How Long Should Your Bike Ride Be?

How Long Should Your Bike Ride Be?
November 6, 2021 Cycling tips

Here’s how to get the most out of your cycling exercise

Haphazardly jumping into cycling is counterproductive. It’s important to know how much cycling is going to benefit you. For example, cycling for 5 minutes a week on a mountain bike won’t offer you much progress. It’s crucial to know how long to cycle, if progress is a priority. This article will tackle some factors to consider for helping prospective cyclists decide on cycling duration.

Which factors should you consider when deciding how long to cycle?

Which factors should you consider when deciding how long to cycle?

Knowing how long to cycle for every session is the key to improvement. Several factors need consideration, as a guide, and they include the following (but always consult your doctor if you have any medical questions or health concerns about cycling):

  • Age
  • Existing health conditions
  • Current strength level
  • Current endurance
  • Terrain
  • Return trip.

Age

Age is a significant factor to consider when just starting with cycling or taking up cycling after a long time on inactivity. Beginners with a more advanced age must be more mindful of riding duration. Overdoing it could be a health risk, especially if strength and endurance are an important factor.

Do take note that age usually only plays a bigger role for beginners. Seniors who are currently active are perfectly capable of being on par with younger cyclists. With this said, seniors should first consult with a physician to minimise risks.

The right bike parts should also be a priority, so ask a local bike shop for help, such as Stead Cycles in Beresfield, near Newcastle NSW. Havin the best equipment for your needs and goals will make the world of difference.

Existing health conditions

Existing health conditions could also be an issue when considering riding length.

Musculoskeletal issues, respiratory problems, or nerve conditions, all limit how long a person can ride. Those with these conditions must first consult a doctor before taking up cycling seriously.

Of course, there are also existing health conditions that may improve because of cycling. Studies show that exercise improves symptoms of heart disease, asthma, arthritis, and many other diseases. Thirty minutes of biking a day for four days a week can make a big difference.

All the same, those interested in cycling should still get an expert opinion from a physician beforehand. Also, consulting with a cycling expert in your local bike shop regarding bike parts suitable for medical conditions is a wise idea.

Current strength level

Muscle strength, particularly in the arms and legs, plays a massive role in cycling duration. Biking can be pretty hard on your body, if you go for long distances, steep hills or fast speeds, so it’s essential to build up sufficient strength.

A good starting point for beginners is a maximum of 10 km in a single cycling session. This is achievable and beginners can shorten that ride based on their strength. As this strength builds up, longer and longer cycling sessions become possible.

You will begin to notice, even from your second outing, that you are able to go further than you did last time and this endurance will grow with every ride.

Current endurance

Muscle strength alone won’t do it if the rider is always out of breath. Endurance is also an important aspect to work on. As mentioned earlier, 10 km maximum is a good baseline for beginners. After that, to reach 10 km per ride should be the goal to build endurance. It will be challenging at first, but rides will be so much easier as time goes by. More challenges are the goal once the rider reaches 10 km a ride. However, doing so can further help increase strength and endurance.

Terrain

flat terrain and paved roads may not pose many problems at all but consider taking shorter rides when going off-road. Paved but hilly terrain can also be quite challenging, so keep the terrain flatness, roughness and steepness in mind, but do give it a small go!

Going off-road or biking uphill is a great way to get stronger. Of course, be sure to use the appropriate bike for these rides. Speak to a cycling expert at Stead Cycles to find out more, but a mountain bike or a road bike would work well.

Return trip

Keep in mind a very important element of your bike ride: Your destination is only half the distance of your total trip, because you need to ride back again!

What’s your purpose in cycling?

What’s your purpose in cycling?

Taking all the factors mentioned into consideration helps determine how long you should ride for on each occasion. However, the more important consideration is the actual goal of the cyclist – what do you hope to gain out of cycling? Here are some of the most common reasons and some tips regarding cycling length:

  • Regular cardio exercise
  • Leisure and travel
  • Weight loss.

Regular cardio exercise

Doctors recommend at least 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, in a week. As an activity that gets the blood and air flowing, biking is an excellent source of aerobic exercise.

Try to follow the recommendation of at least 150 collective weekly minutes for leisurely bike rides. Those who want a bit more intensity can go for the more vigorous option with 75 minutes a week. Off-road rides with a mountain bike, for example, can be done for vigorous exercise.

Leisure and travel

Even those who bike for leisure must also build proper strength and endurance, but do not worry about reaching the initial 10km goal outright – it may take a few weeks, but fear not, keep trying and you will get there.

Weight loss

It takes a deficit of 7,700 kcal to lose 1 kg of fat. This means that to lose one kilo of weight, one should burn off more calories than what is taken in from food.

A half-hour moderate cycling ride burns about 300 calories. A vigorous session for the same amount of time burns about 400 calories. With a proper diet and regular biking sessions, a person can quickly lose quite a significant amount of weight. 

A big bonus here is it’s not just the calorie burn from cycling that helps with weight loss. Cycling can also increase a person’s metabolic rate. A high metabolic rate means more weight loss in a shorter amount of time.

Consult with a trusted bike shop to maximise the benefits of cycling

Consult with a trusted bike shop to maximise the benefits of cycling

A bike shop isn’t just about purchasing bike parts – they can also help you answer any cycling-related questions you may have.

Stead Cycles, in Beresfield, NSW, has a wide range of bike parts and cycling experts to boot. We’re a great source of both parts and information, so give us a try. You may contact us at 02 4966 2141 or email info@steadcycles.com.au to send your enquiries. We also invite you to learn more about us by clicking here.

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