Biking at an average speed of 12.8 miles per hour it will take 94 minutes or 1 hour and 34 minutes to travel 20 miles. Wondering how to compute this yourself? READ BELOW
How long does it take to bike 20 miles? Long-distance cycling is popular among professionals and biking enthusiasts alike. Finishing such a long distance provides a sense of fulfillment and improved stamina, health, and even mood.
The calculation for determining the time is Distance divided by (Speed/60 converts to minutes). Example from above – 20 miles divided by (12.8/60) = 93.6 minutes
Three studies were referenced to get the average speed.
- 11 to 12 mph sited in a St. Petersburg, FL study, found 👉 HERE
- 12.8 mph sited in the PPI Transportation Depth Reference Manual for the Civil PE Exam, found 👉 HERE
- 7.8 mph to 16.5 mph sited in a study from The National Library of Medicine, found 👉 HERE
A 10-mile bike ride at an average speed of 12.8 mph should take about 47 minutes. The terrain and your fitness level plan a big part in this equation. An increase in speed of 2 mph will save over 5 minutes in travel time.
How Long Does It Take To Bike 5 Miles?
A 5-mile bike ride at 12.8 mph will take 23 minutes finish. Having a downhill can significantly decrease the time. A 15% downhill grade (increasing speed to 16mph) will cut the ride down to just 19 minutes
|Distance in Miles
|Time to Travel with Bike
|1 hour 10 minutes
|1 hour 34 minutes
|1 hour 57 minutes
Factors That Affect How Far A Person Can Bike
Your biking skills are not the only factor that tells how long it will take for you to finish biking a particular distance.
The primary factor determining how fast it will take you to finish a 20-mile bike ride is the speed at which your bike is running. The quicker your bike, the shorter the time you will have to spend to reach 20 miles.
However, it is essential to note that speed is not the only determinant of how long to bike 20 miles.
Your physical state is crucial when hitting the road. While it is optional to be a professional biker to achieve a 20-mile biking distance, having an active lifestyle is a driving factor.
If you are physically active in other aspects before trying biking, reaching 20 miles will take more than two and a half hours. However, your muscles are already used to physical activities even before you try cycling. For this reason, the fatigue from pedaling for hours will not take too much toll on your body.
On the other hand, beginner cyclists who are inactive will need help to finish a 20-mile bike ride. They are not yet physically fit, so their bodies do not have the strength to withstand the fatigue continuous pedaling can cause. But with regular practice, you can build muscle strength and reach a biking distance.
Moreover, cycling enthusiasts and professionals may no longer find a 20-mile ride difficult.
Different bike types offer various features that make your ride easier or harder. A lightweight bike, like a road bike, makes your adventure smoother. The bike’s light weight means you do not have to exert much effort in pedaling. Lightweight bikes are also easy to maneuver, so using them for a long-distance ride is ideal. Such is especially true if you want to save energy from pedaling.
Another type of bike that can help you finish a 20-mile bike ride is an electric bike. Since electric bikes operate with a motor, they will continue to move even when you are not pedaling.
Apart from saving your energy, electric bikes can also save some time when used on a 20-mile ride. The motors installed on these bikes make them run faster, so your traveling speed does not have to rely on your pedaling power.
Flat roads are easy to bike on, while hilly and pothole-filled ones make biking difficult. If you are traveling 20 miles on a flat road, you can do so at an average speed and without much pedaling power. Since there are no obstacles, reaching your target distance will be easy.
The condition of the road or terrain you are cycling on ultimately affects how fast it will take for you to reach 20 miles. Biking will be easier if the path is dry and the weather is sunny. On the other hand, biking on wet ground can be more challenging as they tend to be slippery.
But if you are biking on trails filled with obstacles, corners, uphills, and downhills, then biking will be challenging. The obstacles may hinder you from reaching a 20-mile distance within your target time. Uphills and downhills will also decrease your speed while requiring much pedaling power.
For this reason, doing a 20-mile bike run on a rough trail takes longer than biking the same distance on a flat, unchallenging road.
If you are a beginner, you should start biking on unchallenging trails and gradually try more challenges as you develop skills.
Long-distance biking will tire you out. For this reason, it is essential to stop and take quick breaks in between. The amount of time and frequency of your rests and water breaks can also affect how long it will take you to reach 20 miles by bike.
You may also want to stop to appreciate sceneries from time to time. But regardless of your reason for stopping, it is essential to account for these brakes for the amount of time you spend on a 20-mile bike ride.
But no matter how long or short it takes to bike such a distance, you should enjoy the ride and have fun. (source)
Is Biking 20 Miles Enough Workout?
Cardio exercises are an essential part of one’s workout routine. It pumps your heart rate up, thus strengthening it. Cardio also helps your blood flow throughout your body better.
Biking is an excellent form of cardio. It allows you to move your entire body, which tones your muscles and improves overall health.
Moreover, a 20-mile bike ride is an excellent distance for people who want to improve their overall health. A Bowling Green State University Study found that biking for 10 to 30 minutes can improve a person’s:
- Physical fitness
- Somatic-related mood states. (source)
Apart from improving one’s mood and fitness level, working out through biking has many other benefits.
Biking improves muscle function, especially in the lower half of your body. But while pedaling for hours strengthens your legs, it does not put too much stress on your joints.
In addition, biking activates your glutes and quadriceps. It also loosens up your calves and hips. For this reason, long-distance and regular biking result in improved flexibility apart from muscle strength.
Cholesterol increases your risk for heart-related diseases. But one reason why cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise is it lowers your cholesterol levels. As a result, people who regularly bike have lower chances of heart attack, stroke, and other heart issues.
