2010 Ride Log Break-down

Effective Cycling

2010 Cycling Data for Effective Bike Use.

By Steve Robson

In the course of recording data from my 2010 rides, based on the computer readings I have gathered this information base to help me understand just how well each bike type performs. It reveals what bikes are the the most effect in terms of speed, R.P.M. distances and times, needed to travel from point A to point B and back home again. A number of different bike types are being used to gather this information. The road bike is by far the best overall bike design for a up-right bike design. My A-bike folder represents a new breed of small portable bike designed for short distance riding. The mountain bike represents the most common type of bike sold today. Although it is popular, there are a few this that do come up that show some weaken and the data being represented shows this. I hope that this data base will be of help for people in determining how they can make there commutering cycling experence better.

This data was collected doing commutering riding, no road racing in the sense of a orginized race track environment. The riding was done mostly in Stratford ON, but a few rides where done in and around Glencoe and Newbury, ON. The bike that recorded the data all use the same Mongoose cycling computer, set to record the proper speed off each bike. I tested the computers to match each other the best as possible so accurate measurements could be taken off each bike. Other then the A-bike that uses a fixed one speed gearing set-up, I noted the most commonly used gear set-up used on the bike to determine the average R.P.M. used when the bikes where is use.

Over the course of the 5 months I recorded data, I was using about the same routes so I got a good cross-section of how each bike worked over an averaged numbers once the data was done. The results showed a number of things talked about in publications but this data proved that it was true based on the numbers I recorded. The road bike has been said to be the best most effect type of bike to ride and my data proves this. The mountain bike although popular lacks the effectiveness of the road in terms of energy needed to pedal it. With a larger, heaver tire, more energy is needed to propell the bike. This affects top end speed, R.P.M.'s needed get the bike to speed and maintain it. The theory I have is that the small wheeled bikes like my A-bike would need the same amount of efford to get the bike up the speeds they attain. These speeds are slower but given the lower gear ratios they use, one can make the best use of the gearing to speeds they do reach.

The following Data was attained from 05/16/10 until 10/05/10. In all, 39 sets of data was recorded in this time frame. They include Distance, Riding Time, Max Speed, and Average Speed. The different bikes received different percentages of complete data as I did not record every ride for every bike. The A-bike received the greated number recorded rides based total mileage ridden. This was 53.63 perecent average based on the rides I have done. The mountain bike received the lowest overall log-ins at 32.9 percent. They all gave a good insight as to what the bike where doing as far as overall perfomance goes. The following data reflects my 2010 riding effectivness.

Vision Orion Road Bike

Total mileage- 880.1 km

Average speed- 21.648 kph

Peak speed- 48.1 kph

Average riding time on the bike (based on distance divided by average speed)- 40:36:00 hour/ minutes/ seconds

Average gear range used- 42/15- 72 gear inches

Average R.P.M.- 60

Supercycle SC21DS Mountain Bike

Total mileage- 624.1 km

Average speed- 22.87 kph

Peak speed- 43.1 kph

Average riding time on the bike- 27:29:00 hour/ minutes/ seconds

Average gear ratio used- 38/14- 68 gear inches

Average R.P.M.- 70

A-bicycle folding bike

- Total mileage- 327.69 km

- Average speed- 12.614 kph

- Peak speed- 25.1 kph

- Average riding time on bike- 26:05:08 hour/ minutes/ seconds

- Average R.P.M.- 63

Total average time on all three bikes- 94 hours.

A number of factors come into play with these numbers. Based on the average of the road bike, less effort is needed to attain the same basic speed then as the mountain bike. The road bike needs 16 percent less pedalling efford to attain the same speed. The lower gear ratios on the mountain bike mean that greater effort is needed to maintain the same speed of the road bike. Another factor comes into play at this point. The road bike rim/ tire weight is less then the mountainn bikes design. One of the largest factors of weight being on a bike is the rotating mass. As the weight increases, so does the need to put energy into it. So does the design of the tire. I replaced original mountain bike tires with a smoother street style tire. Athough it s still heavier then the rosad bikes tire, there was a difference in the feel of the bike. It felt smoother and quicker then the off-road style tire the original bike was equipped with. The newtires are more suitable for road riding.

Although the A-bike uses the same R.P.M. as the road bike, given the lower gear ratio, the A-bike design attains 58 percent of the speed of the larger wheeled road bike. Given the fact that the 7.5" wheel is only 28.8 percent the size of the road bike wheel, the gearing design the A-bicycle uses works out well. When I am at cruising speed on the A-bike, I can hold a speed of 17 to 19 kph. I am rotating the crankarms at a speed of about 85 to 90 R.P.M. Although I am going slower then on my road bike, this rate of spinning does help my pedalling speed on the two other bike types. On good roads, a speed of 27 to 29 kph can be held on the mountain bike while I can maintain a quick 32 to 35 kph on the road bike. I tend to use the mid range gear on the mountaion bike (38 tooth gear). I use the lower 42 tooth gear at speeds into the low 30 kph range. I shift the rear gears using high gear setting to get these speeds. By using a higher R.P.M. on the folding bike means a smoother steady ride on all bikes I use. This means going quicker without any jeckeness. The folder makes cadance training a fun work-out with the fuss racers work at attain.

