How Long Does It Take to Bike 3 Miles? (Beginners to Pros)

A custom graphic from cyclistshub.com illustrating how long it takes to bike three miles. It shows two gradient scales. The first one shows the ride time depending on fitness level. This is matched by the second, which shows the average speed of the ride (in mph and km/h), again depending on the rider's fitness level.

Three miles is one of the best distances for commuting on a bike. It’s relatively long for walking, and short for public transport.

One of the fastest ways to ride them is by bike. But how long it will take you? Below, you learn the answer, what factors influence your average speed, and much more!

How Long Does It Take to Bike 3 Miles?

Biking 3 miles takes between 9 and 13 minutes at an average speed of 9 to 14 mph, an average speed most people ride. The time may vary because of several factors, such as your fitness level, bike type, terrain, weather, traffic, etc.

You can use the following calculator to calculate the riding time if you know your average speed.

Or, you can input the riding time, and it will calculate how quickly you have to ride to reach your destination on time.

RIDING TIME CALCULATOR

System:

Your average speed: kph

Ridden distance: km



What Affects Your Average Bike Speed?

As I mentioned, many factors contribute to your average cycling speed and, therefore, the time to bike 3 miles. Listed below are some of the most significant factors affecting it.

Fitness

One of the first factors that will affect the time to bike three miles is the biker’s fitness level. A biker’s physical health and experience often play a more significant role than other factors.

The fitness level of the cyclist dramatically influences the speed at which we ride bikes. Thus, a beginner will ride three miles slower than a fit cyclist or even a pro.

The following table shows the riding times and average speeds of people at different fitness levels.

Fitness LevelAverage speedTime to bike 1 mileTime to bike 2 milesTime to bike 3 milesTime to bike 4 milesTime to bike 5 miles
Beginner~9.3 mph
(15 kph)
06:4013:2020:0026:4033:20
Intermediate~14.3 mph
(23 kph)
04:0008:0012:0016:0020:00
Advanced~18.6 mph
(30 kph)
02:5105:4308:3411:2614:17
Pro~24.9 mph
(40 kph)
02:1304:2706:4008:5311:07
This table summarizes how long it takes to bike 1-5 miles and the average speed based on different fitness levels [mm:ss].

Bike Type & Tires

Besides the biker’s fitness, the time will also depend on the type of bike, tires, and tire pressure.

This chart shows the average speed of mountain, hybrid, gravel, and road bikes, and the time it takes to ride three miles.
Average Speed Based on the Bike Type and Time to Bike 3 Miles

For example, road bikes are the fastest bike type thanks to their narrow and smooth tires, aerodynamics, and sporty riding position, which has less air drag.

On the other hand, hybrid bikes are slower because you sit in a more relaxed position (e.g., higher air resistance). Additionally, their tires have higher rolling resistance, and their aerodynamics is worse. The same applies to mountain bikes, which are the slowest bike type.

When cycling three miles, choosing the right type of bike will reduce the time it takes. In most cases, a particular type of bike can be 1 to 4 mph faster than another.

Bike typeAverage speedTime to bike 1 mileTime to bike 2 milesTime to bike 3 milesTime to bike 4 milesTime to bike 5 miles
Mountain~12 mph
(19 kph)
5:0010:0015:0020:0025:00
Hybrid~13.3 mph
(21.4 kph)
4:309:0113:3218:0322:33
Gravel~15 mph
(24.1 kph)
4:008:0012:0016:0020:00
Road~16 mph
(25.8 kph)
3:457:3011:1515:0018:45
This table summarises how long it takes to bike 1-5 miles and the average speed based on different bike types [mm:ss]. Remember that each bike type includes several sub-categories, so their speeds may vary further.

I cover different bike types in more detail below in the FAQ section.

Gradient & Terrain

The terrain and gradient are other factors that significantly affect the time to cycle three miles. They are worth considering when biking in a particular area.

For instance, climbing a 5% gradient three-mile hill will take 2.5 times longer*, assuming all other variables (like your power, rolling resistance, weather, etc.) are the same.

*6 minutes 48 seconds vs. 16 minutes and 54 seconds (Source)

Likewise, three miles-long rough road will take longer to bike than three miles on a typical street or smooth tarmac.

Weather

If it’s windy, it will take longer when you’re headed in the opposite direction rather than biking with the wind.

Rain can also affect your performance. It can obscure your vision, and the water will increase rolling resistance, reducing your speed.

In hot weather, on the other hand, you will have to battle overheating. So it’s better to bike slower. After all, you don’t want to arrive at your destination all sweaty, do you?

Air Resistance

The total cyclist’s resistance consists of air, rolling, gravitational, drivetrain, and other resistance types.

According to this study, air resistance accounts for 43-57%, gravitational resistance for 24-38%, and rolling resistance for 11%.

So, to improve your speed, you will make the biggest impact when focusing on reducing air resistance. But how do you do it?

You have to lower your aerodynamic drag coefficient (CdA), a combination of an object’s shape and surface area.

You can lower this number and improve your speed by lowering your riding position (make yourself more aero).

Remco Evenepoel riding Vuelta a Espana in an aero riding position.
Remco Evenepoel in his aero riding position | Picture Credit: Luis Angel Gomez, Unipublic / Sprint Cycling Agency

Few people realize how big an impact clothing does. I am not saying you should go and buy snug cycling shorts and a jersey for commuting.

But you should know the flappier your clothing, the more drag and the more effort you have to put into the same riding speed.

Bike Average Speed and Biking 3 Miles FAQ

Below are some of the frequently asked questions you may have regarding biking three miles:

Conclusion

It takes 9 to 13 minutes on average to ride 3 miles. But your speed will depend on other factors, mainly your fitness, bike type, terrain, and weather.

I highly recommend biking three miles because it’s one of the most time-efficient ways to travel this distance.

Furthermore, you will save a lot of money, improve your physical condition, do something for the environment, and get many other benefits.

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