When you start following your passion for cycling, you want to improve your skills every time you ride. As you continue to push those pedals, you get a better idea of balancing and riding over obstacles and challenging terrain. But is it enough? Your performance in a race or a professional cycling event will not only depend on your balance and technical prowess, but also on your average biking speed.
It is encouraging for cyclists to know that the humble bicycle is considered to be among the best means of transportation when you consider the energy spent to cover a unit distance.
In scientific jargon, up to 99% of the rider’s energy put on the pedals is efficiently passed on the wheels in a new bicycle with lubricated chains and gears. If you maintain the condition of your bicycle as good as new, then most of your spent energy is evident in terms of the distance you cover.
14 Tips and Tricks to Increase Your Average Biking Speed
Regardless of your age, the level of your skills or your cycling experience, there are a few things that you can do in order to increase your average biking speed.
We have compiled these handy tips so that you can quench your ‘need for speed’.
Read on to know more.
#Tip 1: Check Your Posture
You probably understand the importance of posture in maintaining your balance and in ensuring that your muscles don’t get injured while cycling. But when you want to improve your cycling speed, you have to adopt a posture that has minimum resistance from the wind.
Wind resistance is the number one cause of slowing a cyclist down. Therefore, your posture should counteract this effect.
You can do this by lowering your body towards the bicycle. The shape you assume while doping this is streamlined with the wind, thus having minimum resistance. This is pretty much how birds and airplanes are shaped so that they don’t encounter much wind resistance when in flight.
Simply by tucking your elbow inwards and lowering your head closer to the handle of your bike, you can feel that your cycle is going faster, without you pedaling any harder.
This is the magic trick that you should never forget.
Also, if a fellow cyclist asks you how to bike faster, this is the first tip you should give.
#Tip 2: Find Riding Company
When you ride with a group of cyclists who are equally passionate about improving their average riding speed, you cut out the monotony of biking all alone.
Also, when you have better riders in your cycling group, you are constantly motivated to match their riding speed, and this works wonders for your own efforts.
Group cycling has distinct rules, and one of the rules is that there is always a leader cyclist who rides ahead of others.
Member of the group take turns to become the leader, and once it is your turn, you will have to increase your cycling speed in order to stay ahead. With regular practice, you will find that your average biking speed has gone up.
If you really want to reap benefits from riding with a cycling group, you should be careful and find out a group that is highly motivated and enthusiastic about cycling and achieving their cycling goals. The benefits of group cycling only happen when each member is aiming to become better.
#Tip 3: Ease Out the Cycling
Another sure way to improve your cycling speed without burdening your body and your bicycle is to make biking a pleasurable experience.
This can be done by listening to your favorite music as you ride your bike. Good music has been scientifically proven to ease out fatigue and related symptoms and is instrumental in a better biking performance.
However, before you put in those earphones, you should keep in mind that road safety is the first and foremost consideration that you should have.
Therefore, if you are cycling on a busy road, make sure that you do not use noise-cancelling earphones otherwise you will not be able to hear the other vehicles passing by. This will pose a risk of collision. A great idea is to check the laws of the city regarding use of earphones while cycling on the road.
On the contrary, when you practice with the aim of increasing your average biking speed in designated biking tracks or stadiums, feel free to pump up the music if it helps you to gain cycling speed.
#Tip 4: Focus on Your Cadence
A very effective way to increase your road bike average speed is to focus on your cadence, and not your actual speed.
Cadence is a direct measure of how many times does your pedal rotate in a minute. For average riders, anything between 70 and 100 pedal rotations in a minute is considered very good. If you really want to improve cycling speed, you should aim at maintaining your cadence.
Shifting gears of your bike is one easy way by which you can maintain your cadence in any type of terrain.
Shifting your bike to a higher gear will offer higher resistance on the pedal and result in slowing your cadence.
