Average Bike Speed & The Different Factors Affecting It

You know you love to compare yourself with others, and at the end of the day, you compare so you know you’re better. Biking speed is an easy comparison for cyclists, but just because you’re below the average speed, doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.

Today we are going to present average bike speed data as well as a number of factors affecting it. . 

Average Bike Speed Statistics

Most cyclists will not try to compare their speed with others, due to the simple fact that there are too many factors contributing to average speed. 

Below we have two tables, each of which contain different average speeds. One of the tables is based on country, while the other is on experience level. Check out the numbers we got from Strava.

As we can see, average speed ranges from 10 mph up to 25 mph. Where regular trainers and professionals sit at 20 mph and 25 mph. We can see on the other table. The fastest average speed is Holland Male, with 16 mph. 

The average data per country may be so, not because nobody is a regular trainer or professional, but because of a low number of regular trainers or professionals compared to beginner and average. It’s too hard to determine your performance by average speed alone.

But you can use these charts as a comparison with your own performance. Something to motivate you. Remember to take into account your riding terrain amongst other factors. 

How Environmental Factors Affect Speed

When comparing yourself, you must take in all affecting factors. The biggest contributor to average speed is your terrain and environment. If you live by a lake, the ocean, the mountains, or in the city, it will affect your average speed. A person traveling at 10mph might not be a beginner if their terrain is harsher than yours. 

Aside from the route itself, consider the wind and other weather conditions to your calculations. Read below to know more about external environmental factors which will affect your average speed. 

Route

As we’ve mentioned earlier, route plays an important role. How many turns you have, how many uphill and downhill you will have to ride and glide over. It all impacts your speed. If you don’t believe me, you can try a different route next time you ride. A route with the same distance, in the same city, but has a different turn and elevation and see for yourself. 

Stop signs

What is it about your route that will slow you down? Well, stop signs are one of them. To maintain a good speed, you want to break less. Once you break and stop, you need more effort to push you back to your steady speed. 

You can always take a different route. One with fewer turns or intersections. Anything to avoid breaking. Although, remember that stop signs exist for a reason and always put safety first. 

Terrain

Aside from the stop sign, there’s always the challenging terrains. Turns, hills, and plain are all considered terrain variation. So is the type of road you’re riding on. Even though downhill might be a blast, but you might go too fast and get scared, and there goes your speed because you needed to break. Don’t forget about those uphill battles that may make some beginners step off their bike and push. 

If you are more experienced, it will be easier to turn quickly and safely. But even some turns will make pro riders break. So, don’t be discouraged, attack any terrain you face.

Distance

Even though the unit says miles per hour, but with each hour, or each mile, you will average slower. It’s not a secret that everyone’s fitness varies. Especially since riding is such a universal sport, and you get riders ranging from beginners to pros. Your fitness will get better over time, but fatigue catches up with everyone. So, as was said, the more miles, the more hours, the slower your average will be. 

Three hours is the limit to fatigue, at least it is for most riders. Try calculating your first mile per hour and then your overall mile per hour, you will understand. So if you decided to take a longer route, and go the distance, be proud of yourself, even though you might average less than on your usual route. 

Do you enjoy sprinting? Or marathons? It’s different for everyone. 

Traffic

If you live in the city, or as they say, bike to work. Your challenges won’t be hills, it’ll be cars, and general traffic. There are a ridiculous amount of people in the city. That, and their cars, and their pets. Be careful to not get run over, or accidentally run over passersby.

Don’t forget to pass politely and ring that bell every once in a while. If you live in a neighborhood. People will be nice to you, if you are nice to them. Don’t forget to apologize if you do run somebody over. 

If your neighborhood is crawling with cars, but has no traffic, this might be a grand chance to motivate yourself. Try to chase a car, or stay ahead of one and push yourself to be faster. Remember, safety first, always. 

Weather

No rider wants to be pedaling through a storm. But the weather factor is not always about the extremes. A simple downpour might discourage you just as effectively as a blizzard. Rain might make it slippery, harder to see, or give you a hard time in general. 

The sun might be too hot. Makes you tire easily. Everything matters. And it’s not mind over matter, different weather will have different effects to your speed. Of course the best weather to ride is a cool sunny morning, or evening, with the wind behind you. Every cyclist’s dream. 

The best way to tackle all kinds of weather is preparation. Leave the house with the proper gear and outfit for the weather that day. That way, you can have a great time on your ride, whatever your speed may be. 

Cloudy vs Sunny

The best weather is a balance of clouds and sun. As I mentioned before, too much cloud (dark, cold, and wet) is not what we want, neither is too much sun. Talk about losing all that hydration. 

Aside from preparing your outfit, check that weather forecast. Very reliable and easy to do with all the technology that surrounds us. Better put in a little extra effort than prepare for all that heat and get attacked by a downpour. 

Rain

If you have to ride in the rain, you can always get a raincoat. There’s a whole selection of it out there. You can also get waterproof bags and waterproof covers for your bags or shoes. It might be harder for those of you with glasses. As far as I know, they don’t sell little wipers for your glasses. 

Of course, if you don’t have to ride in the rain, there’s no reason to at all. Unless you enjoy it. It’s all up to you. But what I can tell you about the rain, is that it will slow you down. Unless you’re used to riding in the rain. In that case, you’ll speed up once you ride through clear weather. 

Wind

Talking about wind, the effects of sun and rain will seem like child’s play. You want a tail wind. That will really push your average without too much of an effort. On the other hand, a head wing can really slow you down. 

If all this is unavoidable, and you’re pro enough to take wind consideration into your route plan. You should start off with a head wind, because you’ll be strong enough, and close with a tailwind, because it’ll be a pleasant ride home. 

Bicycle Factors

What else do you take with you on your ride? Your helmet, your water bottle, your bike. That’s it. Your bike plays an enormous factor on your average speed. From your bike frame, bike tires, bike weight, biking attire, and even your speedometer?

Intrigued to know how? We’re going to talk about it right here. Before we start, let’s mention the basics. If speed is important to you, I recommend you to invest in your bike. You will go significantly faster in a carbon fiber bike than you will riding your old rusty bike. 

Aside from the overall quality of your bike, you also want to make sure your bike maintenance is exemplary. A clean and maintained chain will help you move faster. 

Bike Frame

Bike frames have sizes for a reason. Your wheels can affect the height of your bikes, but you need to consider the frame also. The placement of your bars will affect your ride. Generally, a lower posture is said to accommodate a faster ride. But at the end of the end it comes down to you, and what you are comfortable with. The best posture for you will result in your best average speed yet. 

Bike Tires

Bike tires is a major contributor considering the different types of road out there. You want your bike tire and bike tire pressure to match your road. The best pressure is a balanced inflation that will give you an equal amount of roll and grip over the type of road you’re on. 

Equip yourself with all kinds of pumps, invest extra in tubeless tires to seal punctures immediately on the ride. 

Combine the perfect posture and a balanced tire pressure to reduce drag and get that extra mph you’ve been working on. 

Lighter Bike

Aside from getting a fancy bike, you can aim for a lighter budget bike. Even though it’s not as big a factor, as the others we’ve talked about, it does have an effect. Cyclists rave about the improvement they experienced after changing into a carbon fiber bike, maybe it’s time you try it out for yourself. 

The physics behind it is, a lighter bike will take less effort to pedal on any kind of road. 

Biking Attire

Wearing the right attire, a fitted top and bike shorts will make all the difference. Especially for beginners, who often look down on biking attire. Or maybe you go crazy about the outfit, simply for the aesthetics.

A fitted shirt is great to keep away the wind, and also keep you cool and less sweaty, so that fatigue won’t creep up quickly. 

If you’re not too worried about it, you can wear a normal shirt. But biking pants is something else. Bike shorts will not only keep you more comfortable, it will also keep your thighs from chaffing and bruising the next day. I’ve found that no amount of padding can replace experience and just constantly riding your bike. But a little extra protection will never hurt. 

Ride faster and look good while doing it by wearing proper biking attire. 

A Speedometer

We’re all asking the question. How does a speedometer, something that’s supposed to only measure our speed, make us ride faster? That’s just it, because you can see your speed, you will want to ride faster. Think of it like that car that can boost your performance, or a fellow rider showing you off. 

A speedometer will only help your speed, if you let it. 

You As A Factor

Now that we’ve discussed all the things you can only sort of control, let’s dive into what you can fully control. You, you as a factor. Everything about you is the leading factor to your average speed. From your fitness, your age, weight, posture, and even your experience. 

