Beginner Tip-Pace yourself

One of the mistakes I used to do when I first started bike commuting was trying to get to my destination as fast as possible. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to beat your time or use your bike commuting for training, but for the bike commuter who just started, you may want to pace yourself.

Why? Well there’s a few reasons. The biggest one for me was that if I went balls out on the first leg of my commute, I’d find myself getting way too tired before arriving at my destination. That poses as a problem because I would find myself way too tired to keep riding. Which made me stop to rest or have to buy a Redbull or Monster just so I can finish the rest of the ride. Another reason to pace yourself was I got way too sweaty. One of the things I hated was arriving at my destination dripping in sweat. This mattered to me because my work place doesn’t have a shower. If it did, then I’d roll out of bed, get on my bike, ride fast and just take my showers at work.

Now you’re probably wondering, “how do I pace myself?” For me, and this could be an entirely different experience for other riders, but what I do is I find the right cadence while riding. I’m not pushing too hard or going too easy. Basically I’m cruising around 14-17mph an hour.

I do hope that this little tip will help out our new bike commuter friends. Enjoy your ride!


  1. Ghost Rider May 14, 2012 11:33 am 

    Yes! Leave early, enjoy the scenery on your way and save yourself some stress.

    Plus, if you burn it on the way to work and arrive a sweaty mess, your coworkers will see you and think, “man, that bike commuting thing looks like a monumental pain in the ass.” That steers people away from even trying it for themselves.

  2. BluesCat May 14, 2012 12:37 pm 

    I like what one bicyclist said to a bicycling friend of mine (maybe it was actually here on BikeCommuters):

    “It’s not a RACE, it’s a COMMUTE!”

  3. The Daily Cycle May 14, 2012 5:57 pm 

    I leave a little early, take my time and enjoy it. I never use my commute as training, I can do that after work! Easy pedaling, slower speeds, less sweat! Sometimes I get to work without a drop, other times it’s too hot, but a sponge bath via the sink faucet does the trick though!

  4. Don May 14, 2012 6:56 pm 

    If you are encouraging a beginner to take it easy, 15mph seems a bit brisk, especially with any cargo or personal poundage or variation in the terrain. Maybe 15 on the flat, but with the hills around here, 8-12mph seems fine first thing in the morning.

  5. Matt May 14, 2012 7:49 pm 

    Agree Don – I’m sure RL doesn’t break a sweat at 14mph, but mere mortals (or those prone to sweating) may want to take it slower! I find that if I want have any chance of keeping cool, I need to stick to around 12mph for the most part.

  6. Mir.I.Am May 15, 2012 7:07 pm 

    @Matt = 12 mph IS my top speed.

  7. Graham May 16, 2012 5:21 am 

    This is pretty much how my commute evolved as well. Going fast is fun, but being sweaty at work isn’t.

    So in the morning my helmet sits in my bag and everyone passes me on their hybrids and beach cruisers. In the evening, the helmet gets clapped on and everyone wonders how good looking my wife is that I’m hurrying that much to get home!

    Pacing is everything.

  8. Ghost Rider May 16, 2012 7:43 pm 

    My formula is simple: gentle cruise TO work, blast home. I like Graham’s comment about his wife!

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