increasing speed

samsbike
samsbike Posts: 942
edited May 2012 in Road beginners
I have been commuting for about a month. Yesterday I followed someone well above my normal pace. I enjoyed it as it showed me I could go faster. However I can't seem to pick the pace up on my own. What should/ can i do to increase my pace?

thanks
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Comments

  • BobScarle
    BobScarle Posts: 282
    You said it yourself, you followed someone. Following a wheel will mean less air resistance and consequentially better speed, or easier to maintain a speed. As far as riding alone goes, it will come. Speed will increase as your fitness improves.

    One word though, not everybody likes being followed (slipsteamed). They do all the work at the front and you get the benefit. If you find somebody who rides your route at the same time as yourself, take turns leading whilst the other shelters. It will make you both faster in the long run.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Jumping on the back of some stranger's wheel could lead to possible friction when the main aim is to get to work safely.
    If it was me your were behind, even though I dont commute, I'd probably use you to ride your legs off inside a mile or 2 and butcher you when it came to a hill :wink:
    if someone is a regular on your route then get to know them and see if they have the same riding ideals.
    Other than that riding/training solo and doing it hard will pay some results and if ever you end up in a bunch situation, you'll get the benefit.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    samsbike wrote:
    I have been commuting for about a month. Yesterday I followed someone well above my normal pace. I enjoyed it as it showed me I could go faster. However I can't seem to pick the pace up on my own. What should/ can i do to increase my pace?

    thanks
    I know the feeling - I've got a regular ride and a regular pace ... I do seem to go faster if I relax and tell myself I'm not going to try hard on this one....
    I've noticed that if use the big chainring (and associated gear on the back) I naturally ride faster than the small one on the front (and smaller ones on the back) ... I don't know if this is because of resistance or just because I'm pedalling slightly slower using the big chain ring so naturally trying to speed up the cadence ..
    I've also noticed that if I've got a cadence of 80-85rpm I need to drop down a gear to speed up - it takes the cadence down to mid 70's and from there I can add the power backup to 80-85rpm

    Drafting is very handy - I did pick up a tow a couple of months back - the chap obviously didn't know the road because I'd seen him swerve a couple of drain covers - so initially paid back by warning him of two big holes (its my commute route - I knew the road) and was going to try and tow him for a few miles - but he turned off just as I went past ..
    I did say thanks and he didn't seem to mind - but I know it can be irritating if someone cadges a lift and doesn't offer anything in return (even if they're not capable of towing fast enough - the offer is nice)

    I'm working on picking up speed atm - working at two sides - cadence - getting used to cycling with a good cadence then your legs are used to doing the 80-90rpm.
    The other side I'm working on is power through the legs - a slow ride using single speed (well - it's my normal bike I just don't change gear!) and put the power in on the inclines - gets my legs used to putting the effort in ...

    I regard myself as a beginner - there are a lot more knowledgeable ppl out there and these are just my ways of training atm - it'll change as I get bored of it ... ;)
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Ride more, push harder on the pedals and don't be afraid of pain. Cycling is all about suffering.
  • TKF
    TKF Posts: 279
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.
  • paul_mck
    paul_mck Posts: 1,058
    time yourself and try to beat it. works for me.
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.

    I read this on the Rapha website. Repeatedly.
  • 1_reaper
    1_reaper Posts: 322
    DavidJB wrote:
    Ride more, push harder on the pedals and don't be afraid of pain. Cycling is all about suffering.

    :D
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    edited May 2012
    TKF wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.

    Working towards my personal goal means a fair bit of pain...I didn't say it wasn't enjoyable. :twisted:
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    ShutUpLegs wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.

    I read this on the Rapha website. Repeatedly.

