Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

This article will help you navigate the world of cycling and understand what to expect from your performance.
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Last updatedLast updated: March 31, 2022
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Knowing the average speed and average distance of a beginner can help you know where you stand comparatively. However, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. There are countless factors that can impact the speed of even the greatest cyclist. There are a few diverse ways to increase both numbers overall. These are all aspects that are under your direct control. There are many things you can do to increase the average riding distance, which also increases the average speed as well.

The average bike speed and distance for beginners is different for each bicyclist that’s starting out. Don’t fret about the differences or subtle changes. It does vary between people and even between different bike rides. Let your feet take you beyond the horizon. Let your dreams run wild with the endless locale possibilities.

Average Cycling Speed for Beginners

The average speed for beginning cycling can be up to 12 miles per hour. Cyclists with less than six months can average between 10 and 12 miles per hour or 16 to 19 km per hour. After the 6-month mark, the average can increase to between 15-16 mph or 24-25 km/h. There’s quite a range of average when it comes to cyclists.

With more training, proactive, and endurance, cyclists can get up to 30 mph or 48 km per hour. That’s an impressive goal to aim for, but sometimes it’s not just about the cyclist and their speed. There are a lot of things that can impact the riding speed of a cyclist – beginner or not. Knowing the average speed doesn’t equate to skill necessarily. There are a lot of difference factors that tie into a cycler’s speed.

The fastest speed by a cyclist in a single hour on 16 April 2019 was Victor Campenaerts. Trusted Source Victor Campenaerts sets new one-hour record to surpass Sir Bradley Wiggins | Cycling | The Guardian Sir Bradley Wiggins’ one-hour UCI world record has been broken by the Belgian Victor Campenaerts. The 27-year-old Lotto Soudal rider covered 55.089 kilometres (34.231 miles) in his record attempt at the Aguascalientes indoor velodrome in Mexico. www.theguardian.com His speed averaged 34 miles (55 km). That’s impressive! Diving deeper into that information shows more details. That cyclist was biking at the Aguascalientes indoor velodrome in Mexico. That doesn’t change that it’s very impressive, but it does add context.

Average Riding Speed

Speed is impressive but not mandatory or necessary for a casual cyclist. For those that are interested in competitions, record-breaking, or triathlons, there’s so much to understand about your own personal speed. Having this knowledge in the back of your mind is a wonderful asset. It’s a great tidbit of information to see how you compare with other bikers. Cycling speeds and suggested distances for beginners should be expected before your first trip. The average bike speed and distance for beginners is an aspect that helps to plan biking trips regardless of the length. Even if you’ve been riding casually, it’s helpful to get a refresher when you advance to harder terrain or longer rides.

That’s not quite all, though. It’s a tool for planning, but it’s also a tool for analytics as well. Not only does it help you plan your trip, but it also helps with long-term goals and progress. Being able to know your speed in the past, in the now, and in the future gives you a roadmap to improve your cycling.

What Can Influence Riding Speed?

Riding speed isn’t just a direct effort from the rider. Sometimes a cyclist can’t see just more speed to happen. There are a few distinct factors that can impact your speed by increasing drag, obstacles, friction, and fatigue. When you need speed, then you increase your forward momentum, limit your overall drag, and try to cycle as efficiently as humanly possible. Both direct Trusted Source Critical review of cyclist speed measuring techniques - ScienceDirect The accuracy of cyclist position is an important parameter for the calculation of cyclist speed. www.sciencedirect.com and indirect factors can impact the speed of a cyclist, beginner and professional alike.

