How Long Does It Take To Bike 5 Miles And Factors Affecting It

5 miles can seem long or short. The time it takes to tackle this distance depends on the type of bike you are riding, the weather, the terrain, and fitness level.

I have spent hours trying to tackle five miles in a blizzard on a fat bike. I’ve also cruised at speeds over 20mph on buffed out gravel roads, tackling the distance in 15 minutes. 

This article looks at all the factors that contribute to answering the question, “How long does it take to bike 5 miles?” The answer is not the same for everyone!

Factors Affecting Riding Time For 5-Miles

Bike Type

Bike type plays a role in how long it takes to bike 5 miles. There are many different types of bikes on the market today. Electric and pedal-assist bikes allow riders to go 20 to 28mph with minimal effort. Road and triathlon bikes are often designed to be aerodynamic and cut through headwinds. 

Their skinny tires roll with minimal resistance on paved surfaces. Mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and cruisers are typically heavy compared to other bikes. Heavier bikes may take more effort to get up to speed (depending on the terrain) and make for a slower ride. 

Fat bikes have wide tires that do not roll as quickly as other bikes. BMX bikes may not be as quick to tackle 5 miles as they are not comfortable to sit on and designed for sprint distances or performing tricks at the bike park.

Bike type does not only have to do with bike weight and wheel width, though. Different types of bikes are typically set up with different gearing. Gearing on a specific bike allows you to climb easier or accelerate quickly. Single-speed bikes take greater effort to get going. 

Bikes with a wider gear range, such as gravel bikes and road bikes, may allow you to cruise over a greater variety of terrain with ease than a 7-speed downhill rig.

Road bikes tend to travel at 20mph or greater speeds, while a cross-country mountain bike on even a paved surface will struggle to reach that average speed. The type of bike you choose to ride can greatly affect how long it takes you to bike 5 miles.

Also Read: Time It Takes To Ride 10 Miles

Riding Weather

Weather is the combination of temperature, wind direction, wind speed, and amount and type of precipitation on a given day. Weather can vary based on the time of year and your location.

The wind is part of the weather that can hurt or help your riding pace and greatly impact the time it takes to ride 5 miles. A tailwind is your best friend. It can push you along the road or your trail, making you only have to put in minimal effort.

A headwind or crosswind can have the opposite effect. Headwinds are nature’s way of adding resistance to your ride. Crosswinds can be just as bad as headwinds, though, as they push you sideways or make it feel as if you have a headwind no matter what direction you are going.

The temperature outdoors can affect your speed. You will likely grow tired quicker if it is a hot day out. This can cause you to bike slower so that you do not overheat. It may mean you need to stop for water breaks more often. Likewise, cold can cause discomfort and affect your speed. If it is cold, you may try to bike faster to warm up.

Precipitation can impact your riding speed. If it is a day without any precipitation, you will go quicker than trying to ride through pouring rain or snow. When it is raining or snowing, visibility is typically poor, and roads or trails may be slick. Both of these things can slow you down drastically. 

If you try to go too fast in wet conditions, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation. 

I lived in a very hilly community and slid through an intersection trying to brake due to my rim brakes failing to engage properly. I’ve also fat biked in blizzards where I got disorientated due to poor visibility and had to walk my bike between trail markers.

Weather can greatly affect the time it takes to cover 5 miles. Wind, rain, snow, and temperature all impact your ability to maneuver through 5 miles at any speed on any bike and terrain.

Terrain

The terrain you travel affects how long it takes to bike 5 miles. The terrain is all about the grade you travel uphill or downhill. It also involves the material you are traversing across. 

If you are headed on a road descent reaching speeds of 40+mph, you will go faster than the rider who is biking up a steep fire rocky fire road for 5 miles. Those on pavement will likely cover 5 miles faster than those biking on snow, through mud, or on sandy trails.

The type of bike you are on must be appropriate for your terrain. If you are trying to ride through snow or sand on a road bike, it will take longer and be more difficult than riding this terrain on a plus tire mountain bike or fat bike. This is true on pavement too. Bikes with skinny and slick tires go faster on pavement than wide and knobby-tired bikes.

Terrain greatly influences the speed, and the time it takes riders to bike 5 miles. The terrain can help or hurt your time, depending on the effort you must put in to overcome a distance on that terrain. 

Related: How Long It Might Take To Ride 1-Mile

Physical Fitness

Every person has different fitness levels when it comes to cycling. Just because you ride a bike doesn’t mean you are fit. Some individuals attempting to ride 5 miles may not have ridden a bike in months and are out of shape. 

Individuals in this category take longer to ride five miles than those traversing the same terrain with higher fitness levels.

Riders that train regularly in any sport and attempt to ride a bike will go faster than those that do not train. True cyclists focus on the discipline of cycling in their fitness goals. 

They may even compete in cycling events such as mountain biking, cyclocross, or road racing. These riders have developed fitness specific to cycling and likely can ride 5 miles faster than others.

FAQs

Is a 5-mile bike ride long?

A 5-mile bike depends on the type of bike, your fitness level, the weather, and the terrain you are traversing. If you are on a road bike travelling on pavement, with a tailwind, on flat ground or down a hill, then a 5-mile bike ride is pretty short. But if you are biking up a 20% grade on a snow-covered trail, on your fat bike, in a blizzard, it may take you hours to go 5 miles. 

Is 5 miles on a bike good?

Any time you spend on a bike is good for your body and soul in most cases. Some days you don’t have time to go 20 miles; 5 is completely acceptable!

Conclusion

The time it takes to bike 5 miles can vary greatly depending on numerous factors. Some of these factors are controlled by the rider, and others are not. 

The type of bike you are on, terrain, weather, and fitness level all impact how long it takes to bike 5 miles. 

There is no simple answer to this question, as each of these factors directly impacts the time it takes to cover this distance.

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Written By Robbie Ferri
My name is Robbie Ferri, I’m an Ultra Endurance cyclist from the UK. I have been lucky enough to have cycled all over the world. With some amazing world record attempts, bikepacking races, and many miles under my belt I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than on my bike.

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