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

You may ride on your own often or frequently go out on group rides. But either way, there is a good 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 is easy to do with Strava and the various other fitness apps available.

But, answering the question of “What’s A Typical Cycling Speed?” is more challenging than you may think.

Therefore, in this article, we will cover:

  • The 5 Factors That Affect Your Average Bike Speed
  • The Typical Average Bike Speed Based On Your Bike
  • 6 Ways To Improve Your Average Road Bike Speed

Ready to find out how to speed up?

Let’s dive in!

Average Bike Speed: Title Image

4 Factors That Affect Your Average Bike Speed

There are many factors that will make a difference to your average mph on a bike. These are based on your body, mind, experience, environment, and bike. Let’s go into these in a little more detail:

#1. Body Condition And Age

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

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

Age plays a huge part 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. But, cyclists who keep training after turning 30 can dramatically reduce the performance losses.

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#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 you learn lots of little tricks that increase your skill level. For example, you understand your strengths, the best riding position for the terrain, how to pace yourself, etc.

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

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#4. The Environment You Ride In

Your average bike speed will be much faster if you stick to flat ground, straight roads, and smooth surfaces. Any imperfections in the road and corners 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 obviously gets worse the steeper the hill.

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

The other issue with 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.

But, 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.

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The Typical Average Bike Speed Based On Your Bike

There are bikes to suit everyone’s circumstances and needs. But their characteristics and features affect how fast they go and their general performance. However, just because one bike is slower than another doesn’t mean it is a bad bike; it is 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 isn’t a great metric to measure. But it is the most obvious one to use as a gauge of your progression.

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 ling ride relative to their experience.

Most road cyclists have an average bike speed of about 15mph/24kph over an hour. If you are a beginner, you will probably start out averaging 10 mph/16kph, but it won’t take long before you improve on this,

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If you train every now and again, you will get your average bike speed up to about 18mph/29kph. But if you commit to a proper training plan, you will be blasting along as 22mph/35kph.

Professional cyclists can average 25 mph during races like the Tour De France. But you have to realize that this is over an incredibly long distance over varied terrain and in all weather conditions.

Average Bike Speed For A Commuter

If you ride a commuter bike, your average mph on bike lanes will probably be about 12mph/16kph. If you are not at this average bike speed yet, keep going, it won’t take long to get there.

With a reasonable fitness level and experience of riding through cities, you will easily be able to reach 15 mph (24 kph).

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.

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For example, a downhill mountain bike can get to about 20mph/32kph depending on the trail, bike, and rider. A cross country mountain bike racer will often reach 9mph/14.5kph. But a rider on a singletrack trail will have an average bike speed of 10mph/16kph.

With all this said, Eric Barone was reached 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.

6 Ways To Improve Your Average Road Bike Speed

You can do a few things to increase your average bicycle speed. In this section, we will go into them, so you can earn the bragging rights at your next group ride.

#1. 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 lycra with an aerodynamic riding position, you will be able to increase your average bike speed significantly.

You can also fit your bike with aerodynamic components. For example, aero wheels will cut through the air much more easily than regular wheels. 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.

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#2. Pump Up Your Tires

If your tires are underinflated, they have a higher 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 limits of the tires for safety and best performance.

#3. Go Carbon

Carbon fiber bike frames and components reduce your bike’s weight. A lighter bike is easier to ride fast, increasing your average bicycle speed.

The downside of carbon bike parts is that they are incredibly expensive. You will only get marginal gains, so you need to determine if the cost is worth it for shedding a few grams.

#4. Improve Your Fitness

The single best way to increase your average bike speed is to work on yourself. You can shave weight off your body for free rather than buying expensive carbon parts.

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

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#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.

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.

Planning ahead and braking less will increase your average bike speed throughout your ride.

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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 put you in good stead.

Found this Article Helpful? Develop your cycling knowledge Further With The BikeTips Experts’ Guides Below!

Photo of author
One of BikeTips' regular content creators, Tom lives in the French Alps. When he isn't writing, he can be found charging downhill on a mountain bike or snowboard. Tom's other passion is fitness, which goes a long way to help him make the most of the Alpine lifestyle.

15 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Best,

      Rory
      BikeTips Editor

      Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply

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