Average Bike Speed: What’s A Typical Cycling Speed?

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Whether you ride solo or love a group ride, there’s a decent chance that you measure your progress by comparing yourself to other cyclists.

With the ever-increasing popularity of cycling, we are becoming more curious about how our average bike speed measures up against other people. It’s easy to do with Strava and the various other fitness apps available.

But, answering the question, “What’s a typical cycling speed?”, is more challenging than you may think.

Therefore, in this article, we’ll be covering:

  • 4 Key Factors That Affect Your Average Bike Speed
  • How Does The Type Of Bike You Ride Affect Average Bike Speed?
  • 6 Ways To Improve Your Average Road Bike Speed

Let’s dive in!

Average Bike Speed: Title Image

4 Key Factors That Affect Your Average Bike Speed

There are many factors that will make a difference to your average mph on bike rides. These are based on your body, mind, experience, environment, and bike.

Let’s go into these in a little more detail:

#1. Physical Condition And Age

Our bodies power our bikes, so physical condition will of course make a difference to your average bike speed and how long you can maintain that speed.

However, fitness isn’t the only physical factor that affects performance. There are some things beyond our control, such as age.

Age plays a significant role in cycling performance. Unfortunately, our bodies become less efficient and powerful as we get older.

Our blood flow volume reduces as we age. This is because the tissues within our hearts start to harden while the ventricles get thicker. Therefore, our muscles don’t get as much oxygen when we exercise.

We also start to lose muscle mass after the age of 30, reducing our strength. However, cyclists who keep training after turning 30 can dramatically reduce their performance losses.

Older cyclists who continue to train regularly can maintain strong levels of fitness even into their retirement years, even though their maximum achievable performance will be lower than in their youth.

A cyclist on a gravel bike powers up a grassy hill in the sun.

#2. Mindset

Your mindset can make a massive difference to your average bike speed.

For example, your perspective can cause you to reduce your effort before you reach your peak. You may do this when you approach a steep hill, which can demoralize you, slowing you down when you really need to put in more effort.

You may also fixate on your aching muscles rather than focusing on the goal. Doing this exacerbates the discomfort, if only in your mind.

To keep a good mindset when riding, you can listen to fast-paced music and focus on power output rather than the extra effort you are putting into the pedals.

It’s a good idea to have only one earbud in or use open-ear technology though, so you’re aware of traffic or other riders around you.

#3. Skill And Experience

Over time your skill and experience as a cyclist will develop, helping to raise your average cycling speed.

For example, you understand your strengths, the best riding position for the terrain, how to pace yourself on a climb or through a long ride, how to fuel yourself properly, and so on.

You might also develop a more efficient pedal stroke or improve your skills as a technical descender, all of which help to increase your speed.

All these factors come with experience and will give you the advantage over a novice rider.

A group of professional cyclists in a bike race, led by a rider in a green jersey.

#4. The Environment You Ride In

Your average bike speed will naturally be much faster if you stick to flat ground, straight roads, and smooth surfaces.

Hills, corners, and poor road surfaces will slow you down.

Riding uphill will slow you down dramatically. An incline of just 4% can reduce your average bike speed by 75%. This effect is exaggerated on steeper climbs.

Your speed also reduces by a significant amount if you encounter a headwind (or crosswinds, to a lesser extent). It is a similar case when riding in cold weather, rain, and snow, as it is safer and more comfortable to ride slower.

Another factor that will slow you down when riding in bad weather is that you need to wear bulkier clothing. More clothing layers restrict your movement and increase drag, so it is more challenging to keep a high average bike speed.

However, riding in hot weather can speed you up.

This is because you can wear thinner, more aerodynamic clothing, and warmer air is less dense, reducing drag. That being said, hot weather can make you dehydrated or cause you to overheat, affecting your performance.

A mountain biker prepares for a rocky descent into a misty valley, which can affect your average bike speed.

How Does The Type Of Bike You Ride Affect Average Bike Speed?

There are bikes to suit everyone’s circumstances and needs, but their characteristics and features affect how fast they go and other aspects of their performance.

However, just because one type of bike is slower than another doesn’t mean it is a bad bike. It’s just made for a different purpose.

Heavier bikes take more effort to get up to speed. But other elements such as wheel size, gearing, riding position, tire choice, and maintenance will determine how fast you can ride. 

With this in mind, speed is sometimes a misleading metric to measure if you’re not making a direct comparison, with all other factors equal.

However, for many riders, speed is the most obvious metric to use as a gauge of their own progression.

