For those seeking to improve their fitness and health while enjoying picturesque countryside landscapes, road biking provides an immersive and gratifying experience.
The sense of freedom that comes from cruising down an open highway atop a bicycle is unparalleled.
Monitoring one’s average cycling speed is an effective metric for evaluating progress, optimizing training regimens and setting tangible performance goals.
Average speed acts as an objective measure of a cyclist’s fitness and abilities, enabling comparisons that can fuel motivation and continuous improvement efforts.
With proper cycling-specific strength training, technique refinements and equipment optimization, most cyclists can gradually increase their average speed over time while minimizing risks to injury and sustainability.
However, achieving the highest speeds possible is not the ultimate aim of road cycling. Instead, participants should balance performance goals with enjoyment and safety considerations, striving to push personal limits in a manner that maximizes the health and fitness benefits of time spent cycling.
Factors Affecting Road Bike Speed
Physical fitness and training
A cyclist’s physical fitness, including their cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and anaerobic threshold, has a major impact on the speed they can achieve and sustain.
Targeted cycling-specific training, such as interval workouts and hill repeats, can help improve physiological factors that limit speed.
Bicycle specifications and components
Bicycle frame material, geometry, wheel size, wheel and tire type, gear ratios and drivetrain components all influence a cyclist’s speed capabilities.
Aerodynamic and lightweight equipment provide a significant speed advantage over standard bicycles.
Riding technique and body position
Efficient cycling techniques, such as proper pedaling cadence, optimal body positioning for reduced wind resistance, and effective cornering, can boost speed and reduce energy expenditure at a given pace. With practice and coaching, most riders can improve their technique.
External factors, such as weather and terrain
Environmental conditions like headwinds, high temperatures, humidity, gradients and road surfaces can either facilitate or impede a cyclist’s progress.
Riders must adapt their effort and pacing to accommodate the challenges presented by external factors beyond their control.
Understanding Road Bike Speed Metrics
Average speed definition
A cyclist’s average speed is calculated by dividing the total distance traveled by the total time taken. It represents the average pace at which the rider was able to cycle over a given route or period.
Maximum speed vs average speed
A cyclist’s maximum attainable speed in a short burst differs greatly from the average speed they can sustain over a longer period or full ride.
Average speed factors in rest periods, gradients, corners and other variables that impact speed.
Calculating average speed
Cyclists can calculate average speed manually using a stopwatch, distance wheel or app to measure time and distance.
However, cycling computers and GPS bike computers provide the most precise and convenient method of tracking average speed in real-time during a ride. Apps like Strava also calculate average speed for uploaded activity data.
With the right tools, metrics and training, most cyclists can boost their average speed over time by several kilometers or miles per hour – indicating meaningful performance gains and improvements in fitness.
However, average speed should be one of several measures used to evaluate progress, in conjunction with how a rider “feels” during cycling and their enjoyment of the activity.
How to Improve Road Bike Speed
Incorporating interval training
Interval training, in which cyclists alternate periods of high-intensity effort with recovery, is one of the most effective ways to improve speed.
Intervals boost VO2 max, lactate threshold and neuromuscular efficiency – all factors limiting higher speeds.
Enhancing muscular strength and endurance
Targeted strength training focusing on the leg and core muscles used for cycling can increase power output and the length of time a cyclist can sustain a high intensity effort. Weight training 2-3 times per week is recommended.
Optimizing bike setup and gear ratios
Ensuring the bicycle is properly fitted to the rider and selecting the optimal gear ratios can reduce energy wasted on the pedals. A bike setup suited to the rider’s physique and cadence preference supports higher speeds.
Aerodynamic equipment like handlebar tapes, bicycle helmets, frame modifications and riding in the drops position can decrease wind resistance and provide a boost of 1-2 kilometers per hour or more to a cyclist’s average speed.
By methodically focusing on one or two of these factors at first, then gradually implementing all four techniques in a structured training program, most cyclists can achieve meaningful gains in average road bike speed – likely in the range of 5-15% – within a few months of dedicated effort.
