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What would be considered normal cruising speed?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
So, I'm pretty new to cycling, and since I'm overweight, I know I'm moving a bit slow out there. My first major ride is in a month, and I'm going to be meeting up with my uncle and cousin, who are lifetime riders, and I don't want to hold them back too much. The ride is only 30 miles, so I should have no trouble keeping a steady pace, even if it's a bit faster than what I'm confortable with.

Right now, (though I suspect my comp is a bit on the generous side... need to check the wheel measurement settings) I'm running at between 14-16 MPH once I get warmed up and going. I ride on an easy bike path with minimal other serious riders, though I get smoked whenever one does come along. What would a normal cruising speed be for a seasoned rider?
post #2 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

I guess it depends on how seasoned your relatives are. I'm sure the most seasoned riders can average at least 24 miles per hour, whereas beginners usually average around 14. But then again, noncompetitive people who may be very seasoned but only ride for fitness might only go between 18-20, so there's a very big range.

"Conversational" pace is usually around 15 mph with a cruising speed of maybe 17mph, but you could probably go about 20-22 on the easier parts of your ride. I think since you already average around 14-16 you should be fine.
post #3 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

It also depends on terrain...wind... etc???

If its all flat... 18-20mph and you will be ok...

There are no mountains where I live, so cannot help you there.

But there is ALOT of wind...

so when its windy... really depends on the power of your group... with a decent group and head on wind of 18mph with gusts of 22-25mph... its usually around 20-25mph... with a small group you could be looking as low as 14-16mph...


I say.. just go out.. conserve energy... and see how you do... worst case scenario you get dropped... and now you know what to work on.


I got dropped the first time I went out with one of the advanced groups.. 4 miles into the ride. but the learning experience was priceless.
post #4 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by genedan View Post
I guess it depends on how seasoned your relatives are. I'm sure the most seasoned riders can average at least 24 miles per hour, whereas beginners usually average around 14. But then again, noncompetitive people who may be very seasoned but only ride for fitness might only go between 18-20, so there's a very big range.

"Conversational" pace is usually around 15 mph with a cruising speed of maybe 17mph, but you could probably go about 20-22 on the easier parts of your ride. I think since you already average around 14-16 you should be fine.
wouldn't gearing impact this too? I ride a CX bike and I know it is geared differently than true road bike. My road rides are typically 13-15mph over 15-25 miles with highs in the 20s. When I've ridden with others on true road bikes, they can cruise at a higher MPH than I can, even though our fitness levels are similar.
post #5 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Most seasoned riders I have met enjoy helping out a newer rider in the bicycling sport / lifestyle. They will most likely do most of the pulling and you will find yourself going further and faster with less perceived effort than usual.

I doubt that their goal would be to drop you, especially since they are family. If you are worried about it, talk about the pace and their expectations before the ride.

I don't know how seasoned I would be considered, but I enjoy riding with slower folks once and a while. I tend to push myself to hard to often and forget how enjoyable going easier is.
post #6 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

To the OP, my answer might seem trite but I hope you don't take it that way...

Basically a good cruising speed is the one you can comfortably maintain for the duration you are targeting. If it is a 6 hour ride then that's going to look different than a 2 hour outing. Similarly, if you are riding up a slight grade, again, pace changes.

Aside from that there are entirely too many variables....bike type, rider weight, aerodynamics, power output, rolling resistance, gearing, even what tires you use will affect your speed for a given amount of effort.

I got smoked by a fixie-riding hipster one day at the beginning of my foray into cycling. I was told by some sage posters here to, more or less, a) worry about myself, b) keep training, c) always be a good ambassador for cycling, and d) let my own progress and satisfaction with the sport be the gauge of personal success.
post #7 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

To the OP, don't forget that you conserve tons (~30%) of energy by sitting on a wheel, so if you're out in a group of 3 and start to feel too tired to be on the front, by all means sit behind one or both of them and enjoy the draft! Part of what makes riding in groups good is that you can put a lot of different abilities in one group -- if it's flattish, that is -- and with the strongest pulling the group along, the weaker ones can sit in and still get a workout.

