cruising speed vs average speed

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Anonymous's picture

I’m little confused over the difference between cruising speed and average speed .
Usually I use average speed as way to judge how fast I ride, but most ride here seem to use cruising speed. I’m wandering if someone could clearly how a 20 mph Average ride over a 50 Miles would differ from a 20 mph cruising speed over same distance similar terrain .

Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)

bearing in mind traffic / etc/etc/ I'd guess knock off about 4-5 mph - i.e. a crusiing speed of 20 mph - would equal an av. speed of 15/16mph on a ride leaving and returning to the boathouse

Anonymous's picture
Phil Weissman (not verified)

Cruising Speed is the speed on the flats with no wind. In contrast, Average Speed is typically less than Cruising Speed. Things like wind and hills have a net effect of reducing Average Speed. For instance, a breeze may increase your speed by 5 mph in one direction and then reduce it by the same amount on the return. However, the breeze hurts for longer than it helps. When you’re riding slowly it takes more time to cover the same distance. Specifically, your speed is (Cruising Speed - 5 mph) for longer than it is (Cruising Speed + 5 mph). Hence the ride takes longer and there is a decrease to your Average Speed.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"NYCC rides are listed by cruising speed. All computers display ""current"" speed, not all do avarage. A ride's speed is advertised in advance to let people know what to expect and what's expected of them. Average is not meaningful until the conclusion of the ride."

Anonymous's picture
Park rider (not verified)
Another attempt to answer what you asked

In the newsletter, it says subtract 3 mph to get average from cruise. This is probably right for a 15 mph group ride. For a group cruise of 20+mph, it is probably more like -4 mph.

The A19 SIG has been crusing around 19-21 the past few weeks. Our averages (on my computer) have been in the 15-16 range. Slowing for lights, circling the parking lot, etc. will bring down the average pretty quickly.

As the wind post suggests, the A19 has actually been doing 25-28 with a strong tail wind and more like 15-17 with a headwind.

If you are trying to compare to riding by yourself, there are more variables. My guess is that you will cruise 2-3 mph faster with a pack (A-rides) than alone, but average speeds will only be a tiny bit more. When you are alone, you don't do as much puttering around on your bike (like riding in circles while someone changes their flat tire)

Anonymous's picture
marko (not verified)

Thank You for responses. I think it makes more sense why the club
uses cruising rather then average speed. I think using average speed would
give people the wrong impression for the effort required . For a small group ride or
individual ride the average speed might be ok but for a large group ride it doesn’t
make much sense.

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