On the other hand, a lower gear will make the pedal resistance low, and you will be able to push the pedal much faster. With practice, you will understand the fine balance by which you can shift gears to maintain your average cadence.
#Tip 5: Lose Some Weight
While most professional cyclists hardly ever have excess weight, an increase in average cycling speed can be achieved by losing a bit of weight.
This is because when you weigh lesser, you can go much faster on your cycle by putting the same effort.
Now, you understand why most professional cyclists are so lean.
Lean bodies have a clear advantage for cyclists because:
- It is easier for lean cyclists to ride uphill against gravitational force.
- Lean cyclists are able to cycle over a larger distance for the same effort.
- Lean cyclists experience lesser drag by air when they cycle on a flat terrain.
When we say that a little loss of weight will help you in increasing your average biking speed, we really mean only a little. You should not become obsessed with weight loss in the hope of gaining cycling speed. Unless you are in a healthy frame, you will not have enough energy to pedal harder or faster, and this will be counterproductive to your cause.
#Tip 6: Gain Some Muscle
If you want to push the pedals harder and faster and for a longer duration of time, you will need your muscles.
Targeted muscle build-up is possible by gym training under supervision and dietary modification. However, gym time should not replace cycling time because ultimately your muscles need to work out on the cycle if you want to increase your average biking speed.
A diet comprising of lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetable and enough protein is what you need to build muscle strength. Steer clear of pizza and other processed food if you want to see yourself turning the pedals faster.
#Tip 7: Reduce your braking
It is obvious- the more you brake, the slower you get.
Therefore, you should aim at reducing braking frequency and hitting the brakes as the last resort. While we don’t intend to convey that you should not brake when needed, we just mean that unnecessary braking should be replaced with bike maneuvering.
When you hit the brake, your bicycle slows down, and you have to push the pedals harder to reach the initial speed.
This is such a big waste of time!
When you are working towards achieving an increased cycling speed, it is better to avoid hitting the brake as whenever possible.
The more you practice cycling without braking, the more your cycling speed will improve. Also, this will give you a confidence of being able to ride a cycle at a higher speed.
Cornering and clearing obstacles are the two major areas that need attention when you are trying to hold the brakes. With due practice, you will be able to manage both these aspects and see a tremendous improvement in your biking speed.
Learn all about Mountain Biking: How To Corner A Mountain Bike
#Tip 8: Take Advantage of the Direction of the Wind
Because wind resistance is an important cause of slowing your cycle down, how about considering the idea of using the direction of the wind to your advantage?
Whenever possible, try to practice on a route that favors your cycling with a tailwind.
Obviously, you cannot control the direction of the wind and most certainly cannot change the routes. What we mean to say is that while practicing, take the headwind when you start. This is the time when you are full of energy and stamina and can brave against the winds.
When you continue pushing the pedal, however, you get tired.
This is when you should try to cycle in a direction that you have the thrust of tailwind that makes pedaling easier and increases your average biking speed.
#Tip 9: Check Tire Pressure
More often than not, we tend to overlook the pressure in our bike tires. If the tires are properly inflated, they will automatically move faster, and with a lesser effort from your side.
Make a habit of checking the inflation of the tires before hitting the road.
An even better strategy is to invest in a good track pump and a mini pump to take care of air pressure on the go.
Learn all about Bike Maintenance: How to Prevent and Deal with Bike Flat Tires
#Tip 10: Handle your bike better
The better you are at balancing on your bike on turns and obstacles, the lesser you slow down or fall. This simple correlation should be your guide when you are aiming at an improved average cycling speed.
One simple way to improve your bike handling is by cycling more.
The more you push the pedal, the more you understand the fine details of balancing your body on the bike in various circumstances. The more obstacles you cross, the more confident you will become.
Another way by which you can improve bike handling is by practicing track standing.
When you balance your body on a very slow-moving cycle without touching the ground, you get more in tune with your balance. You can practice track standing by moving is small circles in the beginning. Once you know how to balance your body weight on your bike without falling off, you are ready for track standing on any surface.
