Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Fast is Best?

Really, How fast do you really want to go? How slow do you need to go to see what you want to see?
I have always felt that the best cyclists can keep up with the fastest riders and stay with the slowest riders while still haveing a great time.
Most riders I know consider there average speed as being important. Average speed is something you can compare to others recumbent cyclists, use to plan ahead as a warning as to how fast the ride will be and use to improve your fitness.
Studies show that unless you go out and purposely damage muscle fiber and get the proper rest to repair it, you wont get any stronger or faster.
They have also found that athletes that follow this practice actually have stronger immune systems because the body can recognizes problems and with proper rest, repair anything that needs fixing. Its like having a repair crew living with you rather having to call and get one to come over.
Many a group ride have been ruined by the fast riders going off the front and leaving the slower riders behind. Riders that feel there fit and fast don't want to be told differently.
Have you ever ridden with a slow rider that keeps falling off the back, gone up the street and turned around and come back only to have to do it again? Its a good way to piss someone off.
How about waiting on the side of the road and when they arrive, start up again, when its they that needs the rest?

On the other hand, How about wanting to stop and not being able to bring the group to a halt. Missed opportunity's like Photos and found objects come to mind.
I have found that the groups average speed will actually increase by putting the slow riders in front. Stopping and having them wait for you, can sometimes make the ride faster on the long run.

For us as a group, Recumbent Bicycle Racing has not taken off here in New England. Recumbent Bicycle Design has not followed one style because there isn't one winning bike. If recumbent racing was to become popular, we would see a lot more of one style following the design of the winners. The slower bikes would be less favored for fast riding. Extras like accessories would be simply left at home.

Years ago I raced Bicycles. Road, Dirt, both BMX and Mountain Bike. I found that the best part of bicycle racing for me was to just go as fast as you can without thinking about dropping the riders in back of you, Actually, that's the plan.
At the end of the ride, everybody is still friends.

Things are different in France.The Sunday morning group downtown starts out as one. Fast riders go off the front, Medium paced riders in the middle and slow riders drop off the back. The group forms 3 groups and do 3 different distances. Everyone arrives back at the finish at the same time for a Beer or something stronger.

Maybe someday we can follow a similar plan but for now lets just ride.


  1. Scott, I am really enjoying this new blog of yours, and this article is a gem. Thanks so much for being a champion of recumbents and of the civilised art of cycling!

  2. I tried riding with a few bike groups when I first got started on my recumbent. I gotta say, I much prefer riding by myself than riding with a 'bike club'. There always seemed to be this competitive, macho thing going on and it left me cold. When I'm out on a solo ride around New England, I can go as fast or slow as I like, and stay out as long as I like, without worrying about watching someone's wheel... (The one exception to that is riding the PMC every year, which I enjoy *immensely*. That is *one* crowded ride.)



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