Cycling

Reflections over distances

Need to get back to thinking about next year’s little adventure to Italy. I am so glad to have completed the trip this summer, albeit a much shorter journey and over a longer period of time that I will need take next summer. I did 350 miles over the course of 12 days, but 3 of these days were spent “resting” at my parents’ house where I did little more than sleep, read and watch TV. So 350 miles over 9 days. That’s an average of 39 miles per day of cycling. On the shortest of these days, I only did about 20 miles: Ingleton to Malham although you could add to that the long, steep climb to Malham Tarn itself which would have supplemented another strenuous 5 or so miles, but not on the route, so I’ll ignore. On the longest day I did 60 + miles: Elland to Ilam, the penultimate day of cycling and immediately after the three days of doing nothing active.
For ease of calculation, let’s say I averaged 40 miles per day. I’m happy with that as a start to my long-distance cycling. If I were to do 40 miles per day over a period of five weeks or 35 days, I could notch up 1,400 miles. London to Brindisi following the EuroVelo 5 route is 2,420 miles… STOP! Going to start using kilometres from now on: the bulk of my trip will be in countries where they wouldn’t know a mile if it hit them in the face. So, just going back a second, my average this summer has been 65 kms / day. That would mean 2275 kms over 35 days of continuous cycling, but getting back to EuroVelo, it is 3,900 kms London to Brindisi. So I have a deficit, based upon this summer’s efforts of 1625 kms. This needs to be modified a bit as I can’t imagine cycling every day: I don’t want to cycle every day! So let’s knock it down to 6 days per week or 30 days over 5 weeks. That would put the total I would do based again on this summer’s efforts at 1950 kms. That would mean I would end up in the Alps…. Mmmm…. BUT, on the positive side of things, I can do far more than 65 kms per day! The most I did this summer was 60 miles, or 96 kms. Let’s say 100 kms. I did that fairly easily. The route was similar to that which I will experience next year, i.e. not the complicated Northumberland stuff where every 100 metres there seemed to be another turning, but it did have a fair bit of climbing in it. I also finished my day of cycling well before the end of the day (4pm ish). So I would say 100 kms per day is a good and reasonable target to hit. It also makes calculations easy! 30 days cycling, 3,000 kms. Still not in Brindisi yet. OK, a day off every 10 days rather than once a week would give me an extra couple of days cycling…. and I do have 6 weeks at my disposal (dependent upon getting those 4 days off at the end of the school year). 6 weeks is 42 days. Let’s say 40 days. Minus one day off per week. 36 days cycling. That now makes 3,600 kms. Nearly there! Certainly well past Rome. This year’s adventure was done with minimal physical preparation. I need to shed a few pounds and build up stamina by getting myself running again. I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that I could increase my daily number of kilometres by 20%. That would put me at 120 kms per day (that’s still “only” 75 miles per day). Following the NCN, that is the equivalent of doing Wallingford (half way between Reading and Oxford) to London. But, again, we are not talking about following the NCN which is turn left, turn right, do a handstand etc… every few minutes. We are talking about using predominantly roads, albeit minor ones. So, 75 miles per day, sorry, 120 kms per day seems a reasonable average target. 120 x 36 days = 4,320 kms. That would put me in the Adriatic somewhere! Let’s bring the number of days down to 33 days, that gives us 3,960 kms which will take into account the additional 60 kms from Reading to London that I have forgotten about!
So, my aim is to be able to do, on average, the following:
Distance 3960 kms (2460 miles)
…in 33 days of cycling, that is 6 days cycling per week with a couple of days off at the end
Distance per day 120 kms (75 miles)
Mark Beaumont had to average well over 160 kms a day to get him all around the World.
Let’s get training!

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Categories: Cycling

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2 replies »

  1. Interesting. When I have looked at distances I have thought that the channel crossing was also included, in which case that takes off a chunk, as you can do that, and still do a days cycling if you get the right ferry time!

  2. Andrew! Congratulations!!!! Now I have a spare 5 minutes I have thouroughly enjoyed your blog of the the last stage of the ride. Great effort!!!!It seems you have gained plenty of knowledge and insight into what you will need to do for 2010. Look foward to chatting with you soon! 🙂

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