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Opinions on my pace

johntheboy84johntheboy84 Posts: 39
edited November 2014 in Road beginners
Hi,

Just wondering if the pace I've found today (which was my best so far) is below par or at a decent level for a beginner to road cycling this summer.

I covered 22 miles, country and main roads in 1 hour 27 mins with an average speed of 15.2mph. Albeit there was no wind today and it was bone dry, but just wondered if I'm currently hitting a good pace in people's opinions.

Many thanks!
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  • SouthgateSouthgate Posts: 246
    That sounds fine for a beginner (whatever a 'beginner' actually means), but saying anything beyond that is more or less worthless as there are too many variables, e.g. elevation, junctions, traffic, your bike, your age, your level of general fitness, your weight, your clothes etc.

    On its own, average speed is such a blunt measure that I treat it as just a bit of fun. For example, I average less than your 15.2mph on my daily commute, but I can still turn it into a semi-reasonable workout by riding it as interval training. On a time trial, I would expect to average closer to 25mph, although again that depends on the course / weather / bike etc. I once averaged 28mph in a crit race, and it wasn't so hard cos I just hid in the bunch.

    If you want a good benchmark to aim for, try and beat 30 minutes for a 10 mile ride on a nice bit of clear flat country road where you won't have to slow down or stop.
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • It's hard to judge pace because there's so many variables effecting it during a ride. Such as gradients, wind and I've even seen a slight difference with road surface. A slow average speed doesn't mean you did bad, it could have been hilly or windy. Even on the same route every day the average speed will fluctuate a bit.

    Interestingly I was looking at Tour de France average speeds, only yesterday. Cadel Evans averaged the 2144 mile tour, climbs included at 24.9 mph :shock:

    Marco Pantani went up the Alpe d'Huez with an average of 14mph. I need really horrible retro lycra and 90's rock music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOyvswnEBTo


    .
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • It's hard to judge pace because there's so many variables effecting it during a ride. Such as gradients, wind and I've even seen a slight difference with road surface. A slow average speed doesn't mean you did bad, it could have been hilly or windy. Even on the same route every day the average speed will fluctuate a bit.

    Interestingly I was looking at Tour de France average speeds, only yesterday. Cadel Evans averaged the 2144 mile tour, climbs included at 24.9 mph :shock:

    Marco Pantani went up the Alpe d'Huez with an average of 14mph. I need really horrible retro lycra and 90's rock music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOyvswnEBTo


    .

    Pantani had 'help'. ;)

    But it depends on who/where/how far, and the pace you're riding at. I think most people have it in them to do a flat 10 under 24 mins and 25 in an hour (both on a regular road bike) - and around 20mph average for a regular road ride over a comfortable distance on flat to rolling terrain in good conditions.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,868
    johntheboy84 your speed doesn't really matter over the distance when you ride on your own, i tend to ride anything from 15 to 17 mph to and from work depending on how bad or good a day i have had which is 11 miles each way on my own. If i ride in company it will be 17 to 19 mph same conditions as above. If you start to factor in hills wind weather etc it your speed will go up and down, just enjoy the riding put a few sprints in or speed up on easy sections and see how you go or ride with someone else it all helps. PS keep it up
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    edited October 2014

    I think most people have it in them to do a flat 10 under 24 mins and 25 in an hour (both on a regular road bike) - and around 20mph average for a regular road ride over a comfortable distance on flat to rolling terrain in good conditions.

    ..... Most people? C'mon now :shock: - I suppose that means that YOU can!

    One has to be a pretty useful cyclist to achieve either or both of those standards, so it's a little unfair to suggest to a beginner that 'most people' could manage it. 'Most people' would get absolutely nowhere near those times (especially on a road bike). Perhaps what you really mean by 'most people' is people who have been cycling for some time and have a fair degree of fitness and/or ability. Perhaps if you had said 'most club cyclists' I could have had a little more sympathy for your claim but with people riding in clubs today even that would not be true - 'most people' is clearly a ridiculous statement - I'd love to take 100 cyclists off the roads around my way, put them on a flat 10 or flat 25 on a road bike and see how they get on never mind just take 100 ordinary people to have a go. I dare to say that if you took away the club racers and the local strong triathletes out of the equation, then a mere handful would possibly meet your exacting standards!

    A laughable statement!

