How much biking should the average person do and is biking 20 miles a day too much? There is not one answer that fits all because everyone is different so every 20 miles will be different too.
Cycling is one of the best outdoor sports you can partake in. It is a great cardio workout, plus you can explore your city, parks, or local wilderness. There are a few factors such as your health level, the bike and the terrain to consider to find out if biking 20 miles a day is too much.
Biking 20 miles a day is a lot for a beginner who has a poor fitness level and/or has health conditions that require you to cycle slower. However, an experienced cyclist has the endurance level to easily complete 20 miles a day.
Whether you are a beginner cyclist or an expert, it is a good plan to make a cycling routine. Figuring out what that routine should include is where this guide can help. To get the best health benefits you should be cycling every day, but is biking 20 miles a day too much? For some it might be, but this doesn’t mean you can’t work your way towards that goal.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Is Biking 20 Miles A Day Too Much For A Beginner
With cycling being a great way to get in shape, lose weight, and boost heart health, it is both a popular sport and pastime. The average person can reach a speed of 12-15mph which means riding 20 miles will take around 100 minutes.
Of course, this is assuming the person pedals at the same speed the entire time. Not everyone can do this, especially a beginner. It may be more beneficial to start with a small goal each day instead.
Your level of fitness will play a big part in determining if 20 miles a day is too much. If you are not very fit or have health conditions that require you to cycle slower, then starting with a smaller goal of 5 or 10 miles a day is better.
You will want to take breaks along the way and make sure you have plenty of water with you too. Working towards the larger goal is the healthiest way to approach cycling for beginners.
You do not need to cycle 20 miles every day to see the benefits of cycling. Beginners should start with finding a balance of 5, 10, and 20 miles in a week to start. Once this becomes less strenuous, the goals can become daily, starting with 10 miles a day first and moving up to 20 miles.
This allows your lung capacity to grow and gradually introduces your muscles to the exercise. You will avoid injuries which will make it easier to reach that final goal.
There are a few important things to keep in mind for beginners looking to tackle 20 miles a day. Make sure you have a bike that is a good fit with the right saddle for you and comfortable clothing.
You also want to make sure you choose a location to ride that is not full of hills to start with. If you do encounter hills, be sure to use your gears to make them less challenging.
The best bike for a beginner is a road or touring bike. Since you will be sticking to the streets, a mountain bike is not needed and is much heavier. Starting with a road bike will be easier to control and easier to maneuver. Check your local bike shop for a good road bike to get you started, grab a good helmet, and you will be good to go.
Find a comfortable pace to start with. If your goal is going to be 20 miles a day, then you need to build up tolerance for cycling at a speed close to 15mph. You can either do this and take breaks or start at a more casual rate and work up to that speed.
Health and safety comes first, so you do not want to overdo it. Building up to a goal will be a far more successful approach and you will enjoy cycling so much more.
Is Biking 20 Miles A Day Too Much For An Experienced Cyclist
For an experienced cyclist, 20 miles a day is a different matter. The heart, lungs, and muscles of an experienced rider will already be used to enduring longer rides.
For the average person 20 miles a day is not difficult and doable, depending on what speed you want to go. For an experienced cyclist, this distance would be the equivalent to a few laps in the pool for an Olympic swimmer.
The amount of cycling done each week and each day varies for experienced cyclists too. Depending on whether they are training for an event or if they take part in organized rides, they may have goals of riding for 4 to 5 hours at a time. In these cases, 20 miles a day is almost like a warmup and they can typically complete 40 to 60 miles a day.
To enhance training, experienced cyclists will also change up the terrain. Tackling hills is one way to make a ride more challenging and to further strengthen muscles.
Again, a road bike is the best bike to use, but this depends on the type of cycling the rider does. If they are frequently going off road, they will likely train with a mountain bike using trails and mountain paths.
An experienced touring cyclist will use a touring bike and will rely on gear changes to efficiently maneuver up and down hills.
Experts recommend at least thirty minutes a day for exercise to maintain good health. With average cycling speeds of 17mph and faster, an experienced cyclist can complete 30 minutes in no time. Compared to the average cyclist pedaling at 10 to 12 mph, the distances covered will vary.
This more leisurely pace is good for experienced riders sometimes too. Riding too hard every day can still cause injury even in experienced cyclists.
On average, the speeds and distances a cyclist can cover for training and beneficial exercise are:
- Beginners should cover shorter distances of between 10 and 15 miles with an average speed of 12mph. This pace is achievable for beginners with limited training.
- Those with some experience can aim for a short-medium distance between 20 and 30 miles at an average speed of 15mph.
- Those with reasonable experience can cover closer to 40 miles at a speed of 17-19mph.
- Quite competent cyclists and club riders will be able to complete longer distances of 50 or 60 miles at speeds between 20 and 24 mph.
The factors that will influence this include personal health, energy levels, type of bike, weather, and terrain. But for training purposes, this is a good guide to use for planning cycling training no matter what level of cyclist you are.
Benefits Of Biking 20 Miles A Day
Cycling is a proven way to boost health, lose weight, and get in shape. Cycling works many muscle groups in the body and benefits the lungs and heart. It also gets you outdoors in the fresh air. Cycling 20 miles a day comes with several benefits making it easy to see why this is a goal many people strive for.
- Relieve Stress: Cycling improved blood circulation and blood flow to the brain. This relieves stress and releases endorphins which improve mood. Energy levels also improve which alleviates stress. The fresh air helps promote a calm mind, and the exercise every day will help you sleep better. A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
- Health Benefits: The whole-body benefits from cycling, but most importantly, your lung capacity and heart health increase. Improved lung and heart function can reduce the risk of respiratory diseases and heart diseases which are top causes of death in the United States.
- Weight Loss: As a cardio activity, cycling boosts heart rate which stimulates digestion and fat metabolism. As a result, cycling every day burns calories, burns fat, and can help with weight loss goals.
- Strength/Endurance: Cycling works more muscles than just your legs. Your entire core is engaged to keep you balanced on the bike. Your lung capacity also increases, and circulation improves. These combined benefits result in improved stamina and strength and an overall increased fitness level.
- Calories Burned: Cycling burns calories but the amount burned depends on your weight, and the intensity of the ride. At average speeds, cycling 20 miles will take about 100 minutes. A person weighing 155 pounds will burn about 298 calories in 30 minutes. This means cycling 20 miles a day for an average sized person, at average speeds of 12mph, will burn about 994 calories after 20 miles. The more you weigh or the harder you ride, the more calories you will burn.
Downfalls Of Biking 20 Miles A Day
As mentioned earlier, biking 20 miles a day can be too much for beginners. Not everyone will benefit from this in the same way. As with any exercise, if you do too much before your body is ready, there can be downfalls.
Cycling 20 miles a day when you are out of shape can lead to problems before you get to experience any of the benefits.
- Soreness: If you are out of shape and your muscles aren’t used to activity, a 20-mile ride can be painful. Your muscles will be performing activities they have not been trained for and this results in sore muscles. Because your legs do so much work when riding a bike, without training, your joints will also get very sore.
- Recovery: Overworking your body without proper training causes damage. Muscles will be sore as mentioned, and when they are not properly conditioned for exercise, the recovery time is much longer. This means you will not be cycling again for a while. When you start slowly and condition your body, you avoid injury, and you can recover much faster as your body develops endurance.
For some, the answer will be yes. If you are out of shape or have health issues, it is better to start out slow, with shorter distances and more casual speeds. Your body will get stronger, you will feel better, and that 20-mile-a-day goal will just be down the road.