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How fast on a bike

Hi all, hope every ones training is going well (londons not far off!)

A bit of a vaugueish question.

How fast do you guys go on a the bike?

I have a mountain bike background so i don't have a great deal of expereince in road biking. I have been logging my training and trying ot pin down my average speed.

It gets affected if its a windy day and of course if i ride a hilly route, but can usually manage about an average of around 20mph or 22-23 if i keep aero.

Also i have been told by an experienced triathlete that i should forget speed and train to a cadence of about 70-80rpm.

how fast do you guys go? and does it really matter if the cadence/effort is right?


  • My target rate is 36mins for each 20km, but I'd hope to go a bit faster if it was flat/no wind/dry etc and slower if it was hilly/wet/bendy etc. (i.e. pretty similar to your times)

    On cadence, I've read (220 articles) that professional cyclists and elite triathletes try to stay between 90-100 rpm but that most of us will be more comfortable at a lower rate. I think I'm probably pretty slow (I have a cadence reader for the bike but haven't worked up the energy to attach it yet), maybe about 65-70, but would like to get up to 75-85.

  • I don't think I usually get lower than 40mins for 20km, but I don't really target anything.
  • I average about thirty Km/h on the bike (its quite hilly here) although just bought a q roo and it has just increased my speed by 4 k (works out about £500/K I thinks thats value for money[:D]) Quite amazing that changing the bike can make such a difference. I might beat my nemesis on the local time trials now!
  • JasonBJasonB Posts: 303
    I average about 20 miles per hour, not sure what that is in KMs
  • I like km/h as it sounds faster. [:D]
  • Matt KMatt K Posts: 16
    I like that, im off to convert mph to kph right now
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    Looking at age group results for most races, you will find that people in the top 100 of the Olympic distances are doing 40k in something like 1h 05m - 1h 15m, which is something like 30-35 kph or 19 - 22 mph. So, for me that is a goal to set for myself as an average speed over a training ride (which I don't often achieve).

    Remembering that one part of triathlon training is to achieve a good, high speed, while leaving enough in your legs for the run section, most books and coaches will tell you to target a cadence of 90-100 rpm for your straight or downhill sections of the ride. In terms of training, it is good to focus on getting into a good cadence and worry less about your speed. Improvements in speed will come with practice over time, but cadence is a very good measure of your efficiency on the bike.

    Much more than 100 rpm will cause most people to "bounce" around in their seat and waste energy (and increase the chance of knee injury). Much less than 90 rpm can often cause more build-up of lactic acid in your legs and reduce your medium- and long-term efficiency. Of course, there are always going to be times in your ride when you will go outside the ideal zone and it's up to each of us to see what feels right under what circumstances (sprinting to pull ahead of people; dropping cadence a little lower when shifting up a gear to prepare for a long, straight stretch of road that we know well and want to feel more "power", etc).

    Going uphill, the key is also maintaining as high a cadence as you can by shifting down through the gears until you can get as close to that target range as possible. I'm pretty happy if I can go uphill with a cadence in the mid- to high-80s and a speed of 20+ kph (12+ mph), but that's me.
  • domtylerdomtyler Posts: 3
    Hi Everyone,

    I come from a road racing background and would just like to say concerning cadence, don't worry about it too much. By all means spend time during your training spinning in a low gear in order to become used to a higher cadence e.g. 90-100. If you worry about it all the time though you will waste so much time thinking about what gear to be in and changing gear every two seconds that any gain is automatically cancelled out. Much better to allow your legs to do the work and forget constantly changing gear.


  • shamus_2shamus_2 Posts: 4
    Hi guys, I thought I would give my 5 cents (or pence) worth on this subject. This is a response to several of the items above.

    I come froma runnning background, and some mountain bike racing, and have never done a road race other than for tri. I have only really done sprint distance events, with a PB of 1:02. The bike courses in Toronto area in Canada I think would be much hillier than what you see here in the UK (generally speaking).

    For the tri, in my opinion the most important thing is what cadence you are comfortable with that doesn't give you 'lead legs' for the run portion. Every pro level athlete will have different style as well. Of course this also means generall that you will need a relatively high cadence as cranking a big gear is no good. take a look at a few different styles to find one for you.

    With a few hints from a pro triathlete (nothing about cadence mentioned), I was able to bring my bike times down to around 32 mins for 20KM, and had average speed of 37-39Km/hr.

    You should not aim for this speed ina workout, as not realistic. I do training runs of 10KM in around 39-43 mins depending on how i am feeling, but 36 in race. You can't do race day performance on a training day, and to attempt to do this will result in overtraining and injury.

    Thanks for reading.
  • [color=#cc0066]Hi Chris,[8D][/color]


    [color=#cc0066]Any chance you could share some of those tips you recieved that helped you improve your time?[:D] The squeaky wheel and all...[/color]



  • shamus_2shamus_2 Posts: 4
    Hey Barb, if I let you knwo my secret, then I won't be doing as well in comparison will i?? LOL. It was a while back now, but I think the most significant one was that you want to use your momentum going into a hill, as opposed to shifting into an easier gear in anticipation of the slope. By changing gears beforehand, you are already slowing your bike down by losing speed you have maintained over a flat. You will of course need to get off the saddle into a sprint position a bit more oftern, but this loss of efficiency will be more than made up for in the speed you gain. (more difficult to pull it of however). LIke I said previsouly though, you will want to find a balance here with teh cadence, and it's not something done easily through written form.

    This year is my first year training for anything, run or tri in nearly 3 years, and I think 4 or 5 since I have done a triathlon, so wish me luck in applying the technique!!

  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Well I think I have it all wrong, but I do usually average 18.6 MPH on a long training run. Only thing is I thought I was building strength by trying to keep in big ring going up a hill and staying in the seat, Is this wrong? Also although Ive been told its a personal thing...where is the right position to sit on saddle? I find going up a hill Im at the back of it, any other time I subconciously end up near the front of it then find myself sliding back till the next time.....I hope somebody understands what I mean! lol
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    Clearly, there are different things that work for different people. In terms of seat position, the "ideal" position is the position in the saddle that puts your knee directly in line with the ball of the foot where it hits the pedal, so there is a straight line of power transference and no over-extension or under-extension. This is how a bike is usually fitted (if it is fitted to your body specifically) in a "neutral position", and then we can make changes from there for our own particular feelings of comfort, efficiency and power.

    Some people feel more comfortable with their knee slightly forward of the ball of the foot (so you would be sitting more forward in the seat) as it sometimes gives them more of a sense of "leaning forward with their body and pushing back with their legs, in more of a sprinter's position". And some people prefer having their knee slightly behind the ball of their foot (so you would be sitting farther back in your seat) because it gives them more of sense of "pushing forward, engaging more of the whole leg, hips and even lower back". And some of us, shift around in our seat under different circumstances.

    I think this range of personal choices, as with the question about cadence, is best done against a background of knowing what the "ideal" is for training purposes (and why it might be ideal, and how it can vary under different circumstances), and then being confident to adjust and make variations to that ideal target to suit your own needs. For me, once I started to pay more attention to cadence and less attention to grinding it out in the highest gear I could possibly manage, I could cycle longer, at a faster speed, with less fatigue in my legs.
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