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Forum: General Touring

Discussions on touring which do not fit into any of the more specific forums

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Thread: A word about speed by Allen Hildebrant on Tue 22 May 2012 05:39 (US/Pacific)

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#26: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By [deleted] on Wed 23 May 2012 11:01 Edit Delete in reply to #24     Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
IMO, no speed means much unless we know the context. For club rides, I think average speed is useful, as has been stated previously to help riders decide which group might be best for their ability. But for touring, there are too many variables for any speed mentioned to be very useful, unless context is provided.

What I find useful about average, cruise, and what I think of as max flat ground speed is useful only to me when comparing how fast I seem to be going on different bikes. So, for example, when I transitioned from a Clark Kent race bike to my Slipstream I was able to compare and actually know that my average on both was similar, I was able to "cruise" on similar terrain at what I considered to be a sustainable speed, and I could tell that I could ride at 25 mph on both for about 4 miles, as long as I was on the drops on the DF.

What do these speeds mean to other riders? Perhaps not much. Or perhaps something. If a person reads that I ride those speeds, while he/she averages 20 mph or 6 mph, then he can gauge some things about what I say in a journal.

So if I ride a mountainous ride and say its hard and a slower rider reads that, he can decide how long it might take him or whether to go at all. Or a faster, stronger rider might say, "if Bruce can do that, then it'll be cake for me".

      
#27: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Ron Fisher on Fri 5 Oct 2012 10:39 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
We just completed an abbreviated 8 day tour in northern Florida. On a few days my buddy and I received some chastisement as to pace written in the journal of a new friend who accompanied us. The first days we were cruising at 16-17 as long as we had a good tailwind.Points or areas of interest or less favorable winds slowed that down a bunch.
Other days 14-16 was the order of the day. Our average on-bike speeds were a low of 13.5, and a high of 14.1. Most days saw an overall average, including breaks and meals at right about 10.
Though these may have seemed to be "freekin' Tour de France" speeds, they appear to be about right from other posts I've read.
I can 't bear doing 10-12 while riding, taking 5 to 6 minutes per mile, unless there is really something worth seeing. Most times in Florida, there isn't much to see except pines, palmettos,asphalt and road debris! The more quickly those pass, the better!!
I tend to ride at a certain level of exertion: too slow and I feel that I am wasting energy; too fast and fatigue sets in. 15 fully loaded mph can be maintained for a good days ride, as long as it isn't too hat or windy, and fluid intake is kept constant. And, thank goodness for ice machines!!!

      
#28: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Karen Cook on Fri 5 Oct 2012 13:54 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I can't comment on my average speed, because I don't really know what it is.

What I CAN say is that I've always wanted to get a speeding ticket while riding my bike. So far it has eluded me, but one day, one day....

Maybe my dream will come true on a long downhill? If so, I will pay the fine without question, and hang the framed ticket on my wall as a memento.

;-)

      
#29: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Chris Zacho on Sat 6 Oct 2012 09:09 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
My touring (packed) average speed is from 10-13MPH usually, depending on conditions (terrain, weather, if I'm with others and so on) Although I have had average speeds of as little as 6 MPH and as fast as 20 (in Kansas of all places, with a monster tailwind). Fastest speed attained on the last tour was just under 52MPH, first coming down Tioga Pass (SCARY!), and once just outside of Carson City.

Unladen (weekend rides) my average is usually around 13-15 MPH, although again riding with others will change this.

Fastest ever speed was 61.2 (accurately calibrated computr) coming down a 15% grade with a 20+ MPH tailwind. From that day onward the club would call that particular grade "Mile-a-minute Hill". I heard a tandem once attained a max speed of 70 MPH on the same grade.

Since the subject came up, I calibrate my bike's computer by actually riding the bicycle, equipped as it will be ridden; unpacked or packed as it will be or the tour - along a measured, double checked and marked course of at least 10 K. Nearly all bike computers are calbrated in metic, and therefore arelikely to calculate in the same, converting to "American" for the display.

