Exactly how long does it take to cycle 10 miles? It’s a question many new cyclists ask before setting out on their first ride or commute of this length. Having started out on an old mountain bike in the Spanish hills, it took me on average 10.5 miles an hour as seen in the first image. Fast forward 1.5 years later, and I’m going further and quicker; albeit on a road bike and less climbing. This comes in at around 45 minutes for 10 miles and variables are a key factor.
The variables of cycling 10 miles
It is no surprise there are a lot of factors to take into account when cycling this distance. The most obvious example is a powerhouse cyclist completing 10 miles time trial in under 20 minutes.
Let’s take a look at the different things that will effect your time, which will also help you calculate your own 10 mile completion.
Like anything, the more you get out on the bike the better you’ll be on it. That’s to say after weeks of cycling 10 miles, you’ll be faster than the first time you had a go at it. Around 1 year after I started cycling my time improved so much that I was doing 10 miles in 33 minutes (I asked Evie to calculate)! You’ll be shocked how quickly your fitness improves just as I was recently. Pair that with a good diet and you’ll be cycling 10 miles in no time.
The 10-mile route
A few people will laugh if you base all your data on average speed. That is because how long it takes you to cycle 10 miles on a flat route is different to how long it takes you to cycle 10 miles on a hilly route. It sounds pretty obvious but I’ve beaten myself up about going slower before when the routes have been just more challenging. If you map out your route beforehand you’ll get an idea if it will be slower than expected.
Whether the Weather is nice or not
Sunny and dry days are perfect for cycling 10 miles and it is likely a cyclist will do it faster than normal. Rainy days make it a little tougher because the tyres friction on the road is higher making you ride marginally slower in wet conditions. And then there’s wind; a bitter sweet cycling relationship. On one hand it may be behind you and you’ll zoom swiftly by, whilst on the other hand it will make your legs work overtime and have you cursing into the gales coming straight at you.
Alternatively, just accept some days will be good and other’s bad. Just understand if it’s windy and wet, you’ll be a little bit slower – the worst think you can do is fight it during those 10 miles.
If you want to jump into some science, I can recommend Cyclist’s article. Apparently, there’s a sweet spot… Who knew? Just give yourself a five hour window of opportunity to do your commute and you may just find it…
How long does it take you to cycle 10 miles? Ask the bike and the lycra.
If you are after marginal gains then open up your wallet. It’s true that a rust bucket of a bike will make cycling 10 miles much more difficult than a Pinarello carbon beast (not actually a bike name), but if you have a standard road or mountain bike then your fitness is the real key to speed.
Back to the route though quickly. If your 10 mile cycle is uphill, using a mountain bike is going to take you longer than a road bike on most occasions. That is down to a bike’s weight. The heavier the bike the harder it is to cycle uphill. There’s no two ways about it. But you can make yourself lighter by either wearing lightweight lycra or carrying less items.
Cycling more than 10 miles
Planning on going a little further than 10 miles? Unfortunately you can’t just create a calculation by multiplying your 10 mile time. Whilst it will give you a really rough estimate, it won’t give you a true account. When I first cycled over 50 miles, it was the hardest day of exercise I have ever done. I recall it taking me 6-7 hours which if using my 33 minute 10 miler data, I should have gone over 100 miles. I wish.
The rationing of food and drink and fatigue it takes to first rack up big miles is exhausting and can by no means be calculated for a first timer. Make sure you gradually pick your miles up rather than jumping into the deep end and prepare efficiently.
If you are just starting out on the bike, have one hour in mind for cycling 10 miles. This time will slowly edge down as your fitness improves. Many variants in cycling will sway your results and this often can not be helped. Do the best you can and take it steady.
Cycling is more than just about getting fast times and hard data. Enjoy the sights, the senses and the complete enjoyment. Good luck with your next 10 miles; and I sincerely hope you find the sweet spot.