Some of the most well-known cycling records include Ilona Peltier, with a speed record of 126.52 km/h (78.62 mph) in 2019. Denise Mueller Korenek hit a record speed of 296.009 km/h (183.932 mph) in 2018. When we compare just the speeds, there’s an effortless way to tell who’s fastest. But when we take into consideration aspects such as terrain, it can change. Peltier finished while on an unpacked outdoor recumbent with a slight downhill (-0.6% grade). Markus Stöckl traversed a volcano downhill in 2017 with a speed of 167.6 km/h (104.1 mph). All of these examples are very impressive speeds but are relative to one another and their corresponding circumstances. Trusted Source Critical review of cyclist speed measuring techniques - ScienceDirect There is a growing global interest in developing and accommodating sustainable modes of travel. Cycling is an important mode of travel which offers powerful solutions to chronic traffic problems of congestion and emissions. The accuracy of cyclist position is considered as an important parameter for the calculation of cyclist speed. Cyclist speed data is required for precise design of traffic control measures, for safety studies, and for sight distance analysis.  www.sciencedirect.com

Conditions Of the Road

There is a major difference between a cyclist taking a ride downtown in a busy urban sprawl or descending down rugged rural terrain. It’s easier to go faster when the terrain leans that way. For example, downhill is faster than uphill. On that same note, the type of terrain does affect how fast you can go.

The sleek, beautiful sidewalks within Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico, are much smoother of a ride than the broken cobblestone in the rural areas of Alberta, Canada. Remember that setting has an impact on a cyclist’s speed.

Equipment Being Used

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

Equipment is an important aspect for any bicyclist.

Proper equipment can increase safety, improve aerodynamics, and aid in physical exertion. All those factors have an impact on how fast the cycler can and does go. Some equipment that every beginner cyclist should have include:

  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • A Bike, Obviously
  • Shoes
  • Backpack
  • Water Bottle
  • Bike Lock

When you have high-quality equipment, you need a high-quality bicycle to match. Diamondback’s 2014 Airen 2 Road Bike comes with 700c wheels, dual suspension, and ten diverse speeds. This is just one example of a competitive road bike that’s sure to help increase the overall speed.

Covered Distance

This factor isn’t thought of much. It’s linked to the well-being of the cyclist. People get tired. People get bored or distracted. Biking is the same way. Take race across America (RAAM), for example. This is one of the world’s toughest tests of endurance. It’s a 3,000 mile (4828 km) that can take up to a week to complete. Currently, Seana Hogan Trusted Source Seana Hogan Cycling Legend The Race Across America (RAAM) is a nonstop bicycle race beginning in Oceanside, CA and ending in Annapolis, MD. Racers traverse nearly 3100 miles across the United States, enduring desert heat, mountainous altitude and mid-western humidity. Simply finishing this race marks a major accomplishment. Currently the overall women’s Transcontinental Record holder (set in 1995: 9 Days, 4 hours and 2 minutes). seanahogan.com holds the women’s record, with an average speed of 13.23 mph (21.29 km/h) in 1995.

The more distance that’s covered, the slower a biker tends to ride. There’s a difference between your speed at the start of a 10 km bike ride and at the end of a 50 km bike ride uphill.

Cyclist Age and Health

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

While your health affects your cycling, cycling impacts your health in an effective way!

Bicycles and cycling are a wonderful way to connect not only to your mind and body but to the world around you. A cyclist’s age also impacts them, with their functional threshold power decreasing as they age.

Teamwork

Cycling teamwork is an amazing feat of collaboration. Using a strategy, the cycling team’s leader takes the lead to take the brunt of the wind resistance. This way, the cyclists following behind don’t have that added lag and drag against them. Without the added resistance, there’s less energy needed and can be used for a faster and longer trip.

Whether you’re traveling along the 34-mile (55 km) lighthouse road in La Farola, Cuba, or exploring the 124 miles (200 km) of biking trails surrounding Lake Geneva, In Switzerland, it’s a breathtaking adventure. Traveling with a cycling team is an amazing experience.

Route Chosen

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

Two people may have a speed of 20 km per hour or even more. But there’s a difference if one was riding uphill in the Rocky Mountains of Banff, Alberta, and the other was riding downhill in downtown Seattle, Washington. There’s a bit of a difference in the context, then. With that in mind, take average speed for cyclists with a grain of salt.

For those that are just starting out, make sure you have the right bike for the right route. Not that every cyclist requires a collection of every single type of bike currently on the market. But if you’ll be on rough terrains, pick a bike that can withstand the roughness. Road bikes, on the other hand, are a lot better than those that will stay within the urban limits for the most part.

What Is the Distance Beginners Can Go?

Distance covered can and does affect a rider’s speed because of fatigue. Other impacts of a prolonged distance can include fatigue, soreness, exhaustion, among others. Cyclists can cover quite a bit of distance on their bikes up to two miles in one go during the first week. That may not seem like a lot, but that’s a lot when you’ve only been biking for less than a week.

What Can Influence Cycling Distance?

Much like cycling speed, there are many different examples of contextual impacts. Cycling distance is affected by the terrain type, weather conditions, bike and equipment type, overall health, and well-being of the rider. There are a lot of factors to consider.

Terrain Type

Terrain conditions can limit the rideability of the path as well as the rider’s safety. For example, a muddy or slick path can result in a crash or skidding off the trail.

Weather Conditions

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

Weather conditions can severely impact the viability of a bicycle trip.

Fog, cloudy or smokey weather can lead to limited visibility and low air quality. Both limit the speeds and success of a bike trip. Rain, sleet, and snow don’t only affect the ability of the rider. It also affects the road itself by making it slick, sticky, and not safe to ride on.

Bike Type

Finding the right bicycle is difficult. Bike types are varied and vast in style and types. With so many different options, it can be overwhelming to find the right bike. Make sure you know your bike route to find the best bike for you.

Bicycles that are designed for rough terrains are designed to travel long distances without worry. Having a bike designed for off-roading, such as gravel bikes, means that it’s going to be more durable for longer and rougher terrains, but commuter bikes are typically better for longer distances on more stable terrain.

The aluminum mountain bike from Hiland is one example of a bike that’s made for rough terrain. This bike provides front suspension in a mountain bike and is all made of high-quality materials. Plus, it’s not too hard on the eyes.

Bikes with multiple speed controls provide increased user control for those that want increased control over their ride. This way, they can adjust at the moment depending on the terrain.

Overall Health

This is another important aspect of cycling distance. One’s health can directly change their stamina. As cyclists’ stamina, muscle tone, and core strength increase, they will be able to handle higher speeds and harsher terrains with ease.

Emotional And Mental Well-being

One’s emotional and mental well-being has an incredible impact on their physical health and abilities. Fatigue is just one example that can have the same impact as alcohol intoxication. That will certainly make cycling a long distance much harder. Emotional burnout is another example. Much like fatigue, it’s caused by not providing your mind with enough emotional and sensory rest.

How to Increase Your Riding Distance?

Plan Your Trip

This may seem a little simple. A plan allows for you to plan rest stops, snack stops, hydration stations. Knowing the terrain, obstacles, and potential roadblocks mean that you can cover more distance more efficiently. Take the terrain of the Doi Suthep, Thailand, for example. With its 1600 m high mountain, it comes with steep and rough terrain. The route itself switches between steep switchbacks and sweeping bends. That’s a much harder trip than a casual day trip to downtown Banff, Alberta.

Both locations give breathtaking views of the mountains and are highly recommended, but one is a bit easier to ride.

Utilize High-Quality Equipment

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

Using a bicycle built for going long distances is one of the largest factors.

High-quality bicycles are more durable and less likely to break down while on a ride. If you’re planning to go on a bike trip throughout the mountains, make sure you get the right equipment. Mountain bikes are designed to withstand the rough terrain, inclines, and declines, as well as the harsh environmental impacts. With technological advancements, bikes and especially mountain bikes, have features and dimensions better suited for maximum effort on difficult terrain.

Take Breaks When They’re Needed

Having water breaks, bathroom breaks, and snack breaks will assist overall. Although it can make the trip seem longer by mere time, the increased energy will help increase your speed, offsetting the time cost.