A cyclist on an orange road bike climbs a steep mountain road.

Average Road Bike Speed

As we have already established, many things will affect your average bike speed. For the average road bike speed, we will concentrate on riders completing an hour-long ride relative to their experience.

A typical road cyclist on a relatively flat course will have an average bike speed of about 15-18 mph (24-29 km/h) over an hour’s ride.

However, bear in mind that this is a very rough approximation that is dependent on weather, elevation, road surface, and any number of other factors.

If you’re a beginner, you will probably start out averaging slightly lower than this, perhaps 12-14 mph (16-23 km/h) or so, but it won’t take long before you improve.

If you train regularly, you might get your average bike speed up to about 20 mph (29 km/h). But if you commit to a serious training plan, you could be blasting along even faster!

The Tour de France peloton races through Paris at sunset.

Average Road Bike Speed For Professional Cyclists

At an average speed of 26.12 mph (42.03 km/h), Jonas Vingegaard‘s 2022 Tour de France victory was the fastest in history.

Maurice Garin’s average speed on his way to victory at the inaugural 1903 Tour was 15.96 mph (25.68 km/h) – which is still remarkable considering the ancient equipment cyclists rode on, the absence of teams, and each stage was an average distance of 251 miles (405 km)!

However, there are many other factors that affect the average speed of a modern professional stage race compared to the amateur hour-ride averages mentioned above.

For example, their rides are much longer, extremely mountainous, and feature little time for recovery, all of which will reduce their average bike speed.

However, the speeds will be increased by the drafting effect of riding in a peloton, the absence of traffic and junctions (the Tour de France takes place on closed roads), and professional-standard equipment.

Perhaps the purest measure of average speed for a professional cyclist is the time trial. Rohan Dennis’s average speed in the 2015 Tour de France time trial was a blistering 34.46 mph (55.45 km/h).

Team time trials can be even faster, as the riders benefit from drafting. The current record is team Orica–GreenEDGE’s effort at the 2013 Tour, in which they averaged an astonishing 35.94 mph (57.84 km/h).

A group of cyclists commute through the bike lane.

Average Bike Speed For A Commuter

Coming back down to Earth from those astronomical speeds, if you ride a commuter bike, your average mph on bike lanes will probably be somewhere around 12 mph (16 km/h).

Don’t be disheartened if you’re not commuting at this pace yet, as your ride could easily be affected by traffic, the quality of bike lanes in your area, and how hilly the roads are.

As you cycle more, your fitness and strength will naturally improve, and you’ll find your average bike speed increasing bit by bit.

The bike you choose to ride will also make a difference – a commuter bike will be more comfortable, but if speed if what you’re after a road bike will make a big difference.

Bear in mind though that safety is much more important than speed, and you have to be especially cautious while riding in urban areas.

It might be tempting to chase a personal record each time you’re heading home from work, but remember to put the safety of yourself and other road users first!

A mountain biker in a red shirt crests a hill in the desert.

Average Mountain Bike Speed

There are many different mountain bike disciplines, so it is hard to pinpoint an exact figure for the average mph on bike trails.

The differences come from the terrain that the bikes are designed to take on.

For example, a competitive downhill mountain biker might hit peaks of 30 mph (48 km/h) or more on a steep descent, but another rider on a singletrack trail might have an average bike speed of only 10 mph (16 km/h) or so.

On a really technical trail with large obstacles and steep inclines, this average speed could come down even further.

All that being said, Eric Barone reached a brain-melting 141 mph (227 km/h) on a downhill mountain bike on snow. He was riding a prototype bike for the event on March 19th, 2017.

Average Bike Speed Whats A Typical Cycling Speed 7

6 Ways To Improve Your Average Road Bike Speed

There are a few steps you can take to increase your average bicycle speed.

In this section, we’ll be diving into them so you can claim the bragging rights at your next group ride!

#1. Improve Your Fitness

The single best way to increase your average bike speed is to work on yourself.

Spending your hard-earned cash to improve your gear is all well and good, but the rider is always likely to be more important than the bike!

You can join a spin class, do interval training, and improve your power. Just 30 minutes of strenuous exercise 3 or 4 times a week will make a huge difference to your performance.

#2. Reduce Drag

Cyclists wear tight-fitting clothes to reduce wind resistance. If you wear baggy clothes that flap in the wind, you are not very slippery through the air.

When you combine tight clothing with an aerodynamic riding position, you will be able to increase your average bike speed significantly.

80% of aerodynamic drag on a bike comes from the rider’s body, so there are huge speed savings to be made!