    To the OP - keep going but as you can see from Mr Masterson's comment you still have a long way to go just to be considered Joe Average :wink:
  • nochekmate wrote:

    I think most people have it in them to do a flat 10 under 24 mins and 25 in an hour (both on a regular road bike) - and around 20mph average for a regular road ride over a comfortable distance on flat to rolling terrain in good conditions.

    ..... Most people? C'mon now :shock: - I suppose that means that YOU can!

    One has to be a pretty useful cyclist to achieve either or both of those standards, so it's a little unfair to suggest to a beginner that 'most people' could manage it. 'Most people' would get absolutely nowhere near those times (especially on a road bike). Perhaps what you really mean by 'most people' is people who have been cycling for some time and have a fair degree of fitness and/or ability. Perhaps if you had said 'most club cyclists' I could have had a little more sympathy for your claim but with people riding in clubs today even that would not be true - 'most people' is clearly a ridiculous statement - I'd love to take 100 cyclists off the roads around my way, put them on a flat 10 or flat 25 on a road bike and see how they get on never mind just take 100 ordinary people to have a go. I dare to say that if you took away the club racers and the local triathletes out of the equation, then a mere handful would possibly meet your exacting standards!

    A laughable statement!

    To the OP - keep going but as you can see from Mr Masterson's comment you still have a long way to go just to be considered Joe Average :wink:

    Note usage of the phrase 'have it in them to'. I am therefore referring to what an average person is capable of doing/can aspire to do if they put in some hard graft. And by 'most people' I am obviously not referring to people with health conditions and other precluding factors, but I fancied to think that this might be read with a bit of common sense! ;)
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Even with the qualifiying statement of 'have it in them to' I think you're stretching it somewhat! Let's agree to disagree - those standards that you have listed (on a normal road bike) are taxing.

    Theoretically, I might have 'had it in me' to run a 2:45 marathon but I never did break 3 hours! I might theoretically 'have it in me' to do a sub 10 hour ironman on my first venture next year but it's extremely unlikely - having the potential is one thing, having the time to put in the hard graft (and sometimes the money to buy in the expertise) is another.

    Breaking the hour for a flat 25 mile solo ride on a normal road bike is therefore potentially doable by some rather than many and actually probably achieved by relatively few.
  • 15mph is where I seem to be stuck at right now. I'm not as fit as I used to be and riding a hybrid these days. Back a few years and 20-24 mph was my typical pace. I always went faster in the worst weather as it gave me an incentive to get out of the rain by riding faster.

    Put me on a bike with my son on the back and my partner riding next to me and it is nearer 8mph but that's a lot different as we're more about enjoying the trip than beating a personal best time.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I think most people have it in them to do a flat 10 under 24 mins and 25 in an hour (both on a regular road bike) - and around 20mph average for a regular road ride over a comfortable distance on flat to rolling terrain in good conditions.

    Most people? You're presumably assuming that all cyclists are athletic, have the time to put the base miles in, the physical capability and knowledge to do so? Personally I think you're setting a target way too high for the average cyclist. Not all cyclists are young and bear in mind you supposedly hit the limit of your physical peak at around 28 years old. Not all are free from medical issues or conditions that restrict how much exertion they can put into a ride such as heart conditions, muscular skeletal conditions. A lot of cyclists only get out at the weekend and don't have the option to commute in order to assist their development. Many won't achieve an average of 17mph let alone the 20mph+ you suggest. My ride buddy is a good weight, fit and rides a good deal, and has an average of 18-19mph. He's in the back end of his 40's. Those who have the time to train and the physical capabilities will no doubt be able to hit high targets, but not most people.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    It's all relative.
    At 49, and riding at least 3 times per week purely for the pleasure and fitness benefits, it doesn't seem to matter how far or how lumpy the ride is, I will average somewhere between 15 - 17 mph in summer and 14 - 16 in the colder weather.
    I didn't start until a few years ago, and generally ride solo. I do like to try and push myself, but unless I start riding regularly with other people to get me out of my comfort zone more often and for longer I really can't see myself getting any faster than that.
    Luckily for me, I'm not that bothered about it. :)
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    If you can average 15mph or more then you are doing fine.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Well I returned to road cycling at the age of 50 after a 25 year lay off. Took a few months to build a bit of fitness / endurance then I've more or less plateaued. For the past 7 years my average speed has been 14.6 mph. Maybe a bit slower in the winter. I only ever ride solo, and in terrain that's best described as gently undulating. Sometimes I'll push a bit harder, sometimes I'll take it easier, but it seems to make little difference to average speed.