However, improving speed should not come at the expense of safety, technique or overall cycling enjoyment.
Analyzing Professional Road Bike Speeds
Examining average speeds in professional races
Professional cyclists achieve extremely high average speeds, often twice as fast as amateur cyclists. In Grand Tours like the Tour de France, stages are ridden at an average speed of around 45-50 kilometers per hour. Sprint stages may exceed 60 kph.
Factors contributing to professionals’ extreme speeds
Professional cyclists have several advantages that enable their exceptionally high speeds:
- Elite levels of fitness – higher VO2 max, lower body fat
- Ultra lightweight and aerodynamic bicycles
- Years of optimizing bike position and technique
- Specialized training tailored to specific race demands
- Ability to draft within the peloton, reducing energy expenditure up to 40%
- Experience managing effort and pacing over long distances
While aspiring riders can seek to emulate some strategies of professional cyclists, it is unrealistic for most amateurs to achieve pro-level speeds given differences in physiology, equipment, training resources and experience.
Amateurs would be better served focusing on realistic speed goals based on their own abilities and constraints – targeting performance improvements relative to their current average speed.
Professional speeds provide an aspirational “what’s possible” benchmark rather than an attainable target for most recreational cyclists.
Average Road Bike Speed for Amateur Cyclists
Typical speed range for beginners
Most beginner cyclists have average speeds between 15-22 kilometers per hour on flat terrain, depending on fitness level, bicycle type and terrain.
With proper technique, strength gains and experience, beginners can typically boost their average speed by 2-5 kph within the first year of cycling.
Intermediate riders: pushing beyond the average
Intermediate riders typically achieve average speeds of 23-28 kph on flat terrain, and may reach 30+ kph on descents.
Interval training, aerodynamic equipment and an optimized bike fit can help intermediate riders surpass the average speeds of novice cyclists.
Advanced cyclists: reaching higher speed thresholds
Advanced amateur cyclists often maintain average speeds of 29-35 kph on flat terrain and may hit 40+ kph on descents.
Extensive cycling-specific strength training, a disciplined high-intensity training regimen and an aerodynamic bike setup contribute to faster speeds at this level.
These speed ranges serve as general guidelines. Many factors beyond fitness level influence cyclists’ average speeds, and improvements come more readily for some than others.
The important metrics are an individual cyclist’s performance trends over time – are they achieving meaningful gains in speed while maintaining or improving other riding parameters like efficiency, comfort and control?
Cyclists should focus on progress relative to their starting point, priorities and ultimate goals. Unrealistic comparisons to “average speeds” can be counterproductive.
Lap Times and Speed in Road Cycling
Course lengths and variations
Cycling course lengths vary from several kilometers to over 100 kilometers, requiring different pacing strategies and average speeds to optimize lap times. Courses range from relatively flat circuits to those with significant elevation changes.
Understanding lap times and speed averages during races
During races consisting of multiple laps around a cycling circuit, competitors’ average speeds and lap times provide insight into their current form, fitness, pacing strategy and likelihood of success. Faster average lap speeds, while demanding, often correlate with better finishing positions.
For amateur cyclists, focusing too narrowly on lap times and speeds can be counterproductive. Tracking such metrics periodically, however, can be valuable for:
- Gauging one’s improvement over time on a familiar route
- Self-evaluating the efficacy of training programs and technique adjustments
- Comparing performance in similar conditions for motivation
- Setting more specific, quantifiable short-term goals
Key considerations for interpreting lap time data include accounting for:
- Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction)
- Terrain (e.g., hilliness of the course)
- Bicycle equipment
- Age, fitness level and prior experience
- Pacing strategy (e.g., even vs. negative split)
By understanding the limitations of lap times as a performance metric, amateur cyclists can leverage data in a constructive manner that enhances – rather than distracts from – their cycling experience.
Real-world Road Bike Speed Records
Breaking the land speed record on a bike
The highest officially recorded speeds on a bicycle exceed 330 kilometers per hour. To achieve these extreme speeds, cyclists use custom-built, aerodynamic Velomobiles or recumbent bicycles designed for speed.
