How to Calculate Bike Pace

How to Calculate Bike Pace
Bike pace can be calculated in two ways: Either minutes per mile (or kilometer) or miles (or kilometers) per hour. How you calculate your pace--and which pace you aim for--will depend on whether you're cycling for sprints or endurance races. Consider this: The winning times for the 2003 through 2006 Tour de France all averaged between 25 and 26 mph. If you want to match your pace against that of the most prestigious bike race in the world--or perhaps measure your progress toward a personal goal--all you need is a course of known length and a stopwatch.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Minutes per Mile

Things You’ll Need:
  • Stopwatch
Step 1
Ride your bike over a course with a known distance. If no such course is available, measure one using your vehicle's odometer or a GPS.
Step 2
Time yourself with the stopwatch as you ride the entire course distance. If possible, have a friend time you so that you can focus on riding.
Step 3
Write down how many hours, minutes and seconds it took you to ride the course. You can also do this calculation with race times if you'd like to figure out your race pace.
Step 4
Multiply the number of hours by 60 to convert them into minutes. Convert the seconds to minutes, as well, by dividing by 60; you'll get a decimal less than zero. Add both of these numbers to the minutes result from Step 3. So if you rode a given course in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, the 1 hour becomes 60 minutes, 45 seconds becomes .75 minute, and all added together you have 60 + 30 + .75 = 90.75 minutes as your total time.
Step 5
Divide the result of Step 4 by the total distance ridden to get your bike pace. So if the course in this example was 30 miles long you'd have a pace of 90.75 / 30 = 3.025 minutes per mile.

Miles per Hour

Step 1
Perform Steps 1, 2 and 3 from Section 1.
Step 2
Divide the number of minutes by 60 and the number of seconds by 360; this converts them to hours. Add the converted minutes and seconds together with the original hours. To reuse our example from Section 1, a course time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 45 seconds would come out to 1 hour + .5 hour + 0.125 hour = 1.625 hours.
Step 3
Divide the total course distance, in miles, by the total time in hours to get your pace as measured in miles per hour. In our example, the rider would have a respectable 30 / 1.625 = 18.46 mph pace.

Tips & Warnings

You can also calculate your pace per kilometer; just measure the course length in kilometers and make sure to note that the result is a minutes/kilometer pace, not minutes/mile.
You can calculate your time over a mountain bike course of known length just as easily as you can calculate your time over a paved road course.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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