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How many miles do real cyclists ride?(65 posts)

How many miles do real cyclists ride?christopheclark
Sep 30, 2001 7:21 AM
Thought it might be fun to gauge how many miles are considered to be respectable - i mean when I first starting riding a bike I used to think that 20 miles was a massive distance, now I hardly notice the first 20 miles. I stopped racing a bike 6 years ago and consider 50 miles to be Ok for a ride. Obviously this is viewed as superhuman among non-cyclists but some of our kind might scoff at this but I guess there is a lot of B/S amongst our macho fraternity.

Does anyone seriously do 100 miles at a time?

Come on guys - tell the truth.

what the hell...UltegraRacer
Sep 30, 2001 7:37 AM
So are you saying that maybe someones a newbie and they get out there and give it their all and can only produce 20 miles they aren't respectable?
what the hell...christopheclark
Sep 30, 2001 8:08 AM
of course not - I was there once..
re: How many miles do real cyclists ride?Casati
Sep 30, 2001 7:57 AM
I think most people don't have the time they would really like to have to ride. All my local biking buds marvel at the time I spend riding. I have one day a week that gets 100-140 miles. The rest of the week are rides of 25-40 miles with different purposes in mind, 4 easy rest days, a sprint day and a climbing day. Total for this year is just over 6100 miles. I pretty sure that I'm not the only one around this forum that rides this many miles. In fact, I'm sure some have more than doubled this. I seen posts back in March and April where a few guys had already topped over 3000. I wouldn't be surprised if a few folks are over 10k.

It's not ae macho contest or anything, just love to ride, have some time to ride, and it's good therapy for arthritis. Also living in central Arkansas we get about 8 good cycling months a year to ride.
re: How many miles do real cyclists ride?Elefantino
Sep 30, 2001 8:07 AM
When I'm riding (and I will be again, soon, I hope), I have a routine that works for me:

• Monday off
• Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 17-mile, early-morning interval training ride, a loop around the lake where I live
• Friday off
• Saturday: 40-mile set ride (same course)
• Sunday: 50-60 mile ride (course varies week to week)
Total for week: About 150 miles.

I guess that makes me about average. I get to do this year-round, too, because we live in the Sunshine State, although in the winter months it can get coldish.
A lot of people do 100 miles at a time - seriouslyMick
Sep 30, 2001 8:22 AM
Centuries are common, double-centuries are popular in some places, multi-day multi-century rides exist, and even 24-hour marathon events.

The 24-hour Challenge runs near Grand Rapids, MI in June every year and is well attended. Several years ago, a friend of mine set the the record - which has since been broken - at over 450 miles in 24 hours.

I do about 10 centuries a year and just rode my last one for 2001 yesterday. In a given week I'll do 40 milers on Tuesday and Thursday evening with a group, a 60-70 miler on Saturday and 40+ miles on Sunday.

As someone else commented, each of these rides has a different training purpose. Tuesday is fast sprints in the flats, Thursday is fast tempo with hills, Saturday is easy with hills, and Sunday is sprint intervals.

This is a pretty common routine among the bikers around here. And this group ranges in age from late teens to mid-50s.

How many miles are respectable? Every mile you do is respectable. Every person out there doing 25 mile rides is someone I can sucker (er, encourage) into 40, then 60, then 80, then 100+ mile rides.
Sep 30, 2001 8:56 AM
Mileage varies, I used to die after 10 hard miles, now 50 is a nit. I actually like heading out after work for a 45 minute tear around town. Sometimes 10 miles is a treat after a crappy day of work. Once you become committed to the sport, variety keeps it interesting and alive (at least for me.) Short rides are great, as are epics. I think what differentiates "real" from "not real" is that you get the best equipment you can afford and you start paying attention to your progress and improvement.

here's what I try to do:


Mo: off
Tu: 13-20 miles
We: 13-20 miles
Th: 13-20 miles
Fr: off
Sa: 50 hard pace
Si: 30-40 easy pace with some climbing
goal: 100-150 per week

I try to throw a century in every 2-3 months once I've baselined in March or April.


Tu,We,Th 1 hour spin class
Sat. and Sun. S 40-60 miles, spin to hard spin, weather permitting.

my goal is less around miles than on hours of exercise - I like to hit at least 5-7 hours a week throughout the year.

