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#122622 - 02/04/08 10:45 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in…
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
What do you need to do 50 miles on a bike?

Well, when I was a teenager, I did a little over 50 miles on a BMX bike from Riverside, CA to the beach. We needed plenty to drink, some money for fast food, a lock so that our 50-mile ride back was still there when we were done with said fast food, and a map so we actually knew where we were going. I also had some emergency tools and so forth in case some finicky bike part blew up along the way.
“Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee. Sometimes old people hike by mistake.” — Demitri Martin

#122624 - 02/04/08 11:00 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5247
50 miles in a day. . . call it a 10 hour day, 5 miles per hour -- I run a 10K in about an hour, a little over 6 MPH. 5 MPH on a bike would be fairly easy, just a matter of mind over miles. Don't know how much water that would take, quite a bit I spose -- quart an hour sound right? More? Food, figure a few thousand calories, but if you go Austin's cycling calculator you can get a better estimate. CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS is another good read re energy output.

#122628 - 02/04/08 11:12 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
91gdub Offline

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 172
Loc: South Jersey (the 51st state)
Originally Posted By: teacher
What does it take to ride a bike 50 miles? Lets start with the bike and look at the you portion in a bit.

Ideally you want a multi-speed bike and a comfortable position, so a mountain bike is good. Tuned up will save lots of energy.


For me it would take at least 50 days laugh
Bill Houston

#122633 - 02/05/08 12:13 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 999
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
For the terrain you're looking at, my local shop recommended something similar to this when I asked that same question a few years ago. I don't remember which frame material I ended up getting.

#122635 - 02/05/08 01:23 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: La-USA
Originally Posted By: teacher
Hmmm. I'm thinking what does a person new to biking need to do 50 miles in one day, carrying some gear. Figure mostly paved roads/ trails and some dirt.

50 miles in a day,,,,,As a training & conditioning run...

A bicycle in good condition/good repair, you pick the gear capabilities based on the terrain that you'll be covering and according to your personal tastes.

A small backpack with:
a lunch type of meal, PSK, a bicycle repair kit including a tire repair kit (& a spare inner tube), a 1 or 2 qt canteen. All of the aforementioned list can be stowed on a pannier if you equip your bike with one.

On the bicycle frame:
a water bottle (1 liter), an air pump.

On your person:
EDC, hat, sunglasses/glasses, driving gloves (a personal preference), a map of the area that you plan to cover and one that has sufficient coverage of areas adjacent to your route.

On level terrain and no headwinds, you will/should be able to make 6 - 10 mph without stressing or straining. Count on a trip of 5-7 hours depending on what your average speed works out to be. I prefer back country roads that although they may be narrow, they have very little traffic that generally moves slow. Any bicycle paths near your home are perfect (I am planning a trip over some of the Natchez Trace). I am not a fan of carrying an iPod or similar noise creating device since I prefer to hear AND enjoy the noises of an open road and the surrounding countryside (a personal preference).
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#122640 - 02/05/08 02:20 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Flat land will help A LOT!!!

#122648 - 02/05/08 04:27 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: teacher]
beadles Offline

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 105
Loc: Richardson, TX
Time to distinguish between road bikes and mountain bikes. Road bikes are designed to go as far as possible as fast as possible. The wheel size to gear ratio allows the rider to get the wheels spinning very fast. The narrow profile and forward leaning position minimize aerodynamic drag, while the narrow tires minimize the rolling resistance. The funky handlebars allow the rider to change hand position for long duration riding and lean into an even more forward aerodynamic position.

Road bikes are differentiated into racing bikes (extremely lightweight and incredibly expensive) and touring bikes (with attachments for luggage racks).


Mountain bikes are designed to allow the user to apply as much torque to the wheels as possible, which is good for crossing rough terrain. The large tires ensure good ground contact on a rough, possibly loose surface. The upright position is better position for the rider to produce absolute power, and the wide handlebars provide for better lateral control. Bar ends can provide more hand positions for longer duration riding.


50 miles is a good afternoon workout to some people, but the challenge of a lifetime to others. For people who are in poor shape and not used to riding a bicycle, having a bike properly fit will be big part of preventing repetitive motion injuries.

The saddle is probably first thing you'll run up against. Those thick, padded gel saddles look pretty good when you get started, but if you ride on them over and over again for any length of time, they can start to do damage by distributing the saddle pressure over all the soft tissues. Modern long duration saddles are fairly narrow, hard(ish) and slippery, and probably have an indent down the center for pressure relief. These saddles concentrate pressure on the bony protrusions under the hip bones (the "sit bones") and reduce pressure on the soft tissues. Padded bike shorts provide a bit of padding, while the slick shorts work with the slick saddle to keep you from absorbing heat due to friction. Unfortunately, it's still going to be uncomfortable for a while. Training rides get you used to this.

For more information on general bike riding, here's a good set of articles:

John Beadles, N5OOM
Richardson, TX

#122649 - 02/05/08 04:29 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: OldBaldGuy]
beadles Offline

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 105
Loc: Richardson, TX
Yes it do!!! Go down to Houston and ride the Katy Flatland Century (100 miles). The tallest terrain is the highway overpasses. I liked that ride, though the home stretch was a killer.
John Beadles, N5OOM
Richardson, TX

#122653 - 02/05/08 04:44 AM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: Russ]
beadles Offline

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 105
Loc: Richardson, TX
Good guidelines, but bear in mind that both values are conditioning and heat dependent. If you aren't in condition and try to ride a long distance without downing some calories each hour, you'll "hit the wall", where you run out of available energy reserves. This is not fun. I did it twice - made it home without passing out, but slept through to the next day. To avoid this, figuring on consuming 100 calories each hour.

I did lead vehicle on a 100 mi bike rally in June where the lead riders did the whole ride without stopping on 2x 20oz bottles. They averaged about 20 mph. On the other hand, I did some 45 mi summer (107+ degree) rides through north Dallas where I burned through a 100oz camelbak 4 times in the course of the ride.

Just as an aside, I can't stress enough to leave that fashionable black clothing at home if you ride in hot summer temperatures. No reason to expose yourself to added heat stress. Also, I'd like to add that uninsulated camelbaks full of ice water are really comfortable when the temperatures reach up into the hundreds.

Edited by beadles (02/05/08 04:48 AM)
John Beadles, N5OOM
Richardson, TX

#122665 - 02/05/08 01:38 PM Re: 50 miles on a bicycle... [Re: beadles]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
As far as a bike, if you are out to purchase one for a ride on mostly road and some off-road areas, for 50 miles, I would be getting a cyclocross bike. One caveat, most are not cheap. However, it has the wheel diameter of road bike, so you can get some speed, with the ability to get off the road and even handle some serious terrain depending on the rider.

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