A few questions for a beginner.

So my name is Dan. I'm a Mtber and used to ride round sherwood pines and cannock chase pre lockdown. Since then enjoying roadbiking to avoid travelling by car and busy car parks. I have a Triban Btwin 3 roadbike which I've upgraded the wheels to some Mavic Askiums. I know this is a cheap wheel set but still much better than the originals

Here are my questions. Appreciate any advice.

1. I feel very slow and tired for about 5 miles then I pick up the pace and feel good for about 30 miles. After which I my pace gradually declines. My question is how long should it be for me to warm up and during this time do you tend to hold back 30% of your effort?

2. I have done 2x 55mile rides in the last 4 days (taking 2 days off) . I want to improve my speed AND total distance, what should I focus on first? I am only averaging around 14.5mph at the moment. I wasn't really riding since summer last year on my Mtb due to depression hurting my motivation when the weather was crap.
3. Can anybody make any other suggestions so I get the most out of my roadbike? I've done a few rides now so I learned a few things such as losen grip over road imperfections and I've started occasionally using my drop bars but I have a lot to learn about roadbiking.


  • fiverears
    fiverears Posts: 38
    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph
  • smethley
    smethley Posts: 45
    14.5 mph isn't slow for a beginner. Build up either the speed or the miles over a few weeks. Don't try to increase both at once. Let us know where you are in six weeks.
    Have fun and keep at it!
  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,974
    It's easy to do too much too soon when starting to treat cycling as a fitness tool.

    At the very least get a heart rate monitor that links up to a GPS recording device (even if it's simply your mobile running an app, tucked away in your pocket) and upload the rides to somewhere like Strava (which has a free version) and use the "fitness and freshness" guide as a way to judge if you need to at least ride very gently for pleasure if not have a complete day or two of rest.
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  • cruff
    cruff Posts: 1,518
    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    And my average is 23mph solo. So what? The guy's not asking whether or not his current average speed is fast - he's asking whether the pacing in his rides is off, and how to help him get the most out of the bike

    1 - It depends on the ride. If I'm on a training ride, it'll have a set structure, and there is ALWAYS a warm-up, generally at least ten minutes at around 50-60% of FTP (the power I could hold for an hour). If it's a group ride, or I'm just out riding for the enjoyment of it, I tend not to look at the power/speed and 'just ride'. Generally speaking, it's always a good idea to warm up anyway - while you won't get muscle pulls and tears like you might playing, say, football without a warmup, getting your legs nice and loose and your heart and lungs working before stressing them is a good thing in general

    2 - The best way for you to improve in general is to ride more, ride harder for periods of your rides and incorporate proper, structured rest. If you;re coming from a relatively low point to start with, you'll improve a lot faster just by riding more often - but be careful not to smash yourself to bits too early. The first few times you ride for longer and faster than you did before, you'll think ' this is easy' and the temptation then is to just keep smashing out miles. Counter-productive - you'll be better off increasing duration and intensity slowly over time, say a three week gradual build followed by rest week with about half the volume of the third week. Repeat for three cycles and see where you are then

    3 - Again, you'll learn most by just riding more. Challenge yourself by doing more hills, or local circuits/segments and setting yourself a time target on them. Use longer ones for 'FTP' type efforts, and shorter ones for 'anaerobic' type efforts. Don't bother with sprinting yet - it's not worth bothering with until you get better on the bike, as it requires more experience and concentration to hold a proper line, wrench the bike around properly to get decent form without crashing etc. Best investment, if you don't already have one - as suggested above - is a heart rate monitor. Power meter would be better still, but a HRM is much cheaper, and at the level you are now, it'll give you good guidance on the effort levels you should be putting in to improve

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  • singleton
    singleton Posts: 2,523
    Improving will take time, although if you were born in 1986 (just a guess) then you're not old enough for age to be against you.