I think you become a real cyclist when you get the right equipment and you pay attention to how much and how far you ride. Before that, you are a dabbling cyclist.
Question: summer/winterNewRoadBiker
Sep 30, 2001 9:18 AM
What exactly is a spin class? I'm not familiar with this term!

spin classterry_b
Sep 30, 2001 10:19 AM
are usually to be found at your local gym. they use a "spinner", most popular models are by Schwinn and Reebok. A Spinner is essentially a stationary bike that is built to conform more to a road bike geometry. The one I use (Schwinn) has clipless pedals, aerobars and a Flite saddle. The feel of the resistance is supposedly more like a bike than either a trainer or a regular stationary bike. The classes themselves are really designed to give you a full aerobic workout in 60 minutes, I generally ignore their program and ride however I feel like riding. Lots of loud music, up and down resistance and sweaty people. Beats just about anything else exercise-wise on a cold winter night.
Aerobars on a spinning bike? Really?jtolleson
Sep 30, 2001 11:30 AM
I've never seen that. The Schwinn spinners have mostly a roadie geometry (feel wise) but the bars I've seen are configured like mtn bars (straight) with bar ends (cowhorn like). Are you sure you mean aerobars? And why? Is wind a huge issue in your gym? : )
tee hee heeterry_b
Sep 30, 2001 12:47 PM
I guess I was being overly descriptive, although here in New Mexico springtime winds can be a training nightmare, even on a stationary bike.

The bars on the one I'm talking about put you in an aero position although I agree they do look like giant MTB bar extentions and are not aerobars per se.
Ignore the program?TB Hallaran
Oct 1, 2001 8:57 AM
You idiot. Any good spin class will have a purpose and you are just ignoring it? Guess you're the expert.
Seriously do that and more ...Humma Hah
Sep 30, 2001 10:10 AM
... although I was done in yesterday by a mere 88 miles. Did 152 earlier this month, my PR for a single day.

I went out this morning with the wife, who has ridden more this year than ever (I suspect she's about at 100 miles for the YEAR). We did about 14 miles, a pretty big ride for her, and maintained a blazing pace of 10 mph. Her PR for the day is 18 miles.
macho fraternity??harlett
Sep 30, 2001 12:15 PM
hmmmm let me see.. jeannie longo..chantal beltman..anna millward..susanne ljungskog
katrina berger..amber neben..anke erlank..debby mansveld..lyne bessette..susy pryde..
petra rossner..julie young..sarah smith..nicole brandli..vera hohlfeld..sara felloni.
.tina mayolo..sandy bruckner..katia longhin..ceris gilfillan..jolanta
polikeviciute..greta zocca...pam schuster..svetlana boubnenkova..nicole freedman..trixi
worrack..fany lecourtois..suzanne sonye..mirjam melchers..alessandra cappellotto..mari
holden..elisabeth chevannes..diana ziliute..edita pucinskaite..zoulfia zabirova..zinaida
stahurskain.genevieve jeanson...joane somarriba..laura van gilder..daniela veronesi..
ina teutenberg..olga slioussareva..andera ratkovic..heidi van de vijver..pia sundstedt..
hanka kupfernagel..tatiana stiajkina.

and that's just a small portion of the professional estrogen that are in your "macho fraternity".then of course there are all the rest of the women who like to ride as much as you do..

morning routes..29 to 38
evening routes..29 to 73
weekend routes..73 to 145
macho fraternity??terry_b
Sep 30, 2001 12:49 PM
hasn't "macho" become a more broadly applied loaded term in our vernacular? hell any one of those women is probably more macho than I am.
macho fraternity??harlett
Sep 30, 2001 1:23 PM
macho is spanish for male and when combined with fraternity there isn't much room to speculate. anyway.. just trying to make a point of inclusiveness here. btw..any of those women on that list are probably better cyclists than any of us here.
Sep 30, 2001 3:33 PM
Thanks for the Spanish lesson, I'm surprised I missed that having spent so much time in Mexico habla-ing with the locals.