The next set of percentages tell the amount of times the bikes are used. The bike that gets top spot is the road bike. It is just so smooth to ride,. It rates at 41 percent of the time I ride a bike. It has been ridden 40.6 averaged hours. The next bike I use the most is the mountain bike. It rates at 27.28 average hours. or 29 percent of the times I ride. This bike was used for getting me to and from work in the spring/ early summer. The next bike I use is the A-bicycle. This where you have to look at the data from a number of points of view. Based on straight mileage, it shows that the bike is only used 15 percent of the time. Based on just putting the A-bikes hours of use divided by the total number of hours used buy all three bikes, you get a truer picture of the bikes useage, going up to 27.7 percent average. The mountain bike useage stays the same at 29 perecent. Since the mountain bike was parked half way through the summer, these numbers make sense.

The total mileage of the three main bikes used in this study is 1833.22 km. A number of other bikes I own where used but much less. A old CCM cruiser I got as winter beater has been used for about 110 km. This accounts for 5.13 percent on the total yearly mileage. Since there is no computer on it, the mileage is based on distances I have ridden on other bike that do have computers. I also rode my girlfiends 6 spped Schwinn folding bike 7.8 km. This was based on a ride I did on my A-bike. I wanted to compare how the compared in speed and timing next to my A-bike. The early recumbent rides where unrecorded . It did not figure into the main test bikes I was looking at. My recumbent mileage was based on having 120 km on it after placing a computer on it. The 120 km recorded distance was the only recorded distance used. This represents only 5.16 percent of the total distance. So the total offical distance recorded for 2010 is 2142.22 km.

I figured I travelled 600 km in total going to work. This was a mix of using a old three speed bike I owned but gave away Unrecorded mileage data), the recumbent (unrecorded mileage data) and the mountain bike. This works out to about 28 percent of my riding. The rest in travelling around town. The highest average speed was as no surprise, it was the road bike. It averaged 30.8 kph on a ride between Glencoe and Newbury, ON. The highest average speed on the mountain was 26 kph going from Newbury to Wardsville and back to Newbury, ON. on a flat road. A speed of 15.7 kph was reached on the A-bicycle in Stratford on the flatter sections of town.

The time on the bike vary a lot depending the bike used, the distance travelled, and the type ride I was after. Most of the rides centre around the 30:00 minute mark. That is a very comfortable time to be out for me. Depending on the bike I was riding the speeds where across the board. The A-bike was the showest of the lot but other bikes like the road bike recorded very slow speeds as well. A sampling this is a ride done on 09/20/10 on the road bike. An average speed of only 15.1 kph was recorded. The riding time was 42:51 mins/ secs. I was just riding around a place I did not know too well. I just took in sights and enjoyed myself. This speed is about the top average speed of the A-bicycle. This was a type of ride that could have been done with any bike. It just depended on the space needed to get the bike to the location in the first place.

This year was the first time since 1995 that I logged mileage like this. I logged more detailed rides in 1995 but the data from this years rides proved a lot. The average speeds I got this year where lower then in 1995 but the riding style was different as well. I was communting within city limits for the bulk of the rides in 2010. Rides that get you into the high 20's, low 30 kph speeds where done in open country side setting. This was needed to gain and hold the speed of the bike. In city riding, stop and go traffic is a fact of life. This affects the overall speed average of a cyclist.

It was great be out on a bike again. It is a great way to travel within a small city like Stratford. You can easily get the farthest places and back to your home in under an hour. Having a beautiful river with wild life to see makes the ride that more pleasant. Carrying a camera along on a ride is a sign that a lower average speed will be done. I like picture taking a lot as well! Overall, 2010 has been a great cycling season. It lacked the speed of riding 15 years ago but it was replaced by a nice sense of feeling the world, not just seeing it through a car's windshield the glare of a focused race ride training type ride. I hope that 2011 will be as great as this year!


My test bicycles

My Orion Vision Road Bike.
My Orion Vision Road Bike. | Source
Mountain Bike.
Mountain Bike. | Source
The A-bicycle Folding Bike.
The A-bicycle Folding Bike. | Source

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Comments 3 comments

Joseph Condron 5 years ago

That's an excellent post Steve. You went to a lot of trouble. I have a mountain bike and on some journeys, with a few hills and inclines in between, I average around 17 kph over 17 to 18 km although I am pulling a cargo trailer.

That's with the standard 42 tooth set up. You don't have any data for speeds on larger toothed chainsets by any chance?

stevbike profile image

stevbike 5 years ago from Newbury, Ontario, Canada Author

I do not any data on mountain bikes with larger gears but it would intersting see how this would affect the speed of the bike. By the way, your average speed on the mountain bike impressive. Hilly terrian can be a challenge to a cyclist. It gives a chance to become a stronger rider.


Joseph Condron 5 years ago

Yes it certainly would be interesting.

The route is mostly flat though. If you think about it though there are people who have run the marathon in just over two hours - sort of puts it all into perspective!

But bikes are wonderful for commuting and their trailers are marvellous.

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