You can also fit your bike with aerodynamic components. For example, aero frames and wheels will cut through the air much more easily than regular equipment. However, they are not cheap!

Alternatively, you may want to fit aero bars. These put you in a more aerodynamic riding position, often preferred by triathletes.

A pro cyclist rides a carbon fiber bike around a street circuit.

#3. Reduce Weight

Weight has a significant impact on your average bike speed.

This is especially true while cycling uphill. On the flats, aerodynamics are more important than weight.

If weight is a key concern, a road bike is always likely to be your best bet. Materials such as carbon fiber and good-quality bike components help reduce weight but can come at a significant price.

#4. Optimize Your Tire Pressure

If your tires are underinflated, they create more rolling resistance. This means you need to put more effort into the pedals to accelerate and maintain your speed.

Firmer tires roll more easily, but make sure you stay within the psi (pressure) limits of the tires for safety and the best performance.

It’s also worth noting that lower pressures can have advantages too. They provide a more comfortable ride, which can help you maintain pedaling power over bumpy road surfaces, making you faster.

Too much tire pressure can actually reduce grip and cause such a bumpy ride that your muscles become more fatigued compensating for it.

So, it’s all about finding a balance!

Close-up of a silver bike cassette.

#5. Look At Your Bike’s Gearing

Your average bike speed will be determined by your bike’s gearing. The gears affect how far the wheels rotate in regard to a single peddle turn.

This means a higher gear will be faster than a low gear as it makes the wheels spin faster. However, higher gears make the bike harder to get going from a standstill, and the extra speeds make coping with changes in the terrain and corners more challenging.

Choosing the right gearing is especially important if you ride a single-speed or a fixie bike, popular with commuters, or if you live in a particularly hilly area.

If you are in the market for a new bike or want to upgrade the one you have, you should check out the optimum gear ratios for you.

#6. Brake Less, Ride Smoother

Reducing the amount of braking you do means that you ride more smoothly. It takes less effort to accelerate while rolling than it does from being stationary.

We’re not trying to suggest you ignore your brakes when you need them for safety’s sake!

What we mean is that you can be strategic with how you accelerate, decelerate, and maintain speed. Planning ahead can increase your average bike speed throughout your ride.

For example, when approaching a traffic light, some cyclists will approach it maintaining their full pace, then brake firmly to come to a complete stop.

However, gradually reducing your pace as you approach a red light might mean that it turns green again while you’re still rolling, saving you the significant amount of energy required for the initial acceleration of a bike from a standstill and raising your average pace.

Of course, you still need to be considerate to other road users. It’s not practical to crawl along slowly 50 meters from a junction with a logjam building behind you because you want the lights to turn green while you’re still rolling!

Three cyclists ride road bikes on a forested highway.

Now You Know All About Average Bike Speed…

Determining how fast a bike goes isn’t as clear-cut as you may think.

The many variables and disciplines involved mean that you have to drill down into the details that are relevant to you.

But if a higher average bike speed is your goal, working on your fitness, maintaining your bike, staying lean, and working on bike skills will set you in good stead!

Found this Article Helpful? Find more from The BikeTips Experts Below!

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Tom is an experienced freelance cycling journalist and mountain biking expert who competed nationally in the junior ranks. Now based in the world-famous mountain biking destination of Morzine in the French Alps, Tom spends his summers shredding off-road trails by bike and his winters on the same mountains on a snowboard.

31 thoughts on “Average Bike Speed: What’s A Typical Cycling Speed?”

  1. Whatever happened to the idea that bike riding is supposed to be fun? I’ve been riding for over 40 years on high-end road bikes, comfort bikes, and in the past 6 years pedal assist e-bikes. I gave up worrying about getting faster in my fifties. I’m now 76 and have ridden over 22,000 miles in the past 6 years. I think you should be focusing on SAFE riding rather than fast riding. I see riders on our local greenways treating their riding like a tune up for the Tour de France. They endanger others on the greenway and give bicycling a bad name. On the roads I’m astounded at the number of adults I see riding without a helmet in dark clothes with no “running” lights. Teach people about how to stay alive while they’re out riding. Bikes are fun. Speed; not so much. On my e-bikes I ride 90 min 5-6 times a week at an average speed of approximately14 mph. It allows me to see the birds, smell the flowers, and enjoy the rides.

    • Hi John, thanks for your thoughtful comment! It’s certainly a valid point – although learning to cycle faster is great for riders interested in taking part in time trials or triathlons, safety should always come first. And we’re always fans of taking it easy and enjoying the meditative side of bike riding from time to time!

