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First big dose of reality after installing computer.

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

First big dose of reality after installing computer.

Old 07-17-19, 08:36 AM
  #1  
runnergoneridin
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First big dose of reality after installing computer.

I'll assume this comes up a lot.


Current setup is a stripped down Vilano aluminum roadbike (first bike, got it on craigslist for $25 - so I can't really complain). I've removed as much useless junk as possible. Specs are:

- Shimano Tourney 21-speed setup.

- 50t/xx/xx chainring

- Highest rear cog is a 14t

- 700c/25 front and rear tires (cheap tires and stock wheels)

- Steel front fork

- Aluminum seat post

- Steel crank arms (pressed-on square pattern)

- Weighs approx 27 lbs.

- No water bottles, nor water bottle brackets


So I've been riding this thing for a couple weeks now, and yesterday I finally put a computer on it to see where I'm at. Well, on flat'ish roadways, tucked on the down bars, I can put a lot of oompf into it and managed to only push like 25.4 mph (50t/14t), but don't have cadence numbers on that (felt like a lot lol). I can approximate it using math, but I have no factual data. I'll double check the calibration of the computer for the speed reading, but I'm assuming it's accurate the way the instructions suggest I set it up. Without detailing cadence I doubt that's useful info. But I was surprised at the numbers. I've watched and noted people maintaining 26 and 27 mph over lengthy rides, yet they may be chugging a 53t front ring and 11t rear cog for gearing. I'm in pretty decent shape, and have been distance running for years (middle distance strength training), and I'll also humbly admit that high intensity cycling isn't exactly easy. I'm willing to accept that I need to condition more towards cycling, yes.


The only other rear cog I can get for this setup is a 13t, which isn't much, but is worth a couple mph assuming equal cadence. I can actually get as gianormous as a 58t front ring lol. Lastly, I'm willing to lighten my beast up some, also - but I feel this benefits acceleration more than anything. I mean, I've got less than $100 in it so far, so i'm not complaining. Eventually I'd like to do some local races, but otherwise would like to ride faster bc speed is kinda fun.


With all this, what can I do to get more speed ? Cheers!
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Old 07-17-19, 08:42 AM
  #2  
tagaproject6
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How long have you been riding/training?
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Old 07-17-19, 08:53 AM
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There is a big difference comparing a solo vs group effort. Cutting through the air is much bigger factor and force at those speeds than the bikes weight. On the hills and slower speeds, the overall weight is a bigger difference. A quick fix on the equipment side maybe some better rolling efficient tires. There are no quick fixes for the "engine" side unless your fit and comfort is not right. You were not running at 25mph, you are already going a lot faster than you were before.

Last edited by u235; 07-17-19 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
How long have you been riding/training?
Just under a few weeks, now.

Lol I'm about to get squashed - I see it coming!!

Fwiw, I'm in decent distance running shape, yet it may not really compare equally for cycling, unfortunately. I love going fast - so topping out at 25.4 mph won't cut it.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:04 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
I've watched and noted people maintaining 26 and 27 mph over lengthy rides
Only very strong riders and likely not solo efforts.

15 MPH to 18 MPH average speed is more likely for most riders on solo rides more than 20 miles.


Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
Fwiw, I'm in decent distance running shape, yet it may not really compare equally for cycling, unfortunately..
Many cyclists and runners are surprised at the level of difficulty encountered when they take up the other discipline for the first time. Fitness in one discipline does not correlate well to fitness in the other. I think you are seeing this so give it time and keep riding.


-Tim-
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Old 07-17-19, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Only very strong riders and likely not solo efforts.

15 MPH to 18 MPH average speed is more likely for most riders on solo rides more than 20 miles.




Many cyclists and runners are surprised at the level of difficulty encountered when they take up the other discipline for the first time. Fitness in one discipline does not correlate well to fitness in the other. I think you are seeing this so give it time and keep riding.


