I did my first 40km ride on the weekend – all the way to Freo and back! Turns out my average speed over the whole trip in the end was around 22 km/h. Not that fast really, but considering I’m riding a 5+ year heavy mountain bike with semi slicks and no clips, and sticking mostly to a cycle path with some windingness and stop/starts for traffic, it’s not bad.
One of the guys that rode with me had a bike computer and gave me some updates while we were cycling – on some longer flat straights, I was doing about 30-32 km/h! That did feel good 🙂 Unfortunately it didn’t last long.
But the difference between the effort I was putting into my mountain bike, and my 2 friends’ road bikes was very noticeable – especially up hills. They just zoomed past me, while I felt like I was lugging up a bag of potatos. I know I’m still not as fit (only my 6th week riding), but I’m 99% convinced I need a road bike now to make it more enjoyable, go faster and cover more kms.
I’m confident I can now finish the 30 km HBF ride. But the question is – if I buy a road bike in the near future, will I be able to complete the 60 km ride?
I’m guessing there’s 2 factors – the time it would take (can I ride for that long), and could I output the right amount of energy (really coming down to – what would my average speed on a road bike be compared to my mountain bike if I put in the same amount of effort). And so I started looking up the average speed for mountain bikes versus road bikes. Of course there is no real definitive answer, but “people” seem to think it could add at least 5-10 km/h for the same effort (eg. http://highwaycyclinggroup.wordpress.com/the-average-speed-page-how-to-find-your-average-speed-what-is-a-good-average-speed/).
If I take the bottom end of the scale, 5 km/h means an average of 27 km/h, so 60 kms means 2 hours 12 minutes of cycling. At the top end of the scale, 10 km/h more means an average of 32 km/h, so 60 kms means 1 hour 52 minutes of cycling.
I know my Freo trip took nearly 1 hour 50 minutes – so I know I’ll need to work on cycling longer. Friends also say that average speed may be higher for the HBF bike ride since it’s a straight track on the Freeway (no stopping/starting/obstacles besides bikes) and there’s typically very low wind resistance due to the number of riders around you. Of course, I could try to do 60 km on my mountain bike – it would just take 3 hours 🙂
Oh well, I just need to train with a few more 2 hour rides in Perth.
And figure out which road bike to buy! Got my eye on an Oppy C5 at the moment…