Not only can it affect your average speed, there are also ways or tricks you can implement to make sure that you hit that target average speed in your neighborhood.

Your Fitness

Improving your show performance is easy if you train hard. Try a harder terrain or route and ride faster in your usual route. Instead of trying a different route, you can always try interval training. Ride your constant (current standing) speed and ride significantly faster every other minute or so. This way, you are training your body, cardio, and fitness while improving your endurance. 

You can also go around in circles in a safe route for your training. This way, you can really focus on your speed. Aim for a certain distance or time and go crazy. 

You can also train with your gear. Use heavier gear and train your muscles, that way it’ll be easier next time you ride. You can use your gear to measure what you like. Is your average speed faster with fewer pedals at a heavy gear or at more pedals and a lighter gear. Try to match your speed on every gear. 

The bike itself offers many option for you to train with. All to increase your fitness level. Of course you can also increase your fitness with other exercises. You can try the elliptical, going to gym, other sports, and so on. What you’re aiming for is a stronger body. 

Your Age

Yes your age matters, but so does the years of your cycling experience. Being an older experienced rider may benefit you more so than the young fella who just started out. If you are older, you want to make sure that you don’t exert yourself. But being older doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to experiences and habits. 

Riding is for everyone, all experience levels, all age, just make sure that you’re prepared before your ride. 

Your Weight

Now that you’re fit, but heavy? Yes, you can be heavy and fit. Being heavy is not an issue at all. Except if you’re trying to improve your average speed.

Being lighter will benefit you when you are riding. Whether or not you’re climbing that hill. A few pounds will be all the difference in the world. This is gravity you’re fighting against, nobody wins this fight. 

When you’re not climbing an uphill route, being lighter will help you reduce your drag in the wind. The good news is, the more you train, the more fit you will be, the lighter you are, and the faster your average speed is. They all go hand in hand. 

Yes, I’ve mentioned that getting a lighter bike will result in a faster average speed. But how many pounds can a bike really lose? Not much, you, on the other hand, can lose a hole lot of pounds. 

Your Posture

Aside from getting the proper bike frame, you can improve your posture by tucking in your elbow. Keeping your body small will reduce wind resistance. Another thing you can do is lowering your body. Sitting upright will give the wind more surface area. Make sure you are still comfortable. Experiment with different posture, and ride with the one you like.

Remember that posture is flexible, you can always change it during your ride. 

Your Music

This does seem a little irrelevant. What does your music say about you? Well when you’re a cyclist, listening to a quick beat will help you pedal faster. You’ll be raising your average speed without feeling like you’re dying from the inside out. Of course, it’s also important to change up your playlist every now in a while. Even though studies show that listening to music can help your body deal with fatigue, listening to music you know will have less of an effect.

Construct your riding playlist and experiment with the beat. 

Your Experience

This is accountable for most people’s average speed. Yes, years of biking will train your muscle to pedal without even sweating. But aside from your body getting used to the bike, your experience will also boost your confidence and familiarize you with your route and even different types of roads. 

Your Confidence

This will help speed up your turns, your uphill climb, your downhill glide and so much more. Just because you’re riding faster, it doesn’t mean you’re any less careful. There’s so much more people can do once they’re confident. 

Your Familiarity With The Route

Not just when you are riding, even when you’re driving. The way home always feels faster compared to when you’re trying to find that address. Familiarity with your route will vastly improve your average speed. Leave home with a game plan and pedal harder to get there. 

Your Flock As A Factor

We’ve actually discussed this topic. The bit with the cars and the speedometer. Sometimes what people need is just a little friendly competition. Did you know that runners sometimes train with another (slower) runner just to help them get a little faster.

Aside from boosting your performance, a friend will also make your ride that much better. You’ll get a chance to bond and look out for each other. Discuss what works and what doesn’t, explore biking tips and get faster together. 

Drafting

Aside from the mental and moral support, riding together will help you deal with the wind. Drafting is when you ride with other riders or other vehicles and that way the person in front will help reduce the wind’s drag on you. That’s why birds fly in a V pattern, that’s right, learn from the nature around you. 

Enjoy The Ride

I guess that’s all I have for you today. Don’t look down on yourself for being slower than others. And remember even though you’re the fastest right now, maybe you just need a friendly competition to push yourself one step further. It’s important to set goals for yourself in everything you do, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.