-Tim-
Yep those speeds were from folks that were racing. And yeah I can see your point, bc now that I think about it, it's probably kind of like how a solo time trial for a track running event may never be as strong as it would be during an actual race. The factors of adrenaline and wanting to kick butt tend to speed things up - or at the very least you have a moving target(s) to gauge off of. Makes sense!
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Old 07-17-19, 09:19 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
I'll assume this comes up a lot.


Current setup is a stripped down Vilano aluminum roadbike (first bike, got it on craigslist for $25 - so I can't really complain). I've removed as much useless junk as possible. Specs are:

- Shimano Tourney 21-speed setup.

- 50t/xx/xx chainring

- Highest rear cog is a 14t

- 700c/25 front and rear tires (cheap tires and stock wheels)

- Steel front fork

- Aluminum seat post

- Steel crank arms (pressed-on square pattern)

- Weighs approx 27 lbs.

- No water bottles, nor water bottle brackets


So I've been riding this thing for a couple weeks now, and yesterday I finally put a computer on it to see where I'm at. Well, on flat'ish roadways, tucked on the down bars, I can put a lot of oompf into it and managed to only push like 25.4 mph (50t/14t), but don't have cadence numbers on that (felt like a lot lol). I can approximate it using math, but I have no factual data. I'll double check the calibration of the computer for the speed reading, but I'm assuming it's accurate the way the instructions suggest I set it up. Without detailing cadence I doubt that's useful info. But I was surprised at the numbers. I've watched and noted people maintaining 26 and 27 mph over lengthy rides, yet they may be chugging a 53t front ring and 11t rear cog for gearing. I'm in pretty decent shape, and have been distance running for years (middle distance strength training), and I'll also humbly admit that high intensity cycling isn't exactly easy. I'm willing to accept that I need to condition more towards cycling, yes.


The only other rear cog I can get for this setup is a 13t, which isn't much, but is worth a couple mph assuming equal cadence. I can actually get as gianormous as a 58t front ring lol. Lastly, I'm willing to lighten my beast up some, also - but I feel this benefits acceleration more than anything. I mean, I've got less than $100 in it so far, so i'm not complaining. Eventually I'd like to do some local races, but otherwise would like to ride faster bc speed is kinda fun.


With all this, what can I do to get more speed ? Cheers!


If you are seeing people maintain 26-27mph over for lengthy rides, then you are seeing high amateurs or pros. Why on earth would you ever compare yourself to them?

To get to where you want- buy new wheels that will accept a cassette and that will get you a cog that is 11t or 12t small.
A 50t-12t gearing ratio will get you 30mph at 90rpm. Then go ride that for 50mi and you will reach your goal of riding as fast as the exception you reference in your post.


...or just buy the freewheel that has a 13t cog and learn how to ride better. You are clearly held back by inexperience and conditioning(cycling specific) and the only way to improve is from experience.

a 13t cog on the freewheel will get you to 27.5mph at 90rpm. Unless you can hold that for a 50mph ride, why spend more $? It wont make you faster. Learn how to climb hills(and steady inclines) faster- that will increase your average more than buying a bunch of stuff.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:36 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
I've watched and noted people maintaining 26 and 27 mph over lengthy rides,

I've been following some of the pro riders on the Tour de France in Strava and that's roughly their pace. For the world's top pros. Riding in a massive peloton.

Most mortals doing that pace are likely doing a TT with aero bars, or riding on a flat course, or in a paceline. Holding that speed over long distances takes a strong rider. Don't hold yourself to that, you'll get frustrated. Starting out, a 15mph average (or even less if you're in a hilly area) is probably good and build from there.



With your 50x14 gearing and 700x25c tires, 25.4mph looks to be about 91rpm cadence. That is a good average cadence for the entire ride, so if it felt really fast you could probably develop your form more to spin better. You should be able to spin up well above 100rpm although I still find my power falling off above about 110 rpm when pushing max speed.


