How to get a higher average speed on the road? (>30 km/h)

While the focus on a metric like average speed has it’s own debate, there’s been some good ideas thrown out here to help you find a way of bringing it up on rides where you’re not pushing it hard (i.e. zone 2).

Perhaps you’re looking at the marginal gains aspect of improving your average speed (the icing), when you likely need to simply keep focusing on improving your fitness (the cake). I had a look at your profile and I have to say that you are an excellent and dedicated cyclist. Serious kudos for your consistency and you’ve stuck to it.

You’ve also been been bumping your FTP manually for quite some time. When was the last time you did a ramp test or 8/20min test to assess your FTP?

Can you provide some details on your equipment set up? What power meter are you using indoors and outdoors? What trainer are you using indoors? I noticed you don’t record HR very often, and this can sometimes help a lot in understanding how hard you actually are working and is it aligned with your Zone 2 power.

I am however remarkably baffled by your average speed given your level of fitness. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m only trying to provide insights into helping you get faster, but your average speed on outdoor rides is astoundingly slow for someone with an FTP of 4.8 W/kg. You realize your FTP places you comfortably as the same level of fitness of a Cat 1 racer and close to domestic professional riders.

Thanks! I am using the garmin vector 3s powermeter. When caliberating, I always ensure that my torque on the pedal is 0.0. Even I am quite surprised that I am not able to have a high average speed but I have a data from a recent fondo/organized ride I can provide. It was a race pace for the second half and I was not doing any work on the front but was hanging on to professionals and cat 1 racers. The last time I have done any ftp test was a while ago(I think in January) and haven’t assessed my fitness ever since then.

Here is the data from that ride. Normalized power was 231 for the second half(race pace) and the average speed for that was 32.4kph.

I am also surprised that I am able to maintain my weight(65kgs) as I was 70kgs before. I checked with a different weighing machine this afternoon and it was 66kgs so not a big difference.

edit: my indoor setup is a tacx neo smart trainer but I usually ride with my garmin vector 3s powermeter.
edit2: while caliberating, is having 0.0 torque fine or should it be more or less?

edit3: If my powermeter were to be wrong, I am ready to accept that I am not that strong but would like to know how am I in the right zone and what should I be doing to match my indoor and outdoor efforts.

Will do that but first I would like to know if my powermeter settings are ok

Why is the speed so important for you.
Enjoy your new bike and go out and cycle.

because he wanna go FASSSSSST. I guess i understand him. Starting my commute last year all i wanted was to break the <1hr threshold. Now i’m doing it consistently and it’s a huge ego boost. And that’s on my heavier, thicker tire’d, commuter bike.

I’m a bit overweight. At about 2.3w/kg on my FTP and i definitely CANNOT avg those speeds the OP is talking about in z2.

But i’ve noticed that in my 2nd year, my avg speeds have gone up about 2km/h, sometimes more. And i’m less burnt out after those rides. So the gains come in different packages. Could be faster recovery. Could be better handling of headwinds. Etc etc. I’m guessing as your different aspects of fitness get stronger, your average speed will increase accordingly

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I mean… everyone focuses so much on increasing their FTP, but why? Isn’t the idea that if your FTP is higher then you can go faster?! So really everyone’s ultimate goal, who trains, is to have higher speeds! Sometimes, it’s good to step back and see what you can do to go faster without any additional FTP gains.


I put on my heart rate monitor for today’s ride and was able to average 30.1km/h over a 50km ride(elevation was more than 600m). This is a pretty hilly ride but I am not going to draw any conclusions from this. I will be riding a metric century tomorrow and regarding the position on my bike, I kept my hands on the drops.

HR is pretty high as I am young(18 y/o) and my max HR is somewhere around 210bpm

If at all possible, join a cycling club as soon as possible!

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already joined one this season. Thanks though!

The rides you posted only showed normalized power of under 220, speed seems reasonable for that output. If your ftp is 315, you should have no issue riding a few hours at 250+ and that will push your speed up a couple of mph. Also work on getting a good aero position, easy to gain speed there. It’s hard to average 20mph+ on a solo ride on open roads with hills and stop and go. It’s pretty easy in a group, but even that can be a challenge if you are constantly hitting lights or stops.

Had a windy start in today’s ride. This one seems reasonable but yes it was hilly. There are no pancake flat roads in my area. Normalized power for this one was 225 as I had to push pretty hard for the first 30km(18 miles) as it was hilly and windy to keep a speed greater than 25km(15 miles approx.) and my heartrate was mostly higher than 170.

