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Average Cycling Speed – What is it?

Average Cycling Speed & Average Bike Speeds

What’s the average cycling speed is a very common question, and you’re right to be curious. However, as much as I’d like there to be, there isn’t an easy answer to this question.

As you can imagine, there’s a lengthy list of variables that can affect your average cycling speed, hence why it’s challenging to provide a direct answer to this question. 

That said, this article contains the average bike speeds for mountain, road, hybrid and e-bikes. I’ve compiled data from various reliable sources in easy to understand tables, so keep reading to learn about average bike speeds.

About Average Bike & Cycling Speeds

Many cyclists wonder about the average bike speeds.

The vast majority of bikes are used as a form of transportation for cyclists from A to B.

Many cyclists, such as commuters, desire the fastest possible commute, whilst others opt for a comfortable, slower-paced journey. 

One thing’s for sure; there is a huge list of factors that affect your average cycling speed. So before we explore the average speed of different bike types, let’s check them out.

Factors That Affect Your Average Cycling Speed

Environmental Factors

If you’re cycling in mountainous areas and are tackling a long section of steep hills, you’re going to be travelling at a slower average pace than once you’re descending the other side of the mountain. 

If the surface you’re riding is loose and provides little traction, you’ll have to work harder to move the same distance than if you were riding on firm ground that provided plenty of traction.

Terrain that allows you to maintain a consistent pace will encourage a higher average biking speed.

Cycling in the winter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Wind, rain, snow, ice and everything else that comes with these weather conditions will reduce your average cycling speed compared to a dry day with excellent visibility of the route ahead. 

Cyclists riding in winter will typically wrap up warm and wear additional clothing. However, cycling with bulky clothing increases your weight and decreases aerodynamic efficiency. 

On hotter days, the air is less dense, which decreases drag, but your body will be forced to work harder to sustain a high cadence due to the heat. 

Cars, trees, pedestrians and traffic lights are several examples of obstacles that you may encounter whilst cycling. 

A route without obstacles will allow you to maintain a consistent pace. In contrast, if you’re constantly stopping and starting in downtown traffic, your average cycling speed is likely to be slower. 

Throughout a long bike ride, our muscles fatigue and lactic acid builds up to a point where we can no longer sustain the same pace as when we started.

Since mph & km/ph are the measurement of the time, it takes you to travel a mile or kilometer, if you decrease the length of your journey, you’ll achieve higher average speeds since you won’t suffer from as much fatigue.

Ride distance links in with Rider fitness but is worth mentioning as it will drastically affect your average cycling speed.

Phsycological Factors

Confidence in your ability and understanding your limits will play a big part in determining your average speed. 

Cyclists that are confident in their ability and keep a positive mindset whilst cycling are likely to achieve higher average speeds. 

If you’re navigating challenging routes that make you nervous, you’ll naturally decrease your speed in some sections, lowering your average cycling speed.

If you ride the same route every day for a year, over time, you’ll map the entire ride out in your head. 

Understanding your route will mean that you’ll know what to expect around every corner.

You’ll subsequently be able to shift your weight, change gear or brake at the right moment to achieve higher speeds and increase your overall efficiency. 

This factor is essentially the same as rider confidence because if you’re familiar with a bike route, you know what to expect.

A more experienced cyclist will better understand how to maximise their efficiency when riding in different environments and on different types of bikes

Whether it’s tucking your elbows in and body low on descents or using the widest parts of your handlebars to tackle technical trails, experienced riders have a better understanding of how to leverage the upcoming terrain to their advantage.

Subsequently, they’ll have higher average cycling speeds. 

Physical Factors

Riding style is a fairly broad term that covers a range of different things. 

Some cyclists ride for speed and attempt to tuck down whilst riding to reduce drag and increase efficiency, whilst others enjoy the comfort of an upright riding position. 

Some cyclists enjoy competing with themselves or others along their route. 

Some cyclists prioritise safety and won’t take risks, whilst others push themselves to the max and attempt daring feats at the cost of personal safety.

All of these micro-factors will play a role in determining your average speed for biking.

One of the fundamentals of your average cycling speed is how fit you are. 

A fitter cyclist will ultimately produce a higher average wattage, meaning they’ll travel faster than an unfit cyclist. 

By increasing your fitness, you’ll also be able to spend longer in higher gears, which may increase your average biking speed. 

By improving your fitness, you’ll also be likely to shed a few pounds, which is where the next factor comes in!

Weight is an interesting one. 

Lighter cyclists benefit on hill climbs as they’ll lose less momentum to friction.

On the other hand, heavier cyclists gain more momentum on descents due to gravity acting on them with greater force. 

Weight will play a part in determining your average biking speed, but your route elevation profile will heavily affect whether your weight works for or against you!  

Our body is constantly changing as we age. 

Up until the age of 30, humans can maintain or increase their muscle mass. 

After 30 studies show, you’ll begin losing muscle at a rate of 3-5% per decade due to the process of sarcopenia. [1]

Therefore, an age difference will mean a difference in muscle mass, which will affect your average cycling speed.  

Sex is another significant factor to consider when looking at average cycling speed. 

A study comparing the cycling performance of men and women around an identical course found that men achieved a 14% faster time on average with an average power output that was 1.4x higher than women. [2]

This information can suggest that men, on average, will achieve a higher average speed on a bike. 

Finishing times from the qualifying stages of the men and women sprint at the 202 Tokyo Summer Olympics also supports the above statement. The average qualification time for the 24 qualifying riders was 9.55 seconds for men, compared to 10.64 seconds for women. [3]

Other Factors

A featherweight road bike with deep-section aero rims will perform better on sections of road than a fatbike would. 

On the other hand, if you’re cycling downhill over rock gardens and ramps, a town bike would not be the best choice if you were racing against the clock. 

Riding a bike tailored to your environment will provide increased performance, making it easier for you to achieve higher cycling speeds.

Within each area of cycling, there are many different disciplines. For example, mountain biking covers:

  • Downhill
  • Cross-Country (XC)
  • Enduro
  • Trail
  • All-Mountain (AM)
  • Freeriding


All of these MTB disciplines take place in different environments. For example, during enduro MTB events, competitors race down a trail attempting to descend in the fastest time possible.

The average speed of enduro competitors will be significantly faster than cross-country riders that navigate undulating terrain and various obstacles.

If you’re cycling competitively, depending upon the discipline you’re practising, you’ll typically have a higher average speed than if you were cycling for leisure or training. 

A poorly fitted bike is likely to cause discomfort over longer rides, reducing stamina and your average riding speed. 

Whichever way you spin it, considering your biomechanics is essential when buying a new bike.

Cyclists come in many shapes and sizes and have different cycling goals. 

By riding a bike that fits and supports your body shape and cycling goals, you’ll not only be more comfortable whilst riding, but will achieve higher average speeds than if you were to ride a bike that was too small for you. 

Keeping your bike squeaky clean and well lubricated will drastically increase your cycling efficiency than in you neglect it and let the rust set in. 

A recently-serviced bike’s gears will shift more responsively, and brakes will work more effectively than an old pub bike that’s been beaten and battered up and down the road for years. 

If you haven’t given your two-wheeled steed any TLC for a few years, you’ll be surprised how a few simple maintenance tweaks, such as chain lubrication, can impact your average cycling speed!

Good Average Cycling Speeds For Different Cyclists

Pro cyclists ride faster than beginners. Mountain bikes aren’t as speed orientated as road bikes. Newer bikes have more scientific data and testing behind their designs. 

There are three reasons for you why average bike speeds aren’t an excellent measurement for comparison. 

The table below contains good average speeds for cyclists of different experience levels riding on the road.

This data is great to reference as you progress with your cycling, as it will help you understand your skill/fitness level.

Good Average Road Cycling Speeds (1hr Ride)
Beginner Cyclist 8 - 12 mph (13 - 19 km/h)
Intermediate Cyclist 12 - 16 mph (19 - 26 km/h)
Advanced Cyclist 16 - 24 mph (26 - 39 km/h)
Professional Cyclist >24 mph (>39 km/h)

What Is The Global Average Cycling Speed? - Simple Answer

I completely understand some of you may be itching for a single figure that represents the average speed travelled by a wide range of bikes and cyclists, so here it is!

In 2018 Strava, the increasingly popular social media cycling app, revealed some exciting user data in their yearly roundup. 

The data displayed in the table below was taken from 5.2B miles worth of cycling with an average ride distance of 20.19 miles (32.49km). This includes ride data from various cycling disciplines, bike types and drastically varying rider fitness levels. 

Average Global Cycling Speed - Strava 2018
Women: 12.1 mph (19.47 km/h)
Men: 13.7 mph (22.04 km/h)
Global Average: 13.5 mph (21.72 km/h)

As the data shows, for the year 2018, the average cycling speed taken from the data of 287.5M rides, including a range of bike types and cycling disciplines, was 13.5 mph which equates to 21.72 km/h.

Bear in mind that there are billions of cyclists worldwide that don’t use this app.

The cyclists tracking their ride data with cycling apps probably take their cycling more seriously than your average Joe.

This means these averages shown above are likely to be faster than the true average cycling speed.

Average Bike Speeds For Different Bike Types

As you’re probably aware, many different types of bikes are available that cater to a range of cycling disciplines. 

I’ve put together a guide that highlights every type of bike and the benefits they offer. Have a read here if you’re interested in finding the type of bike that best suits your riding style.

As you can imagine, different bikes have different average speeds, so below, I’ve broken the average bike speeds down into four categories of the most common bikes. 

Take these numbers with a pinch of salt because, as we’ve found out, there’s a hefty list of factors affecting your average speed. 

Use the buttons below to navigate to your chosen bike type. 

Average Road Bike Speed

Road bikes are the fastest conventional bike type on average. They’re designed for high speeds and offer superb aerodynamics compared to other bike types.

The average speed of a road bike when riding on roads with a flatter elevation profile is between 14 and 18 mph (23-29 km/h).

Alternatively, riding on inclines of 5%, most road cyclists can expect an average cycling speed of somewhere between 8 and 12 mph (13-19 km/h).

Average speed of a road bike

To further investigate this data, I asked a question in the Reddit bicycling sub about members’ average speeds when using their road bikes. 

I also asked each respondent to describe the factors involved in measuring their average speed (terrain elevation, weather etc.), most of which were rides on flatter roads with few hills. 

In total, I received responses from 28 people and combining their speeds gave me an average of 16.7 mph (27.5 km/h).

This is a small group of people to gather information from, but the average speed of the respondents aligns with the average road bike speed shown above. 

Average Mountain Bike Speed

Since there are so many different MTB disciplines, it’s hard to give an average mountain bike speed that has any meaning.

If you’re riding a mountain bike on a road with a flat elevation profile, 10-14 mph (16-23 km/h) is a good average speed. 

Average mountain bike cycling speed
Technical trails, or those with sharp bends will force will decrease your average cycling speed.

Riding a mountain bike on seriously technical trails will slow you down so much that you can typically average between 4-8 mph (6-13 km/h). The same speed applies to steep uphill sections with an incline of 5% or greater.

Competitive downhill MTB riders typically average between 18-20 mph (29-32 km/h). However, whilst on the trail’s steepest sections, they can reach speeds up to 50mph (80km/h).

Average Hybrid Bike Speed

As the name suggests, hybrid bikes provide a combination of characteristics from both road and mountain bikes.

Most hybrids bikes use chunkier tires (typically 700c x 35-45) than road bikes, which reduces their speed on-road. But most hybrid bikes utilise a rigid frame and fork, which increases pedalling efficiency compared to hardtail and full-suspension mountain bikes.

Riding on flat roads, the average speed for a hybrid bike sits between 12-16 mph (19-26 km/h).

On uphill rides at gradients of 5%, you can expect average cycling speeds of 6-10 mph (10- 16 km/h) on a hybrid bike.

Average E-Bike Speed

If you’re wondering about the average speed of an e-bike, you’re probably wondering about the average assisted speed. 

As I covered in my guide to e-bikes, there are three different types of e-bikes. 

  • Class 1 – Pedal assisted e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20mph (32km/h).
  • Class 2 – Throttle assisted e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20mph (32km/h)
  • Class 3 – Throttle assisted e-bikes with a top speed of 28mph (45km/h).
Average Speed of an E-bike

The legal speed limit of e-bikes varies from country to country. However, most European countries enforce an e-bike speed assistance limit of 15.5mph (25 km/h).

In most US states, the maximum speed assistance for e-bikes is 20mph (32km/h).

How to Increase Your Average Cycling Speed

So now that we’ve learnt about the average speed of multiple bike types and the global average cycling speed, it’s only right for me to help you increase your speed on two wheels!

Below I’ve compiled a short snippet of tips that’ll benefit you. I guarantee at least one of these will be helpful to you. 

If you’re serious about increasing your speed on two wheels, read this guide for a longer list of the essentials required to increase your cycling speed.  

Different surfaces demand different tire pressures for optimum efficiency. 

Whilst you’re not going to want to change your tire pressure during your ride, you’ll want to pick a pressure that works well with the surface you’ll be riding most. 