If you are in search of top speed (I can relate) then you will want a 53x11 gear eventually. For now, just continue to develop your form and cycling fitness. When you can spin your current gearing over 30mph then I'd start worrying about a new rear cassette.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:50 AM
  #9  
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Your gearing isn't holding you back so much as air is holding you back - the faster you move through the air, the harder it is to move through the air.

For example, even though there's the same 3 mph increase, the difference in power required for 14 vs 17 mph isn't a heck of a lot, but the difference between 22 vs 25 mph is significant. I mention this because, all other things equal, simply going to taller gearing isn't going to make you faster - the power requirements at a given speed are (more or less) the same regardless of gearing, but the gearing gives you freedom to find an optimal cadence for your effort.

With your 50/14, you're looking at ~90 rpm for your 25mph effort - that shouldn't be spinning-out; for a lot of people, that's an average cadence.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:59 AM
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So from what you guys are saying, I just need more time with the gearing I have and work into it. And the better I get at riding, the closer I'll be to optimizing my average speed with the bike the way it currently is set up. Makes sense, and is simple enough to understand.

At the very least, it seems like I'm right in line for my level of experience. For the most part I was between 16 and 19.5 mph where I was riding.

Plus, I'm not completely comfortable on the bike yet, either - I need a new seat or something, because this one sucks donkey balls.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:21 AM
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Micheal Woods is former runner. I think he had a sub 4 minute mile pace. Tejay is a former runner also, I think. They both are now World Tour riders, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
So from what you guys are saying, I just need more time with the gearing I have and work into it. And the better I get at riding, the closer I'll be to optimizing my average speed with the bike the way it currently is set up. Makes sense, and is simple enough to understand.

At the very least, it seems like I'm right in line for my level of experience. For the most part I was between 16 and 19.5 mph where I was riding.

Plus, I'm not completely comfortable on the bike yet, either - I need a new seat or something, because this one sucks donkey balls.
You need a proper training program and time on the bike. You can do this.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:40 AM
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I have personally never seen anyone, at any time, post a road ride with a 26-27mph average speed-- including Zwift. Even pro races seem to average around 25mph, and that's a peleton of 150+ of the world's best cyclists. Closed course time trial by a pro? Absolutely. Closed course criterium? Sure.

But for a recreational road rider, a ride averaging +19mph is in the top 1% of people out there.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
I've watched and noted people maintaining 26 and 27 mph over lengthy rides,
Exactly how did you quantify this?
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Old 07-17-19, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
So from what you guys are saying, I just need more time with the gearing I have and work into it. And the better I get at riding, the closer I'll be to optimizing my average speed with the bike the way it currently is set up. Makes sense, and is simple enough to understand.

At the very least, it seems like I'm right in line for my level of experience. For the most part I was between 16 and 19.5 mph where I was riding.

Plus, I'm not completely comfortable on the bike yet, either - I need a new seat or something, because this one sucks donkey balls.
For a little perspective - I rode 100 miles in 5 hours flat (20mph) 40 years ago as a racer in the best shape of my life on a pure racing bike. (Training wheels and tires but still a lot lighter and faster than most wheels out there today.) That was after years of riding, a 5000 mile post college year where I rode from Boston to and up Mt. Washington and back. Next summer I started racing. Rode 10,500 miles that year. The next I was doing rides like that 100 miler routinely. But ... you can see I didn't get there overnight. Yes, the bike helped a lot. But the bike didn't get me there. The years of riding did. Then I just needed a bike that wouldn't slow me down.

And more perspective - use this time on your current bike to observe your position on the bike. Watch others,. If you have a chance to ride with racers or other good riders, ask for their opinions on your position on the bike. Listen - to them, to your body. Getting your body in condition to ride fast and putting it in a position to do so is by far the most important thing. The bike is just a tool. Good tools are better but good tools don't make a carpenter.

I did my first year of racing on a biketha tfit me poorly. I didn't know. That year of being fast, I worked in a bike shop. The mechanic encouraged me to buy last year's best bike, still boxed up in the basement. I did. It fit. And my riding times plummeted and kept falling all that summer. But without the riding I did over the previous years on that poor fitting bike, I would not have been there. (And those times fell and speed increased riding the same gears, wheels and tires of my older bike. It wasn't that the bike was "faster". It was that it fit.

