Beginners guide to faster bike riding on a budget

Here are some great tips for faster cycling:

Ride in a more aero position 

Try to ride in a lower and more aero position, aerodynamics greatly effects your speed.  This will be easier with a drop bar bike, but you should be able to do it with any bike.  Don’t go so low that your totally uncomfortable, but lower as much as you can comfortably.

man riding bicycle
Aero Position

Wear tighter clothes

Tight clothes are another way to make yourself more aero and faster.  A real cycling kit with jersey and bib shorts can really speed you up but do what you can afford.  You don’t want to wear a loose coat or big long shorts, or have large sleeves.  Tighter clothing will make you faster.

adult cyclist smiling on field
Cycling Clothing

Faster route

If your route has lots of turns, hills, and stops your average speed will be slower.  If you pick a good route that limits reasons for you to slow down, your average speed will increase.  Try to follow a route with fewer turns, stop signs, elevation increases, rough roads…

Tire pressure

Make sure you have good pressure in your tires.  Tires that aren’t full enough will increase road resistance and slow you down.

Make bike more aero

If your bike has lots of accessories it can slow you down.  Make your bike more aero by removing any big bags or other not very aero accessories.  A bar bag is great, but it will slow you down with bad aerodynamics. 

a person riding a bike under the rain
Too many accessories for speed

Tuned bike

Make sure your bike is well tuned.  If you spin your tires, they should keep spinning for quite a long time.  If they don’t listen for brake rub.  If there is no brake rub it could be your hubs need to be adjusted.  Be sure your chain is well lubricated. 

Helmet

A helmet that isn’t very aero can slow you down.  Get a helmet that doesn’t have a visor and has some good aero properties.  Here is an affordable helmet that should still be pretty aero:

Team Obsidian Bike Helmet

Team Obsidian Airflow Bike Helmet – AMAZON

Training

This is an obvious one, but get more miles in.  The more you ride the stronger you will become.  Keep pushing yourself till you get faster.  If you want to ride 10 miles faster, get out for some 15- or 20-mile rides.  This will make the 10 miles feel easier.

Lose weight

If you have some weight to lose, it will make you faster and healthier. 

If you can do many or all of the above suggestions, you should pick up some speed without spending any great deal of money.  Keep riding.

Bike fit

Make sure you bike is set up to fit you properly. There are a lot of adjustments that can be made to your bike for better riding. The most important is seat height.

Weather

The weather can really affect your speed. I have my fastest rides on days that aren’t too hot and have very light wind. If you have to ride with heavier wind, I find it’s better to pick a route with the wind at your side or start against the wind and end with it at your back.

5 thoughts on “Beginners guide to faster bike riding on a budget

  1. Nice post, Fab Jim. But I would also say your overall fit is important because if that is off, it can definitely the quality of your ride.

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