These records demonstrate what’s possible at the limit of bicycle technology and aerodynamics.
Noteworthy speed achievements by professional cyclists
In professional cycling races, riders regularly achieve speeds far exceeding those of amateur cyclists. Stage winners in the Tour de France often average over 50 kilometers per hour, with some reaching speeds over 60 kph on flat stages.
Sprinters are capable of generating over 1,000 watts of power – enough to attain speeds upwards of 75 kph in short bursts.
While records and elite speeds capture the imagination, they also illustrate an unnecessary and often unhealthy preoccupation some cyclists develop with riding “fast.” For amateur cyclists, a better approach is to set personally meaningful speed goals that:
- Align with your priorities, abilities and risk tolerance
- Target gains relative to your current average speed
- Balance performance with sustainability and enjoyment
Speed achievements by pro cyclists and record holders demonstrate what’s possible when maximizing for pure velocity alone. But pure speed often comes at the cost of considerations like:
- Long-term health
Average amateur cyclists are therefore likely better off setting holistic performance goals that value quality of the riding experience as much as – or more than – raw quantitative speed.
An important element of progress is learning to ride “fast enough,” not simply as fast as possible.
Road Bike Speed and Efficiency
Energy expenditure and pace management
Cyclists can maximize efficiency – the rate of speed per unit of energy expended – by optimizing their pacing.
Excessively high speeds require more energy and lead to premature fatigue. Maintaining a consistent, sustainable pace conserves energy and supports longer ride durations.
Balancing speed and endurance for long-distance rides
For endurance road cycling events like 100-mile rides or centuries, cyclists must establish a compromise speed that enables completing the full distance while preserving enough reserves for hills and wind.
Drafting, hydration and nutrition also influence a sustainable balance between speed and endurance.
When pursuing speed goals, focusing primarily on average speed alone can be counterproductive. More meaningful aims for amateur cyclists include:
- Increasing average speed while maintaining or extending ride duration
- Improving speed efficiency by riding “fast enough” at a sustainable effort level
- Matching improvements in speed with enhanced comfort, control and safety
- Achieving higher average speeds without compromising performance in endurance rides
Together, these integrated goals that consider efficiency, sustainability and experience point to a more holistic definition of progress.
For many amateur cyclists, learning to favor efficiency gains over simplistic speed increases better serves their objectives and priorities.
Ultimately, a “fast” cyclist rides at a speed appropriate to the ride context while minimizing unnecessary energy expenditure – enabling the longest, most enjoyable ride possible given the conditions.
Road Bike Speed Training Plans
Building a solid foundation with base training
A strong aerobic base built through consistent weekly mileage lays the groundwork for incorporating high-intensity workouts that improve speed.
Base training ensures systems are prepared to handle speedwork volume without injury or overtraining.
Utilizing interval workouts for speed improvements
Intervals of different profiles – from long climbs to short sprints – target specific adaptations that translate to higher average speeds.
Progression in interval duration, intensity and recovery benefits time-trial and average speeds.
Combining endurance rides and speed work
A periodic cycling training plan balances endurance-building base rides with focused speedwork to improve both average speed and long-ride performance.
Many athletes follow a weekly “pyramid” structure, anchoring with mileage on weekends.
When developing an effective speed training program, consider:
- Starting slowly with a low volume of intense intervals to avoid injury and burnout
- Attempting one speed-focused workout per week initially, then gradually adding a second
- Limiting interval duration to between 30 seconds and 5 minutes
- Allowing for 48-72 hours of recovery between hard speed sessions
- Tracking changes in average speed and power over time, not day-to-day variations
- Scheduling an endurance ride after each speed workout to consolidate fitness gains
- Maintaining or slightly increasing weekly mileage to support higher training loads
Speed-focused training brings results when embedded within a holistic training program that also supports:
- Sustainability through adequate recovery and active rest
- Full-body fitness to facilitate efficiency gains at higher speeds
- Mental preparation to harness psychological benefits of structured training
- Balanced progression by incorporating recovery and maintenance phases
For most amateur cyclists, a well-rounded training approach that incorporates – but does not revolve around – speed work often yields the greatest overall progress and enjoyment.
