How Long Should I Bike For A Good Workout?

Ensuring that you maintain an active lifestyle with a healthy diet is crucial to a long life and a happy one.

One very popular form of exercise is biking. It can be done outdoors or you can opt for an indoor bike.

The thing is, it’s not always obvious to us how long exactly you should be biking for it to be called a good workout – and what exactly does a good workout mean?

In this guide, we’re going to explore how long a bike workout should be and help you to achieve your fitness and lifestyle goals.

What Do We Mean By A Good Workout?

The key factor in defining a workout and therefore a “good workout” is knowing what our goals are.

For many, weight loss might be the goal. For others, it could be general fitness and for some, it could be developing stamina and aerobic capacity.

There are of course, some people who will be in training for a competition that involves biking and their good workout would constitute much different facets than someone who wants to lose weight.

We’ve decided to split these sections up, so that you can get a well rounded view on what is considered a good workout when it comes to biking, depending on the following common goals.

Weight Loss: What Is A Good Workout?

Losing weight is incredibly important. Too much body fat can lead to poor health conditions such as heart disease, fatty liver, diabetes and increases the likelihood of life threatening situations like heart attacks and strokes.

The problem is, developing a weight loss program will be difficult depending on how overweight a person is and this will change what is classified to you as a good workout on a bike.

In general, you should focus on the duration of your biking, rather than the distance.

The longer you can sustain a workout is more important and beneficial to weight loss than the length of distance that you’re riding.

Having said that, the longer you ride, the more likely you are to ride further distances – but this isn’t always the case, particularly when it comes to indoor biking.

As a result of this, planning a good workout for a weight loss program using a bike can be relatively simple, but it will hugely depend on your starting weight when you begin biking.

You can set yourself weekly goals that gradually increase in duration. Start with a 20 minute bike ride, whether that is indoor or outdoor.

If you’re starting out, try and cycle for 20 minutes on a flat surface and then a week later, increase this to 30 minutes, then 45 minutes and then an hour.

Gradual increases will be a much more beneficial workout for those trying to lose weight using a bike and eventually, you’ll find it much easier to ride further distances and for a longer time.

When you’re feeling confident enough during your workout program, consider including hills into the mix.

Hills will work you much harder than a flat surface, leading you to burn more calories through your carbon dioxide exhaling and sweating.

Always keep an eye on how many calories you’re burning. Many people choose to use their smartphone or smartwatch for this.

Every time you workout, try to increase the amount of calories you’re burning and ensure you are making notes of your progress.

Depending on where you live will determine which type of bike you use and your circumstances will determine if you’re using an indoor or outdoor bike.

If you’re planning to use outdoor bikes, you could choose a road bike, mountain bike, recumbent bike or electric bike.

If you live near hills and mountains, it’s a wise idea to invest in a mountain bike.

They’re typically easier to maintain a good posture and allow you to ride for longer durations and distances, along with being appropriate for your surroundings.

So, to determine a good workout for a weight loss goal will be inclusive of the following:

Weekly increase in time from 20 minutes a day
Increase in distance eventually
Adding hills in to the workout
Involving other workouts on non-biking days

The thing to remember is that a good workout for weight loss using a bike is not necessarily determined on how long you ride for – but for consistency, inclusive of a good diet and other activities when you’re not biking.

General Fitness: What Is A Good Workout?

How Long Should I Bike For A Good Workout

Much in the way that weight loss goals will involve gradual increases in the workout duration and intensity, general fitness will also see this.

It will be determined initially by how experienced of a biker you are to begin with.

As a rule of thumb, you can say that for a beginner – a good workout can be between 30 minutes and an hour of cycling and for the more experienced biker, you’d be looking at at least one hour of cycling.

Of course, the intensity will be the important factor. For general fitness, bikers will often try to cycle a specific distance in their chosen time.

What these distances are will be determined by your fitness level also.

Again, you will have to look at what type of bike you are planning to use.

Many people with general fitness as their goal might decide to go for road bikes rather than mountain bikes because they typically will do their biking on the roads.

A plan for a good workout will increase in intensity. If you’re a beginner, start with doing 30 minutes to an hour with a varied landscape.

If you’re using an indoor bike, change the settings to intervals and each week, increase the level of difficulty.

Competitive Biking: What Is A Good Workout?

For serious, experienced bikers – their version of a good workout will largely depend on when their competition is and what sort of biker they are.

For example, if they’re planning to enter the Tour De France, they will be training on a road bike and the intensity will begin high.

Due to the demands of these sorts of competitions, the duration will last for hours.

For a good workout as someone entering a competition – you’ll want to try and beat your time every workout.

Set yourself a goal to beat X amount of KM in X amount of time and continue to try and reduce the time it takes you to reach this distance.

Tips For A Good Workout

Whatever your goal is when using a bike for a workout, you should always create a plan with aims to be better each week and continue being self critical.

Always remember to be consistent, as the longer you leave your workouts between one another, the more difficult it will be to get back into it.

Additionally, you must always remember the fundamentals of remaining hydrated, stretching the muscles, warming up and warming down, keeping to a good diet plan and ensuring that you have the right equipment before your workout.


What is called a good workout will largely depend on you and your goals.

Start with small, achievable goals and increase the intensity – you will know when you’ve had a good workout then!

Good luck.

Cynthia Reeves
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