      If you’re interested in seeing our writing on bike safety, you can check out our articles on safe city cycling (specifically in London, though much of the advice is universal) and mountain bike safety too.


      BikeTips Editor

    • I’m 44, and it changes year to year, I just wanna keep upbto my mountain bike buddies with way more capable bikes than mine, I’m on a long travel hardtail exclusively for this year.. XC, Dirt Jump, mild downhilling, and of course dirt jumps. I have a road bike which I still love, but I’m not a roadie. Speed is fun, especially if you have the brakes and tires to back you up! Keep having fun on two wheels, no matter what your speed!

    • Full respect for you sir-
      I am 62 never raced but still enjoy pushing the pace on my road bike whether with friends or solo…with my wife I slow down but still enjoy the self propelled joy biking brings…always with lights and bright clothing..I hope to continue to ride safely whether at paceline pace or easy pedal pace for many years to come…people like you are inspirations and true bike ambassadors…ride on!

      • Spot on Robert. I am going on 75 this year, took up cycling at 29 after Vietnam due to a leg injury and still love it to this day. Some of my riding partners over the years were some of the greats from the 70’s & 80’s era. Like so many I now have heart A.F.I.B. My cardiologist tells me the best thing I can do is to keep up my roughly 75 to 90 miles a week. Recently one of my old riding partners, age 79 also with A.F.I.B. gave me this great piece of advice about pushing 80. That being. Pitch the bike computer and just let your legs dictate the ride, and just enjoy the ride.. As unpalatable as that is. We all have to except except it. SOMEDAY.

    • Going faster and having fun are not mutually exclusive.
      It seems that your goals have changed, but likely at one point in your cycling career, you had a goal of going faster. Just remember your goals may not be the same as others, and the definition of fun can vary by individual.
      I’m now nearly 50 and I still have fun trying to get better than yesterday though I know it cannot be, long term.

      • I appreciate your response. I’m 58 and I have personally experienced improvements on my fitness and speed over the last few years of riding and I find that both fulfilling and fun. Like you, I’m not sure why some folks find fun and speed to be mutually exclusive. One year ago at Seagull ride at the salisbury university, I averaged 20.3 mph average over a 100 mile route. I averaged 21.5 mph over 62 miles last summer. That was the fastest I have ever ridden over that distance. It was challenging but it was probably the most fun I’ve had on a bike. Btw, these rides were done on an endurance carbon fiber Bianchi. I just purchased a Trek Madone this year. Can’t wait to see how much fun and speed I will experience this year. I know that I will eventually be slowed by my age factor but as for now, that time has not yet come

    • I ride a city route with a lot of stops. Average speed on the computer is 6 to 8 mph with top speeds of 14. No way im putting my life in danger by riding in the road. We average 3 deaths a year in my city. Cars always win.

    • Commuting on a MTB for 20 years my average speed was always 12mph.
      That includes stoplights and or signs…and I was always in a hurry.
      Well, ten years on, on an ebike !?
      I’m apparently unsafe at any speed, the speed limit. My bike is geared to do the ebike max of 28mph. And that really isn’t safe in the bike lane most of the time.
      So I’ve had a wake up call at 70. A head on with a pick up truck. So nothing broken but the bike is destroyed. Thank goodness the motor and battery are fine, just need new frame, front wheel and a fork. Or $1500.
      Too bad the driver took off.
      I was wearing my full face helmet. The padding in the backpack helped…
      I’m sticking to the trail where if I kill myself, it’s on me.

    • Even if you do train exclusively for max power and speed, a training program will have (needs to have) “easy slow days”. You litterally need to ride slow on some recovery days in order to go faster on timed planned fast days and or for races. Otherwise, you can reach a plateu, or worse, burn out, when all your rides are unforgivingly hard and fast. On easy days, I will ride with my daughter and or wife partly to keep my speeds and temptation to go faster down, or use rollers in doors, though that is very boring, and riding with others is much better than a boring excercise bike or rollers. It is of course important to find an appropriate cycle friendly road or “mostly deserted” stretch greenway when your training day does call for sprint intervals and your going 30+ mph, or more. Sometimes, you need to drive your bike by car to find such roads. or easy ride to get there.

  2. I’m 73 and been cycling seriously with a coach and training group for seven years now summer and winter. There are lots of great ideas here but the secret to any success is practice and that means cycling several times a week alone or with a supportive group. Don’t wait to get started. It doesn’t get easier as you get older LOL.

