What Is Speed Cycling Called? – Unveiling the Thrills of Riding

robert dellert

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Speed Cycling

Cycling is a diverse and exhilarating world, offering enthusiasts a plethora of options to suit their preferences and goals. 

Among the myriad cycling disciplines, there exists a thrilling realm that revolves around speed and velocity, where cyclists push the boundaries of their endurance and the capabilities of their bikes.

In this blog post, we will explore the world of rapid pedaling and answer five frequently asked questions about this exciting pursuit, commonly known as speed cycling. So, saty focused. 

What Is Speed Cycling Called?

Speed cycling on road bikes is commonly referred to as “road cycling” or “road racing.” Road cycling involves riding bicycles designed for use on paved roads, and it encompasses various forms of cycling, including competitive racing, sportive events, group rides, and more. 

Road racing, in particular, is a highly competitive discipline within road cycling, where cyclists compete in races of varying distances and terrains, aiming to be the fastest to complete the course.

Sportive cycling, on the other hand, is more focused on personal challenges and endurance, often involving longer rides with the goal of completing a designated route within a certain timeframe. Both road racing and sportive cycling involve a strong emphasis on speed and endurance on the road.

What Is A Good Cycling Speed?

A “good” cycling speed can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the cyclist’s fitness level, the type of bicycle being used, the terrain, weather conditions, and the purpose of the ride. Here are some general guidelines for cycling speeds:

Recreational Cyclists

For casual or recreational cyclists, an average speed of 12-14 miles per hour (19-22 kilometers per hour) is considered decent. This speed allows for a comfortable and enjoyable ride on flat or gently rolling terrain.

Road Cyclists

More experienced road cyclists who participate in group rides or competitive events often maintain speeds between 18-20 miles per hour (29-32 kilometers per hour) on flat terrain. In road racing, speeds can exceed 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour) or more during sprints or descents.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking speeds are typically slower due to the technical nature of off-road trails. On mountain bike trails, average speeds can range from 6-12 miles per hour (10-19 kilometers per hour), depending on the difficulty of the terrain.

Time Trials and Triathlons

In time trial events or triathlons, cyclists aim for higher speeds, often exceeding 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour) on flat courses. Professional time trialists can reach speeds well above 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour).


Climbing speeds are generally slower, and they can vary significantly depending on the steepness of the ascent and the rider’s climbing ability. Speeds might drop to 5-10 miles per hour (8-16 kilometers per hour) or even lower on steep, challenging climbs.

It’s important to note that what constitutes a “good” cycling speed is highly subjective and dependent on individual goals and abilities. 

Beginners may start at lower speeds and gradually improve over time with consistent training. Factors like wind, road conditions, and traffic can also affect cycling speeds.

Subcategories of Speed Cycling

Subcategories of Speed Cycling

The term “speed cycling” can encompass various subcategories and disciplines that emphasize high speeds or competitive aspects. Here are some subcategories related to speed cycling

Time Trial Cycling

Time trial (TT) cycling is a discipline where cyclists compete individually or in teams to complete a set distance in the fastest time possible. It’s a race against the clock, and participants use aerodynamic equipment and riding positions to maximize speed.

Track Cycling

Track cycling takes place on a specialized velodrome track with steeply banked curves. It includes events like sprint races, team pursuit, and the individual pursuit. Track cyclists often achieve very high speeds, especially in sprint events.

Triathlon and Duathlon

Triathlons involve three disciplines: swimming, cycling, and running. Duathlons include cycling and running. In triathlons, the cycling leg typically involves road or triathlon-specific bikes and focuses on maintaining a high speed after the swim. 

Triathletes aim to achieve fast transition times between the swim and bike segments.

Speed Pedelec Riding

Speed pedelecs are electric bicycles (e-bikes) with a higher maximum assisted speed, often reaching 28-30 mph (45-48 km/h) or more. Riders of speed pedelecs can achieve higher speeds with less effort due to electric assistance. 

This category is becoming increasingly popular for commuters and those who want to cover distances quickly.

