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New rider - speed and hIlls

Yorkshire GeekYorkshire Geek Posts: 5
edited February 2017 in Road beginners
Hi everyone, new rider and got a question if I may.

Speed: It's 25 years since I rode a bike regularly so obviously I'm not the quickest but looking around at the sort of speeds people are quoting for beginners they seem totally unattainable. On the flat I'm doing about 22km/h with hills nearly killing me. I'm 6'6" and 156kg so far from being a lightweight, but not totally unfit.

What sort of speed would you consider a realistic short term goal? When I started running 6 min/km was what I targetted as a respectable (i.e. not quick but not embarrassing) pace, I guess what I'm looking for is the cycling equivalent.
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  • There is no real answer to that I'm afraid.

    Keep going and get faster as you get used to it.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • 156kg?! That's 24.5 Stone...

    As said before - just keep going and don't worry about arbitrary speed targets. I'd be wary of the weight limit on your bike too.
    Road - '10 Giant Defy 3.5
    MTB - '05 Scott Yecora
    BMX - '04 Haro Nyquist R24 (don't judge me)
  • I would focus on weight loss goals first rather than speed, the speed will come as the weight drops off, you get fitter and the legs get stronger. Stijn Vandenbergh is your height and weighs in at 85kg according to wikipedia. That's obviously very light for someone of that height but it gives you an idea of the kind goal you might want to set.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    Hi everyone, new rider and got a question if I may.

    Speed: It's 25 years since I rode a bike regularly so obviously I'm not the quickest but looking around at the sort of speeds people are quoting for beginners they seem totally unattainable. On the flat I'm doing about 22km/h with hills nearly killing me. I'm 6'6" and 156kg so far from being a lightweight, but not totally unfit.

    What sort of speed would you consider a realistic short term goal? When I started running 6 min/km was what I targetted as a respectable (i.e. not quick but not embarrassing) pace, I guess what I'm looking for is the cycling equivalent.

    dus tha not know we speak imperial measures in yarksha
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • And saying 6'6" whilst referencing KG's in the same sentence is just heresy!

    That said, Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred*, strong in't arm, thick in't ed!







    *Not me, I'm from the right side of the hill.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    22kph doesn't sound too bad, but you don't say what distance that's over. i would as others say concentrate on slow weight loss, but when i first started back on the road I aimed for a 15 mph over 10 miles, building that up to 20-30 40 50 +, this time of year speeds are down on spring summer runs, so keep it up you'll be averaging 15mph by spring summer, and after that 16/17 and 18 averages, all down to you, good luck
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,284
    Welcome to the forum.

    There are too many variables that affect speed. No-one can really say what speed you "should" be doing. If you're averaging 22kmh, then just try and average a bit more: say 24kmh in a month's time. Or 23, or 25, or a week's time - it doesn't matter, the important thing is to get out on your bike and ride - hard enough to make a difference, and then you will find that you do get faster (as mentioned above, diet and weight loss are important too). I find Strava helpful for motivation and recording improvements, you might find it helps too.

    Above all keep enjoying it, 'cos then you'll keep riding. And you'll be happy.
  • I would focus on weight loss goals first rather than speed, the speed will come as the weight drops off, you get fitter and the legs get stronger. Stijn Vandenbergh is your height and weighs in at 85kg according to wikipedia. That's obviously very light for someone of that height but it gives you an idea of the kind goal you might want to set.
    Dropped 21kg in the last 3 months. At 116 I start to look gaunt, any less and I look unhealthy so around there is my goal. I was at that point a couple of years ago but last year was a bloody hard year in all ways so exercise and diet went to censored , pulling it back now but my knees get injured too easily running, hence the cycling.

    Homer's double: everyone gets confused when I say 198cm so I gave up trying to civilise them and just use imperial for height. Kg is a red line though, stones are the devil's unit.

    Bianchimoon: 24kmh over 10 miles sounds doable as a short term goal, thanks for that.

    Bompington: I find that "always a bit faster" doesn't work for me as well as a specific longer term goal. Achieving a basic level of capability over and above "not falling off" is my immediate aim, once that's done I can start the incremental improvements. Big fan of Strava though!
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Pointless us tellng you that say 25kmh is your goal.

    We don't know your routes or prevailing winds. I know I've done rides in Yorkshire that were hell - some nasty roads round there.

    We can safely say you will get better with improved fitness and weight loss though. You'll always struggle on the hills compared to lighter riders but you'll descend like a stone if you have the skill and nerve.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,690
    metric is just better, keep it up

    effort is more meaningful than speed, aerodynamic drag, head/tail wind, gradient, road surface all affect speed, even the denser air on cold days has an impact

    aim to increase distance 5-10% a week, once you've built up some endurance, i.e. riding 50-60k isn't an issue, start mixing things up with some harder efforts
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I make that 13.7 mph, which is about my average speed for just about all my rides. In my defence I'll be 60 next year and my knees are knackered, but I honestly don't think I've ever been much faster since I returned to road cycling at 50. Some people do seem able to do long rides, sportives etc at averages of 18-20 mph (30km/h) and hats off to them, but I wouldn't worry too much about what others are doing.

