If you’ve just started cycling to go to work, exercise, or for pure enjoyment, you must’ve wondered about your average bike speed at some point. Even though speed isn’t necessarily what makes you a great cyclist, it’s one of the things to keep in mind to track your progress.
Now, what is a good average bike speed?
For most people, a decent average speed on a road bike is around 15 mph if they ride for an hour. Yet, the answer may not always be so simple, especially if skill levels enter the chat.
In this article, we’ll discuss the average bike speed in relation to the rider’s skill, the factors that impact this speed, and what to do to increase it.
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Average Bike Speed vs. Skill Level
Even though the majority of people can reach 15 mph on a one-hour ride, we can’t say the same for everyone. If we’re talking only about skill level, beginners, experienced riders, and professionals have things differently.
For instance, as a beginner, you’ll probably start riding at only 10 mph, which is considered good at this point. If you dedicate yourself to more training, you should reach the 15 or 18 mph mark pretty soon.
Someone who bikes regularly could easily get to 20 mph speed on a bike on a one-hour ride. As for professional riders, those usually average at 25 mph, especially during races or marathons.
Factors That Affect Your Cycling Speed
Your experience isn’t the only thing that has a say in this matter. Factors like the weather, the road you’re riding on, and even the clothes you’re wearing could have substantial effects on your speed.
Let’s discuss each one of those factors more in-depth to give you the full picture.
One thing that has a noticeable impact on your riding speed is how your route is like.
If you go on roads with many crosses and intersections, you’ll need to hit the brakes over and over, which will result in a lower average speed. Plus, riding on hills, rough terrains, and other challenging paths will slow you down a great deal.
Sure, cycling down a hill can be an adrenaline-filled experience, but going up might be extra painful. Not only will it take so long, but it’ll also bring down the average speed of your whole ride.
Let’s not forget that, if your path is full of twists and sharp turns, it’ll cause you to brake more often than if you’re moving in straight lines or wide arcs.
Your Fitness and Physique
It goes without saying that the more in shape you are, the easier it should be to average higher speeds. For example, weight has a huge impact on your movement and being lighter equals reaching faster speeds in a shorter amount of time.
Sometimes, it’s not even about the weight, but rather your fitness level. People who hit the gym or work out regularly should be able to stay on a bike for longer. Their bodies should endure all the exertion, and averaging higher speeds will come naturally to them.
The Weather Conditions
All the natural elements surrounding you on your ride can affect your cycling speed. Those effects could be subtle, and, as a beginner, you may not realize how they influence your cycling.
Let’s start by mentioning the biggest factor that keeps pushing you back at all times, and that is air resistance. If you’re not aware of the wind’s direction and strength, it could work against you if you’re moving in the opposite way, slowing you down.
Also, riding on dusty and rainy days will reduce your visibility a great deal, causing you to move more carefully. Even if the rain is a slight drizzle on a vibrant summer day, it could get in your eyes and affect your riding speed.
Even the temperature can keep you from cycling at a high speed, especially on too hot and too cold days. See, most riders will prefer to go extra fast on cold days to get warm, but the freezing wind may hurt their hands and make them stop more than once.
On the other hand, some cyclists like to ride fast on extraordinarily hot days to cool themselves off. While that sounds great, all the additional energy could result in overheating, and, again, you’d need to take breaks.
Your Equipment and Riding Gear
Last but not least, the condition of your bike and whatever you’re wearing could influence your average speed, too.
See, carrying heavy equipment will weigh down your bike and make it a notch harder for you to go faster. The same goes if your bike has a heavy frame instead of a lightweight one.
More surprisingly, having any rusty parts, like a chain, for example, could slow you down as well. Any unclean or worn-out pieces of equipment will keep the bike from giving its best, and that will most likely affect your overall speed.
When it comes to your riding gear, some garment choices can meet more air resistance than others, resulting in slower speeds. Clothes that aren’t close to the skin will catch the oncoming wind, pushing you backward.
Now that you have a general idea of what can impact your riding speed, why don’t you stick around for a few much-needed tips to increase your velocity?
5 Tips to Boost Your Average Speed on a Bike in Almost No Time
Of course, the most natural thing to do, after reading the previous section, is to make each factor that affects your speed work in your favor. To help you reach higher speeds, we’ve put together a list of a few tips to follow, so let’s get to it!
- Choose the Where and When Wisely
The first thing you should do to increase your average speed is to pick the perfect timing and route for your ride. In other words, the weather has to be on your side, and the road should be free of obstacles.
Your best shot is to ride on a day that isn’t too hot or too cold and when the temperature is somewhere between 65 and 85 degrees. Also, you can’t expect to reach higher speeds on a windy or rainy day.
As for your route, make sure it doesn’t include many intersections, bumps, hills, or turns.
- Learn Your Routes
Sometimes, not knowing what’s around the bend can cause you to slow down, and we don’t want that, right?
For that reason, you may want to spend the first few rides memorizing your routes. Ride slowly and pay attention to the physical features of your path so that you can ride at full speed later without having to pause.
- Work on Your General Fitness
It’s a good idea to go for an active lifestyle to improve your overall health and boost your fitness. Put together a suitable workout schedule and stick to it, and don’t forget to eat a balanced diet.
Soon enough, you should breathe more easily on the bike and be able to ride for longer distances without getting tired. Eventually, averaging at 20 mph on a bike won’t feel so far-fetched.
- Make Adjustments to Your Bike and Gear
If your budget allows it, always choose a lightweight bike over even a slightly heavier one. In addition to that, make sure there isn’t anything on the bike that you won’t be using.
Another thing you should pay attention to is the tires. The pressure inside them should be just right, or they might affect your speed. See, if the pressure is low, the tires will absorb some of your energy and turn it into heat, which will wear your tires and slow you down.
As for your clothes, they must hug your frame and not flap in the face of the wind. If there are parts of your t-shirt or shorts hanging around, they’ll double as sails and help the air push you backward.
- Ride With Friends
The thing about riding with friends is that it turns your solo activity into something more enjoyable and full of competition. See, being with your friends and sharing the same challenges should encourage you to keep going and build your confidence.
Even if you’re not the competitive sort, with everyone going fast, you’ll want to keep up. So, you’ll do your best to reach those high speeds.
Being a cyclist means that you get to go on an adventure every day with the wind in your hair and adrenaline in your veins. And, even though it doesn’t have everything to do with being a successful rider, you might wonder about the right average bike speed for your skill level.
10 or 15 mph should be a good starting point. The more you practice, the easier it should be to reach 18, 20, and even 25 mph during a one-hour ride.
To increase your speed, you’ll have to mind the weather, choose obstacle-free roads, and make sure your gear and bike aren’t weighing you down. Once you make all the necessary adjustments, averaging at 20 mph on a bike shouldn’t seem impossible anymore.