Have you ever asked yourself how fast you ride your bike? Well, the urge to pedal faster quickly kicks in when you find yourself riding your bike frequently, so it’s only natural for you to wonder about this.
There are different ways to find out. For example, you can buy yourself a bike computer that will give you all the information regarding your speed as it stands presently, your average cycling speed, and the maximum you can get.
If you’re one of those people who are competitive by nature, you’ll be eager to find out just how fast you can go but increasing your average cycling speed isn’t easy. However, with a few tips here and there, you can achieve this.
Here are some tips to bike fast and boost your average speed over time whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist.
7 Tips to Bike Faster and Increase Your Speed
1. Keep your elbows tucked in
The biggest factor that affects how fast you can go is wind resistance. When cycling, most people will sit up on their saddle and pedal, which is alright if you’re just casually riding.
However, if what you want is to go fast, this position will not help much.
Instead, lower your body to the bars then tuck your elbows in. This position reduces the amount of wind you have to cut through and you will notice your average speed increasing.
2. Ride with training partners
Scientifically, the less exposure you have to the wind, the quicker you are. So when you ride behind another cyclist, for example, you’re able to save about 40% of energy compared to riding alone while exposed to the wind.
While this is in itself enough to help you improve your average speed significantly, it also helps a lot to ride with a training partner who bikes quicker than you a few days a week. They’ll push you to go faster than you usually would if you were riding alone.
Remember, just like any other sport, the more you step out of your comfort zone, the better you become at it.
3. Use the wind direction
A lot of people fail to pay attention to the direction of the wind when cycling, which is something that could easily work against you. Headwinds will give you a hard time as you ride while tailwinds will significantly increase your speed.
So, when planning your route, use the direction of the wind. When you’re first stepping out, you should be ready and fresh enough to handle the headwind.
When you’re all tired and on your way home, the tailwind will give you a boost and help you ride fast.
4. Pump your tires up
When your tires are correctly filled, they will roll faster so before you go out to cycle, check both tires. Remember, any changes in temperature and air steeping could make them go soft without necessarily getting punctured.
Your tire’s recommended pressure can be found on the sidewall of your tire, so use it as a guide. It’s worth investing in a track pump as it helps you get the right amount of pressure easily.
A mini-pump or tire inflator works best when you face an emergency out on the road.
5. Increase your lactate threshold
If you’re wondering what your lactate threshold is, it simply refers to the highest speed or wattage you can maintain on average for up to 60 minutes.
When you improve your lactate threshold, you’ll be better placed to give a higher power output even at the same heart rate. This means you’ll be able to go faster for a longer period and your average riding speed will also improve.
You need to find out your lactate threshold first before you focus on particular intervals.
You can do this by taking the maximum power you can keep up for 20 minutes then multiply this average power by 0.95. When you correctly do your intervals, you’ll align your efforts to match the number you get.
You can start with a lactate threshold interval of 2×20 minutes with a 5-minute recovery in between your efforts, then as things get easier, you can go ahead and try a 3×15 minutes lactate threshold also with a five-minute recovery.
After trying this, you can eventually work your way up.
6. Brake a bit less
Every time you brake, you slow down and will therefore need to pedal harder to accelerate back to your desired speed. When you brake unnecessarily, you end up wasting energy and losing momentum.
To improve on this, avoid comfort braking which normally happens when you find yourself cycling on a fast road or down a hill and you realize that you’re going faster than you would want. It’s alright to hit your brakes to get down to a speed you’re comfortable with but before you go ahead and do that, look around you first.
If you’re riding on a good road with a smooth surface and there are no obstructions ahead, then there’s really no need to slow down. Just keep riding and enjoy the free speed as this will also raise your confidence.
Braking much later helps you hold your speed for longer but remember when braking, you need to make sure you do so in a straight line so that you remain at a comfortable speed before you start turning.
7. Listen to your favorite music
According to research, listening to fast, upbeat music helps in reducing fatigue symptoms, such as burning lungs, a faster heartbeat, and muscle aches that slow you down. Music can reduce how much effort you put into riding by up to 10%.
A lot of times, people won’t even realize just how hard they’re pedaling if they’re listening to their favorite songs that match the cycling rhythm. This also helps increase their average speed.
The only disadvantage of listening to music while you ride is that it becomes harder to hear traffic especially if you’re wearing headphones that cancel noise.
As you can see, factors such as aerodynamic drag, your body position, interval training, and braking go a long way in helping one increase their average speed whether they’ve been riding for 30 minutes or even longer. So, best keep all these factors in mind.
The best part is they’re very easy to keep track of, so it only takes a bit of focus to ensure you’re on the right track in as far as cycling fast is concerned. Follow these tips—your efforts will not be in vain.