How long does it take to bike 5 miles? Well, how long is a piece of string?
This straightforward question does not have a straightforward answer.
How long to bike five miles for one cyclist will be different from another. It’s dependent on the type of bike, terrain, the conditions of the ride, the fitness and ability of the cyclist, and more.
But, ask and you shall receive! We’ve done the research and crunched the numbers to give you a few good answers to how long to bike 5 miles.
So read on, because in this article we’ll be covering:
- How Long Does It Take To Bike 5 Miles For The Average Cyclist?
- How Long To Cycle 5 Miles?
- How Long To Bike 5 Miles? Mountain, XC, And Gravel
- How Does My Bike Affect My 5-Mile Time?
- How To Time My Five Mile Cycle?
- How Long Should It Take To Cycle Five Miles?
How long does it take to bicycle 5 miles?
Let’s find out!
How Long Does It Take To Bike 5 Miles For The Average Cyclist?
A single number to answer this question doesn’t exist, but if it did, it would be this:
It takes the average Strava cyclist 24 minutes and 23 seconds to cycle five miles.
This is based on data collected from Strava from October 2020 – September 2021, during which the average cyclist rode at 12.3 miles per hour.
It’s impossible to know what the true average is, although 24 minutes and 23 seconds isn’t far off our best guess. It’s probably the closest we’ll get to a statistically provable answer to how long does it take to cycle 5 miles.
But honestly, this isn’t a very good answer.
It doesn’t tell you anything about the different riding styles and abilities which come along with this question.
So if we can’t get a single, straightforward answer, where do we turn to next?
How Long To Cycle 5 Miles?
Based on our own experience here at BikeTips, we’ve laid out our best guesses at what “average” speed looks like depending on ability.
- Check out our guide to average bike speed, and how long it takes to bike a mile – including all the factors which affect your speed and how to get faster!
A practiced road cyclist cycles 5 miles in 20 minutes at around 15 mph (24 km/h).
This would be a little faster for just 5 miles, without the exhaustion of a full hour of riding.
Cyclists committed to training can expect to average between 18-22 mph (29-35 km/h) over an hour, for a 5-mile time of 13.5 and 16.5 minutes.
Again, this would be even faster over a flat 5-mile sprint.
A 5-mile ride in 13 minutes is a very impressive time and will require training and dedication.
However, not all of us are interested in the blood, sweat, and gears approach!
For commuters and more casual riders, 5 miles in 25 minutes is reasonable at around 12 mph (16 km/h).
This is close to that Strava time we mentioned, and this sort of time represents most cyclists.
Important to remember your time is heavily dependent on the route you take. Five miles through busy traffic is obviously not the same as five miles on a flowing cycle path.
And to state the obvious: elevation will make a huge difference. You’d take many times longer riding the first 5 miles of a mammoth climb like Alpe d’Huez on the way up than when you cover the same ground on the descent!
So if you’re here because you want to know what time to leave for your commute to work, instead we’d recommend riding and timing the journey yourself.
A simple leisure cycle will be slower. Say you’ve hired bikes to ride around a park, or you’re riding a cycle path to enjoy the weather on a nice day – you won’t be cycling for speed.
When cycling in this way, for leisure, not speed, five miles can take 40 minutes, an hour, or maybe more.
But what about off the road?
How Long To Bike 5 Miles? Mountain, XC, And Gravel
Where road cycling simply involves moving your speedy road bike across paved, even terrain, there’s a little more to off-road cycling: tacking climbs, drops, and tight turns.
Gravel and cyclocross are easy places to start as they more closely resemble road cycling, and are more straightforward in that they involve cycling over trails.
A cyclocross rider will probably ride 5 miles on singletrack in 30 minutes, averaging around 10 mph (16km/h).
Gravel cycling more closely resembles road cycling, the bikes are aerodynamic and fast, so are a little quicker than cyclocross.
A gravel rider can ride 5 miles in around 18 minutes, averaging around 16 mph (25km/h).
Gravel riding is still an off-road discipline and the conditions simply aren’t there to cycle as quickly as you can on the road.
It’s difficult to say how long it should take you to mountain bike five miles. Covering large distances quickly is reserved for cyclocross and cross-country biking really.
Mountain biking’s priorities are slightly different, more focused on maneuvering through obstacles than maintaining a consistently high speed.
How Does My Bike Affect My Five-Mile Time?
So as well as the type of riding you’re doing, and the type of terrain you’ll be on, the design and features of your bike will also have an impact on how long it takes to bike 5 miles.
A bike with suspension will slow you down a little. Suspension smooths over bumps and knocks but also absorbs some of your pedal power, slowing you down.
Frame geometry will affect your speed; bikes that sit you upright allow you a little more control, but bikes that sit you low over the handlebars will allow you to pedal harder and cycle with less aerodynamic drag.
The type of wheels you run will also be a factor. Larger wheels can maintain a faster speed, and wheels with low rolling resistance will be easier to cycle at speed. Deeper aero rims also improve your ability to maintain speed.
So to cycle five miles quickly you’re looking for a bike with minimal suspension, large wheels with low rolling resistance, and a low sitting position: a road bike.
Road bikes are built to get you moving quickly, at the expense of relative comfort and off-road capabilities.
And if getting a speedy five-mile time is your main concern, then you should absolutely be training on a road bike.
Gravel and cyclocross bikes are better all-rounders, but you won’t cycle five miles as quickly as on a road bike.
Important to note: fitness is one of the biggest factors in your five-mile time.
With dedicated training, a rider on a slower bike will probably still cycle faster than the average rider on a road bike.
How To Time My Five-Mile Cycle
So that’s how long it might take to cycle 5 miles – but how do you actually work out how long it takes you?
The straightforward answer: a preplanned five-mile route and a stopwatch.
If you’re looking to find out your time under good conditions you’ll want to pick your 5-mile route properly.
Find a stretch where you can ride without having to think about the traffic too much, perhaps on long, quiet roads, or a popular cycle path.
Timing yourself will tell you how quickly you can bike five miles in favorable conditions.
Of course, in the Strava era, most smartphones and smartwatches will do this for you now.
Timing this wil also tell you roughly how long does it take to bike 2.5 miles for you, as well as 10 miles.
Bear in mind, you’ll be able to maintain a slightly higher pace for 2.5 miles vs 10 miles, but it serves as a solid ballpark estimate.
How Long Should It Take To Cycle Five Miles?
This is a trick question – there is no time you should be able to cycle five miles.
If you’re looking into how long does it take to bike 5 miles, there’s a good chance you’re wondering how good your own 5-mile time is.
We’d like to humbly suggest this isn’t a good way to think about cycling.
In fitness, setting goals and tracking your progress can be very helpful, but it’s important not to think too much about how your cycling compares to someone else’s.
Research into Strava users shows that some feel a certain amount of disappointment and insecurity when their performance is defined by numbers, such as speed and time.
Tracking your performance can be rewarding, but can also be discouraging when comparing too obsessively.
Cycling is a great way to get out and about and stay active, and that should come before the numbers.
It’s a little corny maybe, but it really is true that all exercise is good exercise and any time spent on the bike is time spent positively.
Cycling five miles is good, valid, and worthwhile, no matter how fast or slow.
Remember that on your next ride, and feel good while you cycle!