The Impact of Weather Conditions on Road Bike Speed
Effect of wind speed and direction
Headwinds significantly reduce cyclists’ average speeds while tailwinds have the opposite effect. Even moderate winds of 10-20 kph can decrease speeds by 10-30%. Professional cyclists are most impacted due to their higher speeds.
How temperature and humidity influence performance
Heat and humidity increase physiological strain, slowing cyclists due to higher cardiovascular demands and decreased muscular power. Cold, wet conditions also reduce tire traction and influence bike component efficiency.
When tracking one’s average speed, it’s critical to consider environmental factors that influenced the data:
- Note the direction and approximate speed of winds during the ride
- Record the temperature, humidity, and weather conditions
- Assess how accurately results represent “optimal” performance
Changes in weather conditions from ride to ride – more so than small improvements in fitness – often account for the largest variations in average speed. Ordinarily:
- Headwinds reduce average speed 5-15% from still conditions
- Tailwinds increase average speed by a similar margin
- Every 5 degree Celsius increase in temperature decreases average speed 2-4%
- Higher humidity levels above 60-70% impair cycling performance notably
Therefore, to accurately evaluate training program effectiveness and gauge true fitness gains based on average speed:
- Attempt to perform subsequent speed tests in similar weather conditions
- Assess trends in average speed over multiple rides, discounting significant weather deviations
- Treat single-ride speed data with caution, instead focusing on averages over 7-14 day periods
- Seek to improve not just average speed metrics but also efficiency, enjoyment and sustainability
By accounting thoughtfully for weather impacts, amateur cyclists can derive more meaningful and motivating insights from average speed tracking – avoiding discouragement from “anomalies” largely outside their control.
Road Bike Speed and Terrain
Uphill challenges and speed reduction
Challenging uphill terrain requires cyclists to significantly reduce their average speed in order to sustain a steady effort level. The grade of a hill correlates closely with the reduction in average speed compared to flat terrain.
Benefiting from downhill segments and gravity
Cyclists can achieve dramatically higher speeds when descending hills, as gravity assists their forward momentum. Professional cyclists regularly hit speeds over 100 kph on mountain stages.
To accurately analyze one’s average speed over a route with varying terrain:
- Assess the total elevation gain and average gradient of the route
- Note the distance and maximum grade of individual uphill segments
- Identify opportunities for “free speed” on downhill portions
The impact of terrain on speed depends on:
- A cyclist’s strength, particularly the power-to-weight ratio
- Comfort with higher speeds when descending
- Bike handling and braking skills to navigate turns at speed
- Pacing and effort management over rolling and hilly routes
When tracking average speed:
- Compare performances over the same route for a “true” measure of progress
- Consider normalizing data for elevation gain to isolate the effects of fitness improvements
- Include terrain details when sharing average speed data for reference
By thoughtfully accounting for terrain impacts:
- Amateur cyclists gain a more holistic and accurate view of performance
- Comparisons to “average speeds” of other riders are put into proper context
- Joy in conquering hills and descending safely can outweigh obsessing over pure numbers
- Average speed thus becomes one positive metric among many, not the ultimate goal in itself
The Role of Drafting in Road Bike Speed
Understanding the drafting technique
Drafting involves riding close behind another cyclist to take advantage of the lower air pressure they create. This reduces wind resistance and energy expenditure, enabling higher speeds with the same effort.
Leveraging group rides and pelotons for faster speeds
Group rides and racing pelotons allow cyclists to frequently swap positions at the front and draft those in front, boosting average speeds by 10-30%. Riders must remain attentive to safety when drafting closely.
