Excellent and safe speed is of the essence for beginner cyclists. But what is the average speed of a beginner cyclist? That’s the concern for most novice riders.
While most commuters and casual riders average 15mph, the average speed for beginner cyclists is 10mph. However, once you are comfortable riding at 10mph, it should be easy to get to 15mph.
While that may not be as impressive as reaching pro rider’s 25mph, it’s not bad.
However, you should note that there are so many aspects that dictate the average speed for beginners. Among them are the riding route, bike type, rider’s age, weather condition, rider’s fitness, to name a few.
For example, you should expect a beginner road cyclist to go faster than a beginner mountain biker. Likewise, a beginner adult cyclist should go more quickly than a beginner kid cyclist.
So that you can understand what I’m driving at, let me break it down for you.
What Is The Average Speed Of A Beginner Cyclist Vs Non-Beginner?
The experience level is vital when it comes to riding a bicycle.
Guys who ride regularly either for fun or commuting don’t have a problem riding at 15mph. On the other hand, those who ride regularly for workouts can ride as fast as 20mph. As for pro riders, like those who compete in tour races, they can ride at an average speed of 25mph.
So, there is a clear difference between the three groups and beginner cyclists who average 10mph.
Below is a table that compares the riders depending on their experience level.
|Rider’s Experience Level||Average Cycling Speed ( in MPH)|
What Is The Average Speed Of A Beginner Cyclist? The Key Determiners
The cycling speed for beginners may vary from one cyclist to another, depending on the following factors:
1. Riding Route
Your route highly dictates how fast you can ride as a beginner. Here are things to know about the whole thing:
- Stop road signs are likely to slow you down
- You ride faster on plains than on hilly terrains
- Because of high traffic, urban riding is much slower than riding in the countryside
- The more turns you find on the road, the slower you are likely to go
Since urban roads have the most traffic and road signs, it’s often hard to go past 10mph even if you want to.
In contrast, since the countryside has low traffic and road signs, you have more freedom to step up your speed beyond 10mph.
2. Bike Type
Generally, road bicycles are faster than mountain bikes. While the average mountain bike speed is 8-12 mph depending on experience level and gear level, a road bike’s is 10-15mph.
Consequently, a beginner road cyclist is likely to ride at a speed of 10mph, while a beginner mountain biker is expected to average 8mph.
Here’s a table that clearly shows the average speed for beginner cyclists riding different bike types.
|Bike Type||Average Speed (in mph)|
Here are the other things worth noting about bikes and cycling average speed for your age:
- Gearing – Multi-speed bikes move much faster than single-speed bikes.
- Bike aero design – Bikes with a drop handlebar and thinner tires are more aerodynamic and so they are faster than those with flat bars and thick tires.
- Bike weight – It’s generally easy to ride a bike with a light frame than a heavy-duty option. That’s because you require more energy to pedal a heavy bike, which often means sacrificing speed.
3. Rider’s Age
The rider’s age can also dictate the average cycling speed for beginners. For example, we don’t expect kids to ride faster than adults, except for the elderly.
But still, if we have to factor in the experience level, an experienced kid cyclist is likely to ride faster than a beginner adult.
But as for older adults, their muscles are not as strong as young adults or teenagers. So, they ride slower.
4. Rider’s Fitness
It’s a no-brainer that being fitter makes you stronger and faster when cycling. Just like sprinting, you need all the energy you can harness to ride faster.
That means overweight guys cannot ride as fast as those with good body weight.
According to Strava’s research, male cyclists ride faster than female cyclists, though by a small margin.
The study shows that the average cycling speed for men in the U.S is 24.35Km/h while that for women is 20.51Km/h.
Well, that’s understandable, given that men have more muscle bulk. They have more muscles that improve their oxygen production and that eventually boost their cycling speed and endurance.
Here is a table that indicates the average biking speed for men and women in different countries.
|Country||Average Speed for Men||Average Speed for Women|
6. Weather Condition
You probably hate it when you have to ride against the strong wind. Well, that’s understandable, given that the headwind (wind blowing against you) is likely to drag you.
You should note, however, that tailwind (wind moving in your direction) pushes you forward. So, even though headwind slows you down, tailwind improves your average cycling speed.
The other thing to be wary of is temperature. Extremely hot or cold weather heavily hampers your cycling speed.
When it’s too hot, your body uses a lot of energy to cool itself. As a result, you are left with little energy to cycle, and that slows you down.
Likewise, your body uses a lot of energy to warm you when it’s too cold, sacrificing cycling strength and speed.
