How far do you ride in a day?

The endless forests of North America

“How far do you ride in a day?” This seems to be a question that crops up time and time again, something of a polite greeting that usually occurs soon after “Hello” and “Where are you riding to?“

As for the where I’m riding to question initially my response varied, here in North America I’d choose either just South, or to the Lower 48, sometimes Argentina, Australia or Not really sure; with my response usually being based on how chatty I was feeling at any given time. Since the miles had started accumulating I’d perhaps swayed more towards answering with Argentina, or more recently just Back to London. Which in Canada comes with a slight ambiguity.

Even through the cloud and inclement weather the scenery has been breathtaking

As for the distance in a day question, I actually had no idea.

In Europe it was pretty straight forward, given that I just rode my bike – and on a bit of a mission as always! Here in North America I’ve started to settle into life on the road a bit more, which unlike a shorter trip, requires a little bit more downtime just to look after yourself and your equipment if nothing else. In Europe I just cycled or rested – and given how compact Europe is generally a rest day could conveniently coincide with somewhere nice to explore.

Beautiful rolling gravel roads make for a pleasantly quiet alternative to the asphalt, though a tad slower!

Forty days from Bath to Athens, just over 4000km so 100km or 60mi per day. Not too shabby when that was including cycling and rest days too; and I didn’t do much else. But in Europe I was travelling light. My bike was serviced, groceries and cafes were in abundance, just the body that wasn’t quite tuned up at that point! Though I’d averaged 100km per day, omitting rest days it was probably more like 130km on the days I’d actually ridden, the longest day being 225km.

As for North America, I’ve been here over 70 days now, landing in Alaska on midsummer day and I genuinely had no idea what my average mileage has been. Sure a good day is still a century in miles, a solid day anything over 150km and 70mi or so being completely satisfying. But here in Canada I’ve cycled some days, I’ve rested others, I’ve mountain biked for a day or three ‘off’, I’ve paddled lakes and floated rivers. Mostly journeying towards the end goal of, well, somewhere South! But being somewhat clueless to the distance I was covering, but for my notebook with speedo readings scribbled down, I thought I’d take a look at the actual data. So in a slightly nerdy fashion with the engineer in me ever present, a spreadsheet was on the cards!

The idea of a spotlessly clean bike has become something of a distant memory!

So here’s what I found out…

  • Degrees of Latitude travelled: 15° 44’, so 944nm or 1086mi (1748km)
  • Total mileage so far in North America on the bike: 2895mi (4660km) covered over some 70 days.
  • This made for an almost slightly depressing daily average which called for some slight corrections to the statistics. I’d taken a fair number of days off in trying to plan a little detour to the north and then waiting for equipment to arrive, some of which never did. I’d had days where I’d covered less than 5mi too – not really cycling days more rest days so these needed accounting for, I’d travelled by boat rather than bike on a number of days, so definitely not rest days but no mileage accumulating on the speedo there either, and I’d mountain biked without the luggage so not really going anywhere there.

    Not all the journeying has been by bike!

    So with this in mind a few respectable corrections later and I was feeling a little happier with the stats!

  • Actual Journeying Mileage ridden: 2803mi (4512km)
  • Daily Journeying Average: 66.7mi (107km)
  • Slightly more respectable now – though I’d like to be able to say I was averaging 70mi per day!

Finally, though technically for a third time, I have now crossed the border into BC

Unlike Europe through this is averaged only over days actually cycled somewhere. Rest days are another matter. So far in 70 days I’ve had about 20 days off the bike and 48 days on the bike for anything from 1mi to 140mi! So about 5 days riding for 2 days off – much like a normal job! Some of the days off had been enforced rather than desired and are split into 11 periods of one or more day. Though I’ve journeyed by bike for 5 days in 7, this doesn’t account for days of other activity – paddling, mountain biking etc – which if you take those into account then I’m averaging about 6.5 days of activity for every period of time I’ve rested for.

So at least now I have an answer the next time I’m asked “How far do you ride in a day?” – averaging about 70mi, though anything up to about 140mi!

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