Improve Your Physical Stamina

Working on your physic in other ways outside cycling has an indirect benefit. With added and other physical activity, you’ll work other parts of your body and increase your overall stamina. This means more stamina for longer and farther biking trips. Trusted Source Cycling in Canada Cycling is also good for the environment―commuting by bicycle helps to alleviate road congestion and noise pollution and reduces emissions. www150.statcan.gc.ca

Listening to Music

Average Bike Speed and Distance for Beginners: Comprehensive Guide

The music and tunes are fantastic. Songs help keep the human mind off the physical side of things. With all kinds of physical exertion, it can be distracting. Music has been proven to help focus people on the task at hand.

Listening to music while biking isn’t always the safest possibility. While listening to music through headphones, Bluetooth, a bike speaker, or a boom box duct-taped to the front basket, there’s a risk of not hearing potential concerns. Make sure that you keep safe while cycling. Regardless of whether it’s a casual ride back home from the store or a quiet trip down backcountry roads. Better to be safe than to be sorry.

Biking with Friends

As much as a group of bicyclists can increase everyone’s overall speed, it can also improve the distance. Limiting drag is just one benefit to team cycling. Even just getting a group of friends can help encourage and inspire you to keep going. This serves as a great distraction for physical exertion, including a pumping heartbeat, a buildup of lactic acid, foot cramps, to name a few.

Whether you’re traveling along the great ocean road in Australia or the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada, or even the North Sea Cycle Route Across Europe, it’s always better to share that experience. Bring your loved ones or your liked ones. Take the kids or the grandkids out and about for a bike ride. Invite your cousins for an afternoon biking hike. The conversations make the trip, and the breaks go faster.

Final Thoughts

The feeling of the breeze in your hair. The deafening roar of the wind in our ears. The rush of adrenaline that comes with speed. The pumping of your heart rate as you go faster and faster. That’s what draws people into biking regularly. There’s such a freedom to descending a simplistic sense of liberation. Sometimes there’s a need for speed, and sometimes that speed is relative. What that means is every bicyclist is different. Every bike route is different.

Overall, the speed and distance of a cyclist are dependent on a lot of different variables. Learning the average bike speed and distance for beginners is a valuable bit of information for planning trips and knowing how far you’ve come as a cyclist. Riding a bike is often seen as a rite of passage regardless of the example one learns or of the amount one rides. As a beginner at anything, it can be hard to know what to expect.

References

1.
Victor Campenaerts sets new one-hour record to surpass Sir Bradley Wiggins | Cycling | The Guardian
Sir Bradley Wiggins’ one-hour UCI world record has been broken by the Belgian Victor Campenaerts. The 27-year-old Lotto Soudal rider covered 55.089 kilometres (34.231 miles) in his record attempt at the Aguascalientes indoor velodrome in Mexico.
2.
Critical review of cyclist speed measuring techniques - ScienceDirect
The accuracy of cyclist position is an important parameter for the calculation of cyclist speed.
3.
Critical review of cyclist speed measuring techniques - ScienceDirect
There is a growing global interest in developing and accommodating sustainable modes of travel. Cycling is an important mode of travel which offers powerful solutions to chronic traffic problems of congestion and emissions. The accuracy of cyclist position is considered as an important parameter for the calculation of cyclist speed. Cyclist speed data is required for precise design of traffic control measures, for safety studies, and for sight distance analysis. 
4.
Seana Hogan Cycling Legend
The Race Across America (RAAM) is a nonstop bicycle race beginning in Oceanside, CA and ending in Annapolis, MD. Racers traverse nearly 3100 miles across the United States, enduring desert heat, mountainous altitude and mid-western humidity. Simply finishing this race marks a major accomplishment. 
5.
Cycling in Canada
Cycling is also good for the environment―commuting by bicycle helps to alleviate road congestion and noise pollution and reduces emissions.
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