Starting out your bicycling routine can be exciting. It can also be challenging, especially if you’re going to be doing this with no prior physical fitness training. You want to know how long it take to bike 10 miles, but the first question you should really be asking yourself is what your starting point is.
How long does it take you to bike 10 miles?
That’s the first question you should be asking yourself. But I’ve never ridden a bike very long before, you’re thinking. That’s why I’m asking this question!
Yes, true, but again, how long does it take you to bike 10 miles? You see, I’m not being facetious with my question, but asking an honest question. You’re different than other people. Only you can truly answer the question.
What you want to know, however, isn’t how long it might take you or someone else to bike 10 miles, but rather how long it would take the average person to finish a 10 mile ride.
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Before we delve into this question, I’d like to talk about motivation. What is your motivation for bicycling?
Let’s explore some of these points in more detail.
Is this something you’ve always wanted to do? If you’ve never ridden a bicycle before, and this is something you’ve thought to yourself, Hey, this could be fun, guess what? It is. However, keep in mind that going for a quick ride around the block, and riding 10 miles each way on a trip are completely different things.
Is this about getting into better physical shape? There are plenty of ways to get in better physical condition. Riding a bicycle regularly is just one of them. However, it’s one great way to do it.
Not only can you ride for an hour a day and burn a ton of calories, when done right, you’ll be outside, surrounded by nature (along with two-ton vehicles whipping by you at what feels like the speed of light).
Is this about shedding pounds? You may be packing on a few extra pounds (or 50 or 100) and it’s time to get rid of them. I applaud you, and your effort. As I just mentioned, riding a bike is a great way to burn calories, but it’s also a great way to build some muscle, especially in your legs.
Did you ride as a child and want to get back into it? If you rode your bike as a kid all throughout your neighborhood and have been hankering to get back on two wheels, it’s never too late.
The old adage that ‘you never forget how to ride a bike’ is true. No matter how tough it may have been for you as a youngster, and no matter how long it’s been since you last rode, it’ll come right back to you, as easy as could be.
Do you want to be part of a cycling group? You might be a bit lonely in your life right now and simply want the companionship of others. Riding a bike is one way to do that because there are riding groups all around the world.
However, you need to get yourself in shape enough to keep up with them!
Or is it something else? Are you trying to impress someone? Did you lose (or win) a bet? Did you just get a new bicycle as a gift? Whatever the reason, wanting to ride (and wanting to focus on specific distances) isn’t the worst idea, but without proper motivation, working your way up to 10 miles is going to be tough.
Related: How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile?
Let’s Figure Out How Long This Will Take
You’re determined. You’re ready. You’ve got your bicycle, helmet, and clothing appropriate for your climate. You’re ready to hit the road.
Take it easy at first.
You want to go slow at first. Don’t try to ride 10 miles the first day out. You’re only going to completely wear yourself out and you may end up causing an injury. Injuries can derail you for a long time, especially pulled muscles or torn ligaments.
Before you go rushing out there all gung-ho to keep pace with the average or more experienced riders, think shorter distance goals.
Focus on one mile to start.
A one-mile ride isn’t too bad to start out with. Time yourself for one mile. You might discover that you completed that one mile ride in under five minutes. Doing some basic math, that works out to 12 mph (miles per hour). Not bad when you’re first starting out.
Now, you might assume that this would equate to 50 minutes for 10 miles, but it doesn’t. Until you get more conditioned, you’re going to lose energy (stamina) quickly. While you might be able to take that first mile at a good, comfortable clip, all other things being equal, that last mile is going to be a lot slower.
You’re going to be dragging by the time you get there.
There Are Plenty Of Other Factors To Consider, Too
It’s not just your current physical condition that matters. You need to think about your bike, how much it weighs, its tires, your clothing, and the terrain. We’re going to delve into each of these in more detail now.
Yes, you’re clothing matters. If you have baggy clothing that enjoys catching the wind when it’s blowing, guess what? It’s going to create a lot of drag on you and your ride. It will actually slow you down.
Focus on tight, form-fitting clothing. There are plenty of outfits specifically engineered for serious cyclists. There’s a reason the more seasoned riders wear these ‘silly looking’ outfits; it makes them sleeker, more aerodynamic, and that’ll help you improve your times.
The Weight of Your Bicycle.
How much does your bicycle weigh? Don’t have a clue? Put yourself on a scale, jot down the number, then weigh yourself while holding the bike. Subtract your weight from the weight of you and the bike together and you have your bike’s weight.
The heavier your bike is, the more it’s going to slow you down. You might not have the money for a $3,000 bicycle, but if you’re dragging along a 37-pound bike, you could shave some time off by trading up and thinking more along the lines of 24-pounds, at most.
Mountain bike tires are going to require more energy to move them one rotation than thinline road tires, or racing tires. The thinner the tire, the less resistance. The less resistance, the more efficient they’ll be.
They’ll also be faster, helping you blast away mile after mile.
Let’s not negate the terrain. What do you think would take longer: a straight, 10-mile, nothing-but-uphill climb or all downhill? While you’re not likely going to find many places like that, the point is this: the more terrain you’re dealing with, the more it will impact your ride.
Yes, what goes up must come down, and that’s wonderful, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be gaining time on the downhill runs. You may lose more on the uphill climbs.
What Does This All Mean?
You simply have too many factors to consider when trying to determine how does it take to bike 10 miles. There aren’t even reasonable or rational averages, since every factor we talked about can make a significant difference in your overall times.
Let’s say, though, that you’re new to this, your bike is average, and you are in somewhat decent physical shape to start. Let’s also assume that the terrain is relatively flat.
In that case, you should aim to ride at about 12 to 16 miles per hour, on average. That means you should be able to complete a mile in 3:45 to 5:00 minutes (three minutes and forty-five seconds to five minutes), which equals about 35 to 50 minutes for 10 miles.
If you get your pace to 20 mph, then you should be able to ride one mile in 3:00 (three minutes) or 10 miles in 30 minutes.
When you consider average traffic delays in major metropolitan regions, you could actually move along faster than the average vehicle during rush hour!
What To Do With This Knowledge
Now that you know what you should be aiming for when setting out to ride a bicycle 10 miles for the first time (or timing it), how does this help?
You could make adjustments to your route (different terrain), clothing, bike, and more. Keep measuring your times and you’ll likely see the difference (and feel them in the burning of your legs).
When you’ve been riding consistently for years, you’ll look back on this and think, 10 miles in 35 minutes? What a joke!
And all in a good way!
Source: Wiry Body