Question On Pace

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by bigsmile, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. bigsmile

    bigsmile New Member

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    When people talk about paces, such as 20 mph, 15 mph, are these the average speed of the entire ride, or with stops (such as at traffic light or other forced stops and slows) excluded?

    I rode about 15 miles today and in about an hour. I waited for two traffic lights (on my way to the trail), and constantly needed to slow down on the trail for curves, and passings.
     
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  2. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    The pace should depend on your stamina. Understandably the pro riders have a faster pace simply because their bodies are fully trained while an amateur or hobbyist like me has a slower pace. When I ride on a tour, my estimated pacing is 30 kph and I rarely hit 40 kph unless it is on a downhill but when I'm riding inside our village which is a flat terrain, it's definitely much slower. When you are on training, I think pacing is very important.
     
  3. bigsmile

    bigsmile New Member

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    I think my question can be better put like this: When people talk about paces like 20 mph, are these instantaneous readings from bicycle computer/smart phone, or average speed based on total time and distance traveled. The former method would excluded stops and slows, and the latter would include.

    The question is relevant because I'm thinking of joining some local group. They have these mph numbers for their rides, and I want to know if I can keep up with them.

    I think it's probably easier to keep speed on the road than on trail. I feel that I have to slow down for over half of the distance for various reasons. I consider I'm still not experienced, so I tend to be cautious at curves (which the trail has so many of) and when passing (either pedestrians or other cyclists).
     
  4. b_t

    b_t New Member

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    Traffic interference should not affect measured pace in my opinion. Otherwise, what gets reported at organized events will be much faster than in training. For that reason, I set auto-pause on my Garmin so I don't get penalized.

    Auto-pause freezes my time if my speed drops below a threshold that I set, and resumes when I pass over it. I try to set that threshold at the highest possible setting that would not produce a false positive. Something like 12mph on a flatter ride with rollers, 8mph otherwise.
     
  5. Mr. Beanz

    Mr. Beanz Well-Known Member

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    All depends really on how a cyclist wants to measure his rides.

    Myself I put my Garmin 500 and other cycle computers on auto pause mode. So after a few seconds of stopping, the clock stops. I choose this function.

    Most computers offer the alternate mode non stop counting. So really it is up to the rider to decide.

    On some logging sites such as Strava, the average speed is figured by distance traveled by time.

    So on Strava, a segment's (section) average speed is actual time by distance. One segment of our 45 mile ride is 12 miles long. But there is a park half way through our ride where we usually stop to fill our water bottles.So that segment on my computer shows a 15-17 average whereas Strava shows it at 13-14. So I look super slow if one was to look at the time on that segment.
     
  6. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Group ride targets are generally assumed to be the average "moving speed" during and overall for the ride. Some peg a single number 20mph - most target a range like 18-20mph or 20-22mph.

    To ride successfully with a group, you'll need to understand all of the ride objectives - speed, distance/ride-time, and "drop" policy.
    - Speed: you can typically average 1-3mph faster in a group (paceline) than riding on your own. Riding in the slipstream of riders in front of you takes significantly less energy than pushing through the air to create the slipstream. If you can comfortably ride at 18mph on your own, you can probably "sit in" a paceline and ride at a pace of 20mph (maybe up to 22/23 on flat land ) for extended periods. If you're required to take a turn at the front of the paceline and can't keep the pace going, you may catch some flak if you're clearly disrupting the objectives of the group. Some groups expect all members to rotate to the front and "pull" when it's their turn - others groups just want to maintain the pace goal and don't mind if a few riders tag along, in which case the stronger riders do all the pulling.

    - Distance/ride-time: groups usually have a target for the length of the ride - either a specific distance or for a length of time. Given a target pace and length of time gives you an idea of how far the group is going to ride. Longer rides may or may not include a break. A group targeting 18-20 for 2.5 hours may stop around 1.5 hours in for a 10 min break, or they may not. In the first case you need to be able to comfortably ride ~30 miles or so without stopping. In the second case you should be prepared to ride ~50 miles non-stop.

