If you are looking for strategies on how to cycle faster, this article is for you.
In it you will learn how to increase your bicycle average speed using 12 simple tips that anyone can employ. These tips for increasing bike speed may be simple, but they can create a tremendous difference, especially in competitive racing.
What is the Racing Bike Speed of an Average Cyclist?
One of the most well-known social media apps used by athletes, mainly cyclists and runners, is the called Strava. In 2016 alone, a total of 161 million bike rides has been uploaded in Strava, which gave the application data to project statistics.
According to the data published by Strava, the average speed on a bike for male cyclists in the USA is 24.35 km/h, while female cyclists have an average speed of 19.94 km/h. For the average speed of cyclists from other nations, the table below is also data produced by Strava. Anything above the 25-27 km/h average for men, and above 19-21 km/h average for women is already a good speed for cycling.
12 Tips for Faster Cycling
Most people would say that you need a high-speed bicycle to achieve a faster time when cycling. However, for competitive cycling, technique and smart tips will give you the edge over your competition rather than the type of bike you are using. Below are the 12 tips you can use to improve your cycling speed.
1. Pace Yourself
Pacing yourself correctly is very important, especially on long rides. It is easy to feel you have unlimited energy at the beginning of a ride, only to feel like a dead bread halfway into the race. Always aim to cycle at relatively low intensity and as steady as you can.
Reserve your energy and spend it all at the last moments of the race. It is safer to conserve energy and use it all in the last moments of the race than to use too much energy early on and have an empty tank in the last second.
2. Tackle Hills Correctly
Try to build as much momentum as you can for climbs. This makes the climb less strenuous and less tiring. During the climb, remember to use your gears effectively to conserve energy. Avoid using big gears as this will tire your legs out faster.
3. Interval Training
One of the largest factors in long rides is a rider’s aerobic capacity. Cyclists can increase their aerobic capacity as well as power by doing intervals when training. Leg-strength interval training, for example, can improve the muscular endurance of your legs and increase power. Remember to only hold at paces that you could do for an hour when doing intervals to protect your body from injury.
4. Using Fats as Fuel
A technique that athletes use in a lot of different sports is “fasted aerobic activity”. This helps train the body to use fats as a fuel source. If you can do this correctly, you will store energy as fats and get exhausted slower than the rest of the competition.
5. Lower Wind Resistance
Wind resistance is one of the major factors that can slow you down when cycling. Bending your elbows helps reduce your drag, which in turn will increase your speed. Also aim for a lower body position on the bike so you will not catch a lot of wind during a ride.
Decreasing wind resistance also has the benefit of conserving your energy, since more drag (resistance) means more energy used for the same amount of distance covered.
6. Pump up Your Tires
Always check your tire pressure before going on a ride to ensure they are at the recommended psi. Tires that are inflated correctly will roll faster compared to those that aren’t.
7. Ride the Drops
For speed, a bicycle with a drop-handled bar has its edge. Riding on the drops has been proven to reduce your aerodynamic drag with a lower wind resistance of up to 20 percent. It also helps you turn corners better because of the improved bike handling because of the handle design.
This setup is highly recommended if you want to go faster.
8. Use Drafting
Drafting is a technique that involves a cyclist moving in alignment to the back of another cyclist or vehicle where there are less wind resistance and lower pressure. This reduces the amount of energy needed to cover the same amount of distance. Drafting is a useful technique when you want to close a gap or go faster.
9. Lose Weight
Another way to go faster is by losing some weight. Being lighter allows you to go faster with less effort. It also reduces your drag.
10. Build Muscle
Just like other sports, cycling requires you to have powerful muscles to perform better. With muscle training, you can gradually increase your average speed. Focus on leg-strength training drills and set clear goals, in particular, whether you are training for sprint or endurance cycling.
11. Build an Aerodynamic Bike
Specific bike upgrades that reduce drag can help you go faster. Consider using aerodynamic tubing, deep-section rims, and aero-profile spokes for your bike. About 30% of the total drag comes from the bicycle and these upgrades will definitely help you go faster.
12. Wear Tighter Clothing
Wearing baggy clothes creates more drag. Practice wearing slim-fit garments to reduce wind resistance. Also, tight clothes can help keep you cool and dry.
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When it comes to increasing the average cycling speed for beginners, the above tips are priceless. Researching how to ride your bicycle faster as well as techniques on how to improve cycling is the first step, but like everything, you need to use what you learn.
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