In the sport of cycling, there is always a drive to increase speed, as speed and distance steer the motivation for cyclists. Before a cyclist can learn to increase their speed, they must have an understanding of road bikes and what their average performance includes.
How fast can a road bike go?
When purchasing road bikes, they are advertised to reach speeds up to 15.5 kph. This is an average across-the-board standard for stock bikes once purchased. Road bikes have proven to not only meet these speeds but exceed them exponentially, averaging closer to 50kph.
With the study and understanding of aerodynamics, cyclists around the world have embraced this understanding and developed numerous ways to increase speed. From making bike modifications, purchases, and traditional hard work, there are several ways to increase speed.
How do I increase my speed?
In most cases, you do not need a new bike with a fancy frame for increasing speed. While that is often the solution for cyclists, there is a cheaper and better option in terms of fitness. Instead, you can change your speed by using the bike frame and your body to shift the overall frame, allowing your body to merge with your bike.
With elbows flat back and your bottom in the air, your back will be parallel with the bike, increasing the aerodynamics and elevating your speed. Make sure to keep those elbows flat and parallel with both the frame of your body and the bike frame. This is just one example of positioning your body to increase your speed. Posture and position are important for cyclists because they not only increase speed, but increase fitness and improve back health.
Conserving your energy is not a new topic in the sport of cycling. Increasing speed is not an automatic ability. However, its importance to increasing speed over time has been proven time and time again. Starting slower and conserving energy on the flat planes will allow you to properly manage the climbs, maintaining your speed and energy throughout the race. Despite the initial start of slower speeds, pacing allows a gradually incline of speed, which requires energy. Set goals for your race in either quarters or halves. Set a time frame to be at each stop. Set these goals in a way that you are conserving energy until that last quarter or half. If you see yourself meeting your goal early, slow down, because you are burning your energy too fast.
As a cyclist, you cannot expect to meet faster speeds if you do not have the energy necessary. Otherwise, starting out faster will cause the end result to be slower and essentially a decrease in speed, defeating the entire purpose. Although you may see a group of cyclist passing you early on, consider the fact that they are burning more energy and putting forward much more effort early on. Chances are you will be passing these cyclists later
If you would like to make a quality purchase, invest in quality tires for your road bike. Most cyclists refer to the deep section aero wheels. With quality to withstand conditions, ensure you are purchasing these tires based on width. Some cyclists will focus on the weight on the tire, but unless your bike is heavier than average, this will not apply to your cycling needs.
Purchasing quality wills requires a purchase of quality rims, as well. Aero rims are the best option for any professional road bike cyclist due to the aluminum being the better option for the longer ranges.
Another quality purchase of cyclists is aero helmets. While some may believe a helmet is standard across the board, aero helmets are designed differently from traditional helmets. The helmets that are associated with standard biking and that you were taught to ride with focus on ventilation in addition to safety, and keeping the head cool and comfortable when riding. Aero helmets, too, consider safety and ventilation in their development, but instead of catching air, they now allow the air to properly flow, increasing speed and flow the cyclist wearing the aero helmet.
While it is frowned upon to eat up energy during an extended ride or race, there is a benefit to strenuous interval trainings throughout the week. For the cyclist who prefers longer rides, 2×20 intervals of high speed vs. moderate speed will be sure to enhance fitness and overall speed. For the cyclists on shorter circuits, a longer interval at full-speed mid-week before the race will jumpstart your fitness with enough time to rest and prepare for the approaching race. Preparing your muscles for such speed and intensity will build endurance over time and allow your speed to increase from race to race.
Performance Monitoring Apps
Monitoring your speed can become quite obsessive, and it is essential to have that data on hand. Several apps on your smart phone or watch will monitor your distance and speed, allowing you to notice changes and patterns. There are a variety of apps but some have more popularity than others.
Strava is one of the most popular apps. It not only tracks speed and distance, but allows riders the ability to track time, calories, and meet Strava goals built into the app. It provides a motivation for cyclists that pushes their personal goals and focuses on properly increasing speed. Strava also stores locations of rides and provides a variety of statistics for cyclists to utilize when setting goals and making determinations.
Training Peaks is another app that is goal oriented in design. It allows cyclists to set their personal goal and focus directly on what they need to do to acquire it within the time frame. Training Peaks takes the work out of reading and evaluating statistics. All a cyclist needs is to provide their goal, and Training Peaks does the work for you.
Not an Overnight Process
The most important thing for cyclists to remember when setting a speed goal is that it is not an overnight process. Like the marathon races and the use of pacing, increasing speed comes for all cyclists but with time. Unfortunately it is not as quick as short circuit races. There will be times when you get ahead of yourself and find your energy diffusing. You may find yourself making numerous purchases on items with a speed increasing guarantee. While many of these purchases will assist with increasing speed, they will not be a quick fix, since speed ultimately comes from the cyclist. Utilizing these different ways to build endurance will prepare you for a long-term cycling career.
7 Ways To Improve Your Average Speed On A Road Bike
Check out the video below for some quick tips on how you can boost your average speed when you’re road riding.