How Far is too Far to Bike to Work

Author: Alex Bristol

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Planning a long commute to work? Here’s how you know if it’s too far

We can all be a tad too ambitious at the best of times, but sometimes we need to learn when something is completely unachievable.

From wild thoughts in the middle of a daydream to a conversation leading to a challenge, I’m the first to bite off more than I can chew when trying to pursue an idea.

But what if a genuine question pops into mind? What if we’re thinking about starting to cycle to work on a bike?

I am an avid believer in swapping four wheels for two when it comes down to short journeys.

When having a car costs a fair price to run, and public transport can have crippling fees, it’s no wonder why more Americans are starting to commute to work by bike year after year.

The benefits are huge when it comes to commuting by bike, not to mention the health benefits that come with it.

So, the biggest question that I am sure you want to find out is how far is too far to commute to work?

Well, here’s the good bit:

You will find everything here.

To answer the above-mentioned question, you need to know or consider the following main points or questions:

  1. How much time is needed?
  2. What stuff you should pack?
  3. What about sweat?
  4. What is the level of your fitness?
  5. Which bike will you use for commuting?
  6. How does the route look?

All these golden questions should be answered first before starting your big journey.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s see if you’re really biting off more than you can chew. (I know, poetic, right?!)

Best city transportation

Existing Fitness Level

Your current fitness levels are detrimental to how far you can travel by bike.

You could be fit enough to carry out a huge commute to work, or you may have to increase those levels over time steadily. One crucial thing to note is how quickly you can tire over a week. The miles start to stack up, and commuting with no rest over long periods of time can take its toll.

For example;

  • A day of biking 40 miles is (relatively) simple for a healthy person.
  • Five straight days of 40 miles bike rides are much more difficult.

Any experienced bike commuter is going to tell you that you need a solid idea of how far you can cycle first.

This doesn’t just come down to your personal best. No, no, no!

Think of your state when you finished your long-distance bike ride. A hot mess, right?

Imagine rolling into work after it looks like you just completed a marathon. You’re not going to be an employee of the month, that’s for sure.

Man in blue shirt riding bicycle on road

Before you Start

Before you bike to work, school, or college, make sure you ride the route to get a feel for it and know how long it will take. You can use any estimating app to weigh up the challenge; you’re going to need an exact time.

Whip out Google Maps and pop in the address of your final destination.

Does it seem unrealistic?

If you’re unsure, you should have a run-through before your working day to prepare for game time. This way, not only are you mentally prepared, but you won’t regret the decision halfway through the journey.

Or worse, when you arrive at where you need to be.

Young businessman in a suit with a bicycle

Evaluate your Average Commute Time

It takes quite a bit more time to travel by bike, as I’m sure you know, but when we compare the numbers to a normal car journey, it isn’t that bad. However, it depends on the time and route you aim to cover.

Leaving earlier in the morning can always be beneficial;

  • If you are traveling early morning, the roads are quiet and less crowded
  • If you choose a less crowded route, you will save some time.

Factoring these into your journey could actually cut down on valuable time.

Here’s why:

If your route is 15 kilometers, leaving at 8 AM could take you 90 minutes. If your route is 22 kilometers and you’re leaving at 7.30 AM, that journey could take you 70 minutes.

Stopping and starting is one of the most time-consuming factors on a commute to school or work, and leaving earlier could help you experience quieter roads.

Heading to Destination

I’ve mentioned a few times to my work colleagues about cycling to work, and their first question is usually based on ‘Do you not find it ruins your day after sweating on the ride in?’.

Now, don’t get me wrong here.

Sweating definitely happens when biking to work, but I have some plans in place to handle these situations.

And you should, too.

I won’t delve too deeply into the routine, but finding a shower and bringing an extra set of clothes is a lifesaver in this scenario.

If you’re traveling a handful of miles, you usually won’t experience sweating. But, on a long commute to work, prepare for needing a new set of clothes.

If you find that you’re not into being hot and sticky when arriving at your destination. You have your answer; that journey is too far to commute.

When you are working for a huge corporation, they provide professional services for people looking to get cleaned up before they start working.

However, you may face difficulty while commuting to college or school. As far as these types of places are concerned, where you don’t have access to showers, you can use this guide to avoid sweating. The trick to sweating less is too easy; follow these points:

  • Riding a bit early in the morning
  • Wearing fewer layers
  • Bring some extra clothing with you
  • Don’t ride your bike because you’re afraid of getting sweaty… JK 😉
Particle view. Businessman in formal clothes with black bicycle is in the city


No matter how much you have planned, nothing can benefit you if you are not inspired to leave the house. Planning is a smart way not to make excuses for the main event.

Here are some ideas to keep you motivated:

  • Do not cycle every day of the week if you do not have to. Often, you’ll start to find that a daily shift followed by washing your clothes can get boring.
  • Put together a damn-right cool playlist that will last you the journey.
  • Change up the route when you can. Keeping it roughly the same distance and racking up extra miles isn’t the smartest idea if you’re already on a long commute.
  • Taking the scenic path on a bright day

How Far is too Far to College or School

Physical exercise in a teen’s everyday life has been described as a significant benefit to the success of children.

We reside in an automotive society, so it is no joke that more and more kids are bringing cars to school and college.

Statistics say that almost 60 percent of students commute to school or college by car. This is about four times as much as in the 1960s when it was only 16 percent of students.


Long journeys to school negatively affect students’ well-being, particularly their quality of sleep and physical fitness.

Primarily, this data is monitored by how much time students invest in sleep, exercise, and six other activities:

  • Studying
  • Socializing
  • Enjoying TV
  • Working on a task
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities
  • Indulging in recreational sports

It’s always beneficial for children to participate in after-school programs that take them to several destinations.

This breaks up a journey and makes commuting easier due to being broken into more achievable chunks at a time.

Bad News

The unfortunate thing is that long drives take a huge impact on students’ daily exercise and sleep.

On average,

  • Students averagely sleep eight hours and 17 minutes every night.
  • However, 8% get less than 6 hours of sleep.

It means that students with a long commute will have less sleep than average, which will disturb the student’s mental health.

Getting extra hours in bed is crucial to the development of younger adults.

Everything mentioned above changes slightly when commuting to college or school, as extra sleep is required.

It doesn’t just come down to how many miles are too far to ride, but more how much time is required to get to where you need to go.

Perfect day for cycling to work. Side view of cheerful young businessman looking at camera and smiling while riding on his bicycle

Toll on Exercise

The rising obesity crisis in children is a major concern due to long-distance commuting. According to the reports:

Running or biking to school or college is a “replacement instead of a complement to certain forms of exercise,” which means that kids usually only work out when on the way to class.

How far do you think you can commute?

This article addressed the question, “How far is too far to commute to work?” It is mostly up to you, but 10 to 20 miles seems to have been a fair distance.

In the factors we discussed above, you will have to answer this question for yourself. We would agree that 5 to 10 miles is a great range for a bike ride.

Biking to work is a great pleasure. It is beneficial for you physically, so we are going to debate psychologically as well.

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