Oh, and just to show what race incentive and race conditions (a field of 120 riders) can do: that summer of the 5 hour 100 miler, I rode a 105 mile much hillier race with a very competitive field. First 30 of us averaged 26.6 mph! Race speeds are a different animal.

Ben
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Old 07-17-19, 11:49 AM
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I'm ALWAYS faster when I ride one of my bikes that doesn't have any measuring devices on it
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Old 07-17-19, 11:52 AM
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You just started riding a few weeks ago. You need to cut yourself a break. Doesn’t matter how fit you are in other disciplines. The fact that you are fit just means the gains will come quicker as long as you stick with it. Your 25mph top end is probably about right. Average speeds solo are very different than group/bunch riding where you are in a paceline and benefiting from the draft. You’ve heard of the Richter Scale? Once you start averaging over 20mph solo, each mph above that is just what that’s like effort wise.
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Old 07-17-19, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
For the most part I was between 16 and 19.5 mph where I was riding.
What was your average speed over the entire ride, including any climbs and descents, and how long did you ride? You do not need to answer - but this is a starting point if you're interested in getting faster, overall.

If you want to get faster on solo efforts, there is not a good substitute for training. Putting in a lot of hours and miles will raise your speed, to a point. After that, structured training is beneficial.

Riding with a group will also generally result in faster average speeds. I've had some crazy fast (for me) runs with strong groups as small as three, and with a larger group with strong riders at the front, you'll literally get sucked in and pulled along. Learn to draft and ride safely in a paceline (if you do not already), join a group, and try not to get dropped.

If you just want max speed, go bomb down some hills Some of the 5'2" wonder women I ride with have hit 50 MPH this way...
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Old 07-17-19, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Only very strong riders and likely not solo efforts.

15 MPH to 18 MPH average speed is more likely for most riders on solo rides more than 20 miles.

Very true. The only people pushing 27 mph solo for 20+ miles are pros or very quick amateurs who are training for time trials and using their TT bikes/all the associated gear, or people riding in very fast road races. Or maybe they're just riding with a massive tailwind and not turning around.
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Old 07-17-19, 02:21 PM
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seeing a max speed on your computer for a stretch of road isn't an average speed for the entire ride. I don't think the OP was saying that
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Old 07-17-19, 02:22 PM
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The bike isn't worth upgrading in any way.
Just do what is required to get it working properly and ride it.
The 50-14 high gear is not a problem and won't hold you back.
After a few months if you are still into it, and can afford it, look for another bike.
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Old 07-17-19, 02:43 PM
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I've been running for a couple of weeks.

What shoes can I get to do a 4:10 mile, as I see some people do?
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Old 07-17-19, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by runnergoneridin View Post
Just under a few weeks, now.

Lol I'm about to get squashed - I see it coming!!

Fwiw, I'm in decent distance running shape, yet it may not really compare equally for cycling, unfortunately. I love going fast - so topping out at 25.4 mph won't cut it.
Not sure of your budget but if your bike still has stock rims look to upgrade them . That should add a couple mph increase to your speed .also when u get another bike u can switch the rims. But in general keep at it and try to increase the miles by 10 percent each week and in about 20 weeks or less you should be able to reach 30 mph not mantaining that speed but hitting it and holding it for a min or 2 is a good start.
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Old 07-17-19, 03:38 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by ridingfool View Post
in about 20 weeks or less you should be able to reach 30 mph not mantaining that speed but hitting it and holding it for a min or 2 is a good start.
Exactly. Not maintaining it, just drilling it at 30 mph for a minute or two. Try to start there.
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Old 07-17-19, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
I've been running for a couple of weeks.

What shoes can I get to do a 4:10 mile, as I see some people do?
Merrell Trail Gloves.
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