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Does AVERAGE SPEED on your computer matter to YOU...?

JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
edited February 2010 in Training, fitness and health
There are riders (no names ) who could probably tell you their average speed taken from their bike computer on a ride by ride basis, and I am sure there are others who couldnt care a rats bumcrack about what avg speed their computer says..

When you think average speed , you also have to factor in, buses, roundabouts, traffic lights , traffic congestion, lack of cycle lanes, zebra crossings...........and the list goes on. Do the above elements not therefore relegate the average speed on your bike computer to redundant, unless you are on a track with nothing to skew average speed performance ?

Ive taken to using my strada wireless as an odometer, i want to cover 5000 miles for 2010 . I used to get real hung up on average speed readings, but I think there are so many influencing factors, that I was stressing myself out needlessly.

Opinions here ?
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Posts

  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    Not any more, since I've given up trying to increase it :lol:
  • Slow DowncpSlow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    I just concentrate on enjoying my ride - average speed would probably matter more if I was training for competition, rather than just pleasure.
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • BrindyBrindy Posts: 45
    it more important to conpair things such as power to hr
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    It used to matter to me. It may seem that there are lots of variables that av speed almost becomes random, but even random events become predictable when done enough times.

    I also used to find it quite motivational to set targets using av speed. 20mph for a hour on a training ride was a big one. Then it became 2 hours and so on.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    I always look at my average speed, and I find it quite interesting. However it doesn't determine my mental state like it does with our Will.
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  • I look at it on fast days when the wind is behind me for the feel good factor but as a rule in windy, lumpy Pembrokeshire I don't pay much attention to it.
    I know some of the boys at our club use it when doing TTs but for 10s and 25s I just ride by feel avoiding going over 95% HR and seem to be doing ok.
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 4,208
    Only in so much as it pisses me off for the following reason:

    Few years ago, I was doing road rides with ave about 19 - 21 mph.
    Now, on my MTB I get about 11mph, but I DO climb every hill going, and living in N.Wales it's a hell of a lot.

    So, for my Ego it's awful, but for my overall fitness it's probably the best way to go...
  • SCR PedroSCR Pedro Posts: 912
    I only look at it when I finish my ride. That way, there's one less thing to spoil my ride.

    If I use today as an example, my average was reduced when I had to stop a couple of times to tweak my gears, then fix my computer, then pick my phone up from the road, after it fell out at 60kph.

    What matters to me is that I felt strong and it was a relatively good ride.

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  • DanEvsDanEvs Posts: 640
    Average speed is irrelevant really unless you live somewhere 100% flat or consistently ride the same route without any interruptions. I can have a steady ride and average 18mph over an hour on the flat but have a blistering leg burner on some of the local hills and only average 12mph, surely this proves that Av speed as a training aid is pretty useless? :?

    Use RPE or HR as a better measure of the intensity of your rides. I tend to use time spent in hr zone x number of HR zone for a basic idea of how hard I've been going.
  • chrisw12 wrote:
    It used to matter to me. It may seem that there are lots of variables that av speed almost becomes random, but even random events become predictable when done enough times.

    Exactly. Comparing average speeds from any two given rides is pretty pointless, but if you do the same route many times and there's a trend towards increasing average speed, then that's a good indication that you are getting faster/more powerful. I do pay attention to it on most rides but it won't spoil my day if I don't hit any target I may have, and my regular routes are very rural so no traffic lights, or much traffic, to worry about. The other thing is there's no way I'm paying for a power meter!
  • I just concentrate on enjoying my ride - average speed would probably matter more if I was training for competition, rather than just pleasure.

    most of the guys I know who race have absolutely no idea of their average speed when they're training, and really don't seem to care. A lot of their training miles seem to be done quite happily around 16-17mph av when I've been with them - interval sessions/chaingangs aside - but an increasing number are starting to train with various power gubbins attached to their hubs or cranks. I rarely bother with my computer (or an HRM) on many rides these days, and just concentrate on PE.
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 18,361
    I always use it, as on a good average day I think I am great and on the days its bad, well the wind was a blizzard, etc!
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    Only look at it when downloading stats at the end of a ride. If it's a regular route - it's good to look at it and compare with similar rides. But these days focus more on power numbers rather than speed - as speed can be influenced by too many things.
  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    Only in time trials.
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  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    No. I'm only interested in time and effort (soon to be power).
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    I look at it occasionally, but it's more of a validation of the power numbers than anything. I went through November and December without a computer at all, which was quite liberating, I have to say.
  • Nah, it's meaningless.
    Where I live, in the Pennines with a couple of 10k climbs and loads of steep, grippy backroads on the doorstep, you can be going full gas and still come up with the kind of numbers that would be a very steady pace on easier terrain.
    I work by time and perceived effort, I don't even have a computer now.
  • GavHGavH Posts: 998
    Nope. I could ride out in one direction and get a reasonably fast looking Avg speed because the route is fairly flat or I could head the same distance off in another direction, which invloves lots of uphills and twisty downhills resulting in a lower avg speed but a higher Avg HR.

    As a measure of comparing one ride to another, it matters not one iota. Just another reason I want a powermeter but it's not exactly a justification in its own right. :wink:
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    a_n_t wrote:
    Only in time trials.

    +1
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    I use it as part of a range of data I collect for all rides. I also collect:

    Ave HR, Max HR, kCals burned, duration, distance, time, times in HR zones etc etc

    I find it useful to compare rides over time, but only the same route. I do a 16.04 mile loop quite regularly and I use ave HR and ave Spd as the primary indicator of whether I'm getting fitter or not (obviously trying the get ave HR down while getting ave Spd up). So yes, I do use it but it needs to be used properly otherwise it's meaningless. I'd never compare a 60 mile club ride to a 10 mile TT or a 20 mile training ride.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,302
    I have a slightly geekish thing for recording times for my commute (happy to say that it's quite traffic free except for a couple of miles at the work end) along with wind speed and direction from a couple of websites.
    As a few posters have pointed out, there are more accurate ways of measuring effort, as well as the observation that you don't necessarily need to be trying for max effort the whole time.
    But I quite like the injection of unpredictability that comes from this - and however much I repeat to myself "the wind is your training partner", I can't shake the silly feeling of satisfaction that I get from a fast (i.e. wind assisted) time. Keeping stats does give some reasonable averages to compare against - the graph of average speed against wind seems to be a reasonably straight line.
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 1,447
    It does to me, I like it when I've done a 70mile bike ride at 20mph avg and then want to increase it, I do all my rides at roughly the same effort so when I do the same loop faster I know I'm improving, that's taking into account conditions too.

    Although I'm going to try and focus abit more on HR, I've been in Wales for 2 days, I feel fine but I probs can't get my HR up today, so I might just do a ride and try to stick by HR, and not let it anywhere above 160, try to keep it around 140-150.

    On my commuter I don't care about avg, all I aim is to get to college for 9:05, setting off at the same time everyday, on the way back I like to overtake any other cyclists, I was on my heavy carrera with backpack full of stuff in it and my laptop and I owned this road cyclists on some specialized bike, looked carbon, in a headwind, on an ascent.

    So it depends in what situations. In wales I had my eyes glued to my HR monitor. Made sure my HR never went above 170 unless the climbs where steep.
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    reddragon , where are you ?
  • In er peloton, 30mph. Solo I a do 24. Sometimes go to 23 if a no espresso.
    francos.png
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    JimmyK wrote:
    reddragon , where are you ?

    I'm sitting at the desk in my office at the moment.
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  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    DanEvs wrote:
    . I can have a steady ride and average 18mph over an hour on the flat but have a blistering leg burner on some of the local hills and only average 12mph, surely this proves that Av speed as a training aid is pretty useless? :?

    Well, obviously there's no point comparing totally different routes. But I have a loop I do fairly regularly and although I'm not really into training by the numbers I do like to see if my average speed is getting any better.

    Also it depends where you are- obviuosly if you're talking about a commute with lots of potential for delays then there's not much point. But when I'm out on my road bike in the countryside the roads are clear enough that things like that aren't going to make much difference over, say, 40 miles so average speed is a reasonable indication of how you're going.
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    reddragon

    and you are ignoring the comments a few posts back. you must be gritting your teeth. :lol:
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    You've lost me
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  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    In er peloton, 30mph. Solo I a do 24. Sometimes go to 23 if a no espresso.

    Whats your favourite pasta franco ? Do you have a fanclub ?
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    Average speed is irrelevant unless it is a flat out effort (ie, a TT effort), otherwise you're just measuring your "cruising" speed.

    I know people who cruise a lot slower than me, that would beat me in a race, but I also know people who potter around at 20mph but when the hammer goes down they're dropped instantly (triathletes mainly).
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