For amateur cyclists seeking faster speeds, drafting offers several benefits:
- Significant energy savings translate to higher sustainable speeds with less fatigue
- Opportunity to experience speeds generally unattainable solo riding
- Chance to develop bike-handling skills in a group setting
- Motivation from competition within the group
However, draft riding also presents risks, requiring:
- Trust and clear communication within the group
- Experience judging safe following distances at high speeds
- Vigilance in continually scanning ahead for hazards or sudden moves
- Discipline to stay within one’s abilities and risk tolerance
Key considerations when drafting:
- Ride in a straight line behind the rider directly in front of you
- Stay within 1-2 bike lengths at most, even on descents
- Announce when passing and check for safely overtaking
- Avoid wheel/handlebar overlap that could cause a crash
- Maintain a smooth pedal stroke and avoid excessive braking
For most amateur cyclists, solo or social pace riding often provides a better balance of enjoying higher speeds while minimizing risks.
Drafting should be undertaken gradually, first in small groups and at lower speeds, to develop necessary skills and promote a safety-first culture.
The Importance of Bike Maintenance for Optimal Speed
Ensuring a well-tuned bike
Regular maintenance keeps components functioning optimally, reducing friction and power losses that hinder performance and speed. Even minimal component wear can decrease average speeds by 5-10%.
Regular cleaning and lubrication for efficiency
Thorough and frequent cleaning removes debris, while lubricating the chain and derailleurs minimizes friction. Dirty or gritty components significantly reduce transmission efficiency, costing cyclists speed and effort.
When seeking to improve average cycling speed:
- Examine all components for defects, cleaning and lubricating as needed
- Inspect chain, cassette and jockey wheels for wear that affects shifting precision
- Ensure proper wheel and tire inflation for lower rolling resistance
- Tighten all fasteners to factory specifications
- Adjust derailleurs, brakes and other accessories for precision
- Consider professional tune-ups every 1,000 to 2,000 miles ridden
Neglecting basic bike maintenance can:
- Reduce top gear speed by 5-10% compared to an optimally tuned bicycle
- Require up to 20% more effort to achieve the same speed
- Accelerate wear of components, decreasing lifespan
- Compromise safety and control, particularly during high-speed riding
Therefore, conscientious cyclists seeking average speed gains will:
- Develop a simple weekly or monthly routine to inspect components
- Thoroughly clean and lubricate the chain after every few rides
- Confirm tire pressure before high-intensity workouts or group rides
- Pay close attention to drivetrain and brake components showing wear
- Prioritize a well-maintained bike over incremental speed improvements
For amateur cyclists, a bicycle in excellent working condition often accounts for a larger portion of potential speed and performance enhancements than costly equipment upgrades or advanced training methods.
Simple, regular maintenance represents a “free” and effective way to optimize average speeds.
Safety Considerations at High Speeds
Wearing proper protective gear
Safety equipment like helmets, gloves, glasses and knee/elbow pads become increasingly important at higher speeds to mitigate risk of road rash and head injuries in the event of a crash.
Maintaining control and handling skills
As speeds increase, cyclists must develop proficiency with bike handling, stopping and cornering to maintain full control of the bicycle and avoid loss of traction.
When pursuing improved average road bike speeds:
- Incorporate proper safety gear from the start, even on casual rides
- Focus first on slowingIncrement speed gains gradually to develop handling skills at each level
- Practice emergency braking and swerving maneuvers regularly
- Limit time spent at highest speeds until comfortable with bike control
- Never compromise safety basics like helmet use, signal use and visibility
- Ride conservatively and within your limits, especially in unfamiliar areas
Avoid the risky mentality that:
- Safety gear is unnecessary or uncomfortable
- Small improvements in average speed outweigh hazard mitigation
- Crashes and injury are an “unavoidable” part of training “fast”
- Higher speeds raise the stakes of any loss of control or crash
- Marginal speed gains yield diminishing returns on time/effort invested
- Even skilled riders crash, so prevention depends on vigilance and discipline
- Speed without control is unsustainable – prioritize the latter when appropriate
For most amateur cyclists, a safer approach is to:
- Target more modest but achievable and sustainable speed improvements
- Always wear adequate safety gear appropriate for the conditions
- Focus on technical skills and full control of the bicycle at any speed
- Avoid normalizing risky behaviors that could result in serious injury
- Evaluate goals and priorities regularly to maintain a healthy perspective
The Psychology of Road Bike Speed
Confidence and mindset impact on performance
Cyclists’ beliefs about their speed capabilities strongly influence what speeds they achieve in practice. High confidence, a growth mindset and intrinsic motivation enable riders to sustain faster speeds for longer.
