Why cycle … because we can and we want to


I have done quite a lot of climbing on the bike this year – Strava says 56,788 m (186,321 feet). Although the wisdom of deciding to do an ‘everest’ in July is open to question, once the decision was made, hill training seemed perfectly sensible (or, indeed, essential).

However, having read an excellent blog post by Tempocyclist, I realise that since then I’ve developed a case of average-kph-itis. This is an obsession with producing rides with the highest possible average kph figures, almost to the exclusion of everything else.

The symptoms are clear: setting routes looking for flat roads and tailwinds; an irrational annoyance at hills, junctions, traffic and everything that slows you down; not stopping for photos or anything else; and a constant looking down at the average speed window on the Garmin.

Now, I’m all in favour of cycling fast, training hard and getting better on the bike – but an improving average kph should be a result of those, not the main aim of the ride.

I’m 62, I don’t race and no one pays me to cycle – so sometimes I need to remind myself that I ride for pleasure and personal satisfaction, not to try to impress or beat anyone else.

Today I went out with this in mind. I deliberately turned down some flat fast roads that would have offered some ‘vanity kph’ and headed over to Lambourn for a few hills and a generally ‘nice’ ride. The result – 56 km with 601 m of climbing at 25.1 kph (35 miles, 1971 feet at 15.6 mph) … and a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours.

7 thoughts on “Why cycle … because we can and we want to

  1. Bill Chance

    Interesting article – I’m about your age and call myself “the world’s slowest cyclist” – my goal is to integrate my cycling with my day to day life. It isn’t very hilly where I live, but I have a few routes picked up where I can exercise my low gears.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you Bill. I think your attitude is better than mine! It’s about getting out there and enjoying it and certainly not all about times speeds or metres/feet climbed.


  2. tempocyclist.wordpress.com

    I went out this morning with the intention to do 50km and hopefully average 30kph. The wind and my legs didn’t play ball and I arrived home with a just-shy-of-target 29.4kph average speed (51.5km and 640m gain). I was a little annoyed, but then I made myself a relaxing coffee on the deck and all was right with the world. Tomorrow will be a slower cafe ride taking in the scenery… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Exactly – that’s a really great ride, I’d be proud of it.
      To me, the idea of being disappointed with 29.4kph on a hilly route might be OK for a pro but I’m starting to think that enjoying the ride is right up there as the key outcome for folks like me.


  3. bgddyjim

    I actually have the perfect remedy for this! I’ll turn it into a post, but reading your post, and TTC’s, I never realized this was actually “a thing”.

    The trick is to do the average kph/mph ride once a week. Same route, relatively flat, and just hammer it. The rest of the week, the average doesn’t matter. We go slower on the climbs to get faster on the flats, so those slow days are just as important. Thanks for the idea for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Cycling and Pace-itis.Β  It’s Real… And How to NOT Obsess on Your Average Every Ride. « Fit Recovery

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