Is A 20 Mile Bike Ride Good For A New Rider?

If you’re new to cycling and wondering if a 20-mile bike ride is a good goal for a senior cyclist, the answer is yes!

As a beginner cyclist, you might feel intimidated by the idea of cycling 20 miles, but I will tell you that it is the PERFECT distance to aim for.

It’s challenging enough to give you a good workout, but not so long that it’s impossible to achieve.

When I first started cycling, a 20-mile bike ride just seemed impossible.  Just doing my 5-6 miles left me winded!

But with some training and preparation, I was able to reach that goal.

I found that cycling 20 miles was a great way to build up my endurance and improve my overall fitness. Plus, it’s a fun way to explore new routes and enjoy the outdoors.

Of course, I wouldn’t recommend that you start out with a 20-mile ride! 

You really should start out slowly with a shorter ride and gradually build up your endurance and distance over time.

So, if you’re interested in learning some helpful training tips that help me accomplish my 20-mile rides, stay tuned!

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The 20-Mile Bike Ride: Is It Good for Beginners?

As a beginner cyclist myself, I understand the need and desire of wanting to push yourself to new limits and achieve your goals.

However, when it comes to a 20-mile bike ride, the question remains: is it a good distance for beginners?

After researching and speaking with experienced cyclists, I’ve found that a 20-mile bike ride is certainly achievable for a beginner – with some training and preparation.

I don’t really think that a 20 mile bike ride on your first time few times out on the open road is a smart move for most of us, but with time and practice, it’s a great goal to work towards.

One of the benefits of a 20-mile bike ride is that it provides a good workout for both your body and mind. Cycling for longer distances, even at an old lady pace, can help improve your cardiovascular health, improve muscle tone, burn calories, and reduce stress. It’s also a great way to explore your local area and enjoy the scenery.

However, it’s important to take safety precautions and listen to your body.

Make sure you have the appropriate gear, such as a helmet and comfortable clothing, and bring plenty of water and snacks.

It’s also a good idea to start with shorter distances and gradually work your way up to 20 miles.

Physical Fitness and Stamina Required

As a beginner, it’s important to understand that a 20-mile bike ride requires a certain level of physical fitness and stamina.

It may seem like an impossible distance to cover, but with the right preparation, it can be an awesome goal to achieve!

Before heading out on a 20-mile bike ride, it is important to assess your current fitness level.

If you are new to cycling or have not exercised in a while, it may be best to start with shorter distances and gradually work your way up to a 20-mile ride. This will help you avoid injury and build up your stamina over time.

You may also benefit by starting a strengthening program.  This will help you to build up the muscles that you need to use while cycling and improve overall endurance.

During the ride, it is important to stay hydrated and fuel your body with proper nutrition. This can include drinking water and electrolyte drinks and consuming snacks such as energy bars or fruit.

It is important to listen to your body during the ride and take breaks as needed. This can include stopping to stretch or rest if you feel fatigued.

Building up to a 20-mile bike ride may take time, but with proper preparation and a positive attitude, it can be an awesome experience.

Preparing For Long Bike Ride

Make A Schedule

Trying to fit any fitness program into your daily routine can take some planning.

A few things to consider are:

  • How many days a week can you ride?
  • What days can you commit to riding?
  • What is the best time of day for you to ride – in the morning, on your lunch hour or in the evening? Find a time that works for you.

You may want to consider doing alternating days at first so that you don’t overtrain causing soreness.

Do you also strength train or do other physical activities such as Pilates or yoga?  You will need to work those in as well without over stressing your body.

Put It on Your Calendar

If you are like me you live and die by your daily calendar.

If I put something on my calendar, I will be more likely stick to it. Add it to your calendar just like all of your other commitments.

Our health is just as important as everything else that we have to do in a day.  If you’re not healthy it will be hard to get all of the other commitments completed.

Practice a little self-love.

Get Your Bike Set Up

The beauty of starting slow is that you have time to slowly prepare your bike.

Maybe you need to adjust your seat or add a few accessories such as mirrors or a bottle holder for water.

Make these adjustments during the training so that your bike is right where you want it to be before you head out for that big ride.

Stay Consistent And Go Slow

I have to start out by saying that when I first started, I was a bit inconsistent.  It wasn’t until I really started taking my rides seriously that I was able to increase the miles.

Follow your schedule and just take your time.  The only person that you are racing against is yourself.

You can do this!

Set Goals for Yourself

Goal setting is one of the best ways to reach any milestone in a timely manner.

As a beginner cyclist, setting goals will help you stay motivated and track your progress.

Be sure to set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals.

Vague goals that can’t be measured or specific probably won’t be of any help to you.

Be Sure to Have Safety Gear

Wearing the right safety gear can make a big difference on a long ride.

Here are some important safety gear items that you may want to consider:

  • Helmet: A helmet is a must-have for any bike ride. Make sure it fits well and is comfortable to wear.
  • Gloves: Gloves can protect your hands from blisters and provide extra grip on the handlebars.
  • Sunglasses: Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun and wind.
  • Reflective gear: Wear reflective clothing or accessories to make yourself visible to other road users.
  • Proper Clothing:  Be sure to dress for the weather.  This could make a big difference on the comfort of your ride.

Tips for a Successful 20-Mile Bike Ride

If you’re a beginner, a 20-mile bike ride can seem overwhelming – but with the right preparation and mindset – you will be able to do it!

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful for my own 20-mile bike rides.

Pace Yourself

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re on a 20-mile bike ride is to pace yourself. It’s easy to get excited and go too hard too fast, but this could leave you exhausted and flat.  

Try to find a comfortable pace that you can maintain for the entire ride. It’s better to just start out slow and gradually increase your speed if you’re feeling good later in the ride.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another important thing to consider on your bike ride, but especially for a 20-mile one.

Make sure to bring plenty of water with you and drink regularly throughout the ride. You can also add an electrolyte supplement to your water to help replace the minerals that you may lose when you sweat. 

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, as this can lead to dehydration.

Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition is also important for a successful 20-mile bike ride.

Make sure to eat a balanced meal before your ride, including carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle recovery. During the ride, bring along some snacks such as energy bars or a banana to keep your energy levels up.

It’s also a good idea to bring a small amount of cash with you in case you need to stop for food or water along the way.

How To Train for A 20 mile Bike Ride

I did a lot of research before I started riding.

I’m kind of a geek when it comes to trying new things. I absolutely love researching.

I learned a lot and feel that this is what helped me successfully get to that 20-mile mark.

Below is the schedule that I followed to get to my first 20 mile bike ride.

This is just a place to start.  If you are more fit, you may move along a little quicker.

If you’re just coming off the couch, you may want to go a little slower.

Just do what works best for you so that you don’t over stress your body and you continue to ride.

Week 1-2

Start out by just doing 3-4 miles. This should take about 15–20 minutes to complete.

Try to ride 2-3 times per week.  It would be best to skip a day in between your rides.

On your alternate days try to do strength training, yoga or Pilates 2-3 times per week.   This will help you to get your muscles stronger for the ride.

Be sure to take at least one day off a week from all activities to rest.

Your body will thank you.

Week 3

Begin to increase your ride time to 20-30 minutes.  This should be about 5-7 miles.

Again, try to alternate days with strength training.

Week 4

Increase your rides to 7-9 miles. This will probably take about 40-45 minutes.

Continue to ride 3 times per week.

Try to throw a few hills into the mix.

Alternate your ride days with other cross training.  Mix it up a little.

Week 5-6

Now you may be able to ride a little longer.

Are you ready to try that first 10-12 mile ride? It will probably take you close to 60 minutes.

By now you should be able to figure out your limits.  Don’t overdo it but don’t hold back if you have more in the tank.

It’s okay to do a few longer rides during the week with an easier ride in the middle. All 3 days don’t have to be long hard rides.

I actually did a shorter ride in the middle of the week and worked more on speed and hills.

But if you feel that you are ready to advance then go for it.

Just keep riding.

Week 7-8

Are you ready to kick it up?

If you’re feeling good, it may be time to try a 15-16 mile ride. For me this took about 75-minutes.

Again, don’t worry if you need to go a little slower. Do what feels right for you. You know your body.

It is perfectly okay to slowly work yourself into the 15-16 mile ride.

Continue to try getting out 3 days a week.  Consistency is key.

Week 9-10

You’ve got this now.

Time to try that first 17-18 mile ride. This should take about 90-minutes.

You may be a little faster or a little slower. It still beats where you were when you started.

Again, alternate with a lighter ride if you need to.  There is no shame in that.

Week 11-12

This is it!  The 20 mile ride.  This took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete.

To tell you the truth the day of my first 20 mile bike ride I didn’t want to go.  I had a really bad day, and I was not feeling a ride.

It turned out to be my best ride ever and I felt great after.

So don’t let you mind stop your body from moving forward.  You’ve got this!

Just stay consistent and push yourself.  You never know what you are truly capable of until you push your limits.

So just go for it!


In my opinion, a 20 mile bike ride is a great goal for a beginner. It’s challenging enough to push you out of your comfort zone, but still achievable with some training and preparation.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s fitness level is different. If you’re not used to cycling, it would be best to start with shorter rides and work your way up to longer distances.

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard too soon.

Additionally, it’s super important to have the right equipment and safety gear so that your ride is safe and enjoyable. 

A well-fitted helmet, comfortable clothing, and proper shoes are all essential.

It’s also important to bring enough water and snacks to fuel your body during the ride.

Overall, a 20 mile bike ride can be a great way to improve your fitness, explore new areas, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Just remember to take it at your own pace, stay safe, and have fun!

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