I believe I have just gotten faster then last year if was not for my knee injury I would of never learned to ride the right way by keeping your knees in. and keeping a high cadence.. and now that I am doing intervals I think I have become faster also.. a bike computer helps.. and if your going to invest in one then buy one that has cadence to it so you can see your cadence something about that just pushes you..
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I totally agree about the importance of your core. You never know how much you depend on it until something goes wrong. And that last line - I used to tell myself "love the burn" and try to distract myself by thinking about the basic biology of why my body ONLY gets stronger when I stress it.
September Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (47,613) Posts: 9,204 11/24/13 1:32 P
I got my bike a year ago in early September. At the beginning of last spring, I was happy to not die after a 14 mile ride at 12 mph. Now I'm up to a 35 mile ride at just about 17mph and feel great when I finish. How did I do that?
First, I have a road bike. If you're on a hybrid, comfort, or mountain bike, you're likely not going to see those speeds regardless of what you do (unless you are REALLY strong!). My road bike is a nice, aluminum bike I bought used -- not some fancy carbon fiber model, nor is it a time-trial bike. For another $2-3 thousand (or more), I can probably add one or two miles per hour without trying. That, however, is not in my budget! Besides, I'm riding for fitness and health, not just speed.
Secondly, I took some cycling classes at the gym. They don't help you on bike handling skills (stopping, turning, balance, etc.), but they do help cardiovascular endurance, building strength, and cadence. Best of all, they can be done at night, during the cold, when it's raining, etc. Don't have access to cycling classes? I've also got a trainer that was on clearance for $50 that I can plop in front of a TV and do similar workouts (which has been upgraded to a fancy $350 kind -- while the cheap one isn't bad, the expensive ones give a much smoother ride). Look for high intensity interval workouts. Google can help you find ideas for workouts as well as finding DVDs to ride along to.
Third, I found some groups to ride with. The first group (other than my husband and 22 year old son) was a ladies' beginner ride advertised as 0-12mph. I thought I'd *die* trying to keep up the first time. After a few times, I had enough basic strength to stay in the middle of the pack. I started watching the better riders ahead of me for cues on cadence and when to shift. Soon I was able to move up to the 14-15mph group. Then I found a co-ed group so my family could ride with me. We started in the 12-14mph group, and moved to the 15-16 quickly. By the end of the season, that 15-16 group was closer to 17mph!
Fourth, I've taken a lot of core classes at the gym. They help. Don't have classes? There are plenty of videos and exercise plans on SparkPeople. Do one or two 10 minute videos per day. It makes a difference. If you can balance better and recruit your core muscles to help your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, you'll be more efficient -- and probably faster.
Last, my son is a recent college grad with a major in Health and Exercise Science. He's pre-med and is taking a gap year to train for triathlons. He's living with us, so I have a live-in coach. He's been helping me and his message is basically: 1) Ride more. As often as you can. On the road, on a trainer, whatever...just ride. 2) Ride with people better and faster than you. Study what they do. Try to keep up. It'll happen, eventually (and he's right). 3) Cross train. Core is important. Lift weights for stronger muscles. Swim. Run. (That's how I managed to race two triathlons so far!) Only want to pick one? Core.
OK, it sounds like I spend a lot of time in the saddle (and I do). I'm training for sprint triathlons (my son does the half-Ironman distance). You don't have to spend that much time to see gains. You can probably get better riding twice a week (weather permitting). And don't look at hills at the bad guy. Hills make you stronger. Keep repeating that as you are gasping for breath and your legs are screaming. It'll get easier, you'll get faster.
Pounds lost: 24.0
Fitness Minutes: (47,613) Posts: 9,204 11/23/13 1:41 P
SKIRNIR, hills are always going to kill your average speed. They just are.
The one thing I keep reminding myself is that I'm not in a race with anyone. My last couple of rides have averaged only a little over 10mph, and it's pretty flat. But I have been off the bike for a while in the midst of all the craziness of life, and I am just going to congratulate myself on getting out there at all. Why do we need to be fast? Why can't we just have fun? My racing career with always be OIIFTTS (Only In It For The T-Shirt). I can ride for fitness without having to beat myself up if some of my rides are slow or circumstances have thrown me behind in my fitness goals. This is the long run.
I don't have a bike computer, so I have only a rough sense of how fast I ride my bike. But I am crystal clear about how I've gotten faster running: it's all about intervals. I still do walk intervals in my training, and that allows me to run HARD during the speed intervals. I gain speed much faster that way than if I try to be consistent throughout a training run, and I recover quickly and without aches after the runs this way. Maybe just my body? But it really works for me.
September Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (70,588) Posts: 1,579 9/9/13 6:27 P
I agree with MISSG averaging 15 is awesome. I hired a trainer and Told her my goal was to improve on my bike. She had me working core and balance... surprised how unbalanced I could be I also started riding with a group of 10 to 12 other cyclist and we've actually worked on increasing our speed. The fitter you get the faster you will be. And it helps that I live in Florida no hills just hot ... and hotter
My bike rides tend to be a slow 10 miles an hour, so I am also curious as to how one increases speed, especially when they are going up and down hills constantly. East Tennessee where I now live, has so many dad blasted steep hills, I have joked that they are determined to kill me.
3/31/12 Trailbreaker half marathon 13.1 miles in 3 hours 13 minutes 4/20/13 Neighborhood Watch 5K 39:17.6 10/5/13 5K Grace Pet Fest 38:47.6 12/1/13 Secret City Half Marathon around 3 hours and 4 minutes 4/19/14 Butterflies for Hope 5K for Lupus 39:23.8 (I hurt my back a few days before, and though it was my first official 5K with some jogging, my back hurt, so was very slow.)
Averaging 15 mph is nothing to sneeze at! But one trick for increasing speed is to borrow the windsprints training from running. Get somewhere you can go flat out, and push yourself up to your highest speed, a speed that is unsustainable, for a certain distance, say half a mile. When you are working on building speed, you are working on muscle-building more than endurance, so you should be riding well beyond aerobic capacity. At the end of the measured distance, ride a mile or so at a slow, recovery speed, then repeat at least twice more. You are building speed in your legs, so increase this as you train.
Also, work your core. Core training is incredibly helpful for building speed AND endurance.
current weight: 249.4
Fitness Minutes: (109,267) Posts: 3,429 9/8/13 9:37 A
My speed improved over time. I plan to ride consistantly throughout the week, alternating bike trails and routes. Never do the same, consistantly changing.
2014 Fall 5% Challenge Team Leader of SP Class of August 19-25, 2012 Team Leader of SP Class of November 27- December 3, 2011 Team Leader of SP Class of July 21-27, 2013 ____________________ "Continuous effort--not strength or intelligence--is the key to unlocking our potential." --Winston Churchill
I found that getting a new bike does more to improve my speed than anything I actually do. Odd, but my riding speed just starting and after two months of almost daily riding was the same. (Endurance improved, though.) I look forward to seeing the responses!
(Other unhelpful tips ... only ride downhill or with a tailwind.)
I'm looking for your feedback on how you improved your bike speed? I want to get on a training program so next summer I can average a faster speed. I'm currently averaging about 15mph and would like to be at about 18mph. I've looked online and see lots of ideas, but I'm looking for what actually worked for you.
Any input would be appreciated!
Joy, Wisconsin "The greatest accomplishment in life is doing things people say you can't do." I say the greatest accomplishment is doing something you didn't think you could do.
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