Check out The 10 Principles for Road Biking
#Tip 11: Use drops
Unless you don’t have a bike with drop handles, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be riding on drops.
Using drops is an extremely beneficial habit when it comes to increasing your average biking speed. Not only will your bike handling improve by riding on the drops, you will also experience much lesser drag by the air.
The most common reason why some cyclists are wary of using the drops is that they fear that they won’t be able to reach the brakes on time. This is why we stressed on skipping the brakes first. When you train yourself to ride a bike without hitting the brakes, you need not worry while using drops on your bike handle.
#Tip 12: Choose Aerodynamic tubing
Specific types of tire and tubing can increase your average biking speed.
For example, deep-section rims aerodynamic tubing and aero-profile cycle spokes. However, it should be kept in mind that the contribution of these equipment is not dramatic in increasing speeds.
Had it been the case, every cyclist would be cycling at lightning speed.
#Tip 13: Practice Specific Interval Training
Interval training can be immensely helpful when you are targeting a particular cycling speed.
Supervised training will allow you to create a cycling pattern in which you will have short bursts of very high-speed cycling, followed by recovery period where you will bike a bit slower. Even without hiring a coach, you can train yourself in this pattern.
Just identify key points in the route and split your ride between them as high-speed and slow-speed.
The most direct outcome of this type of interval training is that you increase your lactate threshold. This term depicts your highest average speed per hour.
With interval training, it is possible to train your body to deliver more power without changing the heart rate.
#Tip 14: Wear Fitting Clothes
We cannot reap the benefits of any of the above-mentioned tips if we wear loose and flowy garments while cycling.
Only proper cycling clothes should be worn if you are working towards increasing your biking speed. Well-fitting clothes will keep you dry and cool, and indirectly result in easy riding. In addition, fitting clothes will tremendously decrease the drag, and thus, increases your speed.
With the tips and tricks that we have just suggested, you will definitely see an improvement in your average biking speed.
Check all about Buying Guide on Clothing: An Expert Opinion
Average Biking Speeds in Different Countries
Of course, there is a great variation in the average biking speeds of individuals, and these differences occur because of a lot of factors- your age, your physical fitness and the terrain on which you ride your bicycle. If you have reasonable fitness levels and a well-kept speed cycle, then you can ride at an average biking speed of up to 40 km/h.
Because of the difference in terrain in different countries, the average cycling speed tends to be very different.
As an example, let us see the typical speeds of cyclists in some countries:
- Netherlands: 27 km/h
- France: 24 km/h
- United Kingdom: 25.5 km/h
- Spain: 22 km/h
- Germany: 23 km/h
- USA: 24.5 km/h
Among the above-mentioned countries, the average bike speed in the Netherlands is the highest. This, in part, can be attributed to the fact that the country has a largely flat and smooth terrain without steep slopes. Therefore, it is easier for the cyclists to maintain a higher average biking speed.
Speed Records to know!
- The highest cycling speed that has been recorded on flat grounds under the optimal weather and defined conditions is about 144 km/h, set by Todd Reichert in 2016.
- The record for maximum speed that a cyclist can reach while in the conventional sitting position (upright) is held by Jim Glover, who reached 82.5 km/h for more than 200 meters, in an event in 1986.
- The corresponding record on a downhill surface is held by Eric Barone, who reached a speed of around 223 km/h in 2015.
- The UCI records for fastest hour cycling are held by Bradley Wiggins in men’s category, who reached a speed of 54.5 km/h in 2015; and by Evelyn Stevens in women’s category, who reached a speed of almost 48 km/h in 2016.
However, something that needs to be considered is the reason for which you are aiming a higher speed.
If you want to win a race or improve your own performance, merely hitting the pedal harder is not enough. You would need to consider all the above-mentioned points if you want to sustain cycling at higher speed. Let us know what do you think about them!