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!
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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,
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.
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!
#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.
#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.
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.