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Thread: Daily mileage

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    Daily mileage

    Even though I've never participated, I've always liked the notion of loading up a sturdy bike and roaming the countryside. I tend to view it like a man on a horse 150 years ago making his way across country. Maybe a bit overly romantic, but I'll bet it's not far off. I'm more of a sailor than cyclist and like to take my boat all around the Caribbean basin. It's a similiar self-contained experienced. When sailboat guys get together they always compare daily distance numbers: how far did you go in a 24 hour period - stuff like that. For a boat shaped and rigged like mine it's 180 miles that denotes a good day. What do good touring riders do in a day if their only goal is to cover distance? I know you are not into it as a race. But if you decide to go for a destination with little regard for what's around you at the moment, what can you do for mileage. Please give age as this has to be a critcial factor.

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    mev
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    For me a good mileage day is one where I can turn around and do the same distance the next day, the day after that and the day after that. Pushing extra hard for two days in a row but then being mentally/physically wiped enough that I then take a half day off isn't as much fun.

    With that in mind, a pace where I'm doing 100km a day is a good sustainable pace and generally after getting in my 100km I think I've done a good day. I've done triple that in a day and if necessary after riding the 100km I can typically go another 50km if necessary to find a place to stay for the evening - but repeatedly doing 150km starts to wear me down after a week or so.

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    I try to shoot for about 70 mi per day. Last tour I did just over 80 per day, and that was a little too much (but I was fighting headwinds most of the way, so that needs to be factored in).

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    mev: So I take it you once did 3X100 kilometers. That's about 190 miles. That's the number I was wondering about. I understand it takes a toll and you would not strive to do it again. I was just curious what a man could do if he had to. Good go at 300 kilometers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    For me a good mileage day is one where I can turn around and do the same distance the next day, the day after that and the day after that. Pushing extra hard for two days in a row but then being mentally/physically wiped enough that I then take a half day off isn't as much fun.

    With that in mind, a pace where I'm doing 100km a day is a good sustainable pace and generally after getting in my 100km I think I've done a good day. I've done triple that in a day and if necessary after riding the 100km I can typically go another 50km if necessary to find a place to stay for the evening - but repeatedly doing 150km starts to wear me down after a week or so.
    Yeah, that pretty well nails it, if you ask me. I always shoot for 75 to 100 miles and, after a few days of that, always wonder "why did I do that?." It's not that I can't do it; but it gets to be more like work than like vacation.

    Old Town, check out the "long distance cycling" forum as well. It's... uh... well, it's just a different sport, that's all.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    "If their only goal is to cover distance" isn't a very good qualifier since it generally does not apply. Tourists seldom have their only goal being to cover distance.

    Beyond that, there are so many factors. Things like what is the terrain like, how much are you carrying, how fit are you, what is the weather like, and how hard do you want to push all come into play.

    We averaged about 60 miles per day for 73 days on the Trans America. That includes a couple rest days and some "half days" to do stuff off of the bike. That was a very sustainable pace. More is certainly possible. Last tour I averaged 80, again that was pretty sustainable.

    I'd say that my daily mileages for those two trips are in the "normal range", but folks may do much more or less.

    I hope that give some rough idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    .....But if you decide to go for a destination with little regard for what's around you at the moment, what can you do for mileage. Please give age as this has to be a critcial factor.

    When I was 37 I made it from the Canadian border near Glacier/Waterton Park, to Calgary, in a day, a howling southern wind blowing up Alberta rt 2. Thats darn near 200 miles, me thinks. I had some long multi-day downhills on my world tour, but those don't count.

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    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    mev: So I take it you once did 3X100 kilometers. That's about 190 miles. That's the number I was wondering about. I understand it takes a toll and you would not strive to do it again. I was just curious what a man could do if he had to. Good go at 300 kilometers.
    I've done 300km+ a few times. First time was cycling across the US when I had a great tailwind in Eastern Montana and cycled 207 miles. I was going to take the following day easy, but didn't quite find a place to stay so did 101 miles and day after that was 107 miles to literally cross South Dakota in three days. However, I'm touring rather than randoneering and in general I'm happier if I do my 100km plus just a bit and then keep doing that day after day.

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    If your goal is to make another touring cyclist say "wow" when you answer his question, then I'd say you should be able to answer with at least 130 miles. However, other than to get somebody to say "wow", the only good reasons I can think of for going this far is that you are time-limited. It pretty-much defeats the purpose of being out there.

