How Many Miles Should I Bike a Day?

By Rachel Lee
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Are you aiming to lose weight? Do you want to train for the next race? Or, do you ride a bicycle just to stay fit? A lot depends on what’s your ultimate objective or what you seek to achieve from riding a bike every day. Other factors include your body weight, health conditions, and so on.

But, if you ask how many miles should I bike a day, the answer would be about 5 miles if you do not involve in any other physical activity. A regular cyclist can easily cover 10 miles to 12 miles an hour, so depending on your goal you may increase your limit and aim for more than 5 miles a day.

Those who aim to lose weight or build stamina will need to combine bicycling with other suitable exercises to achieve their specific goal. When you have eyes set on a specific target, challenge yourself to increase your speed and start going further every day.

As mentioned above, it greatly depends on your objective and the factors that drive you to go cycling every day. For example, if you are aiming to lose inches around your waist then your cycling should be structured like a proper workout, different from a friend who intends to go on a casual ride.  

Let’s do a break-up of the number of miles you should ride in a day, depending on different objectives. However, please remember that this will be based on various factors such as the type of bike you have, your current health condition, the type of terrain you are riding on, and so on.

Cycling To Lose Weight

If you have decided to cycle every day to lose weight then it is difficult to decide how many miles is enough. The number of calories you will lose or burn will depend on your speed and distance you travel. You need to mix your daily workout with a good and balanced diet to get quick results.

Beginners start with 5 miles a day and as you get used to it, boost your limits further. As per a Harvard study, people weighing 155 pounds burned off 596 calories per hour by cycling at a speed of 12 to 13.9mph, while those weighing 185 pounds burned 710 calories by cycling at 12 to 13.9mph.

As per American Council on Exercise (ACE), a person seeking to lose weight must cycle at a moderate intense speed for at least 30 minutes before taking a break. To burn more calories drastically, you will need to cycle for longer durations.

Cycling to Stay Fit

If you just want to stay fit, get back to shape slowly, or regain your agility after injury or illness then we suggest that you cover at least 5 miles and cycle for at least 30 minutes every day. If 5 miles appears to be too much, mix it up with other exercises to meet the 30-minute target.

An important tip for beginners or those recovering after the illness is that you plan your route well and make sure you convert it into a circuit that leads you back home. There might be a great scenic cycle route near you but ensure that it gets covered within a 5-mile stretch, as you have to get back home too.

Make it a point to ride a cycle without your means and blend it as a fun element in your daily schedule. In case you can’t include a trail ride or evening 5-mile circuit, consider cycling to work and back. Does this include your daily exercise requirement without interfering in your schedule?

Cycling To Prepare For An Event

In case you are cycling to prepare for a race or some big event then 5 miles a day will be very easy for you. To challenge your limits and increase your speed we would suggest that you do 10-15 miles a day, and more if you have the fitness level and drive.

Evaluate the distance and terrain of the racing event so that you can train yourself comfortably. Based on this you may decide how many miles to ride in a day. Start with a comfortable figure and then increase your efforts, while keep checking your progress regularly.

Know When You Increase Miles A Day

It is essential to know your fitness and set a riding limit so that you do not go overboard with the distance traveled. However, it’s also important and quite possible to be ready to improve and increase. So, If you are starting then we would suggest that you ride for 5 miles regularly for a month.

After one month, the 5 miles that appeared so hard in the first week will become easier to complete in about 20 minutes, instead of 30 minutes. This is the time when you may want to push your limits further. Keep riding and see how much you can cover – possibly 7 miles.

Depending upon your health and comfort, you may start increasing the miles a little bit every day. If you are looking to lose weight or prepare for an event, go aggressive on this. Others may take it slowly without getting too worked up.

Things To Consider

The miles you can cover in a day also greatly depends on several external and internal factors that I would like to discuss here. Consider these aspects before setting a realistic and reasonable goal without being too hard on yourself.

Goals may vary widely

As already mentioned above consider the goal that you wish to achieve. Are you looking to stay fit and looking lean? Do you want to fit into last year’s jeans? Or, are you biking to prepare for a triathlon or 100 miles racing event.