Overcoming mental barriers for speed improvements
Psychological factors like fear, impatience and self-doubt represent some of the greatest roadblocks to increasing and maintaining higher average speeds. Conquering these mental barriers requires training the mind as much as the body.
For amateur cyclists seeking faster speeds, a positive mindset involves:
- Focusing on personal progress, not comparison to others’ numbers
- Viewing “speed” as a flexible parameter suited to each ride context
- Finding joy in the social and mental benefits of riding, not fixating on statistics
- Learning to be satisfied with one’s “natural” speed based on priorities and circumstances
- Trusting in gradual improvements from consistent, sustainable training
- Welcome experimenting with higher speeds but not attaching self-worth to metrics
Meanwhile, negative self-talk patterns to avoid include:
- Catastrophizing errors and setbacks as harbingers of failure to “go fast”
- Allowing fear of crashing or losing control at higher speeds to become prohibitive
- Judging one’s speed capabilities as static and immutable
- Identifying solely as a “slow” or “fast” rider based on average speed
- Comparing oneself unfavorably to numbers posted by other cyclists online
A healthier mindset features:
- Acceptance of one’s current average speed as a starting point, not an endpoint
- Focus on improving speed efficiency, not solely increasing top speeds
- Goal-setting based on sustainable progress, not jumps in performance
- Confidence in one’s ability to push past mental blocks with proper training
- Allowance for rest, recovery and fun rides that fall outside of “speed” goals
For amateur cyclists, a holistic, self-compassionate approach that de-emphasizes rigid or competitive thinking around average speed often leads to the greatest satisfaction – and improvements that naturally follow from more balanced, joyful riding.
Summary and Key Takeaways
Recap of the factors influencing average road bike speed
Many factors determine cyclists’ average speeds:
- Physical fitness and training regimen effectiveness
- Bicycle specifications, components and setup
- Riding technique, posture and aerodynamics
- Environmental conditions like weather and terrain
- Psychological factors like confidence and motivation
Tips for increasing and maintaining speed levels
For amateur cyclists seeking higher average speeds:
- Start with the basics: a well-fitted and well-maintained bike
- Focus on consistency and progressive overload in training
- Prioritize technique and efficiency over outright speed
- Set personally meaningful and sustainable speed goals
- Consider marginal gains from equipment, aerodynamics and drafting
- Track multiple related metrics for a holistic view of performance
- Account carefully for weather, terrain and other real-world variables
- Develop mental resilience to normalize fluctuations and setbacks
- Avoid risky behaviors by balancing goals of speed and safety
- Maintain perspective by valuing the process over quantitative results
- Do not equate higher speeds with more “success” as a cyclist
- Avoid an unhealthy obsession with boosting average speed at all costs
- Choose priorities aligned with your specific objectives and circumstances
- Find joy in the journey of gradual self-improvement through cycling
For amateur cyclists, average road bike speed represents just one of many metrics – and not necessarily the most important one.
A more holistic perspective that incorporates priorities around enjoyment, sustainability, safety and efficiency often leads to the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment – and average speeds that naturally increase as a result.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How fast do average amateur cyclists ride?
Average speeds for amateur road cyclists vary widely based on fitness level, experience, bike setup and other factors.
• Beginner cyclists typically average 15-22 kph on flat terrain
• Intermediate riders often reach 23-28 kph
• Advanced amateurs may sustain 29-35 kph
However, many other considerations beyond average speed define a cyclist’s ability, priorities and enjoyment.
What’s a good average speed for a century ride?
A reasonable average speed for completing a 100-mile metric century ranges from 16-24 kph, depending on a rider’s fitness, terrain and pacing strategy. More experienced cyclists targeting a specific finish time may average 24-28 kph or faster on flat centuries.
