If you are new to bicycle travel, you might be thinking to yourself, “What exactly does an average day of bicycle touring look like?” By this I mean, “What kind of schedule must one traveling by bike keep in order to eat, sleep, travel a certain distance each day, and still have time to stop and smell the roses along the way.”
This is a difficult question to answer because no two bike trips are the same and every person has their own preferred means of travel, but I’ll attempt to answer this question by breaking down my average bicycle touring day and showing you what most of my days look like.
After I’m finished, I hope that those reading this who already have some bicycle touring experience under their belt will share exactly what their average day of bike travel looks like by leaving a message in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
So here it is! My average day of bicycle travel looks a bit like this:
7:00 AM – Wake up, break down my tent and pack up my bike.
8:00 AM – Stop and have breakfast. (Note that I don’t usually eat as soon as I get up. If I’m in a campground I will usually eat and have a shower before I leave in the morning, but if I’m stealth camping, I usually get out of my hiding spot as soon as possible and then eat somewhere down the road.)
8:30 AM – After breakfast I start the serious riding for the day. I usually ride in intervals of anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour at a time and then stop for just 3-5 minutes by leaning over my handlebars (not even getting off my bike) and grabbing a good drink of water. I may also stop to take photos or explore a passing area, but these stops usually range from just 3-5 minutes. I will repeat this process until I stop for lunch.
1:00 PM – Somewhere along the way I will stop and eat lunch. I usually try and find a park or some secluded area where I can sit down and stare off into the distance as I eat my peanut butter sandwich or whatever I might have to eat.
1:45 PM – After lunch I get back out on the road. Again, I’ll ride in 45 minute to 1 hour segments and then stop for about 3-5 minutes just to catch my breath, take a picture or grab a drink of water. I don’t usually drink from my water bottles while I am riding. I use my water breaks as an excuse to stop and enjoy my surroundings.
4:00 PM – By this time I usually have most of my distance for the day totally covered. In fact, I might be totally done riding by this time – having covered anywhere from 40-80 miles. If I’m done for the day, I break camp or walk around town with my bike. If I’m not done, or I plan to stealth camp, I continue riding until about an hour before it gets dark.
6:00 PM – By this time I usually (but not always) have my tent set up and I’ve changed out of my riding clothes. I’ll take a shower, eat dinner, then spend some time writing in my journal, calling friends or family back home, and then finish the night by reading.
8:00 PM – After an especially long day of riding, I’m usually asleep (or at least inside my tent and trying to go to sleep) by 8 PM. I may stay up reading or journaling by flashlight if I have the energy. But otherwise, I usually go to sleep as soon as it gets dark – as there often times isn’t a whole lot you can do once night falls.
Then, the process starts all over again the next morning!
So that’s it! That’s an incredibly simplified breakdown of what most of my average days look like when traveling by bike. Now it’s over to you.
If you are an experienced bicycle tourist, leave a comment below and let me know what your average day of bicycle touring looks like. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the different daily schedule choices and we might just help some less experienced riders pick out their preferred means of travel in the process.