cycling · fitness

What’s your perfect distance?

Back when I used to ride long distances on Saturdays with a cycling club there was a lot of debate, especially among the slower, more social group, about the perfect distance. I say “slower and more social” but my most standards even this group wasn’t particularly slow. We were social, in that we stopped for lunch rather than just chowing down on a cliff bar and turning around, but we weren’t that slow. We averaged about 25 km/hr.

Our rides commenced at 8 am in the summer months and lunch took about an hour. That means a 100 km ride was a 5 hour commitment. Home by 1:30 after riding back from the start like the teddy bear below.

Text reads ‘cyclists at 130 pm on the weekend after getting home from a ride.’ The image is a bear in a blue sleep shirt with a red night cap still wearing bike shoes sitting in a green arm chair with tea and scones on a table.’

At the time, I was fine with 100 km. I arrived home sleepy. That’s true. I showered and had lunch round 2. Sometimes I even napped. But it didn’t take away the whole day. We used to gripe when the distances got much past that. 110 km? Fine. 120 km? OK. But 140 and 160 (the summer’s peak distance? Meh. At 160 km Jeff and I had a great trick–I’d ride out with the club, he’d meet me there with kids and car and bathing suits, we’d all have breakfast together, and then he’d ride back.

Now 100 km is pretty much a day for me. And that’s okay when you have a day to spare but often I don’t. I mean, I can make dinner, I can watch a movie, but often after a 100 km I don’t get anything productive done.

I’m coming to appreciate shorter rides, even on the weekend.

This year our most common riding distance is 50 km.

We’ve got a great 50 km route outside Guelph that we got from doing the Tour de Guelph.

Brantford to Port Dover? Also 50 km.

Our ice cream ride in Prince Edward County is 50 km.

I’m hoping we get a 100 km county ride in September. I’m also hoping it’s cooler by then. The heat this year is killing me.

What’s your favourite distance to ride?