    As suggested above, focus on increasing distance and time on the bike, and your fitness and endurance will improve. Speed is a pretty pointless objective unless you're doing time trials...
  • At 116 Kgs you start to look gaunt? Seriously? No offence but that sounds unlikely.
    Anyway if this is not a troll , as others have suggested forget all about average speed it means nothing. Even trained athletes should not be worrying about average speeds. Just start by riding your bike for an hour 4 days a week, then increase it to an hour and a half on a couple of those days after a month or so, then after another month one day a week ride for two hours and the other three for an hour to an hour and a half.
    By this time you should have built up a little fitness and you can start riding a little faster. At this point maybe you can start thinking of your average speed and increasing it.
  • OnTheRopes wrote:
    At 116 Kgs you start to look gaunt? Seriously? No offence but that sounds unlikely.
    I'm built like the proverbial brick outhouse, very large structural build as well as very tall and it's all upper body. My inside leg is 34", not even abnormal for Next let alone into specialist clothing territory. My torso, however, is so long that "long" t-shirts just about cover my belt.

    Right now I'm just fat, but c115kg I'll be happy with. From experience I know that puts my waist at around 34" which is comfortably under the 39" maximum recommended for my height.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, will keep it in mind as I try and master this new sport.
  • OnTheRopes wrote:
    At 116 Kgs you start to look gaunt? Seriously? No offence but that sounds unlikely.
    I'm built like the proverbial brick outhouse, very large structural build as well as very tall and it's all upper body. My inside leg is 34", not even abnormal for Next let alone into specialist clothing territory. My torso, however, is so long that "long" t-shirts just about cover my belt.

    Right now I'm just fat, but c115kg I'll be happy with. From experience I know that puts my waist at around 34" which is comfortably under the 39" maximum recommended for my height.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, will keep it in mind as I try and master this new sport.
    Fair one. Just keep getting the miles in. It will come with time
  • myidealmyideal Posts: 251
    You know your body best and you have to listen to it.

    If you want weight loss quickly (as such) it needs to be "hard and fast". Short races on a turbo trainer on Zwift could be good for that. 5km going as hard as you can followed by gentle warm down (increasing miles in this on a daily basis) and then not loading with food will really help.

    Short term you will see the pounds dropping off ...BUT you know your body and the limits on pushing. You don't want to push so hard you cause injury. It's all about doing what feels right to you.

    Set weight targets rather than speed. Also in races set a time ..then the next day try to beat it and so on.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I would not worry OP. Just enjoy the ride. The moment you think you are not ging fast enough is the moment you will stop enjoying cycling. If you getting in that trap leave the computor at home.

    Sometimes riders can forget why we ride - the simple pleasure of escapism and it is a bit like meditation if you get it right but an active kind.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Absolutely! I started slow, Ive stayed slow and now Im getting slower - but Ive lost loads of weight, I feel great and love my cycling. I work hard on the meditative aspect and staying foccused on what it is about cyclong that makes me happy as the long lean buggers fly past me in postures that would hospitalise me, at speeds that I aspire to only when going downhill.
  • At over 150kg hills are going to hurt like a mofo. No way around that. To put that in perspective, the total weight of both me and the wife AND the tandem is less than your current bodyweight and I seriously struggle out of the saddle to propel that machine up any inclines when she decides to ease off the pedals!

    At your goal weight hills will be easier, but unfortunately for you they're never going to be easy. An example: If you and I were to go climb Box Hill side by side at 4w/kg, I'd be putting down 240 watts and you'd need to be at 464 watts (at your goal weight) or a monster 624 watts at your current 156kg.



    That aside - don't worry, keep pedalling, keep losing weight and keep enjoying your time in the saddle! :)
  • I would focus on weight loss goals first rather than speed, the speed will come as the weight drops off, you get fitter and the legs get stronger. Stijn Vandenbergh is your height and weighs in at 85kg according to wikipedia. That's obviously very light for someone of that height but it gives you an idea of the kind goal you might want to set.

    In other words "Gives you an idea of how fat you are". Thats how I interpreted it lol! Not sure what my average is but on a windless day on a decent flat I will ride about 20mph. I am just under 60KG at 5,7. No idea how bad or good that is as I never ride with others. Basicly I just get out on my bike and ride at the fastest pace I can maintain. Its good enough for me altho my speed doesnt seem to increase over time. Guess Im not pushing hard enough often enough.
    I'm not a racist! My f'in car is black!
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    dang - that weight is me + me + my head in a pannier ...... I would die just getting home from work up the meagre 6%-7% hills and the 13% ramp I would stop and walk.