    At 57 now I don't think I have it in me to do 25 miles in an hour. Unless somebody can find me a 25 mile downhill stretch. I cannot reach 25 mph on the flat, let alone sustain it.

    My 25 year old son bought a road bike a few weeks ago and he's regularly averaging 17 mph without structured training beyond the discovery of Stava.
  • nochekmate wrote:
    Even with the qualifiying statement of 'have it in them to' I think you're stretching it somewhat! Let's agree to disagree - those standards that you have listed (on a normal road bike) are taxing.

    Theoretically, I might have 'had it in me' to run a 2:45 marathon but I never did break 3 hours! I might theoretically 'have it in me' to do a sub 10 hour ironman on my first venture next year but it's extremely unlikely - having the potential is one thing, having the time to put in the hard graft (and sometimes the money to buy in the expertise) is another.

    Breaking the hour for a flat 25 mile solo ride on a normal road bike is therefore potentially doable by some rather than many and actually probably achieved by relatively few.

    Pretty much all of us are capable of things that due to inclination and circumstance we never will, so that has nothing to do with it. Based on knowing 'normal' people (I.e. not athletes) with jobs, families and lives, I have formed my view of what's possible if you're prepared to put your mind to it and put in the hours. Clearly, not everyone is prepared or able to devote the time and effort, but that's the subject of another debate.
  • Why not benchmark yourself against other cyclists (see SCR thread) are you being overtaken by people below you in the foodchain... if so use this as your motivation
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    This time of year is rubbish for trying to work out your pace. You tend to be slower because of damp/dark/leaf (or other detritus) strewn roads that make cornering and downhill pace quite a bit slower.

    As others have said, if you're averaging 15mph then you haven't got a lot to worry about at this stage of your cycling career.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • SouthgateSouthgate Posts: 246
    Pretty much all of us are capable of things that due to inclination and circumstance we never will, so that has nothing to do with it. Based on knowing 'normal' people (I.e. not athletes) with jobs, families and lives, I have formed my view of what's possible if you're prepared to put your mind to it and put in the hours. Clearly, not everyone is prepared or able to devote the time and effort, but that's the subject of another debate.
    Less than 5% of cyclists (356 individuals to be precise) have achieved a Strava authenticated 25mph or faster on a single 2.7 mile flat loop of Regents Park. And if it wasn't a roadie's training circuit and the cyclists were representative of the general cycling demographic, the figure would doubtless be a tiny fraction of 1%.

    I don't disagree that this average speed is possible for a "normal person" with a job. But it's only possible if they reorganise their life around becoming an elite amateur cyclist, so it's not a goal I would set for a beginner.

    A more realistic target for johntheboy84 is to complete a 10 mile TT in under 30 minutes, which is the basic benchmark for a club-level or decent commuter cyclist, and already 5mph faster than he is currently averaging.

    After that he can focus on cracking 29 minutes, then 28 etc, until he finds his level, which will be determined by training, time, nutrition, skill, and yes in the final analysis, genetics.

    Beginners respond to targets they can reasonably see themselves hitting with a bit of sweat and dedication, not to targets that are so far away from where the rider currently is, that they seem unobtainable.
    Superstition begins with pinning race number 13 upside down and it ends with the brutal slaughter of Mamils at the cake stop.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Southgate wrote:
    A more realistic target for johntheboy84 is to complete a 10 mile TT in under 30 minutes, which is the basic benchmark for a club-level or decent commuter cyclist, and already 5mph faster than he is currently averaging.
    That's a good target to start with - especially on a road bike as I did - first outing 29:08 on a slightly sporting course. At the end of it you'll want to stop having left your kidneys on the road a mile or two back... if you're happy to carry on then you haven't tried hard enough.
    I took another 3 1/2 minutes off that time without any structured training - just learning the course and learning about how my body works under that sort of pressure.

    15mph is a reasonable average - fast enough to get you somewhere, not too fast to wear you out... if the OP carries on and pushes some bigger distances too he should reach 16-17mph avg next summer without much fuss ...
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    I thought that I was a fair cyclist until I read the "24 mins for ten miles", 26 mins is the closest that I've come to that and that was over 9.95 miles. 5000miles a year all for nothing, this 46 year old is giving up after wasting the last twenty years cycling.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Bozman wrote:
    26 mins is the closest that I've come to that and that was over 9.95 miles.
    Yer - but come on - that was on your old touring bike with fully loaded panniers ... ;)
  • Bozman wrote:
    I thought that I was a fair cyclist until I read the "24 mins for ten miles", 26 mins is the closest that I've come to that and that was over 9.95 miles. 5000miles a year all for nothing, this 46 year old is giving up after wasting the last twenty years cycling.

