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    What is the average speed I should expect on Cycle Oregon?
    'Course, everyone will have a different answer, but here goes...

On last year's CO [CO 11], (my first) I was on the road about 1 hour for every 10 miles. My computer usually reports an average speed of 12 or 13 but this is my "moving" average. Factoring in breaks, photos, lunch, etc., 10 mph is a good ballpark for me. No doubt, lots of folks move faster. In fact, on a day ride, so do I! But for CO, I found it really important to pace myself. I took it easy everyday, and therefore, felt great at the end of every day's ride.

Pacing yourself is really important - not just speed, but in gearing as well. It's OK to use an easier gear than you think you need. By the end of the week, you - and your knees - will probably be glad ya did!

Susan Otcenas

Regarding your question about the right pace... there are obviously many variables. I suspect that your current pace of 13-14 mph is for relatively flat terrain. You will be cycling some major hills on CO12, so your average pace may drop below 10 mph on several days.

You'll probably get lots of advice on this question, so I'll just say that before each day's ride, you can see how you feel, and leave early enough, or stop less frequently, or for less time, and/or plan on getting into camp later, on the longer mileage or steeper days.

The nice thing about this year's CO [CO 12] is that you don't have to ride at all on Day 4 or Day 7 (or you can ride less miles on those days if you want to ride a bit) because we camp in the same place on 2 consecutive nights. (This is unlike CO10 which was over 525 miles and no rest days.)

So... you'll all do just fine.


We figured 10 mph average as a goal last year (on hybrid bikes) and I think we met it most days. It is easy to get sidetracked by waterfalls, mechanical difficulties, ice cream cones, etc. What we really ended up doing was getting up at 5:15 and getting on the road ASAP - which always seemed to take forever! If you get in at 4 or 5 (or even later) there is still plenty of time to set up camp, shower, and goof off. You need to make your own choices about whether you want to push through and get on to camp or spend more time with the scenery, etc. You could get into a real discussion about whether the people who ride faster see as much while they ride....

I guess the bottom line for me is I enjoy the sightseeing even more than the bike riding (oh my!) and what I remember from last year is more scenery-related than how fast I went or what the road looked like. :)

Rox Heath

Don't worry about your speed. You will slow down on some of the long hills CO has, but if you get a good early start (by 7 or so) you have a lot of time to cover the day's miles.

Remember even if you go slow on the downhills (and I am a nervous downhill rider - hate to go over 30!) it makes up a lot for going 3 mph up the hills with frequent breaks for breathing. We still averaged around 10 mph for the whole day. CO is not a race, but it was almost like the tortoise and the hare last year [CO 11]. We would ride along from sag stop to sag stop gawking at the scenery and being passed by what seemed like an incredible number of riders. We would spend a few minutes at the sag stop and then take off again. After a few minutes a lot of riders would start passing us again, many of them the same people! By the time we got in each night probably 2/3 of the people were in, but we had plenty of time to set up camp, shower, visit the souvenirs, wander around, eat dinner, etc.

Rox Heath

As for those who have the need to speed- or are worried about sagging a little--

How many dots on the yellow moth (and what color) that was lying on the road?

How many dust devils did you see from start to finish?

What song do you hear as the wind blows through your helmet, and did you notice it changes when you turn your head?

Can you smell the difference between cut alfalfa, cut hay, and fresh cut mint?

Did you laugh so hard at a joke you heard while riding that you had to stop?

Did you notice the pretty girl riding next to you?

Thoughts from Team Cycle Nu

Love you all,
See you soon,
Chris and MaryAnn

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  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
    CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Touring Info > On the Road > Average Speed  

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