    • I’m 67 been riding my whole life except between finding girls and a few years after finally getting married. Now I ride the trails, and when I say ride I mean I ride like I stole it. I love cardio workouts and one of the reasons I look at least 10 years younger.
      It’s not about losing muscle strength as you grow older. It’s about how hard you work to keep and grow muscle strength as you age chronologically.

  3. At 62 I started biking for the first time in 10 years. At 63 I rode my bike across the US and averaged 16 MPH. 18-19 on the flats and a lot slower in the mountains.

  4. As an 81 year old who has been cycling since I was 4- I got my first bike when my father came back from the war and I cycle now for pleasure and do 25 to 30 miles per week over 2 or 3 sessions. Since it us for joy of cycling and for fitness speed is of secondary importance. I am now down to some 11.5 miles per hour. At the moment I am still happy cycling without the need for an e-bike. My advice to older cyclists is enjoy but do not put pressure on yourselves for speed!

    • I hear you but it’s not easy. I am 69 and a bit over weight at 240 lbs and at 6’3″. I have been a rider forever and used to race duathlons until my ankles and knees gave up at 59. My ‘problem’ is still the mental challenge of seeing another cyclist up ahead and just having to chase them down. My average 55 minute circuit ride is averaging still around 30-31kmh but then I feel wiped out afterwards. I cannot seem to take it down a notch or two and just cruise. It’s not in my nature. Older but not wiser in beautiful Niagara region.

  5. Exercise the endless loop of improvement. The more you do it, the better you become making it easier and encouraging you to do it more. Joined the twenty miles per hour club way back in 1996 and still going strong. Sixty six year old and I still ride a fixed gear bike, a trek y bike and a specialized levo Sl e bike. Average speed on the bear claw mountain bike race course is thirteen miles per hour.

    • I was considering airless tires after a particularly exasperating strong of flats.
      After replacing a damaged rear tire and tube, I added Flat Out to both tires, and have nit had a flat since then.

  6. Enjoyed the comments! I’m 82, now on a Trek E- Bike & love it! Much easier on the body & much safer! After running, swimming,& tennis,I took up cycling when I retired at 55, have logged 77 thousand miles!! I hope God will let me bike until I take my final breath! Great Sport!!

  7. 71 and have been riding for more than 40 years, usually averaging 100 miles a week until just the last two years. I got a Trek Madone 4.5 about 10 or so years ago, finally retiring my Bianchi Racing Bike, the fourth road bike I’ve owned over the years. Still love to ride, but have no need for 100 mile weeks anymore

  8. I am 69 and started racing bikes for the same club team of Lance Armstrongs in Dallas, ” Richardson Bike Mart” I was late in my career when lance came along. Even with all the negatives bestowed on Lance he gave me the incentive to continue cycling. My last 100 mile race was at 53, and it was The Hotter Than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls Texas. Even though this was not a sanctioned race it attracked the some of the best cyclist throughout the country. I’m especially proud of this ride because of my age. My racing days, I could train around 22 to 24 miles an hour. However in this last 100 mile race at 52 I started midway back in the pack with a friend, not really planning on racing. But the temtation got to me. Even though I crossed the start line over a minute after the elite front, I found myself catching and riding with them after three miles. The next 97 miles I remained in the front group with only three water bottles. The next thing I know we were sprinting for the finish. At 52 my sprint was up to the younger riders but I came within 5 seconds of winning. We did the 100 miles just under four hours which was over 25mph. Even though I did not win, I realized that I actually rode the 100 miles faster than anyone since it took me a minute to cross the start line.

    At 69, those days are gone, very sad. I still ride 100 mile rides from time to time but only average 18 to 19mph. I am still proud of my ability and enjoy cycling emensely. It is a great sport. So to everyone out there, keep putting in the miles and remember all those wonderful moments.

  9. My way to judge my average speed against others is by racing Google Maps.
    Google Maps says I got a 40 minute ride from Point A to Point B. Okay, how fast do I actually make it?
    Yesterday, I shaved off 6 minutes from it’s predictive time.

  10. Gonna get in trouble here. I live on an urban bike route and find thst the typical speed of the cyclists along it is more than the posted speed limit. The city reduced the speed limit on some streets thoughout the city and the bicycles usually ignore these limits and become very frustrated when they get behind cars that adhere to them resulting in dangerous passing maneuvers. I’ve had to buff off shoe prints from frustrated cyclists who’ve taken out their frustration by physical expressions against my car.
    Now we have articles detailing how to improve your speed but with little regard to the limits set by local ordinances.


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