How Long Does It Take to Bike 50 Miles? A Comprehensive Guide

Riding 50 miles on a bicycle is a significant achievement for any cyclist. While an experienced rider can complete 50 miles in just a few hours, new cyclists should expect it to take significantly longer. This comprehensive guide will provide an estimate of how long it takes to bike 50 miles based on your cycling ability, the terrain, and other factors.

An Overview of Cycling 50 Miles

  • What to Expect When Biking 50 Miles: Cover the general timeline, physical exertion, terrain challenges, nutrition/hydration needs, and mental endurance required.
  • Key Factors That Impact Time to Complete 50 Miles: Terrain, fitness level, bike type, weather, pacing strategy – explain how each impacts speed and time to finish 50 miles.
  • Estimating Your Time: Ways to estimate your 50 mile time based on cycling speed and expected breaks.

Time Estimates By Cyclist Skill Level

  • Beginner Cyclists: Definition, expected average speed (10-12 mph), plus time estimates and tips to bike 50 miles (4.5-5 hours).
  • Intermediate Cyclists: Definition, expected average speed (12-16 mph), time estimates (3-4 hours), and preparation tips.
  • Advanced Cyclists: Definition, expected average speeds (16+ mph), time estimates (under 3 hours), and training recommendations.
  • Competitive Cyclists: Definition, expected average speeds (18+ mph), time estimates (under 2.5 hours), and training/nutrition tips to optimize 50 mile time.

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The Impact of Terrain on 50 Mile Cycling Times

  • Flat Routes: Definition, average speeds, and time estimates for flat 50 mile courses.
  • Hilly Routes: Definition, impact of climbs on speed, time estimates for hilly 50 mile rides.
  • Mountainous Routes: Definition, impact of sustained climbs, estimates and training tips for mountainous 50 mile rides.

Bike Type and Gearing Considerations

  • Road Bikes: Advantages for 50 mile rides, gearing recommendations, average speed estimates.
  • Hybrid Bikes: Comfort and versatility, but slower on average – speed and time estimates.
  • Mountain Bikes: Durability for rough conditions but slower – appropriate situations and time estimates.
  • E-Bikes: How motor assist impacts speed and 50 mile time estimates.
  • Gearing: Importance of proper gearing for hilly/flat terrain in relation to 50 mile times.

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Weather and Wind Impact on 50-Mile Cycling Times

  • Wind: Headwinds and tailwinds, related speed changes, and time adjustments.
  • Precipitation: Wet roads, safety considerations, how rain impacts speed and time required.
  • Temperature: Heat, humidity, cold – estimating their effects on 50 mile ride times.

Pacing Yourself for a 50 Mile Bike Ride

  • Starting Out: Importance of easing into ride, avoiding adrenaline surge, conserving energy.
  • Maintaining Consistent Effort: Riding at an efficient, aerobic pace, avoiding highs and lows.
  • Handling Hills: Shifting gears, pacing effort, standing vs sitting.
  • Pedaling Cadence: Optimal RPM range, relationship to speed and endurance.
  • Resting: Recommended stop duration and frequency for 50 miles.

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Nutrition and Hydration Needs for 50 Mile Rides

  • Pre-Ride Meal Ideas: Combining carbs, protein, fat to fuel 50 mile ride.
  • On-Bike Nutrition: Easy-to-digest foods, replenishing carbs/electrolytes, intake recommendations.
  • Hydration: Fluid needs for 50 miles, electrolyte supplementation, hydration packs vs bottles.
  • Bonking: Signs, prevention and recovery strategies.

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Recommended Training to Ride 50 Miles

  • Endurance Base: High volume low intensity miles to build endurance.
  • Tempo Rides: Faster paced rides just below lactate threshold to increase speed.
  • Hill Training: Climbing strength and endurance for hilly 50 mile courses.
  • Long Rides: Building up to 50+ mile rides for preparation.
  • Rest and Recovery: Importance of easy days and rest to absorb training.

What to Bring on a 50 Mile Bike Ride

  • Bike Tools/Spare Parts: Spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, pump/CO2, multi-tool, chain breaker.
  • On-Bike Nutrition: Gels, bars, electrolyte tablets, carb drinks.
  • Electronics: GPS device, bike computer, lights.
  • Emergency Supplies: Cash, ID, credit card, phone.
  • Safety Equipment: Helmet, glasses, bright/reflective clothing.

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Tips and Mindset for 50 Mile Rides

  • Mindset: Embrace the challenge, break into smaller chunks, celebrate milestones.
  • Pacing: Start slow and ease in, maintain steady consistent effort.
  • Fueling: Consume carbs and electrolytes regularly, don’t bonk.
  • Focus: Stay present, tune into your body, change hand positions.
  • Terrain: Use gears efficiently, stand to pedal on hills, relax on descents.
  • Have Fun!: Enjoy the journey, soak up the scenery and sense of achievement.

Common Questions About Cycling 50 Miles

How long will it take to bike 50 miles for the first time?

For most new cyclists attempting 50 miles, it will likely take between 5-8 hours to complete the distance including rest breaks. Go slowly, take breaks every 10-15 miles, fuel properly, and don’t be afraid to walk hills if needed. Finishing is the goal.

What is a good time for a 50 mile bike ride?

For recreational cyclists, finishing 50 miles in under 5 hours is considered a good benchmark. Competitive times are 3 hours or faster, but focus on your own progress and enjoyment rather than comparing to others.

How can I improve my 50 mile cycling time?

The keys are getting stronger through hill training, increasing endurance via tempo and long rides, having an efficient pacing strategy, and dialing in your nutrition. Losing weight and improving your bike fit will also boost speed.

What should I eat before a 50 mile bike ride?

Eat a carb-rich meal 2-3 hours pre-ride containing healthy carbs, protein and fats. Good options are oatmeal with eggs, toast with nut butter, or fruit with yogurt and granola. Stay hydrated too.

How often should I stop during a 50 mile bike ride?

Plan to stop every 30-45 minutes to rehydrate and refuel with carbs/electrolytes. Take longer breaks as needed to rest muscles and relieve pressure points. Stops every 10-15 miles are common.

What should I eat during a 50 mile bike ride?

Good on-bike nutrition includes energy bars, energy gels/chews, bananas, trail mix, rice cakes, and electrolyte drinks. Focus on easily digested carbs and sodium/potassium.


Riding 50 miles on a bike is a major feat of endurance. While it may seem daunting for newer riders, careful preparation, proper fueling and pacing, and an enthusiastic mindset will help you successfully cover the distance. With some training and experience, a 50-mile ride becomes very achievable. Time goals are secondary to simply gaining confidence in your cycling fitness.

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