But slower average speeds do not indicate “poorer” performance. Cyclists prioritizing recovery, scenery and camaraderie may average 16-20 kph while thoroughly enjoying the full ride experience.
How fast do pro cyclists ride on flat stages?
In professional cycling races, elite riders average over 50 kph (~31 mph) on flat stages, with some exceeding 60 kph. Sprinters are capable of 70+ kph bursts during final kicks.
However, pro cyclists benefit from aerodynamic equipment, team support, extensive training and experience unavailable to amateurs. Average speeds hitting just 50% of pro levels often represent outstanding performance for amateurs considering these differences.
Can average speed tracking demotivate cyclists?
Obsessively tracking average speed metrics – especially comparisons to others – can demotivate some cyclists by:
- Highlighting perceived “shortcomings” in an unhelpful manner
- Undermining joy and self-acceptance as a rider
- Establishing impractical or dangerous goals
For a healthier approach, cyclists can view average speed:
- As one metric among many, considered alongside fitness, control and enjoyment
- In terms of personal progress and recordable goals
- With an emphasis on the process, not just outcome data
- Focusing more on efficiency and consistency gains than top speeds
For many amateur cyclists, de-emphasizing an exclusive focus on average speed often leads to greater riding satisfaction and motivation in the long run.
Road Bike Speed Resources and Gear Recommendations
Books on cycling training and technique
Several books provide valuable knowledge for cyclists seeking to improve their average speeds in safe and sustainable ways:
- The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel
- Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan
- Speed Strength by Steve Blackman
- Bike Fit by Chris Culligan and Ben Serotta
- The Cyclist’s Training Diary by Joe Friel
Recommended cyclist’s gear for higher speeds
For accurate speed tracking and safety at higher velocities, consider investing in:
- A reliable cycling computer with speed and cadence sensors
- An aero road bike with aerodynamic tube shapes
- Lightweight clincher wheels with wide rims for stability
- Performance road bike tires with low rolling resistance
- Cycling shoes and clipless pedals for efficient power transfer
- An aero road helmet and cycling glasses for reduced drag
- Cycling jerseys and bibs for increased comfort at higher speeds
- Knee, elbow and glove pads for protection in the event of a crash
Most importantly, focus on:
- Building a solid aerobic base and functional strength
- Refining riding technique through practice and experience
- Optimizing bike setup and gearing for your specific needs
- Seeking feedback from more experienced riders
- Setting personal recordable goals that consider enjoyment
For most amateurs, holistic progress demands more than just purchasing certain products.
An integrated approach that addresses the physiological, mechanical and psychological components of cycling serves riders better than a narrow focus on raw speed alone.
But the right tools can certainly complement – and enhance the rewards of – a well-rounded training program.
For amateur cyclists, average road bike speed represents an important – yet often misunderstood – performance metric.
While higher speeds indicate fitness and skill improvements for some, others find greater satisfaction in endurance, efficiency or simply the joy of riding.
There is no “ideal” or “correct” average speed for all cyclists. Each rider’s priorities, circumstances and risk tolerance inform their personal goals around velocity.
And average speed tracking – when obsessively pursued or divorced from context – can demotivate cyclists by fostering unrealistic or unsafe ambitions.
Therefore, a holistic, self-aware approach serves amateur cyclists best. This involves:
- Setting achievable, sustainable speed goals aligned with priorities
- Accurately evaluating data by accounting for terrain, weather and other variables
- Emphasizing consistency, efficiency and technique gains over raw numbers
- Practicing safety-first behaviors to maintain control and reduce injury risk
- Forgoing comparisons with other cyclists’ averages that rarely tell the full story
- Pursuing balance by valuing recovery, social rides and joy alongside performance
For many amateurs, simply focusing – without judgement – on the processes that yield improvements over time often leads to the fastest average speeds and greatest fulfillment as a rider.
Metrics then serve as one benchmark among several, instead of becoming the definitive measure of success on two wheels.
An ability to ride “fast enough” emerges from cultivating a growth mindset, a whole-body training approach and an enduring love of cycling – not fixating on a single quantitative metric like average speed. The actual numbers may then take care of themselves in due time.