    Improving speed and distance are different things - so as others have said, try to do longer slower rides to improve distance and shorter, harder rides to improve speed.

    Above all, enjoy it.
  • Cargobike
    Cargobike Posts: 748
    Don't get caught up in the numbers. Speed, distance etc should be a by product of actually getting out there and enjoying your rides. Small, achievable gains will have a far greater benefit over the long term than worrying about speed and distance progression from the get go.

    At the beginning you'll get far more out of road cycling by being consistent and riding regularly than trying to post ever faster times or distances.

    It's a great mood lifter, so above all else, enjoy the ride.
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    Over a long ride and on your own with a lot of climbing 14.5 mph is not slow. 20 mph
    when being dragged along in the middle of a bunch on pan flat roads for an evening training ride is not fast. Figures on their own are pointless.
  • ibr17xvii
    ibr17xvii Posts: 1,065
    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    What a mental thing to say to a beginner.
  • darrell1967
    darrell1967 Posts: 470
    ibr17xvii said:

    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    What a mental thing to say to a beginner.
    Well said.
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    ibr17xvii said:

    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    What a mental thing to say to a beginner.
    I was being far too polite. Really I think fiverears is an imbecile. He should ask an adult to look the term up in a dictionary .
  • ibr17xvii said:

    fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    What a mental thing to say to a beginner.
    I disagree, it was merely a bit arrogant. A mental thing to say to a beginner would be "bdepijfhspe ahghaaarg hahagtit tensboob" or "I'll give you a tenner if you send a penguin into space". Basically anything like what you would find on D'ump's twitter page.
  • fiverears said:

    14.5mph is quite slow, my local fast crew ride an average 20mph

    ive been riding for about 5 years and usually only average about 15/16mph which i'm perfectly happy with, cycling isn't all about the speed, its about getting out and enjoying yourself, people shouldn't be too bothered about speed
  • 15mph on your own or with a mate, in our normal mixed weather, on mixed terrain with road junctions and traffic to consider is not slow. Most ride in these conditions.

    On pan flat roads, dead straight with the wind behind and in a group of 1st cats it may be. Few ride in these conditions.

    What a stupid thing to say.
  • Hey mate, like a lot of the others have said, get out, ride and it'll come. Don't worry about progress so much to start with, it will come. You will have some days when you feel like you are getting no where but trust me, you are.

    I'm sort of similar to you I think. 32, mainly a mountain biker, have come in and out of more serious road riding phases and since the start of this year and especially lock down ive been on the road almost exclusively.

    I too had/have some mental health things going on. Had a really crap 2016 -2019 and the road biking got weight off me and gave me focus etc perhaps you are in that boat too, I dont know.

    I got a base level of fitness down over a month or two and have been pushing on ever since. Managed to pop out a fair few centuries at around 17/18mph average. (126 miles my furthest to date)

    Things that encourage me to get out and get faster are Strava and my bike computer (Wahoo Elemnt Bolt). I am that kind of person I guess haha external validation, getting in Top 10s and being able to see with my own eyes the tangible progress in both my distances, times and physical appearance.

    Get after it my man, you'll thank yourself!!
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  • sam_h_1984
    sam_h_1984 Posts: 14
    I had a long break from cycling, went for a 50 miler, hit 12mph average (rounded up)

    went again, and again, same route, after about 2 months got up to about 13.5mph.

    Started using Sufferfest and the average speed went up a bit quicker.

    there's always two thought processes, the more you ride the easier it is, or workout in a systematic way and improve strength and conditioning and you'll find it easier on hills and your recovery between efforts will be shorter.

    I prefer the latter as I wasn't able to spend 4/5 hours in the saddle three times a week, but 3 30-60 minute blasts on sufferfest followed by a long ride at the weekend worked great for me.

    The common consensus is average speed isn't the thing to concentrate on as it's so easily bodged - but let's face it....we all do it!! and it's easier to say it doesn't matter when you can hit 20mph average haha.