Plan to get faster at biking

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I would like to get faster while biking so that I can join a local biking group who maintain a pace of at least 16 mph. Right now I bike 8 miles, twice a week, at a pace between 13-17 mph. (The other days I Nordic walk for 3 miles or row.) Any tips on how to get faster? Intervals, hills, longer rides, what would you do? Thanks!

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  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 25,275 Member
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    Any tips on how to get faster? Intervals, hills, longer rides, what would you do? Thanks!

    Yes. :)

    Mix it up.

    Go for a long ride(s) on the weekend.
    Do intervals once or twice a week.
    Do some hill repeats once or twice a week.

    So for example, you might gradually increase your weekend long ride from 8 miles, to 10 to 12 to 15 ... etc. The group rides are probably going to cover at least 25 miles, I would imagine.

    Then perhaps on a Tuesday, you might do intervals.

    Then maybe on a Thursday, you might do some hill repeats.

    And you could throw another ride in there somewhere at a medium distance and moderate pace.

  • patburke1958
    patburke1958 Posts: 24 Member
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    Some famous pro-biker mentioned that there are only 3 things you need to do.
    1. Ride your bike.
    2. Ride your bike.
    3. Ride your bike.

    As a not-so-famous biker, my tip is to ride into headwind for first half of your spin as a warmup, and later with the wind behind for the second part you could push a really hard effort for a few mins. Build up the hard part only by 10% per week. Take easy days to recover.
  • makkimakki2018
    makkimakki2018 Posts: 414 Member
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    I like to do intervals for about 30 miles up hills and on flats. Its all about how often and consistently you do this. When you get used to things maybe do 5 minute interval and 2 minutes rest. You will only get better the more you ride.
  • TrueGrit1906
    TrueGrit1906 Posts: 54 Member
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    Just keep riding. You're already doing it. Don't wait to join the group. Join it now. Riding with stronger and faster riders will only make you stronger and faster. Don't be afraid of getting dropped. Happens to the best of us. Just ride.
  • Steff46
    Steff46 Posts: 516 Member
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    Most biking groups have "groups" within their group. There is usually an A group (fastest), a B group (medium), and a C group (slowest/beginners). That helps individuals who want to ride super fast (Group A) and then fall back to the other groups to rest and/or socialize. See if they have any no drop rides.
    I always hear to ride faster you have to ride faster ;)
    Have fun!
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    edited August 2018
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    If you're riding at 17mph and they ride at 16+, then you're already there. Being a bit faster might give you a bit more leeway with them, but unless distance is also a concern, I'd say you're ready. Does the group have set routes? If so, just know the route before you go out, and if you can't keep up you can still ride the route on your own. Also, get there early and ask if there is going to be a slower/faster group, or a no-drop approach to the ride. Unless it's a racing club, you're probably fine.

    But to your question... riding more will definitely help. If you want something more specific/intentional that simply riding more, I'd suggest riding a harder gear than you normally would. Also, riding with a group can be hugely beneficial.
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
    edited August 2018
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    [quote="tbright1965;c-42429675"

    I found that in a local 34 mile race, my average speed was up over 3MPH after losing 40# compared to my time two years ago.
    [/quote]

    Unless you're riding hills weight doesn't make a huge difference for cycling, I'm going to attribute your improved speed etc more to being fitter than you were two years ago. ( Were you riding the same bike? Same wheels? Same tires? A lighter wheel and lower rolling resistance tire can make a significant difference)



  • JetJaguar
    JetJaguar Posts: 801 Member
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    Some famous pro-biker mentioned that there are only 3 things you need to do.
    1. Ride your bike.
    2. Ride your bike.
    3. Ride your bike.

    You might be thinking of Eddy Merckx, who said "Ride lots" in reply to a reporter asking how to become a better cyclist.

    I agree with the others that have said your volume is fairly low at the moment. I'd say just focus on building up your weekly mileage for now and you'll probably find that your speed will naturally improve as a side effect.
  • tbright1965
    tbright1965 Posts: 852 Member
    edited August 2018
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    I found that in a local 34 mile race, my average speed was up over 3MPH after losing 40# compared to my time two years ago.

    Unless you're riding hills weight doesn't make a huge difference for cycling, I'm going to attribute your improved speed etc more to being fitter than you were two years ago. ( Were you riding the same bike? Same wheels? Same tires? A lighter wheel and lower rolling resistance tire can make a significant difference)



    Same bike, same distances in training rides before. Heavier wheels as I replaced the wheels with those rated to hold a 300# rider in 2017. (Note to self, I may be able to go back to lighter wheels...)

