Are you fast or slow? Epic or not?

speedometer.jpgIf you’re competitive like me you probably wonder from time to time how you stack up with other mountain bikers. Sure you could enter a race but we all know those things aren’t fair or accurate anyway đŸ˜‰ Luckily singletracks makes it easy for you to measure up without stepping up to the starting line.

First off, let’s talk speed. Each trail listing on singletracks shows the average speed (if any) riders maintain on that particular trail. Values range from 3 mph for technical trails up to 15 mph for paved greenway paths. The average speed singletracks riders maintain on the trail is 6.98 mph so if a trail lists an average speed above this – it’s fast. Otherwise, it’s a bit slow. If you consistently maintain average trail speeds around 10 mph you’re doing well (unless of course you’re singletrack phobic – greenways don’t count!).

Not all of us are born sprinters so distance is another dimension we can use to compare ourselves to others. Interestingly enough the average ride entry over the period May 24, 2006 to May 24, 2007 shows a decrease in the average ride length over the year ago period by about 3%. In 2006-2007 an average ride was 9.67 miles while in the 2005-2006 period the average ride was 9.98 miles. This decrease certainly fits with the data that shows cycling popularity has waned a bit over the past two years as mountain bikers spend less time in the saddle and more time in front of the XBox (or whatever). If you’re riding more in 2007 – good for you – you’re above average!

So the average mountain bike ride is around 10 miles which means that given the average speed it should take about 1:23 to complete a ride. So what’s an epic ride? If you asked me before looking at the data I’d say at least 30 miles but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps a ride that’s twice as long as the average ride qualifies? Remember 10 miles is just an average, plenty of people ride 5 miles and call it a day.

This distance data is particularly interesting given the recent rise in ultra-endurance training and racing. Athletes are pushing themselves faster and further but is this just widening the gap between the obsessed and the casual rider?

If there’s ride or trail data you’d like us to analyze in a future blog post, just send us an email – click the “Contact” link at the bottom of any page. If your query is interesting, we just might write about it!

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