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One of the common questions among cyclists, especially new ones, and one of the most challenging to give a sensible answer is what is a good average speed on a road bike.
Naturally, cycling aficionados, particularly road cyclists tend to measure their progress, compare them with others and boast of their achievements.
And this is acceptable because the moment you start pedaling, you`ll be wondering how fast you can go, or you should go.
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Rational Viewpoint of Speed
I agree, knowing your speed and how you compare to others is perhaps fulfilling.
But come to think of it. How do the actual figures help?
See, every rider, every bike, and every ride is different.
Your average speed will depend on a gamut of factors ranging from age, terrain, your health, traffic and a host of other factors.
Therefore, let`s be clear on this- there`s no point of comparing your general average speed with that of others because you`re not comparing like for like.
However, there`s probably some merit in comparing your average speeds over the same ride in similar conditions over time as this will allow you to compare something that is a tad more constant and accurate.
Either way, you should understand that there`re plenty of reasons why average speed cannot be used as a reliable measure of comparisons, and it comes down to the following;
Agreeably, we live in different areas with different conditions.
Some areas generally have rough and rugged surfaces, while others have fairly smooth surfaces.
Again, some areas are naturally and frequently exposed to high winds, which can significantly impact on your average speed.
Other notable conditions that affect average speed include slope and temperature.
Yes, equipment comes in play when measuring the average speed.
The weight of the equipment, in particular, has the biggest impact.
For example, according to Livestrong, cyclers using carbon fiber bikes, built with 15-pound weight limit of the UCI rules usually experience a greater climbing average speed than the aluminum bikes.
The average speed of a road bike varies depending on the distance covered.
Rides of less than an hour have the least average because this is at a time when your legs are slowly warming up.
The second phase between one to two hours has the greatest overall speed average.
Beyond then, the speed average begins dwindling because fatigue starts setting in.
There`re two ways to look at age and average speed.
According to BBC, over the years, riders accumulate a greater proportion of "Slow Twitch" muscle fibers in their legs, meaning that improve on their performance and endurance. Seasoned riders have an efficient and robust heart and lungs.
Conversely, old age also comes with fatigue and lethargy. Though the seniors might be superb at maintaining steady speed over long distances, they`re less effective at fast sprints or a short burst.
According to TeamCBC, paceline riding has the effect of improving your speed, but it will depend on the conditions and number of people in the group.
It`s said paceline riding will increase your speed by 20-30%.
Therefore, it`s unlikely your solo speed will compare to that of someone in a group.
What are the Exact Average Speeds?
Being a rider, I know that you have a thing with figures as I do.
To satisfy your curiosity, Strava, a cycling app, recorded data from more than 160M bike rides word wide and calculated the average speed.
According to the app, the male US cyclist rides at 24.35 km/h, and the male UK has the highest speed cycling at 25.61kmh.
Now, you can use the above figures to gauge your speed.