Criterium (Crit) Racing

Criteriums are ‘short-circuit’ races typically held on closed road courses. They are known for their fast and intense racing, with cyclists navigating tight corners and sprinting for victory. Criteriums often require high-speed bursts and tactical maneuvering.

Downhill Mountain Biking

Downhill mountain biking involves descending steep and technical trails at high speeds. Riders use specialized downhill bikes and protective gear. Speeds can exceed 30-40 mph (48-64 km/h) or more on downhill courses.

Sprint Cycling

Sprint cycling includes track sprinting and BMX racing. In track sprinting, riders compete in head-to-head or time-trial sprints over short distances, aiming for maximum speed. BMX racing involves short, intense races on purpose-built tracks, focusing on explosive bursts of speed.

These subcategories highlight the diverse world of speed cycling, each with its unique challenges and requirements.

How to Practice Speed Cycling

Practicing speed cycling, whether for racing, time trials, or simply improving your cycling speed, requires a combination of training, technique refinement, and consistent effort. Here’s a guide on how to practice speed cycling effectively:

Set Clear Goals

  • Determine your specific goals. Are you aiming to improve your average speed, compete in races, or complete a time trial?
  • Establish achievable short-term and long-term objectives to track your progress.

Bike Selection and Maintenance

  • Ensure you have a road bike or cycling equipment that suits your goals.
  • Keep your bike well-maintained to maximize efficiency and safety.

Aerodynamic Positioning

  • Practice and refine your aerodynamic positioning on the bike. Lowering your body and tucking in can reduce wind resistance and increase speed.
  • Consider using aero bars or other aerodynamic accessories for time trials and triathlons.

Interval Training

  • Incorporate interval training into your routine. This involves alternating high-intensity efforts with periods of rest or lower intensity.
  • For speed, focus on short, intense intervals to increase your anaerobic power. Examples include 30-second sprints or 1-2 minute efforts.

High-Intensity Workouts

  • Include high-intensity workouts to improve your cardiovascular fitness and power output.
  • Hill repeats and fast-paced group rides are excellent ways to push your limits.

Time Trials and Simulation

  • Practice time trials to simulate race conditions and build mental toughness.
  • Measure your performance, and strive to beat your previous times.

Strength Training

  • Strengthen your lower body, core, and upper body to improve your overall cycling performance.
  • Include exercises like squats, lunges, planks, and rows in your strength training routine.

Nutrition and Hydration

  • Fuel your body with the right nutrients before, during, and after rides.
  • Stay well-hydrated to maintain energy levels and prevent dehydration.

Rest and Recovery

  • Give your body adequate time to recover after intense workouts to avoid overtraining and injury.
  • Incorporate rest days into your training plan.

Technique Work

  • Focus on pedaling efficiency and cadence. Aim for a smooth and consistent pedal stroke.
  • Work on cornering skills and descending techniques to maintain speed on descents.

Mental Training

  • Develop mental toughness and focus. Speed cycling often involves pushing through discomfort.
  • Visualization techniques can help you prepare mentally for races and time trials.

Group Rides and Drafting

  • Participate in group rides or join a cycling club. Drafting behind other riders can significantly increase your speed and efficiency.
  • Learn group riding etiquette and safety guidelines.

Data Analysis

  • Use cycling computers or GPS devices to track and analyze your rides.
  • Monitor metrics like speed, power, heart rate, and cadence to make informed training adjustments.

Seek Coaching and Feedback

  • Consider working with a cycling coach who can tailor a training plan to your goals.
  • Solicit feedback from experienced cyclists or teammates to identify areas for improvement.

Race Experience

Participate in races or time trial events to gain experience and test your speed in a competitive setting.

Safety First

Always prioritize safety. Wear appropriate cycling gear, including a helmet, and obey traffic rules when riding on roads.

Remember that speed improvement takes time and consistent effort. It’s essential to strike a balance between training intensity and recovery to prevent burnout and injury.

Challenges in Speed Cycling

Speed cycling, whether in racing, time trials, or other high-speed disciplines, comes with its share of challenges. 

These challenges can vary depending on the type of cycling and individual circumstances, but here are some common ones that speed cyclists may face:

Physical Endurance

Maintaining high speeds for extended periods requires significant cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. Speed cyclists must train intensively to build and sustain their endurance levels.


Reducing air resistance is crucial for achieving high speeds. Finding and maintaining an aerodynamic position on the bike can be challenging and often requires specialized equipment and technique.

Mental Toughness

Speed cycling can push cyclists to their physical limits, requiring mental strength to push through pain and fatigue. Staying focused and determined during intense efforts is a significant challenge.

Technical Skills

Cyclists need excellent bike-handling skills, especially when cornering at high speeds or navigating technical descents. Technical proficiency is crucial to maintaining safety while riding at high velocities.

Terrain and Weather

Different terrains and weather conditions can present challenges. Climbing hills, dealing with headwinds, or managing slippery roads in adverse weather can affect speed and performance.

Drafting and Tactics

In races, understanding drafting tactics and positioning within a group of riders is essential for conserving energy and maximizing speed. Learning when to attack or respond to attacks requires strategic thinking.

Equipment Costs

Speed cyclists often invest in specialized, aerodynamic gear, such as time trial bikes, aero helmets, and skinsuits. These items can be expensive, and the cost of maintaining them can add up.

Injury Risk 

Pushing the limits of speed and endurance can increase the risk of accidents and injuries, especially during high-speed descents or sprints. Cyclists must prioritize safety and wear appropriate protective gear.

Nutrition and Hydration

Maintaining energy levels and hydration during high-intensity rides is crucial. Proper nutrition and hydration strategies must be implemented to sustain speed and performance.


Speed cycling is often highly competitive. Cyclists must continuously improve their skills and fitness to remain competitive in races and events.

Time and Commitment

Achieving and maintaining high speeds requires a significant time commitment to training and preparation. Balancing training with other life responsibilities can be challenging.


Planning and logistics for races and time trials, including transportation, equipment setup, and race-day logistics, can be demanding and require careful preparation.

Pressure and Expectations 

Competitive speed cyclists may face pressure to meet performance expectations, both from themselves and from sponsors or teams. Managing this pressure can be mentally taxing.

Despite these challenges, many cyclists find the pursuit of speed cycling to be highly rewarding.


What is fast cycling?

Fast cycling refers to riding a bicycle at high speeds. It can encompass various subcategories like road racing, time trials, or sprinting. Cyclists aim to pedal at maximum effort, often achieving speeds exceeding 20 mph (32 km/h) or more, depending on the discipline and terrain.

What Are the Subcategories of Speed Cycling?

Speed cycling encompasses various subcategories, each with its unique characteristics and challenges. Explore disciplines such as time trial cycling, track cycling, triathlons and duathlons, and even the thrilling realm of speed pedelec riding.

How Can I Practice Speed Cycling?

Improving your speed in cycling requires a combination of training, technique refinement, and consistent effort. We’ll provide insights and tips on how to practice speed cycling effectively, from setting clear goals to mastering aerodynamics and honing your mental toughness.

What Are the Challenges in Speed Cycling?

Speed cycling isn’t without its challenges. We’ll delve into the physical and mental demands, the importance of technical skills, and the equipment considerations that come with this high-speed pursuit.

Why Choose Speed Cycling?

Lastly, we’ll explore the motivations behind choosing speed cycling as your cycling discipline of choice. Whether it’s the thrill of competition, the pursuit of personal records, or simply the joy of riding fast, speed cycling offers a unique and rewarding experience for cyclists of all levels.

Wrapping Up

As you dive into the world of speed cycling, you’ll discover a vibrant community of riders who share your passion for velocity. 

Whether you’re aiming to compete in races, tackle time trials, or simply enjoy the sensation of fast-paced cycling, this exhilarating discipline has something to offer everyone. 

So, strap on your helmet, hop on your bike, and get ready to explore the world of speed cycling – where the thrill of the ride knows no bounds. Thank you for being with us. 

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robert dellert

I'm a professional BMX racer at Powerlite Bike co. I've been racing for the past 5 years. I started out as a kid with a bike and now I'm sponsored by some of the biggest brands in the industry. I love what I do and it's my dream to make it to the Olympics one day. LinkedIn

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