    Anything over about 50 miles is enough to make a non-cyclist say "wow". So you should just carefully pick who you talk to.

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    68 here and manage about 50/day, plus or minus 10. Did 90 once and was totally bushed. Had next day off. But I'm in no hurry to get anywhere. Good thing I reckon.
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    I don't pay close attention to the distance I travel in a day. I try (although do not always succeed) to enjoy the scenery, talk to people, and especially, not push myself to exhaustion.

    I do know that when I factor in lunch, breaks and sightseeing, my average speed over a day is 10 km/h. So on a day when I am on the road seven hours, that's about 70 km.

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    I normally don't care about how many miles I travel any more, and when I talk touring I think people are more impressed by total milage covered. I try not to do over 100 miles /day any more unless its a group tour and the next rest place is that far away. I think that 70 miles is a good riding day. I have decided that when I tour that I like to enjoy the ride and I am not testing myself anymore, so I try to ride distances and at paces that are good approriate for myself.

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    If I'm just trying to cover distance (which is a boring way to tour), I'll try to keep it to about 100 km a day, 4 or 5 days in a row, then a rest day, and repeat. I did something like that in the early part of my 2004 Australian tour.

    But if I want to see the sights and stop and smell the roses and feel good out there while I'm riding, 80 km a day would be about the max I'd want to do. But it depends. I'll still throw a 160 km (100 mile) day into a tour if I feel up to it. Or maybe take a 2 or 3 days off as rest days. And I'm starting to like the hub and spoke idea more and more ... where I might cycle into an area, set up camp, and then do several shortish day rides around the area to see more of the area before continuing on. The business of packing up every morning and moving on is my least favorite part of touring.


    Now when I'm randonneuring, it's a whole other story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    Even though I've never participated, I've always liked the notion of loading up a sturdy bike and roaming the countryside. I tend to view it like a man on a horse 150 years ago making his way across country. Maybe a bit overly romantic, but I'll bet it's not far off. I'm more of a sailor than cyclist and like to take my boat all around the Caribbean basin. It's a similiar self-contained experienced. When sailboat guys get together they always compare daily distance numbers: how far did you go in a 24 hour period - stuff like that. For a boat shaped and rigged like mine it's 180 miles that denotes a good day. What do good touring riders do in a day if their only goal is to cover distance? I know you are not into it as a race. But if you decide to go for a destination with little regard for what's around you at the moment, what can you do for mileage. Please give age as this has to be a critcial factor.
    Only covering distance, heck you might as well be in a cage....

    The idea of a tour, is to see an area, if your up with the sun, and setting up camp by the old kerosene lantern, then you miss a heck of a lot of what touring can do for you. In planning to tour, I base it on time, not distance, if I plan on 4 hours, saddle time, per day, at 20km/h that's 80km per day, roughly 50 miles. The general idea is that it will take 8 hours to cover that 4 hours of saddle time, meaning that if I hit the road at 8am, I am getting to the end of the day around 4PM, in the summer when it's typically light at 6am and not dark until 9pm, that gives me 2 hours to break camp, and about 5 hours to set up camp. That also means about 480km or 300 miles a week.

    If your touring on your vacation, going flat out to go as many miles as possible, means that you need a vacation from your vacation, when you get back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    What do good touring riders do in a day if their only goal is to cover distance? I know you are not into it as a race. But if you decide to go for a destination with little regard for what's around you at the moment, what can you do for mileage. Please give age as this has to be a critcial factor.
    Your question is better asked in the "Long Distance Cycling" forum here. Going for a destination with little regard for what's around you at the moment is somewhat the antithesis of touring.

    If you look at the daily mileage numbers in the journals at crazyguyonabike.com, you'll find numbers ranging from 0 to well over 100 miles. My completely unscientific, totally gut feel is that a bell curve graph of daily distances peaks somewhere between 50 and 75 miles per day with lots of data points on either side of the peak.

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    I normally look at 80-100km a day, but that often depends on other factors such as how many things there are to see and do in the place, the terrain, and just how I'm feeling at the time. If it hasn't already been suggested, the best advice I can give is to go and do a short 2-3 day tour with all the gear just to get a feeling of what YOU are comfortable doing. Then you'll know the sort of daily distance you are capable of, and what works for you.
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    I have a 5 day self supported tour coming up in a few days. I have been asked to set up the route, or anyway a general idea of a route before we start. It is always subject to daily change according to weather etc.

