Whether you cycle recreationally or use a cycle for your daily commute, every rider may ask this question at a point in time: how long does it take to bike a mile? This question is asked by several riders, but not many have a definite answer, which is understandable. Several factors decide the answer.
However, that doesn’t mean that accurate answers to this question don’t exist. Even though the answer can vary from person to person, an average cyclist with a mid-tier bike may take around five to six minutes to cover a mile.
But really, though:
How Long Does It Take to Bike A Mile?
The average time to bike a mile can also come down to three to four minutes if the person riding the bike is skilled and if they’re riding a well-maintained bike.
17 to 18 miles/hour is the average speed for a healthy person riding a new bike. That said, the answer can still vary.
For instance, professional riders can bike 2 extra miles or more at the same time, while a person riding a bike casually (not competitively) may take 6 minutes while moving at a speed of 10 miles/hour.
However, if they’re going up a sloping or steep hill, this time may increase and go up to 7 minutes.
But again, this can vary based on the rider’s fitness, the incline and condition of the path, the weather conditions, the wind direction, and several other factors (which we’ll get to ahead).
Completing a Mile While Going Downhill
Riding a mile while going downhill can take you a minute or even less. If a person is competing in a downhill race, this may even come to 40 seconds.
Downhill races are one of the fastest bike racing competitions in the world. But remember, the goal in these races is to descent the hill first, meaning racers move at the fastest pace possible.
The speeds racers may reach in these circumstances can be astounding since they also have gravity acting as fuel. They can go even faster if the wind is pushing them from behind.
But one must always remember that downhill bike racing is something that must always be done by professionals.
You may not believe this, but riders can also achieve speeds between 80 and 100 miles/hour in a downhill race. So it’s safe to say it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Read Can a Mountain Bike Be as Fast as a Road Bike?
Completing a Mile While on a Hill
The time you need to complete a mile may possibly double if you’re on a hill since now you’re tackling hilly terrain.
Professional bikers competing in the Tour De France can be much faster since they’re highly skilled, fit, and have the appropriate equipment for the job.
Completing a Mile on a Flat Road
A mile on a flat road race may take you three to four minutes. On flat surfaces, the ride is relatively smooth since you don’t have to do any tricky maneuvers and don’t have to deal with hills or hurdles.
As a result, you can easily manage a speed between 17 to 18 miles/hour. Meaning, you may take 30 to 40 minutes to travel 10 miles.
Read Can Mountain Bikes be Used on Road?
How Many Miles Can You Bike In An Hour?
An average person can bike around 10 miles in an hour. If you want to bike 20 miles, you’ll need a break for 15 minutes to rest since you’ll be exhausting your muscles quickly.
The formula to calculate the distance you’ve covered is pretty simple, just divide the time you’ve taken by the speed and multiply the answer by the distance.
Some factors to consider, however, are the amount of sleep a person may need, so they don’t get tired, and the time they have for their workout.
If you aren’t sure about these numbers, it’s best to ask this question from your trainer.
The Different Kinds of Bikes
Folding bikes are renowned for saving space which is why tidy bikers love using them. If you’re worried about creating space for your bike, then this may be the best bike for you. The tires, handlebars, and frame can all be hinged together.
This bike can fit in a regular box which lets you take it on a train, a city bus, or even your car. At a speed of 15 to 19 miles/hour, you can easily travel between 10 to 25 miles on this bike.
Mountain Bikes and BMX Bikes
MTBs and BMX bikes are some of the most favorite options for bikes worldwide. They give a comfortable ride at an affordable price, and they also have a broad range of equipment which makes them suitable for climbing.
Apart from that, you can also use these bikes for ramp cycling, street biking, and dirt races. Their average speed is 10 miles/hour, and they can easily travel between 10 to 25 miles.
That said, BMX bikes aren’t ideal for commuting. They have low seats, which cause discomfort at almost every distance. A mountain bike is also slower than a road bike.
The cruiser bikes are surprisingly convenient. They are usually used by bikers on the beach or when a person is going shopping.
Since it has a single gear, it can be ideal for terrains, and it also has wide wheels and a wide seat.
They also have vertical handlebars that are ideal when you’re trying to enjoy the scenery while being seated on a bike.
These bikes can easily reach speeds of 12 to 15 miles/hour and can travel for 15 miles.
Factors That Can Affect a Bike’s Speed
Road Condition and Weather
The physical slope and state of your bike’s path matter a lot in determining your bike’s speed.
A stunt bike’s track is built from smooth materials, while a paved road can be a bit tougher. Dirt paths, however, are the most uneven.
Moreover, there may be large bumps, slopes, and hills on the way that may require extra endurance and a lot of care.
Similarly, the weather conditions and the wind’s flow can also decide the speed of your bike.
Rain can make the road slick, which means you can ride the bike faster, even though this may be difficult and unsafe.
In these conditions, the visibility can also reduce since there’s going to be ample smog.
A windy day, on the other hand, can help you if you’re riding in the direction of the wind. But it may work against you if you’re traveling against the wind.
The Biker’s Fitness
Since biking is a physical activity, it goes without saying that your physique will heavily impact how well you perform on the bike.
Different factors such as your weight, age, exercise routine, and experience can all come into play. If an older person doesn’t exercise regularly, they may get fatigued.
A beginner, however, may have difficulty navigating through new terrains and sustaining their speed while riding. So you can expect beginners to travel at speeds between 10 to 19 miles/hour.
By comparison, a professional rider riding a bike in the Tour De France can have a speed over 25 miles/hour.
The Clothing You Have
The equipment you’re carrying and the kind of clothes you’re wearing can also impact the time it takes you to cover a certain distance.
Imagine this: a professional biker in spandex; their total weight can be a lot lighter than a person traveling on a bike wearing jeans and a jacket.
The professional helmet riders wear can also affect aerodynamics. Their helmets are designed to be more streamlined to ensure a smooth ride against wind currents.
That said, the total amount of gear on a bike can also increase the bike’s overall weight, and thus the rider may need more energy to cycle.
If you’re carrying a first-aid kit, a water bottle, or a tool kit, you’ll definitely be slower than a person who has no gear. At the end of the day, it’s all about efficiency when you talk about speed.
A biker who uses the gear efficiently while they’re on a flat surface or on a hill can add approximately 50% to their overall speed.
The Rider’s Skill
An experienced rider is going to have a clear edge over a novice one when it’s about covering long distances or certain tricky terrains.
They’re going to know to navigate through certain trails a lot better since they’ll know when to use which gear.
This can also be due to their increased stamina or their ability to maintain their top speed whenever they reach it. This helps them use their energy efficiently whenever they’re pedaling.
On the other hand, a beginner is going to have several problems handling the terrain of a mountain bike, while on a flat surface, it can be hard to sustain speeds.
Perception plays a huge role, too. An erroneous perception can make you cut back on the effort you have to put in even before you’ve arrived at the destination you wanted to reach.
You may get unsettled while seeing a slope ahead which may make you slow down when you shouldn’t.
Focusing more on the challenges and difficulties put in front of you can increase the stress on your brain. If you want, you can always distract yourself and make it work in your favor.
This impact of an external influence can be demonstrated by using a simple yet fascinating technique: music.
A biker who likes to listen to music relentlessly can ride a bike a lot faster and for a longer period without failing. The music takes center stage, and the inconvenience never gets the spotlight.
Similarly, focusing on being productive rather than worrying about being productive has helped several riders reach the pinnacle of their performance.
For instance, if you’re riding up a slope, it can be possible to maintain the similar energy that you’d maintain while riding on the ground. Even though you’ll be moving a lot slower, you won’t be working too hard.
But seeing those numbers go up slowly on the tracker can give you the inspiration to proceed and break all mental barriers.
These skills come from learning all the little tricks that go into making a bike ride fast, and only experience can teach you these tricks.
For instance: what is your most comfortable biking position? How much forward should you lean?
A skillful rider automatically sits in their preferred position, with their elbows tucked into their body and their body leaning forward to avoid extensive drag.
Almost instinctively, they realize the rhythm they need to function on to ensure they can utilize the environment to its highest potential.
At last, the bike plays a crucial role, too. The maximum speed your bike can achieve depends on its type. There are several bikes that are designed to meet particular demands.
The three most common bikes you’ll find in the market are:
Road bikes are the lightest. They’re usually made of carbon fiber and aluminum. They have a drop-style bar that allows the rider to change their posture while riding.
These bikes are supposed to be ridden on a uniform and flat surfaces, which are often the best to achieve high speeds.
Hybrid and mountain bikes aren’t usually moderate, and they can dominate road bikes when it comes to off-road services. That said, they are made of heavier materials to withstand the rough riding they’re built for.
They also have a wider profile which makes them highly susceptible to drag.
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So how long does it take to bike a mile? As you can see, there is no accurate or real answer to this question, and there can only be estimates that can differ massively depending on several factors. That said, you are welcome to try and have a test for yourself.
How long does it take you to bike a mile? Record the time it takes you to cover different terrains in different circumstances. Keep taking these tests and see if you can improve over time. As you get better, keep trying to beat your benchmark. At the end of the day, it’s all about pushing yourself to your extreme potential.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.