Improve Your Average Speed On A Road Bike

(upbeat funk music)

– Average speed can be really
important to a cyclist.

It’s quite a good measure of our ability,

and because of that, it’s also
therefore a really good way

of measuring your improvement
as you get fitter,

and therefore you get faster.

– There are also plenty of benefits

to improve in your
average speed, not least,

that you can become a bit more adventurous

’cause you can travel further
in the same amount of time.

So if you have reached a bit of a plateau

in terms of the speed
that you can average,

we’ve got some tips coming up for you now.

– Yup, some of which focus

on improving your ability on the bike,

and therefore how you get faster.

And then some of them, well,

they might also be called cheats

because you don’t have to get any fitter,

but you will still go faster.

– Happy days.

(upbeat funk music)

First up, we have body position.

Now if you want to
improve your aerodynamics,

you could buy a swanky new frameset

or some deep dish wheels,

but by far the biggest difference

is your position on the bike.

So the difference between being

upright on the tops, like this,

and down on the drops,
elbows bent, quite flat back,

is absolutely huge.

And actually, as well,
the faster you are going,

the more important it is to be aero

and the more benefit you’ll get.

(upbeat funk music)

– Next up we have another
one that doesn’t necessarily

require you to be any fitter, your pacing.

If we imagine our theoretical
ride is an hour long,

we have a finite ability over that hour,

but how we actually distribute our effort

can have a huge bearing on
our ultimate average speed.

So if you set off too fast,

you will inevitably be
going slower by the end.

And that kind of pacing
strategy will be slower

then if you measure an even
tempo for the whole ride.

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But it’s particularly important
when you’re doing things

like climbs, and actually, one
of the most striking things

that I noticed when I did
my first ever pro road race

was comparatively how slowly
the Peloton rode up the climbs

but how quickly we rode on
the flats and the descents.

And you can take that strategy
for your own rides as well.

So actually think about
actively backing off

when you’re going up hills, and instead,

putting the effort in
when you’re on the flat

and maybe even, when it’s safe to do so,

on descents as well.

(upbeat funk music)

– This next one will, I’m afraid,

require a little bit
of effort on your part.

If you get fitter and more powerful,

you’ll go faster on your
bicycle, that is a fact.

However, to get fitter, you
will have to go training.

However, we will recommend to you

that you do quite a lot
of training at sweet spot.

That’s at 90% of your
functional threshold power,

or a little bit under the maximum power

you would put out for an hour.

Now the reason this is so effective

and we say is the best bang for your buck

is because while this is very potent,

it’s not so intense that you can’t do

back to back days training at sweet spots.

So you can get a large volume of it

done each and every week.

If you do that, you should see

some very positive training adaptations.

You have more power, and
therefore, more speed.

(mellow jazz music)

– Eating whilst riding
is a paramount importance

when you’re on your bike
for more than 90 minutes.

And yet, despite that,
experienced riders and beginners

forget about this for quite consistently.

You see, when you’re riding,
you’re obviously using fuel

and the harder you ride,
the more fuel you will burn.

And so, if you’re really serious

about improving your average speed,

you need to make sure that your muscles

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have enough energy to actually keep going.

And so at the simplest, that would be

taking an energy drink
with you to give you

about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour,

or an energy gel as well.

It really, really can make
quite a sizable difference,

particularly about maintaining your speed

as you get into the closing
dying minutes of your ride.

(mellow jazz music)

– The less weight you are
carrying around with you,

the faster you will go on any ride

that involves some uphill gradient.

Just a few kilograms can
make an enormous difference,

as Matt and I found out
on the experiment we did

in Andorra a couple of years ago.

Or willing to that, at
the end of this video.

Most people have got some
weight that they can lose,

so you can over-exercise a bit more

or cut down your calories slightly,

or do a mix of the two.

The other option is to lose
some weight from your bike.

But that as you know,

(musical notes descending)

is darned expensive.

(mellow funk music)

– Yes weight is important but
as Dan’s already touched on,

so too is aerodynamics.

And actually on rides where
there’s less elevation change,

aerodynamics is even more
important than weight.

Now once you’ve got your
body position sorted,

and let’s face it, that is quite quick,

easy, and certainly cheap to do,

there are other avenues you can go down

even though it will require
a little bit more investment.

So your clothing, for a start.

Make sure you have really
tight fitting cycling kit.

Then, of course, there’s your helmet.

You can invest in aerodynamic helmet.

And then when it comes to your bike,

there’s almost no limit.

So aerodynamic wheels, for a start,

aerodynamic frames, certainly,

and then of course is the addition

of aerodynamic time trial bars as well.

That, of course, helps with
your body position too.

(mellow funk music)

– I don’t think so that it’s
escaped our viewer’s attention

that we start this video by the sea,

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and therefore at sea level, and we’re now,

well, we’re quite high up, aren’t we?

Probably 800 meters here.

– Yeah, it’s quite a long
climb, this, isn’t it?

And so this ride is definitely

not conducive to a high average speed.

But therein lies a little bit of a lesson

because if you are really, really keen

on setting record average speeds,

then you need to pay careful attention

to the route that you do choose.

– Yeah, not just the terrain

but also the weather conditions.

So if it’s particularly windy out,

you might want to choose to go out

into the headwind or more sheltered road

and then use the nice
luxury of big open roads

where the wind is right behind you.

– Yeah, and one last little cheat,

which actually I use regularly,

is that my average speeds now

are pretty much the same
as when I was training

when I was a full-time bike rider.

But the secret is that my
rides are probably a quarter,

or maybe even half, as
long as they used to be.

But shorter rides, it’s
definitely easier to go faster.

– Yeah, so less climbing, shorter rides.

That’s what I call a
cheats there, isn’t there.

I could probably do quite
a good average speed,

one kilometer.
– Yeah, but therein lies

also another lesson and that’s

that average speeds are not necessarily

the be all and end all to fun bike rides.

Just something to bear in mind.

– In all seriousness,
we hope that these tips

have helped you improve, or at least,

will do if you implement them.

If you enjoyed this video,
give us a thumbs up down below.

And as I mentioned previously,

just down here is the video

that Matt and I did in Andorra

to see how much difference
weight makes up climbs.


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