Knowing how long it takes you to bike a mile is pretty useful. You can measure your fitness progress, allow you to workout out how long it will take you to complete a ride, or pace yourself in a race.
So how long does it take to bike a mile? Most people can complete a mile in three to four minutes, riding at 17 to 18 mph. However, quite a few factors affect how long it takes you to bike a mile. Therefore, your circumstances may see your mile time faster or slower.
In this article, we will cover:
- The average time it takes to bike a mile
- How the terrain, your fitness level, and your bike’s speed affect your time
- And bike related factors that affect your speed
It’s time to set a benchmark for your cycling!
How Long Does It Take To Bike A Mile?
If you ride at 17 to 18 mph, you can complete a mile on average in three to four minutes. But, this all depends on your bike, your fitness, and where you ride.
Therefore, how quickly you can ride varies between individuals and their circumstances. For example, a fit cyclist who races regularly would have a much faster mile time than a less fit person who occasionally rides for pleasure.
To accurately answer the question of “how fast does it take to bike a mile?”, you need to know your average speed. Your time is the distance divided by your speed. But here is a handy table to make it easier:
|10 mph||6 minutes|
|12 mph||5 minutes|
|14 mph||4 minutes 17 seconds|
|16 mph||3 minutes 45 seconds|
|18 mph||3 minutes 20 seconds|
|20 mph||3 minutes|
|22 mph||2 minutes 44 seconds|
|24 mph||2 minutes 30 seconds|
Where You Ride Makes A Difference To Your Time
You need to take the terrain into account. This is because riding uphill will take much longer than a flat or downhill route.
For example, if you ride up a steep hill, it will take a lot longer than three to four minutes to complete your mile. However, it may only take you a minute to ride down it.
The other element of your location that affects speed is the surface you ride on. You will be able to ride much faster on smooth tarmac than rough off-road mountain bike trails.
Mountain bike trails are uneven, often muddy, and have many obstacles, such as rocks and roots. Smooth roads allow your bike’s wheels to roll unobstructed.
Your Fitness And Energy Levels
How fit you are will play a part in how long it takes to bike a mile. Your fitness makes more of a difference than the type of bike you ride. A fitter rider should be able to outpace a less fit rider on a faster bike.
You also need to take into account how you feel on the day. Your energy levels fluctuate with your workload, daily life, sleep patterns, and fatigue levels. Therefore, your mile time may be slower today than it was yesterday.
Your Average Cycling Speed
Different types of bike riders have different average speeds. This is down to fitness, their chosen discipline of cycling, and their commitment to riding quickly.
Take a recreational cyclist, for example. These cyclists just ride for pleasure without attempting to break any speed records. They usually ride at an average speed of 8 mph.
A commuter who has been riding to work for a couple of months will be faster. As they get fitter, they will start to reduce their commuting time. They will typically start at about 10 mph but will often begin to ride at 12 to 14 mph after about 4 months of riding to and from work.
An average cyclist with a reasonable fitness level will ride as fast as possible while feeling relatively comfortable. They will ride between 15 to 17 mph, while more experienced cyclists will top out at about 21 mph.
But how long does it take to bike a mile for a professional cyclist? A professional cyclist averages 25 mph while working hard and after lots of training. Therefore, they can complete a mile in just 2 minutes 24 seconds.
5 Different Types Of Bike And How They Affect Speed
There a many different types of bikes built for different purposes thanks to varying characteristics. Some of these bikes are faster than others, which will affect how quickly you can bike a mile.
Here is how they differ:
1. Road Bikes
Road bikes are built to be fast on paved surfaces. They have lightweight frames, which often have optimized aerodynamics. You ride them in a streamlined position thanks to the type of handlebars fitted to them, allowing you to ride faster.
The fastest road bikes are generally uncomfortable, so you have to be pretty dedicated to speed to ride them. However, you can buy ones with more comfort focussed geometry, but don’t expect them to feel like armchairs.
Most road bike riders can maintain an average speed of 17 to 18 mph over 40 to 60 miles. Lighter road cyclists find riding uphill easier than heavier ones. Still, heavier riders can be faster on flats and while descending.
2. Cruiser Bikes
Cruiser bikes are super comfortable, thanks to the upright riding position and high-volume tires. They are convenient to use for errands and great for leisure time. However, they are not fast, but they are not supposed to be.
Most cruisers only have one gear, suitable for flat terrain, and generally have a top speed of around 15 mph.
3. Touring Bikes
Touring bikes are more for long distances and overnight camping trips. These bikes are great for carrying stuff strapped to their robust frames. The top speed of touring bikes is usually around 15 mph, but this will depend on the rider and what they are carrying.
4. Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes are more comfortable than road bikes; they are also pretty heavy in comparison. Their gearing is optimized for climbing, but there are several sub-categories of mountain bikes used for different types of riding and terrain.
If you were to ride a mountain bike on singletrack, your top speed would be around 10 mph. However, if you were riding an alpine downhill trail, you could hit 30 mph.
5. BMX Bikes
BMX bikes have a top speed of around 10 mph. They are fast off the line thanks to their small wheels and gearing, but they are challenging to maintain high speed for extended times.
BMX bikes have a very low seat position, which isn’t comfortable. Therefore, they are best for short distances and performing freestyle tricks.
How Bike Components Affect Your Speed
What your bike is equipped with will make a massive difference to how fast it can go. Various components come with weight penalties that make the bike harder to ride quickly.
A great example of this is mountain bike suspension. Suspension forks and rear shock absorbers are great for soaking up bumps in the terrain. However, they add weight to your bike.
The other issue with suspension is that it makes your pedaling less efficient. With each pedal stroke, your suspension bobs up and down, which is wasted energy. Therefore, hardtails and rigid bikes are more efficient to pedal.
Wheels And Tires
Another component that affects speed is your bike’s wheels. Bikes have different sized wheels that have their own characteristics.
Small bike wheels allow you to accelerate quickly; however, they give you a lower top speed. Larger wheels make setting off more difficult, but they make maintaining a faster top speed easier. Larger wheels also roll over bumps easier, so the bike can go faster in a straight line.
But when it comes to cornering, smaller wheels have a tighter turning radius and give the bike more agile handling than larger wheels.
Your tire choice will make a difference in how fast you can bike a mile too. Some tires have aggressive tread patterns to give you lots of traction. However, these tires have a high rolling resistance, requiring more effort to pedal.
What You Wear And Carry
If you want to be as fast as possible, you will need to reduce your wind resistance. This is why road cyclists wear figure-hugging lycra to reduce their drag through the air.
Baggier clothes are more suited to mountain biking, where comfort and protection are more important. You will often see mountain bikers with body armor under their jerseys, which is why they wear loose clothing.
Mountain bikers tend to carry backpacks with them. These will be filled with water, snacks, spare inner tubes, extra clothing, and tools. All of these are necessary, but unfortunately, they add weight.
Road cyclists try to be as light as possible so they can ride fast and efficiently. They even wear lightweight helmets, while mountain bike helmets are more robust and provide more coverage.
How Long Does It Take To Bike A Mile? – Answered!
Now we have answered the question of “how long does it take to bike a mile?”, you can set yourself a goal. You may be a way off the stated times, but they give you something to aim for. Alternatively, you may be able to ride that fast already, so you can challenge yourself to go faster.
It takes a lot of work to improve your cycling speed, but cycling is fun, especially when you can ride faster and further than before.
The critical thing to work on for improved cycling speed is your fitness. Therefore, you may want to check out the blogs below: