Transfer details now available!

Average Speed in Past RAGBRAIs??

Ok Veterans. What were your average speeds from previous RAGBRAIs?? I know the route changes every year so it will be different. I’m just looking for some speeds of the average/above average riders. No offense meant to anyone.

27 Replies

Jason Stoller, June 10, 2016 at 1:13 am

Your speed is going to depend on you. 10-15mph if you can avg it I would think is the norm. If you are a fast rider you will average better than that.

15mph is a good AVG speed. This should be your goal if you are on a two wheel bike.

Since I ride a recumbent Trike and I know its heavy I personally do not expect to be doing more than 10-12mph over the long haul. I know I will be running faster at times up to 20mph and slower up hill at times. I am just very realistic knowing my cadence and speeds based on my training and past experience.



“Bicycle Bill”, June 10, 2016 at 1:32 am

Are you talking average speed for the entire day (including lunch stops, ice cream stand stops, lemonade stops, adult beverage stops, etc) or are you just talking about actual time in the saddle?

Personally, because of all the congestion and reasons to “stop and smell the roses”, I think that you will be doing well to average 12 miles per hour including all stops, with 10 mph being more likely.  But don’t sweat it — this isn’t a race; you’ve got all day to get where you’re going; and even at a 10 mph average a 90-mile day would still get you into the end-town by 3:00 or 4:00 PM leaving you plenty of time to get to your camp area and set up for the night.



Gthomp0419, June 10, 2016 at 6:15 am

Thank you.


RoyBoy, June 10, 2016 at 8:59 am

Be sure to stay hydrated. My experience is that when I start to be dehydrated, I end up going slower. The more dehydrated you become, the more chance for cramps. And cramps will slow down you even more. So keep hydrated. Never leave a town without enough water to get to the next town. And don’t forget electrolytes if you are sweating a lot. I prefer to have one or two bananas and a couple of Tums with calcium each day to maintain my electrolytes, occasionally adding electrolyte tabs to a water bottle. Stay away from sugary energy drinks.


LawnchairMan, June 10, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Hi Gthomp,

My best guess at average speed of the crowd is 12 mph. Since I am a solo recumbent rider (two wheel) I don’t usually talk with other riders on the road. I like to ride at my own pace to get to something interesting faster, and have more time at stops. Actually, riding at your own pace is best. You don’t want to burn yourself out chasing a faster rider, and you don’t want to drag out the day by going too slow. The longer in the sun, the more you need to be hydrated. You have to judge what is best for you.

One day of my first year I averaged 17.7 mph. I think the last day of 2013 the road was flat, and with wind at my back I averaged 20. With the hills of the first two days this year I expect to do slightly over 17.

One advantage of country riding is that there are fewer stop lights than riding in a city. So, your average should be higher at Ragbrai than your hometown practice rides.

My best advice if you are a faster rider, is to avoid starting at 6:30. That is when both sides of the road are packed riding at 12 mph. Of course, you should experience it once at least!


KenH, June 10, 2016 at 6:01 pm

I’ve been looking through the recordings I made with a Polar computer initially and now a Garmin starting last year. So far I have ridden with one, the other, or both of my riding buddies. One of them can’t train much and he rides at an average of around 12 mph. The other one trains more and is ten years younger than the first friend. I usually train the most and so when I ride with the young guy the two of us will trade off challenging the other depending on who is dealing the best with the ride conditions of the moment. We are often averaging 14 mph or so.

This year my two buddies are probably not going to be able to ride. I have signed on with the Riverbend Club/charter and will either be riding alone or more likely will try to find a group of them that I can keep up with, perhaps with some difficulty. With the hills this year and more freedom to run at my own pace it will be interesting to see if I can do any better than I do when I am riding with my friends.

Except on days when the hills or heat are really taxing my slower buddy to his limit I would estimate that even at his 12 mph pace we pass as much as 1/3 of the RAGBRAI crowd. There will be quite a few slow riders on the road most days. For me a big part of the joy of the ride is the fellowship with my two friends. Trading off a little speed to have the shared experience with them really is not a difficult decision for me to make. Given that, if I should happen to bond with a small group from the Riverbend Club during the day and a half we have together before the ride starts and if they happen to run at 12 mph, I will probably be rolling along at 12mph this year too!


SFC JKL 2, June 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Our average riding speed is in the 16-18 range. I’ve seen some nice tailwinds push us to 30 and some nice headwinds grind us to 10.
With that said, I’ll also point out the biggest rookie mistake is riding to fast. Make sure to stop and explore every town. Don’t be afraid to stop along the road to check something out.


“Bicycle Bill”, June 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm

Don’t be afraid to stop along the road to check something out.

He got that right, Gthomp.  Remember, for one reason or another, you may never pass this way again….

And as the old beer ad said, you only go around once so you might as well grab all the gusto you can.



Gthomp0419, June 11, 2016 at 8:47 am

thanks for all the feedback!!!!!


rjjensenia, June 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm

As Bill pointed out, it depends on what average speed you are talking about. Everybody is unique, some people blow threw towns and stop only rarely. Myself I stop often. So there is really no answer to your question. 10 mph means on a 70 mile day it takes you 7 hours from start to finish even if you rode 17mph while riding.


Sandaltan ., June 11, 2016 at 7:59 pm

I can remember a 7 mph headwind day into Sigourney and a 14 mph tailwind day into Fort Dodge, the rest are in between. A friend of mine rubber bands a piece of paper over his computer readout every morning and only looks at the computer when he arrives at the evening overnight town. He says he is a bit OCD and would otherwise push too much and miss all the fun.



Brian Wallenburg, June 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm

We ride 16 – 18 mph. It’s a nice pace and allows for many stops, you can spend plenty of time in the route towns along the way, still allowing yourself the opportunity to get a good meal in the overnight town before they are sold out.


LawnchairMan, June 11, 2016 at 8:47 pm

The question here was “What were your average speeds?” It was not “How long did it take to get to the overnight town?” There is no way to compare how long different riders will stop along the way, so we have to be talking about speed in the saddle.


Brian Wallenburg, June 11, 2016 at 8:58 pm

That’s the way I read the question as well. I doubt there are to many people that figure all their stops in there “average speed.”


andytetmeyer, June 12, 2016 at 10:58 am

We average something between forward and yes. Get passed more than do the passing. So far we’ve always made it to the next town, but it might take 9-10 hours. we do stop for beer flavored recovery drinks.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)

The forum ‘RAGBRAI XLIV – 2016’ is closed to new topics and replies.





Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI