So what is the average speed of a cyclist. This is a popular question among beginners and one of the hardest to give an answer for.
Because it really depends!
Let’s have a look why…
The average cycling speed is going to vary greatly depending on the distance the cyclist is covering.
Short rides under an hour will be a bit slower as it takes time for your legs to warm up.
Rides between one and two hours will normally have the greatest average speed. This is the sweet spot between warmed up legs and not being heavily fatigued.
Anything over two hours can start to become tiring, especially over the three hour mark. By the end your legs will feel like jelly.
The weather, the road surface and the flatness of the roads can have a giant impact on the average cycling speed.
As an extreme example lets compare two different scenarios!
You’re cycling uphill while the wind is lashing in your face. You can barely see as thick sleet clumps against your glasses and the tires spin as they struggle to keep grip with the road.
It’s a pleasant temperature with a breeze against your back. You’re cycling slightly downhill as your tires grip perfectly against the dry tarmac.
In which one will you be the faster cyclist?
Equipment is another big factor for average cycling speed.
Would you be faster on a rusty old bike for the 1970’s or a state of the art road bike made today? Bikes today, especially expensive ones, are significantly lighter than older ones, which can easily give a 10-20% increase in speed.
Even an aerodynamic helmet and cycling clothing could help add a small increase to your average speed!
The average persons potential physical peak is in their twenties. So if you at twenty-five raced against you at forty-five, with the same training and diet, twenty-five year old you should comfortably win.
Older cyclists generally have been cycling longer so may be better on average at holding higher speeds at longer distances.
Average Cycling Speed – the results
|Cyclist Level||Average Speed (mph)|
|High Intermediate||17-19 mph|
Use these numbers as a very general guide line. As we’ve seen above, a lot of different things can impact our average cycling speed.
If you’re completely new to cycling or a beginner, I recommend reading our Cycling for Beginners guide, it will help you improve your distance and your average cycling speed.
The fastest ever Tour De France average speed was a scary 25.9 mph, over an insane 2,232 miles. You won’t be surprised that it was a certain Lance Armstrong who achieved this.
But for us mortals who don’t have access to the best sports enhancing drugs available, we can just aim to get a bitter faster and cycle a bit further!
The main thing to remember that cycling for most of us is a hobby or a convenient way to commute. We don’t need to be super fast with the best bikes money can buy.
Just enjoy your time cycling.
How do I measure my average cycling speed?
Fortunately this is quite easy to do. If you remember back to your physics lessons, you might remember a nice little equation. S = D/T (Speed = Distance over Time)
Either plan a route beforehand that you know the exact distance off and use a stop watch, or use a watch with GPS, such as a Garmin or the Apple Watch.
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