What’s more, rain, cloudy conditions, and dust can interfere with your road visibility, causing you to slow down.
How About Group Cycling? What Is The Average Speed Of A Beginner Cyclist?
Though most beginners like cycling solo, it doesn’t help much with speed. You can ride much faster when you are in a group. Besides, group cycling makes cycling less tiring.
Most group cyclists adopt the drafting technique, where they ride closely behind one another. As a result, they can surpass 10mph, with some beginners going for as much as 15mph.
The technique allows them to ride much faster without getting exhausted quickly.
Group cycling helps you motivate each other, and since no one wants to lag, you’ll all step up your speed.
How Can I Improve My Average Cycling Speed as a Beginner Cyclist?
Though the average bike speed for beginners is 10mph, you can go quicker in some situations with the following tips:
1. Become More Aerodynamic
Wind drag is one thing that tends to slow you down. Its antidote, however, is getting into an aerodynamic position.
You can do that by:
- Lowering the head and bending or tucking the elbows as you cycle
- Switching to a drop handlebar like this one by UPANBIKE (View on Amazon)
- Wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Buying aero tubes or aero-spoke rims
- Wearing an aerodynamic helmet like this one by Giro (View on Amazon)
2. Find a Buddy
As I mentioned, you are likelier to ride faster in a group than solo. So, if you can find a friend or two to ride with, that can improve your speed.
If possible, get someone experienced to lead the way and then try to match their average bicycle speed.
3. Shed Some Weight
It’s no secret; you are faster when lighter. Being overweight can hamper your cycling speed as you become tired quicker.
So, go slow on fatty meals and sugars to keep your body in check.
4. Build Muscles
It’s not just about shedding weight but also building some muscles if you want to cycle faster. Usually, muscles are your energy pack, and the stronger they are, the quicker you can ride.
So, don’t hesitate to hit the gym if you can.
5. Brake Less Often
The moment you hold the brake, you reduce your average speed. The more you do it, the lower your average bike speed.
Unless you have to stop, don’t do it if you want to get somewhere fast. That’s more important if it’s a short distance.
6. Ride in Intervals
Though I’ve said that you should stop less often, I don’t expect you to ride continuously without stopping. If you do, you’ll drain your energy cells, and you’ll only go slower as you go from mile to mile.
It would help if you revitalized, and that means riding in intervals.
7. Ride on Tailwind
Though the headwind is your enemy when it comes to riding quicker, the tailwind is your friend. While the headwind slows you down, the tailwind pushes you to cycle faster.
So, take advantage of the tailwind each time you want to ride faster.
Now you know the answer to – What is the average speed of a beginner cyclist? As seen, so many factors come into play, but you can always expect beginners to average 10mph.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the normal speed of a bicycle?
Typically, on roads with not much of a gradient, a road bicycle tends to average a speed of somewhere between 14 and 18 mph (23-29 km/h). This is influenced by a variety of factors such as weather, rider’s fitness level, and the quality of the bike among other things. I remember back in my early cycling days, hitting the 15 mph mark was a big achievement. Things changed somewhat when I took on hillier terrains, with the average speed dropping roughly between 8 to 12 mph (13-19 km/h) on a gradient of about 5%. It was a harder challenge but, like anything in life, it gets more manageable with practice. The bottom line is the average speed depends on the elevation of the road and individual fitness levels.
Is 15 mph fast on a bike?
The benchmark of 15 mph can mean different things to different cyclists. For beginners aiming to cycle short distances- let’s say 10-15 miles- attaining an average speed of 12 mph is usually seen as a commendable feat. I remember being a novice cyclist and hitting an average speed of 10-12 mph in a fairly quick time with limited training. But as I started covering more ground- approximately 20-30 miles- I was able to raise the bar to an average speed of around 15-16 mph. With more practice and medium distance cycling (around 40 miles), I comfortably cruised at an average speed of 16-19 mph. As such, the concept of ‘fast’ can largely depend on experience, distance covered, and individual ability.
Is 20 mph fast on a bike?
Definitely! Achieving 20 mph (or 32 km/h) on a flat road is a remarkable achievement and a cause for a pat on the back, especially in a one-hour ride. Even among experienced cyclers, this is deemed impressive. In fact, during most casual group rides that I have been a part of, our collective aim has usually been to reach a mean speed of 20 mph or lower on a flat road. This might sound surprising, but maintaining a 20 mph average speed requires a significant amount of energy and experience. So, if you can consistently hit 20 mph, you are doing exceptionally well. Remember, regular training, proper hydration, and a good bike can greatly improve your cycling speed over time.