    Why were you on the Rapha website? Could have better spent your time on the bike :lol:
  • dincost
    dincost Posts: 16
    first of all,ride more!You'll see that you will have some improvements.Don't "jump" at 100 km at the first ride it,do it step by step.After a while, you can do some "intervals":a couple of minutes of high speed,then a normal speed.Try to alternate long rides (for resistance ) with short one (for speed )
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    TKF wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.
    But if you want to go quicker you've got to push yourself beyond the comfort zone. Anyone can ride half an hour at 13 mph; pushing on to the point where you can do a 10 in under 30 minutes, or 20 under the hour means pushing harder than you thought was possible when you first started this lark. The satisfaction when you realise that it is possible far outweighs short term pain.
  • dincost
    dincost Posts: 16
    "But if you want to go quicker you've got to push yourself beyond the comfort zone. Anyone can ride half an hour at 13 mph; pushing on to the point where you can do a 10 in under 30 minutes, or 20 under the hour means pushing harder than you thought was possible when you first started this lark. The satisfaction when you realise that it is possible far outweighs short term pain."

    Correct!
  • TKF
    TKF Posts: 279
    CiB wrote:
    TKF wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.
    But if you want to go quicker you've got to push yourself beyond the comfort zone. Anyone can ride half an hour at 13 mph; pushing on to the point where you can do a 10 in under 30 minutes, or 20 under the hour means pushing harder than you thought was possible when you first started this lark. The satisfaction when you realise that it is possible far outweighs short term pain.
    Trust me, I've just got back from a HIIT session at the gym and given myself a proper beasting, so I know all about pushing yourself beyond a comfort zone.

    However I fundamentally disagree that cycling is all about suffering.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    TKF wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    TKF wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.
    But if you want to go quicker you've got to push yourself beyond the comfort zone. Anyone can ride half an hour at 13 mph; pushing on to the point where you can do a 10 in under 30 minutes, or 20 under the hour means pushing harder than you thought was possible when you first started this lark. The satisfaction when you realise that it is possible far outweighs short term pain.
    Trust me, I've just got back from a HIIT session at the gym and given myself a proper beasting, so I know all about pushing yourself beyond a comfort zone.

    However I fundamentally disagree that cycling is all about suffering.

    I disagree with your disagreement. :!:
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    TKF wrote:
    However I fundamentally disagree that cycling is all about suffering.
    :) C'mon, there was obviously a bit of being facetious going on there. It's not all about suffering, but suffering is a part of it whether that's blasting to work in under an hour or doing 108 miles to the in-laws over the Pennines just because you can. It's hard, both of em, but more than worth it. So is bobbing along at a steady pace enjoying the world. :)
  • ineedalager
    ineedalager Posts: 374
    Before I got my road bike I was riding my MTB on my local loop 27 miles taking in the ridgway and back. I was a mile into my ride when a road bike overtook me not going that fast so I upped my pace and followed him. There was a small hill which I expected he would be gone but I stayed with him Ok and down the otherside I was right on him and found he was going to slow for me so I overtook him. I went another 1/2 a mile then he came past me and just stayed 50 yards ahead and there was no way I was going to catch him how ever hard I tried. Anyway I came to a point on the ride where I always had a check on my time about 4 miles in. I was almost 2 mins quicker and traveling 2 mph faster than normal! :lol:
  • mamba80
    mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    Cycling is surely about enjoyment? because without joy you cannot truely suffer? be happy in your suffering :)
    If you want to get faster then you need to have some form of structure or you will just carry on being very good at riding at 13mph or whatever!
  • I need help with my speed too!

    How do you know what are the best gears to use to maintain a fast speed?

    I once read in a magazine that it was best to use high gears and low cadence (more distance covered for fewer rotations and less lactic acid build up) rather than lower gears and high cadence. I know my lack of speed is partly due to my mountain bike (e.g. I'm getting left behind by single speeds and road bikes and even Boris bikes) but I'm also certain my pedalling technique and possibly my gear selection have something to do with my speed or, rather, lack of.

    P.S. Cycling is most definitely about enjoyment even if there is a lot of suffering involved (which can also be enjoyable in a slightly masochistic way). That flying feeling is almost unbeatable .e.g. I was whizzing down Finings Lane en route from London to Oxford and flying alongside me, at roughly the same speed, was a little bird. I almost felt a kind of kinship with my little feathered friend. Yeah.
  • nickel
    nickel Posts: 476
    Part of my enjoyment with cycling is pushing myself to hell and back, the release of endorphins as I collapse in a sweaty heap at the top of a brutal climb is a high that you just keeps you coming back for more.