Of course you could view his statement as leaving little room for interpretation, or you could be a little less literal in your assessment and response. Pointing out the obvious (especially when it appears unintentional) seems a little cheap don't you think?
Sep 30, 2001 4:15 PM
I mean this respectfully, but I don't feel that the original poster had any misogynistic feelings when he wrote what he did. I am absolutly positive that there are many great female cyclists, and also certain that 99.9% of the posters here have nothing but admiration for them and their achievements. I saw Jeanson in one race, and it was when she was passing me like I was going backwards.

If anyone should be talking about sexist remarks, it should be me in reference to what was the choline discussion below where it was obvious the intent of the remarks made by a couple of people. (Harlett, I do commend that you observed one of the remarks as petulant and not the point) If you knew me in person, you would know how not sexist I am, what a big supporter of women's athletics I am, you would then know how offensive I percieved some of those remarks made with obvious intent.

Anyway, let's just keep the sexist, political, and racist comments to ourselves in the future. There has been too much of this kind of BS lately in a lot of threads, and there is no need for it. Respectully, and please.
What peloton said...Spinchick
Sep 30, 2001 4:31 PM
is actually what I was attempting to get across, albiet not as eloquently or diplomatically. My remark below, after reading it, comes across as somewhat flippant. That was not my intention. My point was that the original post seemed harmless and that perhaps too much was being made of semantics.

Truth be told though, I do feel macho sometimes ;-).
Sep 30, 2001 6:35 PM
When I wrote that I didn't know if it would be read the way I intended to convey my thoughts. Sometimes here it is hard to communicate without the body language, tone of voice, and human inflection that comes with day to day converstation. Sometimes it is easy to argue about semantics rather than the true message of what was said.

And truth be told, I don't think that there is anything wrong with a woman feeling macho. Nothing flippant about that.
Thought Policezzz
Sep 30, 2001 7:42 PM
Damn the Thought Police are out in force today. GET A GRIP PEOPLE. . Harlett said it was about inclusiveness in her second post. To see anything sexist in that post you have to be wanting to see it. My wife asks me all the time why womens bicycling isn't talked about more. My daughter screams about it. We should be happy that we have women on this board who have the pride to keep it in front of us.
Okay I'm confused...Spinchick
Oct 1, 2001 5:21 AM
I don't think any of the posts were sexist in nature. I personally was delighted to see the large list of women cyclists that Harlett posted. And I agree with her that women cyclists (women's sports in general) should get more attention. However, I was commenting on what seemed to be a reaction about the original post. The original post was about mileage. The last sentence contained the words "macho fraternity" in (what seemed to me anyway) a harmless manner. I don't believe christopheclark intended the post about "real cyclists and real mileage" to exclude women cyclists just because he used the very common expression "macho." So, I may be confused here but I'm happy to be corrected if this is true. Better yet, let's just all go for a ride!
I agree - no big deal nmDog
Oct 1, 2001 5:38 AM
Oct 1, 2001 7:18 AM
Peloton brought sexism into it when he used the word misogynictic which means to hate women. You agreed with what he said. Harlett said it was about inclusiveness. See where the Thought Police can take you. Enough of these foolish word games though. I didn't see any thing wrong in making the point that women are part of the male fraternity of bicycling. Wish I could go a ride. Work frowns on it!
Sep 30, 2001 9:07 PM
I read the Choline thread and noticed your criticisms of Harletts comments were completely unfounded. Now your doing some weird thing here about not wanting any sexist political racist posts. She just posted a list of the some of the worlds best female cyclists at this time as a way of pointing out its not a male fraternity out there or in here. Bravo for her! Are you obsessed about this or something?
I feel macho sometimes...Spinchick
Sep 30, 2001 4:01 PM
how does that work, technically, since I'm a woman?
Call yourself machaStarliner
Sep 30, 2001 8:34 PM
The word macho describes an energy that one could say is a very masculine energy. This is not about sexual makeup or orientation. Spinchick, like the rest of the world, you are a combination of masculine and feminine energies. Which explains why you feel macho sometimes. And sometimes you don't. You and a lot of other women (and, of course, men).
It can happen...Kristin
Oct 1, 2001 5:55 AM
If I can have "young male testosteron Disease,"
you can certainly feel macho. Perhaps we should
start a special club. Then again...
YMTD! I knew there had to be a name for it.Spinchick
Oct 1, 2001 10:16 AM
It is causing me pain! Seriously, my joints are killing me. Blood work came back negative for Lyme and Lupus. So I get referred to a Sports Med. doc who says I have all the symptoms of over-training. So I've laid off big time for two weeks and am feeling better (physically, anyway - doesn't do much at all for my mental health).
I hear ya sister!Kristin
Oct 1, 2001 10:23 AM
You wanna come over later to scarf a gallon of rocky road? Oh, wait...that would be counter productive. No cardio for 2 weeks, and I'm already putting the weight back one. Plus, my temper is building stealth daily. Come to think of it, you may not want to be in the same room with me.