Calibrating

Making a course

      
#30: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By iain c on Sat 6 Oct 2012 12:01 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
My average speed on tour is about 60mpd. That's 60 miles per day. I've no idea what my average miles per hour is. I suspect it's slower than average but then touring isn't about speed.

      
#31: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Sat 6 Oct 2012 12:10 Edit Delete in reply to #30     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I managed to ride down to 5 kph (3 mph) on a hill about 10 days ago. I was quite happy to be able to stay upright at that pace.

      
#32: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Rachel Ruhlen on Sat 6 Oct 2012 12:21 Edit Delete in reply to #28     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
>What I CAN say is that I've always wanted to get a speeding ticket while riding my bike. So far it has eluded me, but one day, one day....

Me too! That is the only item on my bucket list, in fact. Well, that and bike on an interstate.

      
#33: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Robert Ewing on Sat 6 Oct 2012 14:49 Edit Delete in reply to #29     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I calibrate my computer with a trick a bike mechanic taught me. Go to a clean hard surface like a concrete sidewalk. Mark you tire with a thick blob of red lipstick. Ride your bike thirty feet or so and stop. You should get four or five red marks on the concrete. Measure the distance in what ever units you use from the first mark to the last and divide by the number of marks less one. I have found it quite accurate.

      
#34: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Al Cyone on Sat 6 Oct 2012 14:54 Edit Delete in reply to #33     Reply (2)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
"Mark your tire with a thick blob of red lipstick."

Mr. Ewing's toolkit apparently includes items that are missing from mine.

      
#35: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Robert Ewing on Sat 6 Oct 2012 15:29 Edit Delete in reply to #34     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Mr Ewing only uses organic, cruelty free Paint Me Compassionate lipstick, but for some unknown reason it keeps finding its way into his wife's tool kit.

Edit: It wouldn't seem necessary in this day and age but the bike mechanic I referred to was a woman.

      
#36: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Lorraine Nygaard on Sat 6 Oct 2012 16:23 Edit Delete in reply to #30     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I suspect it's slower than average but then touring isn't about speed.

I've seen this comment from others about touring not being about speed, but about slowing down and smelling the roses and all that good stuff. I agree. And though I am not seeking a debate here (looks exhausting from what I've seen on other threads), there were many times on my recent trip that I wanted to be a lot faster than I was. Why? Because at the end of the day, I want to unpack, go hiking or swimming or savouring the day or whatever. Instead, I was setting up tent and doing laundry or dinner. Some will say "Take a shorter route next time", and yes, there will be those tours as well but in the meantime, I intend to work on my speed.

The nice thing about being a beginner in any field is that there is always room for improvement. :)

      
#37: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Lorraine Nygaard on Sat 6 Oct 2012 16:38 Edit Delete in reply to #35     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Edit: It wouldn't seem necessary in this day and age but the bike mechanic I referred to was a woman.

The website states "Dark, rich, red lipstick with black undertones. Looks best on women of color, brunettes, or anyone with a bold attitude. So if the bike mechanic were a man with a bold attitude, it would suit him just fine. Unfortunately it is sold out.

      
#38: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Robert Ewing on Sat 6 Oct 2012 19:22 Edit Delete in reply to #37     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
>if the bike mechanic were a man with a bold attitude, it would suit him just fine.

Absolutely, but I was thinking more about my attitude when riding a bicycle.

>Unfortunately it is sold out.

I only bought one :-0

      
#39: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Sun 7 Oct 2012 08:39 Edit Delete in reply to #34     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I have two shades of fingernail polish in mine (for touch ups to the bike's frame) but no lipstick.

      
#40: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Chris Zacho on Mon 8 Oct 2012 12:35 Edit Delete in reply to #36     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Very true. Touring is not about speed, but by putting the average speed in the daily journal you can tell the reader something about the riding conditions of the days ride that adjectives may not accurately convey. For example one of my days in western Kansas (very flat) I had an average speed of 20 MPH; which very nicely rams home the strength of the tailwind I had that day.

      
#41: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Al Cyone on Mon 8 Oct 2012 13:04 Edit Delete in reply to #40     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
I'm not sure an average speed would be as helpful as a median speed or, more subjectively, a typical speed. You could, for example, spend 80% of the day climbing a mountain at 5mph and 20% of the day descending the other side at 35mph. I'm not sure what kind of average speed that would result in (you can do the math) but I'm also not sure how helpful it would be.

I suspect some of this data collection stems from the simple fact that most have bicycle "computers" that provide it . . . so why not use it. I suspect if I had such a device I'd be tempted to record the data too. But I can remember having a Huret "Multito" cyclometer which was mounted on the end of the front fork and ran off a little rubber pulley. Distance was all you got but distance was all you wanted.

Years later I had an Avocet 20 (their 1985 original model) which "only" indicated speed, trip distance, total distance, and elapsed time. I can't remember ever using elapsed time and the only feature I occasionally missed was maximum speed (so I wouldn't have to look down at the device while I was screaming down a hill just to see how fast I was going!).

I've sometimes thought a cadence meter would be nice but, in reality, it's just as easy to count pedal strokes for fifteen seconds and multiply by four. On those few occasions when I'm curious.

I guess my point (with apologies to the extent that this is curmudgeonly) is that, if we have the data, we'll use the data, even if it's not especially helpful.

      
#42: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Mon 8 Oct 2012 13:26 Edit Delete in reply to #41     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Four hours at 5 mph = 20 miles. One hour (20%) at 35 mph = 35 miles. 55 miles total in 5 hours is 11 mph average.

Sounds like one of my days, only I average a whopping 20 kph instead.

      
#43: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Dale Oswald on Tue 9 Oct 2012 19:12 Edit Delete in reply to #14     Reply (1)   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Measuring the wheel isn't as accurate as the roll out method, whether you use chalk marks or lipstick. The effective diameter of the wheel changes with your weight applied. I inflate the tires to their normal use pressure. Then I start with a chalk mark on the wheel and street, put my weight on the bike, then do a ten-turn rollout. Measure the result with a 50' tape, convert to M and divide by 10.

But even a three turn with lipstick will certainly be closer than the error that's introduced by steering to maintain balance. I should run the numbers someday. Hey, I knew I took that Numerical Analysis course for something related to bikes.

Also, remember that bike speedometers can compute average two different ways, strict dist/time, or (as most do) dist/riding time (the time the bike is moving).

      
#44: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Brian Huntley on Tue 9 Oct 2012 19:28 Edit Delete in reply to #43     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
Every now and then I like to stop in a diner and have a nice local meal - and I'd hate to think my slow mean was impacting on my average speed. I use the "only when moving" average as a matter of course. It make take me ten hours some times, but I pedal about 7 hours a day, so my average should be based on 7 hours.

BTW with many Cateye computers, you can select "mtb" or "road" mode (sometimes preset to wheel size "B" and "A" respectively.) The MTB mode keeps the timer running longer on stops, to average out the really slow bits.

      
#45: Re: A word about speed (thread)
By Emma Taylor on Wed 10 Oct 2012 12:10 Edit Delete in reply to #1     Reply   Printable Relation | Link | Bookmark | Report
On a fully laden touring bike (off road, camping expedition) we averaged around 10mph. It did climb up from 9mph to 10mph and a touch higher towards the end of the 12months, but then so did the climbs - get bigger that is.

But we have set off a speed camera trap whilst over a 30mph limit... we have topped out at 60kph fully laden downhill - great when cars stop overtaking you and stay well back and full laden on the flat with no wind at all, I would hold around the 25kph (Approx 15.5mph) mark and held it for well over 90 mins.

But at the end of the day, for us it was about seeing. If I wanted to be faster, I would have trained, gone supported and had everything organised down to someone shooting that bl***y pack of dogs so we had a clear run through.... where would the fun have been in that? (OK last part excepted).

On an unladen road bike I am still only averaging 14mph... (yesterday's 32mile ride (2hrs 22 mins with 377m (1230 feet) of climbing, the most I can manage yet after the bite)), so I guess I'm not that fast, but so what. I'm out there doing it, surely that is all the counts?


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