But just see how it goes. The best way to get faster and fitter is to ride with better people, so no matter what it should be a good experience for you. Also, pay attention to what they tell you regarding things like your cadence, positioning, handling, or anything else that can improve your riding. As lifelong riders they will probably have lots of good tips for you.
post #8 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

To OP normal for me last fall on a solo road ride up and back was in the 18mph range. I would be thrilled if I am still in that range this spring but the local group ride guys are probably around 20mph on the same solo ride maybe more. I usually avoid thinking about that but thanks for bringing it up
post #9 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by genedan View Post
I guess it depends on how seasoned your relatives are. I'm sure the most seasoned riders can average at least 24 miles per hour,
I'd be astonished at averaging 24mph for 30 miles on a road bike, on a training/enjoyment ride. I could barely do that in full aero-gear on my TT bike, and whilst I may not be a "seasoned rider" I do have a 320+ watt FTP (at 75kg) and I have no problem hanging out in races. I'd be surprised if few riders other than the very top local racers could do it.

Of coure the terrain and road surface and weather conditions have a big impact on speeds, but to suggest a rider need average 24mph to be considered any good is ludicrous.
post #10 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JibberJim View Post
I'd be astonished at averaging 24mph for 30 miles on a road bike, on a training/enjoyment ride. I could barely do that in full aero-gear on my TT bike, and whilst I may not be a "seasoned rider" I do have a 320+ watt FTP (at 75kg) and I have no problem hanging out in races. I'd be surprised if few riders other than the very top local racers could do it.

Of coure the terrain and road surface and weather conditions have a big impact on speeds, but to suggest a rider need average 24mph to be considered any good is ludicrous.
Yeah, I noted that comment as well. 24 mph for 30 miles solo on a road bike is a tall order indeed. That's real ability in my book.
post #11 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

As another "newbie," his thread is making me curious.

For staying fit, I now average 19 mph on a 36 mile ride that I do every couple of days. Fairly windy area, particularly this time of year (by Lake Michigan, IL, USA).

What are others' averages, since we are on the subject?
post #12 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

Quote:
wouldn't gearing impact this too? I ride a CX bike and I know it is geared differently than true road bike. My road rides are typically 13-15mph over 15-25 miles with highs in the 20s. When I've ridden with others on true road bikes, they can cruise at a higher MPH than I can, even though our fitness levels are similar.
Yeah, gearing will affect your maximum speed. If your bike has lower gear ratios then you won't be able to go as fast. Also, does your CX bike have different tires? I don't know too much about CX bikes but sometimes I see people have knobbier tires than those with road bikes. Knobby tires are slower on paved roads.

Quote:
For staying fit, I now average 19 mph on a 36 mile ride that I do every couple of days. Fairly windy area, particularly this time of year (by Lake Michigan, IL, USA).

What are others' averages, since we are on the subject?
It depends on the terrain, wind, and course. On flat terrain I usually go somewhere between 17-20 on my training rides. For something like hill repeats I go down as low as 12 mph...

In terms of fitness I really wouldn't worry about the particular number of the average speed. You should really be focusing more on the improvement over time as a gauge of fitness. For example, if you start out on a course at 14 mph and ride that course regularly, you will notice that you will get faster on that same course gradually over time. Conditions such as wind and traffic, etc., can alter your speed so you won't always go faster each time, but in the long run you will probably see that after several months you've been riding faster than before.
post #13 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

it's still early in the season. but my avg speeds (solo)have been in the 18-20mph for distances up to 30miles. in fairly flat conditions.

started this riding season mid march. my goal is to increase my avg pace to 22mph. by end of next month. hopefully!
post #14 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

im kinda new to the sport (dont have a road cycle yet, 50 miles a week) and i have this S@#$ Magna Great Divide mountain bike that i can average about 16-21 MPH on. if u put me on a true road cycle, how much would you say i can do?
post #15 of 38

Re: What would be considered normal cruising speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisbnj View Post
im kinda new to the sport (dont have a road cycle yet, 50 miles a week) and i have this S@#$ Magna Great Divide mountain bike that i can average about 16-21 MPH on. if u put me on a true road cycle, how much would you say i can do?

when you say 21mph ave... this is for how many miles? terrains? if you can hold that type of velocity for 25-30 miles... i would say that on a road bike you should easily cruise at 25-27 mph ave.
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