    Regarding cadence, the general theory is that it is better and more efficient to cycle a lower gear at a higher cadence. But don't think this means you should be riding everywhere at 120rpm cause thats what Lance did. Just try riding a different cadences throughout a ride and see how you get on. I pedal at around 90-100, when I first started cycling I was pedalling at say 60rpm, but 90 to 100rpm is simply where I feel most comfortable nowadays.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/ this is useful if you dont have a cadence sensor as it allows you to check which gears produce what speed at a given cadence.
  • RoadMeridaBen
    RoadMeridaBen Posts: 265
    I need help with my speed too!

    How do you know what are the best gears to use to maintain a fast speed?

    I once read in a magazine that it was best to use high gears and low cadence (more distance covered for fewer rotations and less lactic acid build up) rather than lower gears and high cadence. I know my lack of speed is partly due to my mountain bike (e.g. I'm getting left behind by single speeds and road bikes and even Boris bikes) but I'm also certain my pedalling technique and possibly my gear selection have something to do with my speed or, rather, lack of.

    P.S. Cycling is most definitely about enjoyment even if there is a lot of suffering involved (which can also be enjoyable in a slightly masochistic way). That flying feeling is almost unbeatable .e.g. I was whizzing down Finings Lane en route from London to Oxford and flying alongside me, at roughly the same speed, was a little bird. I almost felt a kind of kinship with my little feathered friend. Yeah.

    I would have thought the obvious answer to that is to do what feels comfortable, my cadance seems to be around the 93-95 mark for training and TT's. Just be glad at your level gains come quick, because after a while you actually need to train :P
    10 mile TT pb - 20:56 R10/17
    25 - 53:07 R25/7
    Now using strava http://app.strava.com/athletes/155152
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    TKF wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    TKF wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Cycling is all about suffering.
    And there was me thinking it was all about enjoying yourself and often working towards a personal goal.
    But if you want to go quicker you've got to push yourself beyond the comfort zone. Anyone can ride half an hour at 13 mph; pushing on to the point where you can do a 10 in under 30 minutes, or 20 under the hour means pushing harder than you thought was possible when you first started this lark. The satisfaction when you realise that it is possible far outweighs short term pain.
    Trust me, I've just got back from a HIIT session at the gym and given myself a proper beasting, so I know all about pushing yourself beyond a comfort zone.

    However I fundamentally disagree that cycling is all about suffering.

    So why do you do that?
    Some beginners are beginners because maybe they have succumbed to the sportive hype.... just an example guys,.don't flame ... I have been known to pay over the odds and ride sportives
    When the 'brutality' of cycling becomes obvious then ONE of the paths open to them to improve is to do what you are doing but making it bike specific.
    Using Strava is another motivational tool, just dont get dispirited when seeing how slow one can be over a popular segment..
    and finally Noone :D is saying you have to go thru all this tho'
  • jonomc4
    jonomc4 Posts: 891
    As a more general answer to the OP and getting away from all this beasting or beasiality (whatever it is you guys are into).

    You can build your speed in a number of ways
    1) Start making sure you are using a bike that fits
    2) Get your fitness up at a steps that are within your own pain tolerance
    3) Get a cadence counter on your bike
    4) find your best cadence - somewhere between 80 and 100 for mere mortals (personally it is about 87 for me).

    Then just keep going at a good cadence with good technique - gradually you will start using higher gears on the same route and your speeds will increase.

    5) Take time to smell the roses on at least one ride a week!
  • TKF
    TKF Posts: 279
    JGSI wrote:
    TKF wrote:
    Trust me, I've just got back from a HIIT session at the gym and given myself a proper beasting, so I know all about pushing yourself beyond a comfort zone.

