughout the whole ride. She pushed huge gears, but it works for her. I agree with the guy that said to do the tt both ways. You could also just try to check your average speed on several rides. Its not an exact science, but it will let you know where you stand. The most important thing is spending time in the saddle, that's the only real way to find out what works best for you. Everbody is a lil different and you have to just find your own ride. Most of the really muscled up guys that I have ridden with seem to have lower cadences, however they seem to do quite well with that. Some of the smaller guys have huge cadences and that seems to work for them. The best advice is to just ride, and let your body be the judge of what works best. Happy Riding, Troy
You'll know quickly if the group ride is beyond you.Quack
Aug 5, 2002 10:24 AM
I would say that you would probably do fine in the group. A 20+ MPH group ride would be equivalent to the 17MPH solo effort due to the neverending draft. Just make sure that you are familiar with the ride area on your first try as the A group rides typically will drop really slow riders and not look back.

As far as cadence goes, if you're somewhat normal for a newbie cyclist, you will likely favor the faster spin until you build mass in your legs. Once your leg muscles can take the increased load, your cadence will probably slow because you can do the same speed in a higher gear and still breathe normally, unlike spinning around at 120+. After a while of that, you can push big gears while spinning 100+ and that's where the speed really increases.

Enjoy the group. It's great for sprint training and learning to ride in close quarters.
Group SpeedsDCP
Aug 5, 2002 10:32 AM
Of course you can ride with a group, you just have to find a compatible group.

A group speed will be higher than riding by yourself because of effort savings of a paceline. You might fit well in an 18 mph group.

You might be pushing too hard in a lower gear. I would try to keep 90 rpm for the whole ride. Just use an easier gear for your warm up.

Personally I don't use speed as a measure of effort as it is too variable depending on wind, hills, and pacelines. Consider getting a heart rate monitor to measure your effort.
depends what day it islonefrontranger
Aug 5, 2002 11:36 AM
With the disclaimer that I race, so my training is periodized, and when I ride slow, I ride *very* slow for full recovery:

Monday night rides: depending on what rookie riders I've decided to mentor on our "outreach" ride, it can be 12 mph average and is generally below 15.

Long slow distance days (for recovery weeks or during winter) Average at or below 16 mph, trying to keep the heartrate at or below my Z1 - Z2.

Sprint interval nights: approaching 40 on the sprints for anything up to 30 seconds at a stretch, then as slow as I can go without falling over on the recovery legs.

Saturday "Bike Nazi" racing team ride: these are mostly strength work and pack skills riding for me because it's done with a group of 15-25 men and I happen to be female. I've ridden for an hour and twenty minutes at or above 25mph, this of course is in a group but I tend to be an aggressor and like to take my pulls at the front (it's a training ride after all, not a race).

Women's 1/2/3 criterium: I managed to average 27mph in one until I got dropped about 25 minutes in, then averaged 23.4 for the entire race after that.

This doesn't take into account other drills like speedwork (done on a long gradual downhill with a tailwind) or motorpacing because those are artificially enhanced averages.
a few more points ...tarwheel
Aug 5, 2002 12:04 PM
If you are used to riding solo, it will take a while to develop group riding skills. It's best to start out with slower paced groups and work your way up. You need to develop certain bike handling skills to be competent in a paceline of cyclists riding close together at fast speeds. As others mentioned, you can easily average 2-3 mph faster in a group, but that doesn't mean it's any easier than riding solo. Many groups tends to push hard consistently, and the stress level from riding in a pack of bikes inches apart is not insignificant. If you ride much in pacelines and never worry about crashes, you're not thinking very hard.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it's important to train at different levels. You shouldn't always ride all-out. The best way to improve your performance is to train hard on some days and really take it easy (or recover) on other days. If you never take recovery days, you will gradually run down your body and your performance will suffer. Recovery days should include alternative exercises (like swimming or walking) or cycling at a very easy pace.
re: How fast do you ride?metty108
Aug 5, 2002 12:58 PM
What the other guys say about the group/solo thing
is spot on.
I did my second chain gang last week. Pretty much
40 miles of fairly flat (some inclines), with a group
of 10 riders we averaged 20-23mph to the pace line,
then it was 25-29mph paceline into a head wind for the
last 10 miles, i got dropped 8 miles into the paceline
and road home steadily at 19-20mph. When i stopped my
average was 21mph. Try this same ride on my own my
average would have been more like 18-19mph.
Your pace sounds good for a beginner, just keep on
riding and your average will increase pretty quickly.
Try riding the same route for a while and note the

Good luck

re: How fast do you ride?bear
Aug 5, 2002 1:07 PM
I can ride with any group in the flats but the real test is the hills my freind! thats where you know if you belong ( I dont)...I think you most do at least 10mp on steep climbs to keep up.I can only do anout 6 to 7 so I get drop really bad...