Offtopic: a driver showed me the middle finger as he was impatient while I was on a climb(6 to 8%) and there were cars going on both sides so the traffic behind me couldn’t pass until the left lane was clear. I wish he would have hit the car in front of him while he did that to me lol.

Regarding aerodynamics, I was just bending my elbows.

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I agree with most of your post, there’s likely some hidden speed gains in there on backsides and at least for the most recent ride, there’s a lot of soft pedaling. I will just say though that learning how to slip through the air, and make the best possible use of your energy to move forward is a good skill to have.

Ok, so I did a group ride and the average speed was 33.6 km/h and the normalized power was 260w. It was a fast paced ride but it was hard to average more than 35 as the route was pretty hilly and there are so many 1 to 2 minute climbs of more than 5%.

What I found is that wearing a heart rate monitor and getting aero makes a difference but again, it is not easy on a zone 2 solo ride to get an average speed of more than 30 km/h on a hilly terrain.

Solo z2 ride. Had to push zone 3/4 on the way back due to headwind and was much slower on the hills.

Fast paced group ride

Have you got any hill climbs near you? The longer the better. Where your average speed will be less than 12-15mph. Should be on a day with minimal wind too.

Get your time/climb info from strava, average power and weight of bike/yourself with kit.
Place the data in there and post the results.

I want to try and take air resistance out of this equation and focus on watts. Post the two results in here.

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The tires are bontrager r1 and the wheels are bontrager tlr. I am using the garmin vector 3s powermeter always calibrated to 0.0 torque

Those are training wheels and tires, you’d get a reasonable speed boost from some nice race wheels and tires (you could also part with quite a bit of cash for the wheels!).

Re the power I more meant the power of the people you’re comparing yourself to. I tend not to worry too much about what power other people are putting out, since there can be quite big discrepancies between power meters (even if they are correctly zeroed), and if it’s Strava estimated power then it’s almost meaningless on a flat road.

I owned a giant propel advanced 0 2016(with di2) and it had the SLR Aero wheels. I didn’t notice any difference in aerodynamics with that and my trek emonda with the heart rate monitor. I sold it because it was not suitable to manage steep climbs(more than 7%) and I had to grind it out to get over them and I had to get a long cage derailleur if I wanted a 11-30 casette which would be expensive for an ultegra 6800 groupset. Secondly, it was very expensive to maintain as it is very rare to get dry weather over here so there is always washed up gravel on the road in summer and salt on the road in winter which just wreaks havoc on that expensive groupsetl. I am currently having the shimano 105 which has a fair pricepoint and a good bang for the buck(pretty much the same feeling lol).

Regarding the powermeter, I saw many of them being used on the group ride. I remember seeing the powertap pedals, stages crank based powermeter and something which you fit into the spider(not sure if it was pioneer). I got dropped on the way back as I slowed down on a hairpin corner as I was scared of the oncoming traffic while going at a pretty high speed. Someone from the bunch attacked and then I was with 4 riders till the finish. I checked the normalized power from one of them who was in the lead group who was using the powertap pedals and it was 268w. Whereas mine was 260w so it was not a big difference.

Hadn’t seen your power data when I posted. This seems really simple - riding in a group gives a huge speed/power advantage due to the drafting effect, up to 40% energy savings depending on the terrain, wind and group size.

That’s why you were faster on the group ride than you are solo, and why other riders are faster than you with fewer watts. The guy pushing 260W didn’t need to be stronger than you - he just needed to take that hairpin quicker to stay with the lead group, then hang on in the draft (while you were quite likely doing more work in the chasing pack with only 4 riders of which you were probably the strongest with your W/kg).

I do a fair bit of fast group riding and the power and speed equation simply doesn’t compare to my solo rides. And I’m a diesel engine who does a lot of work on the front in group rides so I’m working more than most - I’ve done fast flat road races where the average speed is ~43kph and there are guys sitting in the lead pack at <200W average. With your W/kg you’re also capable of hanging with pretty much any amateur group out there. Just need to practice your cornering and positioning - either take that hairpin quicker next time, or at least be aware that a break is likely to happen after it and do a short, sharp surge coming out of the bend to re-attach to the lead group before they get too far up the road.

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Ive done an hour at 42.6kph at 200w NP, sitting in a train pulling no turns. Ive also done 37kph avg with 300w NP on the same bit of road, just 2 of us pulling turns. Massive differences depending on the group, even just who is in front of you. Im one of the smaller guys in our group at <6ft and 70kg. I know i get a much better draft from the others than they are getting from me

I recently adjusted my position a little (more aero, higher more forward saddle position, bars slightly forward and lower), this has definitely netted me 1-2 kph better for similar power