Age is one of many factors that play into determining your cycling speed.
This post will show you the average cycling speed by age across 10 different age groups.
You’ll also learn about other relevant factors that directly affect your average cycling speed.
Average Cycling Speed by Age Chart
Many cycling apps, such as Strava, allow users to record their rides and have collected enough data from thousands of users so that we now have reliable estimates for speed and functional threshold power (FTP) across many age groups.
The average cycling speed by age is outlined in the chart below:
|Age range||Average speed – mph||Average speed – kph|
Which Age Group Has the Fastest Cyclists?
The available data indicates that people aged 25-30 are the fastest cyclists on average. This is unsurprising, since 25-30 is when most people reach their physical peak. The average speed for cyclists aged 25-30 is 21.7 mph (34.9 kph), while their functional threshold power is 180w.
Functional Threshold Power
FTP is a measurement of the average power a cyclist can sustain biking nonstop for an hour. The most effective tool for measuring your FTP is with a power meter, but mobile apps also work.
To calculate your FTP, take your average wattage during a 20-minute bike ride and multiply it by 95%.
FTP is better for interpreting your fitness level than speed because FTP correlates well with output, whereas speed is highly influenced by terrain.
The following chart shows you the approximate functional threshold power by age:
|Age range||Functional Threshold Power|
You can get a far more accurate estimate of average cycling speed by analyzing experience and fitness level.
In general, beginner riders with minimal training can be expected to sustain speeds of 10-14 mph (16-22.5 kph).
In just six months of riding, you could see that speed increase to 15-16 mph (24.1-25.7 kph).
Through a year of consistent training, experienced riders could reach speeds of 16-19 mph (25.7-30.5 kph) across cycling distances of 40 miles (64.3 km).
What about professional cyclists? The pros can sustain speeds of 20-24 mph (32.1-38.6 kph) over a 50-mile ride (80.4 km).
Athletes who switch to cycling from running or swimming already have their cardiovascular endurance built up and will generally perform better than people who have limited training or who are just getting into an active lifestyle. Established athletes can typically maintain cycling speeds of 15-18 mph (24.1-28.9 kph) when they start biking.
Other Factors That Affect Cycling Speed
As previously mentioned, many factors aside from age can affect your average speed of cycling. Here are a few:
A detailed analysis of bike trips taken in New York City suggests that trips involving longer distances tend to have higher average speeds than trips involving shorter distances. It’s not fully understood why this is the case, but it might be because riders have less patience—or they’re more focused on their time—when covering longer distances.
The same study linked above indicates that men usually ride faster than women, regardless of trip distance.
The kind of bike you ride has a big impact on how fast you can go:
- Mountain bikes are big, bulky and not built for speed, so on average you’re looking at 10-15 mph (16-24.1 kph).
- Hybrid bikes, like the name suggests, are middle-of-the-road options. Here, you’re looking at 11-17 mph (17.7-27.3 kph).
- A road bike is designed to be lightweight and set up for the rider to be in an aerodynamic position that reduces wind resistance. On a road bike, the average cyclist commonly reaches speeds of 12-18 mph (19.3-28.9 kph).
Similar to bike type, your tires directly impact the type of riding you can do and affect your speed and rolling resistance.
- Mountain bike tires are larger, with lugs and non-continuous centerlines that help keep your grip in muddy conditions but slow you down on flat terrain.
- Hybrid wheels are meant to help you maintain speed and grip on a number of surfaces.
- If speed is what you’re after, then thin, light road tires with continuous centerlines and minimal rolling resistance are your best bet.
Where are you riding? Do you live somewhere relatively flat, or do you traverse hilly terrains?
It’s a lot easier to increase your average speed if most of your ride involves coasting.
Surface also affects your rolling resistance. On a wooden track, the coefficient of rolling resistance is just 0.001. On a paved road, the coefficient climbs to 0.008. This might not seem like a big difference, but after hours or days into a ride, you’ll notice the effort required to sustain your speed.
Wind and Weather
If you’ve ever tried riding into the wind, you know the impact weather can have on your speed. A strong headwind speed can slow you down by 5%-10%, but a good tailwind can boost your riding speed by the same amount.
Wet weather can pose safety risks, causing you to slow down when navigating slick roads and other dangerous riding conditions.
Your age and current fitness levels play a major role in determining your average speed for cycling, but there are many other important factors that impact how fast you can ride.
Challenge yourself to obtain a faster cycling speed, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride!