Biking is one of the best outdoor sports any person can choose to partake in. On its own, it already is one of the best cardio workouts out there. But how much time does it take to bike 20 miles? These are some worries one has before commuting too far on a bike.
Answering a question such as “How Long Does It Take To Bike 20 Miles?” is difficult; as there are a number of factors such as your health condition, bike type, terrain, weather, and route that affects the outcome.
Making sure that our health routine goes hand in hand with our general commuting needs. Let’s take a look at how much should it take you to bike 20 miles on average.
It might sound like a colossal task right now; but it is not something impossible to achieve or taxing as the number makes it seem. Further, I am sure it will change your life for the better.
Apps like Google Maps and Cycling – Bike Tracker can easily tell you how long it takes you to ride 10 or 20 miles. Generally speaking, the average person will reach a speed of 17 mph on their usual bicycle routine.
This means that on average riding 20 miles on your bike should take you around 100 minutes; or one hour and 40 minutes in simpler terms. However, this is an ideal number at the end of the day and a lot of factors will play into how long you actually take to get those 20 miles under your belt.
For example, the average time for myself is 1 hr 52 minutes; while for my brother its 1 hr 48 minutes. So take that amount as a goal to reach, and not the number you will be seeing from the start.
Is biking 20 miles Hard for a Beginner?
Your current fitness level has a detrimental impact on how long can you ride a bicycle. A young person with moderate fitness can easily go as far as 30 miles.
But for an unhealthy person or senior even 7 miles ride would be too hard to complete on a single break.
Distance in Miles
0 – 7
8 – 14
15 – 21
22 – 28
Challenging but Do-able
29 – 35
35 + Miles
Not Fit for Beginners
Most teens can go really far without ever complaining. If you’ve been running, doing regular workouts, commuting to work on a daily basis or do swimming. A 20 miles ride biking is not a big deal.
But we are here talking for the average bike user between 18 to 40 years; who had just started or planning to go for a longer ride. Even for them, a 2-hour continuous ride for 20 miles is still do-able.
It might be exhausting for the first time but is quite beneficial for your health. Not just it Ensure most of your lower body is properly trained but that it does so without much strain.
You do not need to do it every day but in the right balance of 5, 10, and 20 miles in a week for best results. Not just it makes you leaner, better mentally fit and grow lung capacity but also improved joint mobility, reduce stress and improves muscle strength and flexibility.
Factors That Affect How Long It Take To Bike 20 Miles
1. Your Fitness Level
At the start, this really will be the main factor that will cause you to drop below the expected time. Your initial times will vary a lot based on how used you are to constant exercise and particularly to riding a bike.
For a beginner, even 10 miles would be a struggle if he or she is just not physically fit. On the other hand, professionals maintain as high as 23-26 mph average speed. This leads up to just 50 minutes for a 20 mile continues to ride on a higher grade professional road bike.
While the average speed for most people is indeed 17 mph. Beginners will have a really hard time keeping up a constant speed or even just being constantly in motion.
In short, you’ll get tired, go slower at times, and will have to take breaks. And all of this is normal and should be accounted for. If you re just starting expect to take on average an extra 40 minutes at the very least.
As you’ll really be peaking at 17 mph instead of keeping that at a constant speed. That said the huge advantage to any exercise is that the more time you invest in it the better you’ll do.
If you keep practicing your 20 miles you will see constant improvement and will shave minutes in no time at all. Just don’t expect to reach the 100 minutes mark on your first go; it might take a few weeks.
2. Type of Bike You Ride
At the end of the day, it is the bike type that acts as the deciding factor that determines; how long does it take to cycle 20 miles by affecting speed and energy consumed to make a 20-mile ride.
For example with an electric bike you can reach that distance in just 30 minutes; that too without much effort. Similarly choosing a hybrid can slows you down by 2-3 mph and 4-6 mph for a mountain bike.
Bike types are largely dependent on the kind of road they’ll be used on. Road bikes are designed mostly for the flat and paved routes you can find in any city.
While on the other end mountain bikes are designed for hilly terrains with irregular surfaces. Hybrid bikes meanwhile work as a middle point between the two.
If you want to get those 20 miles done in a cinch you really want to go for a road bike.
Road bikes are lighter, take less force to pedal, and are generally faster, all of which are ideal traits for bicycle runs focused on distance over force. You’ll be wasting less energy and moving faster.
The difference with a hybrid bike shouldn’t be too notorious. But if you need or insist on using a mountain bike then make sure to change the tires at least, otherwise, you’ll be running out of breath faster than you’d want.
3. Approach To Target
Your approach to 20 mile target will decide how much time will it take. For example a normal person takes around 45 minutes to complete 10 miles but he takes 1 hr and 40 minutes if he rides in continuity.
So if you account for a 2 10 miles ride and add them both to get the final time; it will always a few minutes better than what you will get for yourself riding in one shot.
I commute to work by cycle riding 8 miles daily which took me just 30-35 minutes. But I still take a 50 minutes margin for the trip as sometimes I just go slow or meet heavy traffic.
This makes me to cover exactly one mile every 6th minute. This simply accounts to an hour for a 10 mile ride and 2 hours for a hour ride back home or to the work.
If you break your 20 miles trip further into small parts of just 5 miles each; you will be truly amazed with your numbers ( even better than 1 hr 40 minutes ).
This all happens because our average speed decrease with increase in net distance. So when asking anyone how long does it takes you to ride 20 miles; please ask is it in one shot or in many short trips.
4. Terrain & Your Route
It goes without saying that a road bike is much easier to ride than a mountain bike on paved roads. Similarly a mountain bike is better suited on hills trekking than any other bike type.
Further its always easier to ride on a tarmac than on dusty trails, rocks or near sticky mud. These type of terrain not just require extra effort but took longer to cover.
The other aspect is the gravity that makes us slow or fast based on the perspective. For example going up hill you need to work extra to counter the gravity and thus it slows you down.
Similarly going downhill the gravity gives you an extra boost in speed. No matter what the path is paved road or bumpy trails you will go much faster than you wanted.
This effect of gravity on your ride can make you get best or worst results for your 20 miles ride; all based on whether you are pushing uphill or accelerating downhill on a paved road.
Then there are your choice for routes that effects your average speed and total time. The first thing you need to take into account is to look for flat and straight routes.
20 miles on a hilly slope with more uphill rides than downhill acceleration will be a far bigger effort than a flat route, and choosing a straight route also makes it easier to just pedal away at your pace.
5. Sports Gear And Weather Conditions
Then there is the weather that plays its role affecting your speed and performance. Sunny days are most idle for cycling as you will go faster with better control.
Rainy days make it tougher to control your road bike and you are compelled to use either a hybrid or mountain bike with greater friction or simply go slow.
Then there is the winds which can work for or against you just like the gravity but in smaller scale. If you are going along with the tail wind behind you; you will save a few minutes each 5 mile.
Alternatively facing a horrible headwind that is pushing against you only will slows you down. Making your legs work overtime fighting the wind and going forward.
Similarly the kinds of sports wear you use impact how quick you would be. Although it would have marginal impact on your time on sunny days; its the horrible headwind it helps to break and go through.
Consider a professional biker wearing spandex to further increase your performance. Its light and is comfortable to wear. You also need to think of the overall weight of your bike.
So, how long will it take to ride a bike 20 miles? As seen above it depends on a number of factors such as your health condition, bike type, terrain, weather, and route that affects the outcome.
But on average it took about 1 hour 40 minutes. When choosing your routes the first thing you need to take into account is to look for flat and straight routes.
20 miles on a slope will be a far more challenging than on a flat route. While there are many things to consider the fact is, doing 20 miles per trip is really not that hard once you start.
All you need to do is keep your own pace, get the right gear, and keep going. The rest will come naturally and before you realize you will be doing those 20 miles.
How long does it take you to cycle 20 miles?
Let me know in the Comments.