    Out of interest, how does that 5000 miles break down?
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    edited October 2014
    Bozman wrote:
    I thought that I was a fair cyclist until I read the "24 mins for ten miles", 26 mins is the closest that I've come to that and that was over 9.95 miles. 5000miles a year all for nothing, this 46 year old is giving up after wasting the last twenty years cycling.

    Out of interest, how does that 5000 miles break down?

    I just cycle because I enjoy it, I've never raced, I don't commute but I do like to push myself and I do what I can in the time given, I generally do 30 to 60+ Derbyshire miles, some hilly rides others flat, which over the year usually ends up around 5k ish averaging around 18.5(if that's needed).


    That 9.95 mile route has a huge amount of ascent.... 62'
  • At my clubs last 10m TT in August, out of the 28 riders, only 6 people went under 24 minutes. I guess it is a pretty poor standard at our club...
  • Bozman wrote:
    Bozman wrote:
    I thought that I was a fair cyclist until I read the "24 mins for ten miles", 26 mins is the closest that I've come to that and that was over 9.95 miles. 5000miles a year all for nothing, this 46 year old is giving up after wasting the last twenty years cycling.

    Out of interest, how does that 5000 miles break down?

    I just cycle because I enjoy it, I've never raced, I don't commute but I do like to push myself and I do what I can in the time given, I generally do 30 to 60+ Derbyshire miles, some hilly rides others flat, which over the year usually ends up around 5k ish averaging around 18.5(if that's needed).


    That 9.95 mile route has a huge amount of ascent.... 62'

    26 minutes for a hilly 10 is none too shabby!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    is 62' hilly?!
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    slowbike wrote:
    is 62' hilly?!

    62 feet in 10 miles, hilly? It might be in Norfolk but I'd say that it's as flat as you can get in 10 mile. It was meant to be a joke. :D
  • Here in North Hertfordshire, it's practically alpine. ;)
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    I average about 15mph consistently thesedays, dont seem to go much faster, just further :D and I sort of aim to hit 10miles in about 40ish mins,or just under if its a good run, albeit I guess Im not pushing myself in pure TT terms as Ill hit 20miles in 1hr20 as well,I suppose my next goal is 30 in 2hrs :D but so well outside this 24min target time (Alex Dowsetts british record is around 17mins isnt it? I know the womens record is just under 20mins, so I cant believe the average person, male or female could conceivably be expected to get towards times of 24mins.)

    personally I think an average of 15 is actually a decent pace thats also a step up from beginner pace, I started off doing 10-12 as an average, though it was incredibly inconsistent, some days I was much quicker, other days I was much slower, its only been once Ive increased the miles per week over the years, Ive found a consistent pace, I can go faster there are stretches I can hit 20mph for a mile or two, but the average generally always sinks back to 15 over a long enough ride to measure it meaningfully.

    for sure club riders still leave me for dust,but I dont think Im the slowest by any means.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    I think that Simon is probably right.
    I had to really push myself to do that 9.95 miles in 26 minutes on my road bike, but I have no structured training, I don't have the best diet in the world and I could lose a few kgs, so I'd guess that given structured training, sticking to a good diet and given a TT bike I might get close.
  • Bozman wrote:
    I think that Simon is probably right.
    I had to really push myself to do that 9.95 miles in 26 minutes on my road bike, but I have no structured training, I don't have the best diet in the world and I could lose a few kgs, so I'd guess that given structured training, sticking to a good diet and given a TT bike I might get close.

    Exactly - not remotely suggesting it would be easy. For some people, it would be a horrific ordeal, and involve significant lifestyle changes, weight loss, etc. I'm a pretty dreadful swimmer, but I'm guessing I could probably swim the channel if I worked for it... The point is that there's a bar; that's just where I think it is based on my own experience.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Bozman wrote:
    slowbike wrote:
    is 62' hilly?!

    62 feet in 10 miles, hilly? It might be in Norfolk but I'd say that it's as flat as you can get in 10 mile. It was meant to be a joke. :D

    yup - I got that from your post ...
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