    - Drop policy: rides usually have a group objective - either to keep everyone together, make adjustments to integrate different abilities, or know your way home. "No-drop" means the group will ride to the ability of the weakest rider(s) - flat land speed will be adjusted to avoid breaks in the paceline and the group will slow on hills to allow weaker riders to stay with the group, or the group will slow after the top and wait for all to rejoin before returning to the target pace. "Regroup" means the stronger riders will ride ahead at the target pace if breaks in the paceline develop and pick a few predetermined or logical places to stop and wait for the rest of the group to catch up. "Drop ride" means you need to know how to get home on your own.

    Good luck.. Have fun!
     
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  7. Susimi

    Susimi Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on what your goals are? If you're aiming for distance in a certain time then a good idea is to work out the average speed you need to be doing to achieve that distance in that amount of time.

    If it's just a leisurely ride then speed doesn't so much matter because each person settles into their own rhythm.
     
  8. bigsmile

    bigsmile New Member

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    My bike computer arrived and I rode with it last Sunday, so this time I had a better idea of my pace. It turned out a little above 15 mph is about a sustainable pace for me for 10-20 miles. I over estimated the impact of the slows and stops on my pace. Although they did slow me down slightly, they also gave me chance to rest. It is disappointing because although I'm a beginner at cycling, I run almost every day, so I thought I could be a little faster at cycling. I think it may be that I'm too skinny, which is advantageous for running, but may not be as much for cycling. My bike weighs about 30 pounds, so may be I can be a little faster if I upgrade to carbon. Not that I'm planning to do that any time soon. There was a slight downhill stretch of the trail at which I was only doing 17-18 mph, so I don't think I can do better than that even with carbon.

    I may be a little too upright since I was at the top bar, as vs. at the brake. I'll try that next time and see if there's any difference.

    I did some research about whether cycling interferes with running, but instead of getting answer to my question, I came upon some research which says that cycling doesn't interfere with weight training as much as running. So it seems like being strong benefits cycling, but can be detrimental to running.
     
  9. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

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    It's impossible to keep a steady pace when riding in a town or city. Especially if there's much in the way of traffic and plenty of stops along the way. My average speed has varied wildly from one weekend to the next, that's when I do most of my cycling and keep an eye on these things. I focus on riding safely rather than trying to break any records.
     
  10. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    OP - suggest that you don't get overly focused on speed. It is a simple metric that can help you gauge your general cycling progress, but not particularly reliable because so many variables affect your pace - hills, wind, road surface condition, traffic, ride length, etc.

    15mph is a respectable beginning pace - faster than many, slower than some. As you cycle more, you'll become more efficient with your pedaling, shifting, general technique, etc. Bike weight can be a factor - especially if riding mountainous terrain - but usually is a small part of the total weight of rider and bike combined. Total weight is what you have to move. Efficiently managing momentum plays a big role.

    Talk about skinny ... I've ridden with a few top pros at charity events. It isn't just about weight or power - like a combustion engine, it is also about efficiency of oxygen use and feeding muscle tissue. As a runner you're probably pretty good at that, but need to become more efficient as it specifically relates to cycling.

    Have fun. Keep riding.
     
  11. bigsmile

    bigsmile New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    "As you cycle more, you'll become more efficient with your pedaling, shifting..."

    Talk about shifting, currently, I'm basically not doing much of it. I only shift once because there is a steep hill back home which is too difficult to climb when I'm exhausted from the ride. For the rest of the ride, I stay in the biggest gear. There are some short climbs, and at least one long stretch of slight slope (I can't remember if there are more at the moment). I think I need to shift a little more. I had a misunderstanding of the function of gears. I didn't know about the concept of cadence and efficiency until after my last ride. I thought shifting tends to damage the chain and had been avoiding it as much as possible.
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "I think it may be that I'm too skinny, which is advantageous for running, but may not be as much for cycling."

    Light weight is advantageous for cycling when the road starts sloping upwards. Developing power on the flats is relatively easy for a smaller rider compared to a big pile of muscle to honk it up long, steep hills.

    You'll be fine. As you were advised above, focus on learning how to ride in a group and learn to conserve your energy everywhere you can initially. you will soon master riding in the slipstream of the riders in front of you, how to use the wind, when to stay low over your bars, how to spin and stay within your power band...and how to develop your power band.

    Cycling is very similar to running in that there is much to know in order to do both sports efficiently, avoiding injury and getting enjoyment from doing them.

    You'll learn. Give it time and observe how the best guys in the club are doing things. You'll get an eye for the mechanics and integrate what works for you.

    Have fun and ride safely.
     
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