    Maybe lower rolling resistance, but who knows. I was running 700c23 on both front and back in 2016 and had a 700c25 on the front and a 700c28 on the back when I installed the HD wheels in 2017. Same tires, Gatorskins in both cases. Same pressures too. But the wider tires at the same pressures, 110psi may have lower RR as they are better able to carry the mass relative to 23mm tires @ 110 psi.

    While not scientific, for sure, I'd say the biggest factor was losing 40 pounds. The other variables re 2016 v 2018 are the same or worse for 2018 compared to 2016

    It never hurts to lose unneeded weight, so I stand by my assertion that losing weight, if needed can help.

    After all, I've been telling myself my $1100 aluminum bike with a Tiagra groupset is good enough when the rider could stand to lose 65# All the weight weenies looking to shave grams off their bikes have nothing on my losing 40+ pounds.

    Maybe when I get below 200# I'll look for a carbon fiber, Ultegra groupset bike.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,968 Member
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    Seconds-Gainded-1.jpg
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    edited August 2018
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    never mind. I can't take another MFP pissing war.
  • tbright1965
    tbright1965 Posts: 852 Member
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    I found that in a local 34 mile race, my average speed was up over 3MPH after losing 40# compared to my time two years ago.

    Unless you're riding hills weight doesn't make a huge difference for cycling, I'm going to attribute your improved speed etc more to being fitter than you were two years ago. ( Were you riding the same bike? Same wheels? Same tires? A lighter wheel and lower rolling resistance tire can make a significant difference)



    Just for giggles, I plugged in my values here: d1g2slqqyh0c.png

    It comes up with being 17.6 minutes faster on 34 mile/54.4km ride. Not far off of what I experienced.

    The only values I played with were weight, starting with 125kg rider and bike before and an 18kg weight loss, and the 54.4km distance. I left all other values the same as the defaults.

    So while I agree that losing weight will matter the most on hills, I don't believe that is the only scenario where it matters. A lighter rider is a thinner rider, punching a smaller hole in the wind.

    FWIW
  • giantrobot_powerlifting
    giantrobot_powerlifting Posts: 2,598 Member
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    Q: What I do to get faster?
    A: Ride down hill.
  • Motorsheen
    Motorsheen Posts: 20,508 Member
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    Q: What I do to get faster?
    A: Ride down hill.

    I once hit 62 mph on a decent.

    and yes, I was afraid...... very very afraid.
  • giantrobot_powerlifting
    giantrobot_powerlifting Posts: 2,598 Member
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    Motorsheen wrote: »
    Q: What I do to get faster?
    A: Ride down hill.

    I once hit 62 mph on a decent.

    and yes, I was afraid...... very very afraid.

    I loved snowboarding, but when it got too fast I hated it. Explains why I sucked at it.
  • mjbnj0001
    mjbnj0001 Posts: 1,135 Member
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    I found that in a local 34 mile race, my average speed was up over 3MPH after losing 40# compared to my time two years ago.

    Unless you're riding hills weight doesn't make a huge difference for cycling, I'm going to attribute your improved speed etc more to being fitter than you were two years ago. ( Were you riding the same bike? Same wheels? Same tires? A lighter wheel and lower rolling resistance tire can make a significant difference)



    Just for giggles, I plugged in my values here: d1g2slqqyh0c.png

    It comes up with being 17.6 minutes faster on 34 mile/54.4km ride. Not far off of what I experienced.

    The only values I played with were weight, starting with 125kg rider and bike before and an 18kg weight loss, and the 54.4km distance. I left all other values the same as the defaults.

    So while I agree that losing weight will matter the most on hills, I don't believe that is the only scenario where it matters. A lighter rider is a thinner rider, punching a smaller hole in the wind.

    FWIW

    Great link. I just looked at this site. Thanks.

    FWIW in my own case (over 60, way overweight, a bunch of age-and-weight-related issues), losing weight helps. I'm down net 32lbs since Jan 1st as of this morning (some fat mass has been displaced by new muscle mass). Sure, I'm progressively getting fitter for and by cycling, faster, more endurance, etc. But still, I more dramatically feel any minor landscape undulations than anyone I might be riding with or near and being heavy, that's a simple power-weight ratio thing. It's not much compared to lots of folks here, but I will cross the 500 mile mark this week for the year after 30+ years off of bikes. I'm pretty happy with that and am on track to make my New Year's resolution of 750+. I'm riding a Trek X-Caliber with 29x2.35 "most-surfaces" Schwalbe Big Apple tires on roads and trails (paved, crushed stone and gravel).