Have a play around and see what works best. 

If you’re using clipless pedals, you’ll understand how annoying they can be when trying to pull away from the lights. 

Instead of constantly going through this pickle, learn to trackstand. You’ll be faster out of the lights, increasing your average speed. 

Plus, being able to pull off a proper trackstand is a good party trick!

The fuel you put into your body will directly impact your physical capabilities. 

Put rubbish in, get rubbish out. 

Personally, to stay completely aware of my surroundings whilst on the road, I don’t cycle with music, but it might be worth a try if you feel comfortable doing so.

The effects of music on exercise performance have been researched many times over the years, and research suggests it can not only increase enjoyment but performance too!

In 1911, Ayres observed that competitors in a six-day cycle race travelled 8.5% faster when listening to a military band. [5]

Muscle has increased density compared to fat, but fat won’t help you pedal faster. 

If you want to shift a few extra pounds, keep working at it, and you’ll see results!

Clipless pedals have been shown in studies to provide up to 10% increased power output compared to flat and toe strap pedals. [6]

Many cyclists also say that they feel clipless pedals provide increased handling of a bike, something that’s more difficult to prove in scientific studies. 

If you haven’t tried clipless pedals before, they’re worth a try. 

The tips above will get you on the right path to increasing your average cycling speed. 

If you’re keen to learn more and want the most helpful tips, read my guide on the best ways to increase your average speed while on your bike. 

Otherwise, below you’ll find the answers to some crazy speed-related cycling questions.

Bike Speed FAQs

Can Cyclists Get a Speeding Ticket?

Whilst you’d be unlikely and very unlucky to receive one, you can receive a speeding ticket whilst riding a bicycle in the USA. 

In 2013, Seattle police handed two cyclists speeding tickets for exceeding the 20mph school-zone speed limit. [4]

One of the cyclists received a $103 fine and said the cyclists should obey the rules of the road. 

Highway laws vary from state to state and in different countries.

Bicycle Speeding Ticket

In the UK, it’s not possible to get a speeding ticket whilst riding a bicycle. However, if you’re considered to be riding dangerously, in extreme cases, you could be handed a fine of up to £2,500 for dangerous cycling.  

Fastest Speed on a Bike Ever Achieved

British cyclist Bruce Bursford set the fastest speed ever achieved on a bicycle.

In 1995 Bruce rode his custom-built Millenium Cycle on a rolling road (indoor treadmill) up to a speed of 207.91mph (334.6 km/h), which is the fastest speed ever achieved on a bike.

In 2018, Denise Mueller-Korenek broke the bicycle land speed record by riding at a record speed of 183.93 mph (296 km/h) across the flat salt planes of Utah. 

How to Calculate Your Average Speed on a Bicycle

The easiest and best way to calculate the average speed of your bicycle route is to divide your total ride distance by the total ride duration (Total Distance ÷ Total Time).

For example:

Total trip distance = 13.56 miles
Total trip duration = 1 hr 30 mins

The calculation to find average speed (Distance÷Time)

13.56(miles) ÷ 1.5 (hours) = 9.04mph (14.54km/h)

Conclusion - Average Bike Speed

If you’ve made it to the end of this article, congratulations, you’re now officially a cycling speed guru, cool title to boast, right?

You should now understand the average cycling speed and the average speeds of different bike types, and a whole load of other bike speed knowledge. 

Let me know your thoughts on the article! Also, if I’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments below, and I’ll update the content so that it remains relevant and others can enjoy it.

If you’re interested in increasing your average cycling speed, go ahead and check out these 20 steps guaranteed to increase your average cycling speed

Otherwise, don’t forget to use a good quality bike lock to secure your bike when you’re out and about. If you worry about the safety of your bike, you might be interested in learning about the best budget-friendly bike locks

I’ve included several of my sources below if you want to have a look.

Lock it or lose it.

Ciao for now!

Resources:

[1] Age & Muscle mass – Harvard 

[2] Comparison of male and female road cyclists under identical stage race conditions – Med Sci Sports Exerc

[3] Cycling at the Summer Olympics – Wikipedia (Men + Women)

[4] Bicycle Speeding Ticket USA – Seattle Times

[5] The Influence of Music on Speed in the Six-Day Bicycle Race – Leonard P. Ayres PH. D.

[6] A Comparison of Three Bicycle Pedal Types and Power Output – Brandon Kuhn

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