    However I fundamentally disagree that cycling is all about suffering.
    So why do you do that?
    To lose weight and increase my ability to go out and ride further and faster without suffering.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,613
    samsbike wrote:
    I have been commuting for about a month. Yesterday I followed someone well above my normal pace. I enjoyed it as it showed me I could go faster. However I can't seem to pick the pace up on my own. What should/ can i do to increase my pace?

    thanks

    I'll side step the obvious "pedal faster/stamp on the pedals harder" ;).

    I think most people find a bit of competition ups their pace significantly. A quick look at the 'silly commuter racing' thead over in the commuting section should give you a good idea.

    When I have competition my pain threshold doubles or triples. Not much I can do about it.

    Practising doing deep & hard ( still talking about cycling here) helps - like anything else, it takes practice to do it better.
  • I've found the key to increased speed it to hold back a bit on the easier parts of the ride - especially round here where it's hilly. I used to ride pretty near my limit on the flatter parts of a ride but that meant when I came to a hill and really needed to put the effort in I couldn't keep the speed up and I way usually knackered at the top of the hill.

    What I do now is aim for an average speed and keep around that even if I could go faster. This usually means I have plenty left in my legs to maintain speed on the hills. The only exception to this is when I'm going down hill when I put in about the same amount of effort as I would be putting in on the flat for my target speed. I've managed to improve my average speed by a reasonable amount doing this.

    This is also a good technique for silly commuter racing. The last mile of my ride to work is up hill. I regularly see people fly past me at the beginning of the hill only for me to cruise past again half way up.
  • jonomc4
    jonomc4 Posts: 891
    Anther tip - though totally useless.

    I just upgraded my commuter hybrid - to a full out race De Rosa R383 racer with Sram Red. My average speed on the flat has gone up immediately about 4mph with no extra effort (less wind resistance and lighter bike) - up minor hills that I used to go 11mph on I am now doing 20mph. Strangely enough (and I was surprised at this) my cadence has gone from an 85 average to 91! Guess it must just be my better positioning on the bike (I also blew £100 on a full bit fit).

    Expensive option but it seems to have helped a lot! It is a bit like driving a fast sports car - you get a shock when you look at the speedo - I think I am doing 15mph and look down and see it is closer to 25mph - oh the joy I am feeling right now :)
  • Gizmo_
    Gizmo_ Posts: 558
    jonomc4 wrote:
    Anther tip - though totally useless.

    I just upgraded my commuter hybrid - to a full out race De Rosa R383 racer with Sram Red. My average speed on the flat has gone up immediately about 4mph with no extra effort (less wind resistance and lighter bike) - up minor hills that I used to go 11mph on I am now doing 20mph. Strangely enough (and I was surprised at this) my cadence has gone from an 85 average to 91! Guess it must just be my better positioning on the bike (I also blew £100 on a full bit fit).

    Expensive option but it seems to have helped a lot! It is a bit like driving a fast sports car - you get a shock when you look at the speedo - I think I am doing 15mph and look down and see it is closer to 25mph - oh the joy I am feeling right now :)
    I've gone from averaging 10-11mph to pretty much 15mph. Road bikes are amazing. :D
    Scott Sportster P45 2008 | Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra 2012
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Go too slow and you'll annoy motorists

    http://bit.ly/KWKkDo
  • jonomc4 wrote:
    Anther tip - though totally useless.

    I just upgraded my commuter hybrid - to a full out race De Rosa R383 racer with Sram Red. My average speed on the flat has gone up immediately about 4mph with no extra effort (less wind resistance and lighter bike) - up minor hills that I used to go 11mph on I am now doing 20mph. Strangely enough (and I was surprised at this) my cadence has gone from an 85 average to 91! Guess it must just be my better positioning on the bike (I also blew £100 on a full bit fit).

    Expensive option but it seems to have helped a lot! It is a bit like driving a fast sports car - you get a shock when you look at the speedo - I think I am doing 15mph and look down and see it is closer to 25mph - oh the joy I am feeling right now :)

    Surely some exaggeration - did your old bike have square wheels or something?