Understandably, the kind of practice needed for each of these will vary widely. Someone who just wants to stay fit does not need to look into numbers and just ride as much is comfortable. However, someone aiming to lose calories in a week or 10 days will need to push the limits hard. Here’s a table that shows

Distance coveredSpeedCalories burned
5-10 miles12 to 13.9 mph596 calories per hour
5-10 miles14 to 15.9 mph744 calories per hour
5-10 miles16 to 19 mph892 calories per hour
For 155 pounds

If you are training for an event like a century ride then or some kind of racing competition, you may need to start with 10 miles to get into form. Start preparing at least 3-4 months in advance and quickly get to the level of riding 20 miles per day, aim for 30 second months and 50 towards the last month.

Current health condition

You may have been an ardent cyclist before, but what is your current health condition? Are you a 25-year-old young man or a 70-year-old (assuming that you are healthy)? Choose your limits depending on your age and then gradually increase the distance.

If you have an underlying illness or you are trying to recover from an injury or surgery, we suggest that you consult with your physician. Individuals with serious conditions should be cycle too much or regularly unless the doctor says so.

The type of bike rider you are

If you are the kind of bike rider who spends more time on the bicycle than the couch then you will not mind covering 100 miles a day. However, those who ride on rare occasions or have been a couch potato all their life needs to start with light regular rides.

Those who have a good level of fitness can start with 10 miles a day and then increase the limit as they get comfortable. The biggest secret to increasing speed and distance lies in pushing your limits gradually and you will soon be touring the countrysides.

The terrain where you are riding

Well, this is a no brainer that the level of exhaustion from a bike ride almost directly depends on the type of terrain that you ride on. If you go on riding on a flat route such as city streets or seafront promenade, 5 miles may seem like a breeze.

The same 5 miles will appear more strenuous and tough to cover if the route includes climbing hills and mountainous terrains. There’s no comparison between a 5-mile hilly ride and a 5-mile city street ride. We would recommend beginners to start from plain roads or else you may strain a muscle or get tired out too fast.

If you are want to lose weight or build your stamina for an event, we suggest that you choose a tough terrain that includes hilly terrains. This can help you burn more calories, build strength, and prepare yourself for similar situations in a racing event.

The type of bike

If you try riding an ordinary road bike on mountainous terrain, you will not be able to go too far without getting exhausted. Similarly, if you use a mountain bike in city roads, it might not be comfortable for you, hence the type of bike you choose plays an important role in determining the distance traveled.

Those seeking to burn calories can greatly benefit from riding mountain or BMX bikes. People practicing for events must practice on a racing bike. For beginners, we would suggest light and sleek road bike with a comfortable padded seat and a bit of back support.

Beginners and even those who have health issues may choose electric bikes, which belong to the new era of e-bikes that are battery operated. Several manufacturers make bicycles that you may bride like any regular bike or use assisted pedaling when needed.

Useful Tips For Making More Miles Per Day

  • Stay motivated but be careful that you do not overdo to the point of feeling nauseated.
  • Make sure you invest in some good bike gears and appropriate clothing such as bike shorts and gloves
  • Try to ride the bike in all types of terrains
  • Riding only 5 miles 4-5 days a week is anytime better than doing long distances for 1-2 days a week only
  • Never settle with a comfortable distance and always challenge your limits
  • Mix the long moderately-paced rides with the quick sprints to enjoy the benefits of both
  • Be consistent and ride at least three or four times a week to achieve your goal
  • Use smart bike trainers, heart rate monitor, GPS devices, and other modern tools to make the best
  • Have fun while cycling and use it as a medium to relax and re-energize

See Also: 10 Essential Tools To Carry On Road Bike

Related Questions

Can people with underlying health conditions go cycling

Those suffering from asthma, arthritis, heart condition, or any other health problem may also take up cycling but they have to be realistic about their abilities. Consult with your doctor and determine a plan even if that means riding only 3 miles a day.

How to beat boredom while cycling

If going 5-10 miles on the same route gets your bored, motivate yourself by discovering new places. You can also plan a group ride with friends or share your rides online to inspire yourself to achieve your goals.

Is infrequent long-distance riding safe

Some people may think 10 miles 3 days a week is better than 5 miles per day, but the fact is that it’s NOT a good idea. While the average gets almost the same, it may end up pushing your limits too far and you may find yourself too exhausted and unwilling to ride again. So, the key is to stick to small but consistent efforts.