Average Cycling Speed By Age – How Does it Compare?
The average speed of a cyclist is among the most frequently asked questions by inexperienced riders. However, it is one of the most difficult questions to answer. If you want to know what the average cycling speed by age is, there are numerous factors you need to account for.
There are many reasons why average speed by age cannot be used as an accurate reference tool, this is mainly because of the following reasons:
– Riding conditions
– Distance covered
These factors all play a role in determining how fast a cyclist can ride even before we start looking at age.
But why do these factors play such a large part? Let’s dive into it a little more.
If you live in an area where hills are scarce, your experience will pale in comparison to that of a rider who lives or trains in a hilly area. So knowing someone’s average cycling speed is 18 mph means nothing if you don’t know the terrain they are riding.
But comparing hilly rides to flat riding is not the only comparison you need to make. Some regions are naturally windy. This wind can often play a large role in the rider’s average speed, cities like wellington in New Zealand and Skåne in Sweden are two places that wind can affect your riding.
However, wind and terrain are just a few of the riding conditions that can affect your average cycling speed. Another is temperature, riding in extremely hot or cold conditions can further reduce your average speed, even if you are used to the climate.
Even though there is a saying – it’s not about the bike. Well unfortunately for most beginner riders it is. Weight and gears can influence the speed you can ride at, thus affecting your average speed. Beginner cyclist’s that have moved from an old steel road bike to a new carbon fiber model often see their speed increasing by 5-10%.
Other cycling equipment such as tires can play a small role in the speed you can average. Often cheap wire bead road tires are heavy and slow, thus reducing your speed by as much as 1km/hr.
The average speed you can hold cycling varies based on the distance covered. Often shorter rides are ridden at a higher average speed, while longer rides tend to be more casual. However, for the more experienced cyclist, shorter rides can tend to be the opposite, as rides shorter than one hour are often used as recovery.
Saying that there is no point comparing your speed against someone who has ridden shorter or longer than you.
Average Cycling Speed By Age
The age of a cyclist is important, however, it is not as important as the number of years the rider has been cycling for. Typically the more years you have been riding the greater the endurance and cardiovascular fitness the rider has. Knowing this knowing the average cycling speed by age is dictated based on the riders past and current fitness levels. So unfortunately grouping average speed by age is next to useless.
Bearing in mind all the factors above many beginner cyclists ride at an average speed of 10-14mph. Even though it is possible to sustain a higher speed, 10-14mph is the average most beginners can sustain in the beginning.
Athletes coming from other sports such as running can usually hold between 15-18mph. This is mainly to do with the endurance they have built up from another aerobic sport.
Typically cycling speed is somewhat still affected by age. As you get older it’s common for your average speed to decline as well as your fitness level.
Several studies have shown that a cyclist’s physical peak is usually developed between the ages of 20 and 30. This means that after 30 you will start to see a steady decline in speed caused by age. the decline in speed is associated with reduced muscle mass and decreased lung, heart, and circulatory function. However, professional cyclists have been seen to perform well into their mid-thirties but for the general amateur rider, expect to already see a decline in your late thirties.
Knowing all this below is a general guideline for average speed based on fitness level.
Average Cycling Speed For Beginners
– A Beginner doing short-distance rides should expect to average around 12mph. This is based on how most beginners can average 10-12mph of limited training.
– Riders with at least 6 months of riding behind them can expect to average between 15-16mph when riding between 20-30 miles.
– More experienced riders with one year of riding behind them should expect to be able to hold an average speed of 16-19mph over 40 miles.
– A rider that regularly trains with a club should expect to be able to hold between 20-24 mph over 50 miles.
Many beginner cyclists, or riders that cycle for fun 1-2 times per week may never see an average speed of more than 15 mph. This usually comes down to either lack of training or the terrain or riding conditions. However, the main point of cycling is to enjoy being outdoors and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. So no matter your age or average speed, it is important you continue to enjoy it.