}: @
I don't know what's worse, a half gallon of Rocky RoadSpinchick
Oct 1, 2001 1:53 PM
or 3/4 bottle of Pinot Noir. I sure as hell feel alot less guilty after the wine though. Come to think of it, I feel alot less everything after the wine.
Pinot NowhereStarliner
Oct 1, 2001 9:44 PM
I like that wine too. I'm from Napa CA so if you ever come out here wine tasting I'd be happy to drink the rest of your bottle, if you'd let me choose the wine first.

This time of the year the grapes in the vineyards are ripe and ready for harvest. Ripe wine grapes are so much sweeter and tastier than the table grapes sold at the supermarket. It is a great time to ride the back roads among the vineyards. Pinot Noir grapes taste real nice, Spinchick. That's why the wine tastes so good, too.
Pinot Nowhereharlett
Oct 2, 2001 12:08 AM
we've been getting your grapes in the farmer markets here in santa monica for the last few weeks. each year i eagerly wait for them to appear. and you have some of the best biking roads and b&b's on the coast up there.
YMTD! I knew there had to be a name for it.Spinchick
Oct 1, 2001 10:53 AM
It is causing me pain! Seriously, my joints are killing me. Blood work came back negative for Lyme and Lupus. So I get referred to a Sports Med. doc who says I have all the symptoms of over-training. So I've laid off big time for two weeks and am feeling better (physically, anyway - doesn't do much at all for my mental health).
My computer has a mind of it's ownSpinchick
Oct 1, 2001 10:56 AM
it keeps re-posting these things an hour later!
spanish 403terry_b
Sep 30, 2001 5:20 PM
Well, I think "macho" transcends the concept of masculine - certainly within the Mexican culture. In my experience with that culture, "macho" has much more to do with being hardcore and tough about whatever you do. Of course, there is a guy element but I think in popular language it's no longer limited to that interpretation. And "fraternity" is not simply a bunch of drunken Greeks at college, "fraternity" is defined as "a group of people associated or formally organized for a common purpose, interest, or pleasure." The definition doesn't specify gender. So I think there is plenty of room to interpret his comment and instead of thinking it was meant to exclude the roster of women you felt compelled to cite, perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he is using a broader, less gender-specific definition. It helps to avoid silly, academic arguments like this.
spanish 403 & latin 101Tom C
Sep 30, 2001 6:59 PM
frater in latin= brother
fraternity = brotherhood
macho fraternity??harlett
Sep 30, 2001 6:37 PM
I wasn't commenting on if it was sexist or not. I was commenting on the fact that there are lots of women on this board and it didn't seem inclusive......and i thought i did it in way that wasn't offensive...i also wanted to honor some great women cyclists by naming them.
Thank you Harlettgail
Sep 30, 2001 8:15 PM
Unfortunately a reminder that women make up a good part of this message board needs to be stated every so often. Thanks. I wish there were more coverage of womens cycling in the press. I would like my daughter to have the chance to have lots of women bicycling role models.
Good womens bicycling web sites?Gail
Sep 30, 2001 8:27 PM
Anyone care to share some good web-sites about womens cycling?
Sep 30, 2001 9:45 PM
Your daughter needs to talk to mine. Mine can tell her who placed where in the Giro Della Toscana Femminile last weekend and the same for this weekends Tour Feminin de Bretagne. Plus that Anna Millward leads the UCI points list with 849 points. I know because she told me earlier today. I love her curious mind especially when it comes to something I enjoy so much too.
macho fraternity??cyclequip
Oct 1, 2001 4:23 AM
You might be interested to know that in the weird world of the ultra distance riders, Seana Hogan was considered by her peers (Kish et al) as being the real 'macho' rider doing RAAM rides. She was known to do 500 mile training rides - something none of the boys wanted to try.
Oct 1, 2001 10:21 AM
she transcends the words "strong willed"
You Forgot...Jon
Oct 1, 2001 10:52 AM
my all time favourite "estrogen hammer", Linda Jackson. How many pros of either sex do you know
who got their start at the tender young age of 32 and then rose to the top of the sport? If and when
I reincarnate as a woman I want to be like her!

