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Seventy Miles on a Bicycle is a lot Harder when You only Stop Once


May 2018

I love long bike rides. Wait, let me clarify and define; I love long rides between 50 and 100 miles (80km to 160km). I’ve gone further, to 125 miles (or 200km) once on a solo ride but didn’t much care for it – a little too much of a good thing, even though I managed an 18.8-mph average.


50 miles on a bike, depending on fitness and speed, is hard. 100 miles is really hard, especially when you’re averaging north of 18 or 19-mph. (28-30 km/h), but there’s something rewarding about completing a ride like that. I’ve written before that the 100k or 62-1/2 mile ride is, in my humble opinion, the perfect distance. It’s just long enough that you know you’ve done something special and still short enough that, with the right training, you can get used to doing a ride of that length without grinding yourself into the ground, and with a regular day job. That’s not so much the case with the 100 miler.

I maintain that stopping to refill water bottles and refuel is fair game without counting it against your average speed. The day we get team cars to help with flat tires and hand us water or a Coke, and food, well that’s the day when you can fairly say we shouldn’t be stopping… and that leads me to my one conundrum with cycling with my friends: they’ll go 30-40 miles in between stops, I like them a little more frequent. Say, every 20-25.

When we do supported rides, we’ll hit most of the stops unless the first one comes too soon (I can think of two rides right off the top of my head where the first stop is only 12 miles in and we blow by each of them, every time). That said, when you’re stopping every 20 or 25 miles, it’s east to break a 100 miler down into manageable chunks, mentally… and that’s what I like about the stops.

I can almost do 20 miles standing on my head, so when I hit that 60 mile mark and I start to get tired, it’s easier to just think about getting to the next stop.

And that’ll do till they give me and my buds a team car.


  1. Great post.

    How do your knees and muscles hold up on longer rides? No matter my fitness level, my knees start barking around the 50 mile mark, more so on rides with extended climbs. Also, the competitive drive kicks in more on organized rides, so it’s important to rein that in and stick with the group I am used to riding with — although the guys I used to ride with would often jump on a faster pace line and left me behind.

  2. I like to crank through the first 40 miles without stopping (except if there’s a nice photo opportunity). Unless it’s a scorcher then two full bottles is more than enough for that distance plus snacks in the jersey pockets. Cafe stop then onto the rest of the ride. That said, I don’t often go beyond 60-70 miles.

    And you should totally get a team car, haha! Deck it out in Hammers vinyl wrap and some spare wheels on the top. Totally pro. 🙂

  3. A Century ride is on my bucket list!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Some are better than others. The Horsey Hundred in Kentucky is well worth the trip. That was my wife’s first. It’s a tough one, though.

  4. heavyman927 says:

    Everyone has a distance they like but too long for me is when I have to ‘pace’ myself to finish. I want to be able to play while on the ride! 50ish does that for me. Long enough but if you play too much you can still drag yourself home. And one shot rides make it even better.

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