Additionally, biking increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and good cholesterol, while lowering the body’s bad cholesterol. (source)
You need to balance your body to keep your bike upright when you bike. Balancing includes proper posture, so frequent and consistent biking can train your body to improve your posture. For this reason, biking can improve your balance and coordination while stabilizing your core.
Biking is not only a cardiovascular exercise. It is also not just a form of exercise that strengthens your lower body. Instead, biking is a combination of cardio and strength training. It also exercises your mind by prompting you to concentrate on the road.
Your muscles are not the only body part that biking has an impact on. Cycling regularly can also improve your mood and mental health, calming you down and easing any stress you feel.
Biking requires focusing on the road as you pedal. It develops awareness, thus taking away your focus from the things that disturb your mental well-being. (source)
If you want to stay fit or boost your overall bodily function, start biking short distances as you aim for the 20-mile goal.
As a cyclist, nothing is more satisfying than finishing a biking goal. However, biking long distances require endurance and physical fitness. With the proper preparations, biking long distances, such as 20 miles, can be easier.
Here are the ideal preparations to follow before doing a 20-mile bike ride.
Biking for hours can drain your energy. So before setting out on an adventure, fueling your body by eating and hydrating enough is essential. Eat healthy and carbohydrate-rich food to give your body enough source of energy.
Besides hydrating before you start biking, bring a lot of water. It is also essential. If you do not want to bring a water bottle, you can get a mountain biking backpack with a hydration bladder. This way, you can bring more than a liter of water for a 20-mile bike ride.
Simply pedaling your bike without knowing which gear to use can tire you out faster. Knowing the efficient equipment on a given road or trail is ideal. When choosing a gear, find the easiest one to use so your legs will not feel too fatigued.
Always pedal smart, not hard, regardless of how long the biking distance you are traveling. (source)
You need to find out when your bike will acquire damage. For instance, your tire can suddenly go flat while you are in the middle of the road. So, it is crucial to bring a toolbox in case something unforeseen happens.
In addition, it is vital to have a first aid kit stashed in your biking bag. This way, you can treat yourself or your fellow biker in case of an accident.
Safety is essential no matter how short, or long your target biking distance is. For this reason, you must wear the proper biking gear to protect yourself from possible accidents. If you are biking on a trail, it is essential to wear the following:
- a helmet
- biking shoes
- elbow and knee pads
You must wear the same biking gear if you are biking on a flat road. However, it is essential to:
- not ride against the traffic
- use headlights
Looking for Some More Ways to Help Your Bike Last
- Regular maintenance will keep you pedaling for years. Read – DIY Mountain Bike Maintenance Schedule
- Everyone wants a new bike, find out when it’s time to buy with this article: Repair Old Bike or Buy New – Options
- DIY Mountain Bike Tune Up – A Complete guide to what to repair and how.
There are two things you can do to prevent yourself from experiencing too much muscle pain after biking:
- do some warmup exercises
- start slow
The ideal warmup exercises for cyclists include stretching the muscles, especially on the lower half of their bodies. These exercises include jumping jacks, squats and lunges, glute bridges, and leg swings.
You can also opt not to do any warmup stretches. You can prevent too much body pain by pedaling slowly instead of giving complete power movements from the beginning of your ride. Starting slow will gradually stretch your muscles, increase your heart rate, and boost blood flow. As a result, your body will slowly develop endurance, preventing you from experiencing too much fatigue.
Biking 20 miles can be a challenge, but it is possible. However, prepare yourself and anticipate whatever may happen along the ride. (source)
How long does it take to bike 20 miles? The answer to this question varies from one cyclist to another. It is also worth noting that there are trail or road conditions that can either slow down or help you reach such a distance faster. Your physical fitness and bike use also impact the time you will take to bike 20 miles.
Our comments section is open! If you have questions, suggestions, or comments, feel free to drop them in the comment box so we can interact!
Finishing a 20-mile bike ride can take two and a half hours for a beginner. On the other hand, it can only take an hour or more for those who have been biking for some time. You must make proper preparations regardless of how much time you will spend biking such a distance.
More Ways to Stay Safe On Your MTB
- Is there an art to falling? I say yes – find out why in – How to Fall Off Your MTB (and not get hurt)
- How many ways can you get hurt riding? Read 10 Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries (plus tips to avoid)
- Is It Safe to Ride Alone? A great article about being prepared.
- My knees hurt for a long time after riding. Find out how why. Is Mountain Biking Hard On Your Knees
- Isabel Mayfield. “How Long Does It Take to Bike 20 Miles?” Biking 20 Miles a Day: Benefits and Tips How to Prepare (blog). https://healthreporter.com/biking-20-miles-a-day/#How_Long_Does_It_Take_to_Bike_20_Miles.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, J. Richard Kuzmyak, Jerry Walters, Mark Bradley, Kara M. Kockelman. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington: The National Academies Press, 2014. https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/22330/chapter/5#26.
- Nicole, Serene. “The Influence Of Fitness And Exercise Status On Mood Changes Associated With 10 And 30 Minutes Of Cycling.” Ph.D. diss., Bowling Green State University, 2006. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1151096740.
- Beth W. Orenstein. “Bicycling.” 6 Effective Exercises for High Cholesterol (blog). June 15, 2016. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/healthy-living-high-cholesterol/effective-exercises-high-cholesterol-pictures/#:~:text=Bicycling&text=Research%20has%20shown%20that%20riding,routine%20without%20disrupting%20your%20schedule.
- Emily Cronkleton. “Benefits.” 12 Benefits of Cycling, Plus Safety Tips (blog). December 15, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/cycling-benefits#benefit.
- “Health benefits of cycling.” Health Benefits of Cycling and Dos and Don’ts: How To Make The Most Out Of Cycling (blog). June 16, 2022. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-cycling/.