Let’s face it, bolting on our cycles like we are “The Flash” is only a dream. It certainly is one without practice. You cannot expect to go to bed one day with your bicycle by your side and ride it like a professional in the morning.
I get it! We get butterflies in our stomachs when we see The Tour De France on our screens, or better, live, and get inspired by the likes of Tadej Pogačar and Wout Van Aert and other Tour de France riders. Their speed is to die for but it even took these specialists time, patience, and especially practice to get where they are today. Yes! you are thinking right, they also have a whole team of specialists to help them along the way.
Fret not my fellow riders, for I am about to give you the solution to your cycling speed problems. I have decided to become your beacon of light in this dark pursuit of finding the average bike speed and distance for beginners and share the knowledge that I have gained over my cycling years. Towards the end, I have shared some cycling tips and tricks which worked for me so let’s get down to business, shall we?
The Average Cycling Speed For Beginners
First thing first, we need to figure out the average road bike speed so that you can ride as a beginner before we work out your average distance. The formula to calculate the average cycling speed is:
s = D/T
That means that you can find out the speed of any moving object by dividing the distance (denoted by “D”) traveled or the distance covered by it by the Time (denoted by “T”) taken by it to cover that distance. By using this formula you can find out the speed at which you are currently traveling and then tone it according to your needs.
For example, let’s just say that you cycled for 32 kilometers and you were able to do it in 3 hours. Then your cycling speed is 10.6 km/h.
There is a really big gap between an average new beginner and an elite cyclist which is no surprise. Seasoned cyclists can ride more, in less time which cannot be expected from a beginner. The reason is the huge difference in experience. We are talking tenfold weekly training time difference between the two. Aerobic endurance is going to take years to build it is not something that you can achieve overnight.
Your average cycling speed is going to be between 10-15 mph (16 to 24 kph) as a beginner. This may be different for some riders but this is what has been observed on average. Nonetheless, you can use the above formula to calculate your speed if you have any doubts.
The Average Cycling Distance For Beginners
Following the average speed, the next thing that comes to mind is obviously the cycling distance. How far can you go? Surely, being able to ride 30 km in one go does not happen overnight. As a beginner, you will be able to cover around 8 mph-12 mph. The recommended distance for average beginners is 12 mph but that is influenced by a lot of things like your stamina, age, riding experience and so much more.
There are many applications that will help you measure your average cycling distance so that you can know where you stand and how much you need to improve. You can use Strava, or your phone’s GPS Speedometer and Odometer app. All these apps will be compatible with your mountain bikes, road bikes and so on.
Average Cycling Speed By Age
Here is a rough estimate of how much you will be able to cover and at what speed according to your age.
|Average Age||Average Speed (MPH)|
Average Cycling Distance
Here is a quick chart for how many miles per hour you can do:
|Miles Per Hour (MPH)||Kilometers Per Hour (KMH)|
Average Cycling Speed- Bike Types
Here is the average cycling speed you will be able to achieve on different bike types:
|Bike Type||Average Speed (MPH)|
Ways To Improve Your Cycling Speed
Some of us know our cycling speed by heart and strive to improve it but there is nothing wrong if you are new to it. We all start somewhere. Keeping a track record is a good way to keep your progression in check.
Anyway, here are some tips and tricks that I personally applied when I started cycling to increase my average speed and distance. No matter if you have a road bike or a mountain bike, Let’s squeeze out a few more kphs!
The most important thing when it comes to cycling is your fitness. The common mistake that we all make is to keep repeating the loop. We keep repeating the same thing, which does work for some time, but its benefit is only short-lived.
Just like life, variety is the spice of training. Especially in cycling. You can do long rides or shirt rides, you take it easy or go harder at it but it all jolts down to your fitness. The more fit you are, the better you will ride.
Try One Thing At A Time
One thing to keep in mind is that you can do the hard/difficult intervals in different lengths. Your fitness will keep on changing according to the different lengths of effort that you put in.
For example, let’s say that you do a really hard short ride, it will affect differently on your fitness as opposed to if you did some long intervals. It will all just really build up your fitness which will in the end help you achieve a greater speed and much greater lengths. If you ride consistently, it will help you improve your overall stamina.