    In an attempt to set up the ride I have tried to keep each day to about 50 miles. It is not a problem to go up to 65 miles if needed, but grumbling will start with anything over that.

    You asked about age: 60.
    Fully loaded (about 45#).
    Tent camping each night.

    I could ride farther, much farther, any given day.

    Not sure about your question. Hope this makes sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    I was just curious what a man could do if he had to.
    There are quite a few journals of people who have crossed the country and averaged 100 miles per day. There are even a few (very few) who have crossed the country averaging 150 miles per day. These numbers, however, are not typical.

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    When I was in BC, it was my very first tour and I averaged around 80 miles per day for two weeks, riding by myself. When I did the Pacific Coast, I rode with lots of other people, drank a lot, and rode about 60 miles per day for a month. When I crossed the U.S. the first time, I was on my own, and trying to get some place before winter, so I averaged just under 100 miles a day for 33 days. That was pretty much just riding at a steady pace from sun up to sun down. When I crossed the U.S. again on a supported tour, we averaged about 70 miles a day for two months, but usually finished that mileage before noon. The longest touring ride I ever did was 160 miles to go see some riders in Portland for the weekend.

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    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Old Town,
    There are so many variables that will affect the average mileage per day. On the Southern Tier, solo, unsupported I averaged 65 miles per riding day. My last cross country tour from Florida to Oregon, again solo unsupported, I averaged 67 miles per riding day. Most days I plan for about 75-80 miles. The longest day I have ridden was 115 miles. Sometimes I go a couple of weeks without taking a day off, once was a 17 day stretch without a day off. If it rains/snows, I take the day off. If it rains/snows after I begin my day, I normally cut the day short. Just my preference. I am 64, carry full camping gear for about 40# of baggage. And my Burly weighs in at just above 30#.
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Town View Post
    I was just curious what a man could do if he had to.
    If that's the information you're interested in, take a look at the UMCA records page:
    http://www.ultracycling.com/records/recordsprocess.html

    There are several who can do 500+ miles in a 24-hour period of time.

    That site also gives you a list of cross-state records, cross-country (several different countries)records, and so on:
    http://www.ultracycling.com/records/staterecords.html

    And if you're interested in setting a record, it gives you info for how to do that as well.

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    Senior Member semperfi1970's Avatar
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    Average of around 45 miles day in and day out.
    Its more than just a bicycle, it changed my life.

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    I've done 140 in one day,fully loaded.That was last year at age 51. My normal speed is 30-70 miles a day,depending.

    Those record holders seem to be missing a few things on their bikes.....
    Last edited by Booger1; 10-23-09 at 09:10 PM.
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    How you ride makes a big difference too, as in how much gear you carry, how self contained you are, etc. I did a fully supported tour (charity ride type of thing) down the California coast where we were riding road racing bikes, SAG vehicles carrying our baggage and were doing 120-130 miles by three in the afternoon, and could easily have gone another 30 or so.
    On the other hand, if you are riding a fully loaded self contained touring bike, and on vacation, and out to see things and enjoy yourself but still cover decent ground, 70 miles or so would probably be my limit for what I would want to do day after day. 50 miles would make a more fun trip with time to stop and take pictures, talk to people, stuff like that. I generally try to not plan more than 50 mile days, and if I end up going further, fine, but I try to not force myself to go too far.
    Keep in mind though, if you go in the summer and start at first light and dont stop until the sun starts going down, even riding slow you have a lot of hours of riding and can cover a whole lot of ground, and really, as long as you keep eating enough, you won't really wear out if you are in good shape. It is surprising how far you can really go on a bike as long as you keep fuel in the engine.
    I think everyone has different preferences though.

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    I agree with rhm, ask this in the long distance cycling forum, you'll probably get some mind-boggling answers.

    You've said you know touring isn't about speed, and I'll agree with you tenfold, it really isn't about speed. If someone was in it for speed, it sort of wouldn't be touring...

    Having said that, I'm 21 and I think my biggest day hasn't been more than 130 miles. But you have to factor in terrain as well. I did a day of 105 miles, but part of that was over a massive pass in RMNP. A friend of mine did a 150 miler on his transam, and crossed the state of Indiana basically in a day.

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