Five miles is a good starting distance for beginner cyclists. But how long it should take you to ride?
The time depends on your average speed. In this article, I will discuss factors influencing it, tell you the average time to bike five miles, and give you tips on how to cycle faster.
How Long Does It Take to Bike 5 Miles?
Biking 5 miles takes between 21 and 33 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
What Affects Your Average Bike Speed?
As I mentioned, many factors contribute to your average bike speed and, therefore, the time to bike 5 miles. Listed below are some of the most significant factors affecting it.
One of the first factors that will affect the time to bike five 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 five 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 Level||Average speed||Time to bike 1 mile||Time to bike 2 miles||Time to bike 3 miles||Time to bike 4 miles||Time to bike 5 miles|
Bike Type & Tires
Besides the biker’s fitness, the time will also depend on the type of bike, tires, and tire pressure.
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 five 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 5 mph faster than another.
|Bike type||Average speed||Time to bike 1 mile||Time to bike 2 miles||Time to bike 3 miles||Time to bike 4 miles||Time to bike 5 miles|
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 five miles. They are worth considering when biking in a particular area.
For instance, climbing a 5% gradient four-mile hill will take 2.5 times longer*, assuming all other variables (like your power, rolling resistance, weather, etc.) are the same.
*16 minutes 58 seconds vs. 42 minutes and 11 seconds (Source)
Likewise, five miles-long rough road will take longer to bike than five miles on a typical street or smooth tarmac.
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?
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).
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 5 Miles FAQ
Below are some of the frequently asked questions you may have regarding biking five miles:
It takes 21 to 33 minutes on average to ride 5 miles. But your speed will depend on other factors, mainly your fitness, bike type, terrain, and weather.
Five miles are a good goal for beginners. It’s a respectable distance that’s worth tracking.
I highly recommend you start cycling instead of driving. Besides saving a lot of money, you will improve your physical condition, do something for the environment, and get many other benefits.