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Thread: What we talk about when we talk about speed

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    Default What we talk about when we talk about speed

    In a discussion of pedal options, the thread starter says he rides at 11MPH. Judd says that when threadstarter gets to 14MPH, he will be in good company. Also note, most group rides are charecterized by an expected speed.

    But. This morning, per strava, on a short flat segment, in ideal conditions (perfect temp, no wind(?) sort of drafting Jeanne, and perhaps with momentum from before the segment, I did 21MPH (PR, yay! (and yeah, I know, GPS can be sketchy so that may not be real)) But in more usual circumstances, on longer almost flat segments, I ride more like 14MPH to maybe 16 or 17MPH. But on my entire commute to work (whether measured from home at Park Center, or from Shirlington) I have yet to break 13MPH. And more often than not, average (per strava) under 12.5. Some combination of modest hills, awkward turns and sidewalks, and stopping for red lights (strava only cuts off after 20 seconds stopped). But also, I will admit, because I get tired and slow down after a certain point (more of an issue on the way home, generally).

    So - I am sure I am NOT a 20MPH rider. But am I a 14MPH rider? Or a 12MPH rider? There are a lot group rides advertised at around 14MPH, and I am generally hesitant to sign up.
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 06-29-2017 at 08:30 AM.

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    I believe when folks talk speed, they are referring to the average speed rather than the fastest one can ride for any brief period.

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    Most bike computers provide average speed reading, and that is usually a better gauge of one's true pace.

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    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post
    Most bike computers provide average speed reading, and that is usually a better gauge of one's true pace.

    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
    So something like the Strava average, but with tighter cutoffs for stops? (and based on actual speed, not GPS estimate?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    So something like the Strava average, but with tighter cutoffs for stops? (and based on actual speed, not GPS estimate?)
    I would also say average speed while you're going. So something like Strava average, but a bit higher if you stop often, because not only do you need to take out the stopped time, but you need to ignore the time you spend stopping and starting as well.

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    I just started using Strava this winter, and I still have bike computers on all my bikes. Strava seems surprisingly good at getting the average speed right, compared to the bike computers. For instance, in the mornings, I have a combination of neighborhoods with few stops, the lightly traveled (6 a.m.) Custis, and about 4 miles downtown with some stops at lights. If my bike computer says I have a 15.5 average speed, when I'm saving the Strava ride it might say 13 mph at first, but when it finalizes, it will come up with something between 15.3 to 15.7--so pretty close. This is using an Android app, not a Garmin.

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    My computer automatically pauses when I stop, and starts again when I start moving, so I have descent confidence with the numbers. Strava added autopause feature not long ago, but if you stop somewhere and walks around with your phone, Strava can sometimes misinterprets that and skew the average.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I would also say average speed while you're going. So something like Strava average, but a bit higher if you stop often, because not only do you need to take out the stopped time, but you need to ignore the time you spend stopping and starting as well.
    The Strava phone app tends to show a lower average speed than the Garmin for me, since it takes a bit longer to autopause at stops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    In a discussion of pedal options, the thread starter says he rides at 11MPH. Judd says that when threadstarter gets to 14MPH, he will be in good company. Also note, most group rides are charecterized by an expected speed.

    ... There are a lot group rides advertised at around 14MPH, and I am generally hesitant to sign up.
    I should probably clarify that 14 mph average is while riding in places without a lot of stops and starts or where one has to negotiate traffic.

    You should sign up for 14 mph group rides. The best that will happen is that you'll be able to do it easily and have a great time. The worst that will happen is that you'll get dropped.

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