Commuting to work in a big city can be a nightmare. Hordes of people on the subways, traffic jams, and long cues are all normal occurrences during rush hour. And dealing with that alone on a daily basis can be stressful, let alone the stress that comes from work.
But a great way to slash your commuting time is to use a bike. Not only will you reach your destination faster, but you’ll also get health benefits from it, as well as avoid all the aggravation of other ways of commuting. But just how fast can you go on a bike, what is the average commute speed?
The average commute speed of cycling is between 10-18 miles per hour, although that speed depends on several factors. As a cyclist, you’re still at the mercy of other people on the road, but you’ll mostly be able to get to work faster than with some other ways of transfer.
What is the Average Commute Speed?
First of all, we have to mention that cycling to work can vary from individual to individual. People who don’t have that much experience or stamina are expected to go slower than those in great physical condition. Here are some estimated speeds of commuting with a cycle.
- Novice and occasional cyclists will usually travel at average speeds between 10-12mph. They can go faster if the road is clear or when they build up more stamina and strength.
- The average commute speed is around 15-16mph. That’s a speed that most commuters will find themselves at.
- For those really fast and with plenty of experience, they can travel at speeds between 17-22mph. But they’ll also feel restricted by external factors, despite their impeccable physical form.
And considering that there are traffic jams in the morning, these speeds are usually faster than traveling by car. Additionally, you won’t have to endure the rush hour dense crowds that gather on subways.
Factors That Affect the Average Commute Speed
We’ve already mentioned that the commuting speed can be affected by several factors that can be either internal or external. Here are some of the most common factors that affect commuting speeds by cycle.
The Cyclist’s Physical Condition
The number one biggest factor that will affect the traveling time by cycle is how well the cyclist is prepared for the commute. Long-term cyclists with a lot of experience are bound to travel faster than beginners, for example. Someone who enters the road with a cycle for the first time will also be warier and safer, so they’ll normally travel slower.
In some cases, these cyclists just won’t have the endurance to travel faster. It’s a limitation that can determine how fast one can travel with a cycle. And the better one is prepared, the faster they can go.
The Type of Cycle You Use
The type of bike matters more than you might think. Road bikes are usually the fastest, but they do come with their own cons. They are slightly more uncomfortable than other types of bikes, and they don’t have storage space like some other bikes have. But, for long-haul travels and getting there fast, you can’t beat a good road bike. It’s estimated that road bikes can reach about 20mph or more when the cyclist is an experienced biker.
We often see mountain bikes that commuters use to get to work. These are built to travel steep hills and climbs, and they have much wider tires than road bikes, for example. But they are not the fastest for straight roads, which we usually find on our commutes. That’s why they’ll be slightly slower than road bikes, albeit slightly more comfortable as well.
Then we have hybrid bikes or electric bikes. These are becoming more and more popular for commuters. You get the best of both worlds here – a fairly comfortable ride with relatively high average commuting speeds. It’s estimated that these bikes will travel between 12mph and 18mph on average, so they are comparable to road bikes in that regard. The downside is that they can be quite expensive.
Cyclocross bikes are also common, as are gravel bikes. While these are not necessarily made for the road, they can be great options for commuting. Dutch-style bikes, or the so-called city bikes, are obviously a popular, classic choice. But they’ll usually travel slower than some other types of bike, although they do bring plenty of comfort to the table.
The Conditions on the Road
We’re talking about just how bad that rush hour traffic is. It’s to be expected to lose some ground due to the traffic. But you’ll still be able to beat it, although you will need to have a good sense of maneuverability. Another factor when it comes to road conditions is the state of the road you’re driving on. While most city roads are flat and paved, you can still expect some bumps here and there. And don’t expect the ride to be completely flat, as well.
Yes, the weather will obviously play a big role in how fast you can travel. Traveling will be significantly harder when it’s raining or snowing compared to when it’s sunny. Wind can also impact your ride heavily, as you won’t be able to steer your bike as effectively as you could when it’s calm. In some cases, the wind can even help you, although that rarely happens, sadly.
The Route You Take
Big cities have plenty of ways to come to the endpoint. With commuting, it’s all about analyzing those roads and making sure you’re using the shortest one. Some roads also tend to be less crowded, so even if you’re going around the main route, you’ll also be able to travel much faster. That way, you can reach your end goal significantly faster.
The Benefits of Cycling to Work
Even though it might be slightly more tempting to go to work in a car and be comfortable, there are many benefits to be had with cycling to work. You’ll do a lot of good to yourself and to the environment. Although do make sure that you don’t make yourself sweat too much, and take a shower before start working!
You’ll be Healthier
Just making this small difference can have a significant impact on your health and in a positive way. Several studies show that cycling to work can boost your overall fitness, tone your legs, and improve your cardiovascular health. It also boosts your metabolic system. So why not take advantage of all of these health benefits of cycling to work?
You’ll Get There Faster
Another great benefit of cycling to work is that you’ll get there faster than you would with a car. And while a commute with the subway or public transport might be faster in some cases, you’ll miss all the traffic there. But that’s not to say that cycling can’t be faster than public transport, especially when it’s crowded and you might need to wait a couple more minutes.
You’ll Start Your Job With a Sharper Mind
Some morning exercise can significantly boost your performance at work. Yes, even the morning commute can take a toll on you; it’s a draining factor that will just suck the energy out of you. Instead, you’ll be fresh for the challenges ahead and start the job with a focused mind.
You’ll be Helping the Environment
If everyone was to switch to cycling to work instead of driving by car, the world would be a much cleaner place. Car pollution is one of the biggest pollutants of air, and it’s only getting worse. Yes, there are new electric cars that reduce this pollution, but still, these are far and few in between. We understand that for long-range commutes, it’s challenging to go there on a bicycle. But even in those cases, you’ll arrive at your final destination much faster than you would with a car.
It just is; you won’t have to pay for petrol, and you won’t have to pay for tickets that you need for commuting. Although those costs might not seem too much, you’ll notice a big change in your pocket if you use a bike. You only need a bike, which can be a big initial investment, but it’s certainly one that pays off in the long-term.
Tips for Better Commutes
Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you get to your post faster and safer at the same time.
- Avoid cutting in between two lanes too much. As a cyclist, you’re incredibly vulnerable and not visible. If the car takes a sudden turn, you’re at a risk here.
- Buy a bike that you find comfortable and that can allow you to get there faster. Road bikes are not the most comfortable but are the fastest. Find a good compromise between the two factors.
- Test your routes and use them. The shortest route is not always the fastest; sometimes, there might be far less traffic on side roads, which means you’ll get there much faster.
- Maintain your bike.