Another role model for the ages and both sexes: Silken Lauman. But she was a rower.

And yeah, both of these gals are MACHO. Xena, eat your heart out!
Oct 1, 2001 11:47 AM
Cassie Lowe. RAAM women's champion last two years.

You Forgot...harlett
Oct 1, 2001 12:59 PM
linda started bicycling as therapy for a knee injury she suffered skiing. the first race she entered she placed second.. with less than a year of racing she won the bronze at the 92 canadian national championships..i read this interview with her awhile ago. she was asked what the difference was between training with men and women.she replied that whenever she went off the front with men they would go "grrrrrr we gotta go get her" and chase her down just because it's a women off the front. then she said something great. "i loved it. because it made me go harder. i want these guys to go hard. i want them to chase me down, because then I can go even faster" good person to be reincarnated as.

this girl is coming back as jeannie longo - a paragon of determination, independence and longevity...oh and hers' is the only photo on my desk..*S*

jon.if this reincarnation thing is timed right we could be facing each other in the tour de france feminin
Not fair! I'm going to complain to the reincarnation gods.Jon
Oct 1, 2001 3:03 PM
I love the advantages of living as a male in a male, sexist society. I ADORE the patriarchy!! Flame
Oct 1, 2001 3:08 PM
Double not fair! Longo has some sort mutant, genetic advantage. Not even Jordan
was as good in his sport as Longo was in cycling. I know, she was Merckx in drag.
Oct 1, 2001 4:38 PM
no no no no..its much better to be a female in a male sexist society.... we gain strength of character and wisdom being engaged in the passionate struggle for reason....and we have this rant thing we can do all the time. *S*
It's Time To Renegotiate...Jon
Oct 1, 2001 7:22 PM
the post-solicitation agreement. You can't advocate for me as my solicitor (remember, you DID
fall for my solicitation offer!) and be passionately reasonable at the same time! That, my dear
Watson, might constitute a conflict of interest. Ranting, on the other hand, is okay, as long as it's
on my behalf. My motto? "I cheat to win!!!"
a X is a X is a Xharlett
Oct 2, 2001 10:13 AM
I asked if you were sure.......*S*
Rats, Foiled Again! (nm)Jon
Oct 2, 2001 10:17 AM
Oct 2, 2001 11:26 AM
There is a female cyclist named Lauman? Well, more than one? And Linda Jackson (sorry don't know who she is) began started at 32 and made it to the top, you say? Its a sign! There is hope for me yet. :-)

just kidding...don't believe in mysticism...but its strange to see this unusual last name posted anywhere. I'll have to look her up.
I agree with Lemond on this one thing only...Tom C
Sep 30, 2001 2:20 PM
that time is a better way to consider your riding than miles. His example being 30 miles into a 30 mile an hour headwind may not look like much from a distance consideration but the effort involved and the resultant time spent may show 2 hours used at 15 mph with X watts required. (someone else can figure the wattage). Same deal obviously with hills,sprints, or any high energy work on the bike.Conversely 60 miles with a 30 mph tailwind may look impressive from a speed and distance perspective but in terms of actual energy required may not be as tough as the shorter ride. Nothing wrong with LSD but you can't race on it. I try to ride 12-14 hours per week. Not every week is rigidly scheduled. Rigid doesn't work well at 50.
re: How many miles do real cyclists ride?miles or BS
Sep 30, 2001 3:26 PM
Who the frig cares how many miles one rides. Take the friggin computer off the bike and JUST ride. Sure its nice to know miles, speed, time ect but in the end ...who the hell care. Look at all these "riders" strutting their miles and training schedules...Who cares. Ride your bike. Go as long and as hard as you need to go and then hang it up for the day and ride the next day.
re: How many miles do real cyclists ride?not I
Sep 30, 2001 5:30 PM
In the process of building three diffent bikes and swaping stuff and getting stuff for all three I have be riding just to enjoy and dial in the bikes. I have found a different joy. Not how far or how fast but just as the verse out of a book says. "return to me the joy of my salvation" It has brought back to me the joy of just riding. Not to say that one who has a different goal should not use every available tool. I even took a ride over to a friends house just to pose with my one of my new rides. To paraphrase another "I'm so vain" He remained indifferent. LOL
Real Cyclists don't ride miles.Atombomber
Sep 30, 2001 6:39 PM
They ride kilometers
Touche` (nm).Jon
Sep 30, 2001 8:44 PM
re: Just a couple more b4 they head home! nmdzrider
Oct 1, 2001 4:41 AM
real is relativeDog
Oct 1, 2001 5:26 AM
Sometimes I feel pretty "real" doing a hard set of intervals with only about 10 miles of riding. OTOH, I'm doing a 500 mile race in two weeks, with the commensurate training getting ready for that. And, yes, there will be many women there, some of whom will totally kick my rear.

