Cycling is one of the healthiest and most fulfilling physical activities out there. Not only does it get you outside in the fresh air, but it also provides a pretty good workout. Some studies have even shown that cycling is an exercise that boosts mental health. Hitting the road is also a fun and exhilarating experience, no matter if you’re riding on dirt, gravel, or pavement. Last, but not least, it’s a pretty good transportation method all in all.
After getting a good pace with your cycling skills and activities, you might be asking yourself: “How much should I cycle every day?” There’s no simple answer to this question, as it depends on your perspective and a bunch of other factors. Are you riding your bike to stay healthy and fit? Is it just a way for you to get to work or school? Do you love riding your bike recreationally? You have to keep these questions in mind before you can get a concrete answer.
All things considered, there are ways to gauge a fun or effective distance for cycling, but it still depends on the situation. Here’s how we see it.
Work around your schedule
If you have a lot of free time, you might not care about how long it takes you to cover a specific distance. Whether it’s five miles or twenty, you’ll be able to get everything you want out of the experience stress-free. For most cyclists, when and how they go for a ride will depend on factors like work and school.
If you like to cycle at the start of the day, you might not have enough time to go for too long of a ride. In some cases, you could only have half an hour to enjoy cycling before you have to go home, take a shower, and go on with your day. Create a good balance of intense cycling and relaxing rides during this time, to better determine what works for you. You could go for a high-intensity cycling experience, but you might not want to overexert yourself early in the day.
Five or ten miles could be enough if you go hard enough, but more might be better if you don’t want to push yourself too hard.
Get your daily dose of cardio
Plenty of folks have taken up cycling to maintain their health and fitness level. It’s no surprise, considering how good cycling is for our joints and blood vessels. Cycling provides an excellent cardio workout without being too taxing in other ways.
There’s no medical consensus on the distance that you should travel every day to stay healthy because it depends on the individual and their health needs. However, a good benchmark would be around fifteen miles. Whether you choose to take it slow or speed through it doesn’t matter, you’ll get the benefits either way.
Know your limits
Sometimes, it’s not just about how much you want to ride your bicycle—but how much you should. If you’re just starting out, can be difficult to determine the exact extent of your endurance. You might overexert yourself a few times before you get the hang of it, but that’s just part of the learning process in cycling.
Even if you’ve figured out a set distance based on your health or adrenaline needs, you should still keep your limits in mind. Work towards a goal instead of using it as an absolute requirement for daily cycling. Once you’re comfortable with covering a distance of around 20 miles, you probably won’t have any issue switching things up from time to time. Afterwards, you can set your daily goal as high as you like.
Take terrain into consideration
Whether you’re a fan of running or riding a bicycle, you’ll know that terrain makes all the difference. Making your way through a city block on your bike isn’t much of a challenge, considering that it’s all flat paths and smooth sailing. Going the same distance on a hill or in mountainous terrain is quite a bit more challenging.
While riding on a well-paved road in flatlands, it will take you quite a bit of time to tire out, though it still depends on your endurance. Going somewhere in the ballpark of twenty miles should give you both a good workout and a fulfilling experience. Cyclists that prefer to go through mountainous terrain on their mountain bicycles would have a much harder time covering twenty miles. Even a quarter of that distance would make for a great ride, considering that it takes just as much time and effort.
Shed the excess pounds
We’ve mentioned how cycling provides direct health benefits for the heart and blood vessels, but it’s hard to talk about cyclin without mentioning weight loss. An hour of bike riding at a normal pace can consume over 300 calories with ease, though it depends on a person’s stature. Figuring out how much cycling you need to lose weight is all down to simple math.
If you know the number of calories you need to lose every week, you can create an exact bike riding schedule. Take the excess calories you have and divide the number by seven, and see how many hours a day it would take you to burn them. You can use a phone app to determine your average speed while riding, so you can roughly calculate the distance needed as well. Once you have a number, set it as your daily goal for cycling.
Keep in mind that you don’t really have to aim for the upper limit every single day. As long as you’re in a caloric deficit, you’ll shed the weight with ease, it will only take a tiny bit longer. Don’t overexert yourself and cycle too much to lose weight, it can be counterproductive. You might end up too tired or exhausted to maintain your daily goal, so it would be better to pace yourself adequately.
Plenty of cyclists that are just starting out wonder about the magic number—how much to cycle on a daily basis. We’ve already established that there’s no clear-cut amount of cycling that will magically help you reach your health, fitness, or adrenaline goals, but there are ways to get close to a specific number.
With this in mind, the number will always depend on you as an individual, and how much you like cycling in general. If you’re a huge enthusiast, you’ll probably aim for higher numbers regardless of what you come up with at the start.
If you’re looking for a conclusive number anyway, 20 miles is a good choice on regular terrain. As long as you prepare yourself adequately and have good gear, you’ll eventually reach and overtake this number with relative ease.