Choosing Your Terrain
We were just talking about mixing up your interval styles and trying different things on different days. Similarly, you cannot expect your speed to match that of an expert if you keep on riding on a single kind of terrain.
Do your intervals differently eas day in different places. For example, if you are practicing your intervals on a flat road, it will improve your ability to ride on a flat terrain., You can then practice the same on a climb and you can guess the outcome.
Switching Up Your Cadence
You can think about how fast you are pedaling along with how many interval sessions you are doing. Improving our cadence is going to help improve our cycling. As beginners, we are usually very passionate about pedaling. But the one thing interfering with our pedaling is the heavy gears!
Our gears tend to slow us down only when we don’t use them efficiently. When this happens, our legs get tired of all the hard work and we get slumpy. As a result, our speed is affected. To tackle this problem, try to use your gears in a way that helps your cadence.
For example, if you switch to heavy gear, start out with a slow cadence of 40 to 50 rpm. Then switch your cadence to a really fast pace of, for example, 110 or 120rpm. This may feel uncomfortable in the start but it will all help in increasing your average cycling speed.
The next thing, after you have worked on your cadence is your pace. Irrespective of the kind of route that you pick, if you pace it correctly, it will work wonders on your riding speed. Some of us really start out too strong and use all our energy up at the start. Towards the end of our session, we have nothing left in us to pedal any further.
The best technique to overcome this is pacing toward a negative split. Start your ride at a comfortable speed, one that you can maintain in the long run. When you are halfway through your ride, pick up your speed. This way towards the end of your cycling session you will have enough energy to finish off with a bang.
Plan Out Your Effort
We all want maximum output while putting in the least effort, don’t we? What you an do is plan out your effort. You can choose a route where you can go faster but with less effort. For example, on a climb, you can go really hard while going uphill but on the downhill, you don’t have to put in the same amount of effort.
There is really no point in riding busy streets. You are going to be all hyped up only to have to stop at a red light and that will waste all your energy. So, be smart about picking up your route.
Stack-Up On Carbohydrates
Now we are not asking you to go overboard with it but having a let’s say breakfast that is loaded with slow-burning carbohydrates is going to give you slow-releasing energy throughout your ride. You will need at least 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of cycling.
There are plenty of sports nutrition products out there that you can eat on the go. These products are specially designed to give you a release of energy and they are also easily digestible.
Selecting Your Route
This is the most important part of increasing your average cycling speed. You will need to select your route very carefully. If you opt for a route that has a lot of junctions and traffic signals, it will mess with your riding speed because you will have to stop again and again. It will break your momentum.
The best route to ride on is a flat route if you are looking to increase your average cycling speed. You can also try out different kinds of routes, and mix your routine with hilly climbs or stuff. The best way to select your route is via an app. You can use different apps to plan out your route.
Read also: The Best Winter Cycling Locations In America
Work On Your Aerodynamics
Wind resistance is our greatest enemy. The better your aerodynamics get, the faster you can go in terms of your cycling speed. Going Aero does not mean you have to invest in high tech that is really pricey. There are little things that you can work on like the socks you choose. You can also get aero-supportive rear derailleurs.
What’s free of cost and also contributes the most to changing your aerodynamics is your riding position. Just changing your riding position can improve your aerodynamics dramatically.
What you need to do is lower your head, roll in your shoulders, and flatten your back as you ride on your bike. This riding style will help you improve your aerodynamics.
Selecting Your Kit
Your aerodynamics not only depends on your riding position but also on the kit that you are wearing. You can spend a lot of money on those aerodynamic kits but the real secret is getting a good-fit lycra jersey along with a pair of shorts that fit well and are comfortable for you to wear for long hours.
Improve Your Rolling Resistance
Rolling resistance is one of the biggest hurdles in our way of achieving that desired cycling speed. There are different tire and inner tube combinations that you can try to make sure that your rolling resistance is minimized as much as it can be.
A fast bike is one that is well-maintained. No matter what kind of bike you chose to get, make sure that you look after it.
