The Challenge of Slow Cycling

This is going to be the most pompous reading article I've written, but at least it's based on fact.

I have difficulty riding slowly.

After over 4,000 training miles this year, and about 45,000 miles on my legs, my standard riding speed is about 20 MPH. Going 20, my heart rate hums along at a nice, steady, aerobic rate, and I get where I need to go without really killing myself. I still have plenty of aerobic capacity left for powering up a hill or out of a traffic light.

The standard Bike & Build riding speed is about 15-16 MPH. For many riders, this is a difficult pace, and many riders won't be capable of sustaining this pace for some time. For me, riding at 15-16 MPH takes conscious effort. I have to actively remember to stay in a lower gear and apply less pedal pressure. I have to be very careful to not take the lead in a group of riders, because if I do, I will fairly certainly disappear off the front without realizing it. I've spent ten years building the base that allows me to ride as efficiently as I do, and lot riding fast is, well, hard.

I went on a slow ride this weekend, and my heart rate was in the 90-100 BPM range. This is well below the 60% zone that most experts consider the minimum heart rate for "exercise".

I know, I know. Cry me a river. I'm just saying, much of Bike & Build will be a choice between getting exercise or being social.