I like riding long enough to feel as though I’ve done some riding. That means being in the saddle for at least two hours. I enjoy easy rides with my wife, but 15 miles is about as much as she cares to ride. When we finish, I often head out and tack on another 10 miles or so.
Twenty-five miles is a good distance, and it’s what I normally do for my Saturday morning ride. That doesn’t meet my two-hour requirement, however. I just like it because the route I usually ride provides a nice mix of some moderate hills, good fast downhills, bikes lanes or shoulders, and the Veloway.
Sunday morning is when I go for my long ride of the week. It’s at least 30 miles, and often quite a bit more. I recently enjoyed a 58-mile ride, even though I had to sit out a cloudburst for 30 minutes in a convenience store. A couple of weeks later, I rode 67 miles, and was pretty knackered when I finished.
That got me thinking: Just how long is a good distance? The 58-miler was relatively flat. The 67-miler had some challenging hills built in. In both cases, I was on the road for quite a while — maybe longer than I wanted to be.
Perhaps what I’m looking for is something just a little shorter. My on-bike time for the 58 miler was about three hours, 45 minutes. That’s plenty. I’m thinking my ideal ride would cover about 50 miles. That’s long enough for a decent workout, and to cover a substantial amount of ground.
I’ve been compiling a list of rides from my house that fall into the 50-miles (plus or minus) category. It’ll be fun to ride them all in the coming weeks, and see if my guess at an “ideal” distance is borne out by the results.
What about you? Is there a distance that feels “just right” for you? What is it, and what do you like about it?