Read more on Bike Maintenance:
- Basic Bike Maintenance Tips
- How To Tune Up A Bike
- How to Remove Rust From Bike
- How To Tighten A Bike Chain
- How To Tighten Bike Brakes
Common Mistakes We Make As Beginners
We have all been here and we have all committed these common mistakes over and over again before finally realizing what it is that we are doing wrong. Getting things done the right way and avoiding these mistakes will really help you increase your average cycling speed and in turn, achieve greater distances. Here are the common mistakes that you should avoid at all costs:
Incorrect Saddle Height
This one is a really easy mistake to make as beginner cyclists. Your saddle height not only messes with your comfort but also affects your aerodynamics. Positioning your saddle too high or too low will mess with your pedaling ability and it also poses a greater threat of injury.
While it is a good idea to fuel up before starting your ride, you certainly don’t want to over-eat. Having a full mean before riding will end up making you sluggish. You will not have enough power to hit up your cadence or ride at all. You will end up feeling sleepy and might quit on that ride plan altogether.
Not Enough Feuling
Now I am not talking about feeling your bicycle, obviously, what I mean is not getting enough amount of energy needed to perfectly execute your ride. You cannot put in more effort to increase your speed or cover a greater distance if your body is running out of fuel.
Before you ride out, have something to eat which has slow-burn carbohydrates. You can also carry the snack nutrition bars to make sure that you don’t come to a halt.
Wearing The Wrong Kit
Clothes really matter when it comes to cycling at a greater speed to greater distances. Unlike your daily grocery runs, you cannot expect to wear your comfortable pj’s to your cycling practice. In colder regions, it’s always better to over-dress than under-dress because you can always remove the layers.
Whether you are in colder regions or residing in a warmer part, it is best to never leave the house without a Gillet or a rain cape because a sudden pour can make your body temperature fall down, and we don’t want that.
Selecting The Wrong Gear
Bicycle gears are there to make sure that you ride comfortably on different kinds of terrains. They are there to assist you while you work on increasing your cycling speed. So you really don’t need to sprint at 40 rpm if you are new to it because you will only end up injuring yourself.
Get to know your gears and then work slowly on them. Avoid overdoing the gears and you will notice the difference.
Taking On Too Much Too Soon
Starting out cycling, there is so much adrenaline rushing through our veins that we almost don’t know what to do. This is exactly why some of us just can’t help ourselves and end up taking on too much too soon. Although there is nothing wrong with wishing to go faster, all of us have certain limits. It takes time and practice to increase your limits.
Taking on too much too soon will only mess with your cycling trip. So learn to take it slow and do not over-push the limits of your body.
Distance Vs Speed-What Should Be Your Goal?
The answer to this really depends on your need as well as your riding style. Are you more focused on covering a larger distance or do you want to enjoy a faster speed than the one you are currently riding at?
I know that I prefer to cover a greater distance than being burned out by speeding in on only a few km before I have to call it a day. This way, I am able to preserve my stamina and evenly distribute it throughout my ride. But this whole scenario changes if you are riding in a group. Your interest is going to lean towards that of your group. For example, in a group, we have done a round of around 30 km in 40 mins.
You can apply diversity here too. Enjoy the ride with your friends or your family and cruise casually on the coastal lines or go for a pumped-up session in which you can test your speed limits. It’s all up to you.
What's A Good Average Speed For Cycling?
Generally, 25-28 mph is considered a good average speed for cycling on flat grounds. But this can change according to the kind of terrain you are riding on.
Is 50 km/h Fast On A Bike?
Yes, 50 km/h is strenuously fast on a bike. Although professional cyclists can ride at this speed easily, it will not only be hard to achieve but also hard to maintain as a beginner cyclist.
What Is A Good Distance To Cycle Daily For A Beginner In Km?
Generally, 12km is considered a good distance to cycle daily for a beginner. You can gradually add more km to it as you build your cycling stamina.
By now you know that not everyone starts out really great at cycling. Road Cycling is a skill that is mastered with time and by applying the correct techniques. Just a few simple steps will help you increase your average cycling speed tremendously and help you attain greater distances in a short period of time.
That adrenaline rush in your veins and those warm strokes of fresh air against your sweating cheek when you are going above the average speed are no longer a dream! Have you calculated your average cycling speed and average cycling distance? Let us know what it is in the comment section! Happy Ridding.