If you want to talk in terms of "real", I'd say the word is best descibed in terms of commitment. Do you ride frequently, in bad weather, with a purpose..." Other than that, it really doesn't mean anything, IMHO.

Question for the original poster...Kristin
Oct 1, 2001 6:02 AM
Are you asking if people ride 100 miles at a time because you've never done such a thing? I was confused that someone who claims to be an x-racer would ask this question. Perhaps I misunderstand your intent, but it sounds as if you're unsure that people actual ride these distances.
I ride EACH mile since I don't coast much! :o) -NMTig
Oct 1, 2001 6:58 AM
Real cyclists ride bicycles.MB1
Oct 1, 2001 12:25 PM
There are people we ride with who do 100 miles every Saturday and every Sunday of the year. So what?

They don't seem very serious though. Mostly they just want to have fun.
Its not how many miles, its how they're riddenfiltersweep
Oct 1, 2001 3:00 PM
- your topic was begging for trouble on this board:

I regard biking like I do my gym workouts- there are guys who do nothing but benchpresses and squats- you can spot them a mile away with the beer bellies and barrel chests, but they can obviously bench 100 lbs more than I can (and they weigh 100 lbs more than me)... most of these guys won't go near a cardio machine.

Miles for the sake of miles is a similar principle, IMHO. I guess for me, my bike is NOT a mode of transportation- so its purpose for ME is to provide a cardio workout that I can do outdoors. Hence I have a different agenda than some people. I know a co-worker who does the AIDS ride each year, and he often goes out on just one 80 mile ride/week. On the other hand, I will often go 30-40 miles 4 or 5 times/week... 20 if I'm particularly sore or tired, or if pressed for time. If I go much beyond that, I feel it is counterproductive to my energy level, and it affects my recovery time. When I'm biking with this 80 miler, I feel the pace is too slow for me, but he can easily finish an 80 mile ride more strongly than I can (my back aches, etc...), but I'm sure that I'd mop him up in a 20-30 mile race (not that it is a contest, it is just where our respective strengths and styles lie). He also knows he's going to have a week to recover, when I'm thinking about tomorrow's ride.

Its really not that different between sprinters, milers, and marathon runners... they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

There are definitely people who do 100 miles at a time... I'm not one of them.
re: How many miles do real cyclists ride?Dutchy
Oct 1, 2001 6:06 PM
weather permitting I have ridden this pattern most of this year.
Mon: off
Tue: 40km/25ml
Wed: 40km/off
Thu : 40km
Fri : off
Sat : 50-70km/30-45ml or spend day working around the house
Sun : 50-70km/30-45ml or spend day working around the house

Not a lot of distance by some people standards, by I'm not in training for the Olympics so what's the point. It means I can ride 3-5 times per week and stay very fit. Sometimes I don't ride on weekends at all, I spend that time with my wife. I ride alone, and am not in a club and I don't race, but I do ride flat-out every ride. Occasionally I will ride a metric century (62ml) but I generally find I am happy riding between 1.5 and 3 hrs anything loner than this can become boring if riding solo. People should ride what distance they can, and not bother trying to compare themselves to someone else's "fishing stories" they read on the internet.