    The fact that you are cycling up hills is a mark of how fit and strong you are ...... work on loosing that weight and you will freaking fly
  • In other words "Gives you an idea of how fat you are".
    Hehe, compared to the 220kg I was 4 years ago I'm still better off. I was a proper porker destined to die before I was 50, 14 months later I did my first 10km race. Had a spectacularly hard year last year and took my eye off the ball so put a load of weight back on, now losing it again and have a bet with my brother i can beat him in the Leeds Go Tri event in June.

    Turns out it took me 40 years to realise that being fit makes EVERYTHING easier.
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,147
    its personal goals.

    so work out your current average over a set course. Then repeat and see how you improve.

    Your always slower winter - some of your energy is spent keeping warm - you have more layers on.

    Whatever speed you go - there will always be someone to ride your wheel off ! - so don't worry about someone whizzing past you - enjoy it - think of the health benefits - and how good you will look with your shirt off - in tenerife next year !
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    kingrollo wrote:
    its personal goals.

    so work out your current average over a set course. Then repeat and see how you improve.

    Your always slower winter - some of your energy is spent keeping warm - you have more layers on.

    Whatever speed you go - there will always be someone to ride your wheel off ! - so don't worry about someone whizzing past you - enjoy it - think of the health benefits - and how good you will look with your shirt off - in tenerife next year !

    Don't do cycling to look buff. Or at least, not just cycling. You'll be disappointed.
  • Yorkshire Geek, well done mate, and all the best with your steady progress. It sounds like you're off to a good start!

    As others have said, don't obsess about absolute average speeds (most especially in winter when they are invariably slower anyway) but focus on regular riding with rest days between.

    Strava is the perfect tool for self development but don't be disappointed with occasional slower times on set routes as weather conditions and your own daily fluctuations will give you some negative blips. Just focus on the long term trends.

    Good luck with it, and kudos for keeping it going through winter!
  • I would focus on weight loss goals first rather than speed, the speed will come as the weight drops off, you get fitter and the legs get stronger. Stijn Vandenbergh is your height and weighs in at 85kg according to wikipedia. That's obviously very light for someone of that height but it gives you an idea of the kind goal you might want to set.
    Dropped 21kg in the last 3 months. At 116 I start to look gaunt, any less and I look unhealthy so around there is my goal. I was at that point a couple of years ago but last year was a bloody hard year in all ways so exercise and diet went to censored , pulling it back now but my knees get injured too easily running, hence the cycling.


    Do you actually look gaunt or is it just how you perceive yourself based on your previous size? I lost about 30kg, going from 100kg to 70kg, when I stopped planning rugby and moved to cycling. At first I thought exactly the same, I looked like Skeletor, but now my perception has changed and I don't think I look gaunt at all.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    I am thinking the latter, no one in history has looked gaunt at 18stone !
  • I would guess so!
  • drwaedrwae Posts: 308
    Do you use something like Strava? I don't have any target for speeds etc. but as a new cyclist I enjoy looking at Strava and comparing how my average speed and watts goes up over time without any conscious effort to do so on my part. And setting PRs of course, last week I had a ride that set 100 PRs 8) at this level, you j just get better every time
  • I'm 8 months deep now as a newbie, so I will share what has helped me.

    Set some routes up in Strava (or whatever). Star your favorite segments.

    You will get addicted to seeing the times go down and the "fake Strava power" go up over time as your power improves. Warning though, if you "lose body weight" or buy that sweet new lightweight carbon frame and you do bother to update the Strava weight data, your power will seem to "drop back" with the update on new rides. This is where riding a trainer with a legitimate power meter once every few months helps. Then you can do a threshold test once in a while and know where you are.

    I came on this site thinking I'd attain a certain speed on the flats and have since moved on to power, segments, new longer rides, chasing a KOM and so on.

    As for the hills and being a little bit taller rider, weight loss will help. I've lost 15 lbs in 8 months and the new bike lost me another 6 lbs, yes 6 lbs.

    I've finally gotten that KOM on the pitiful little hill by my house that only like 20 people have tried, but hey.......I'm still the king. I've also got two top-10's on more legitimate local segments where there are hundreds of riders and attempts. But, this has taken a ton of work.

    Good luck and have fun. Fun is the biggest piece. Finding a challenge or something new to see on each ride helps.
  • Absolutely! I started slow, Ive stayed slow and now Im getting slower - but Ive lost loads of weight, I feel great and love my cycling. I work hard on the meditative aspect and staying foccused on what it is about cyclong that makes me happy as the long lean buggers fly past me in postures that would hospitalise me, at speeds that I aspire to only when going downhill.

    So I'm not alone then!
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