What qualifies as a LONG ride?

John Childs wrote: “…So far my longest Coker ride has been a metric century… But long rides aren’t my thing…”

Steve wrote back: “Um, JC, I think most people consider 60+ miles a fairly long ride, even on a bike, hell, even in a car!”

So here is my question: What makes a LONG ride? Obviously this is subjective, so let’s weigh in and find out if there is any consensus. Include factors like your age and how long you’ve been riding, in case those contribute to the answer.

Age: 40
Years riding: 27
Opinion: 45 miles is still in the medium range, where I could hop on a Coker or Schlumpf and just do it right now. I guess LONG to me means that I might be sore afterwards and will possibly be suffering in some other ways, like urination pain. I think that 60 qualifies as lengthy in those regards. Having ridden 89 and 102 miles in a day, I guess we may need some new definitions. Perhaps those were ‘ultra-long’ rides? So here is my personal range:
Tiny: Under 10
Short: 10-20
Medium: 20-50
Long: 50-70
Ultra: 70+

I would consider 2 miles would be far to long for me(that is on a 20" trials unicycle). I get saddle soreness very quickly and find that riding is can be difficult. I tend to fall off whilst riding even though I have been riding for over a year! :astonished:

My definition is very different to yours.


Age: 17
Years riding: just over 1
Opinion: Stated above
Tiny: Just out of my drive
Short: 0.25 miles
Medium: 1-2 miles
Long: 4-6 miles
Ultra: 6+ miles

I might even say all of those were too long…:o

A long ride is any ride that is significantly further than you’ve ridden before, and where the distance is part of the achievement.

Anything more “defined” than that smacks of elitism. I have done a couple of 50+ mile rides, butnever more than 60 miles. They each took most of a day and required all the determination I could muster. A few years ago, a 10 mile ride was a major achievement for me. And before that, once round the lake without a UPD was a major thing.

You know if you’ve done a long ride: your legs hurt, and you feel you’ve done something special.

If you compare yourself to someone else, then you will make one of the two of you feel inadequate. At lease two of the regulars in this forum have done 100 miles (160 km) in 10 hours. Aspenmike rides further to collect his morning mail than I have ever ridden in my life - and, just for a laugh, he does it over high passes in the Colorado mountains.

But I refuse to accept that I have never done a long ride. Most people in the world never even try to ride a unicycle. Most who try fail, and most who succeed never get beyond a few yards. Most of those who succeed never get beyond a couple of miles, and most of those who do never get beyond ten miles. We are all in the elite - but riding a one wheeled bike is no achievement at all to anyone else but the rider and a few friends.

If I were to attempt to define a “long ride” in numbers, I would do it in hours of saddle time - because it matters what terrain you’re on, and what size wheel and cranks you have.

You just perfectly described me. Thanks.

I have a question sort of related to long rides. Do the long distance riders do the ride in one “sitting” or do they stop periodically to rest. I can only ride about 20 to 30 minutes before I have to stop for a minute to rest my “seat” and let the blood circulate again.

To me, a long ride is about 3 continuous miles on my 29er with no stopping. I don’t see how people do the 20+ mile rides. I don’t want to deal with the seat pain that they must endure.

I have been riding for almost 4 years.

Not entirely suprisingly (at least to me), I kind of agree with Mikefule. But since my parameters changed last week after riding 21 and 23 miles, I’m going to put mine. (With the realisation that before last week 20 miles would definately have been an ultra ride).

Age - 41
Years riding - 2
Tiny - The usual distance that I’ll go on days of Extreme Weather/when it’s dark - 2-4 miles.
Short - The usual run I do if the weather is OK - 6 miles
Medium - Either 8 miles (up hill/off road) or 10-12 miles along the prom. Done as often as possible when I have the time.
Long - 15-25 - just possible and have done.
Ultra - anything over 25 miles. Something to aim for.

I’d have to say that it’s difficult to define a long ride in terms of mileage alone. Things like your fitness level, wheel size, previous rides, terrain and weather all help to mix things up a bit. Instead, I’d probably define a long ride as ‘a ride that you set aside a fair proportion of the day for where the purpose was just the ride itslef and the distance at least half of your personal best’

That way, rides like the 8 miles each way to work and back that I don’t consider signifcant now would have fallen in to the Long Ride category a couple of years ago when say 6 miles was a challenge.

For me at the moment, anything over 30 miles would be considered a Long Ride, but under that, I’m probably just trying to get somewhere.


… As if a long walk, or a long bike rides are absolutes for the rest of the population. It is more realistically a measurement in relation to your own fitness, experience, and of course, equipment. If your biggest unicycle is a 24", a long ride should have a different meaning than someone who owns two Cokers, or a Coker and a 45", like me.

I guess a simple definition, for me, would be that a “long” ride is one that hurts, either in the crotch or legs. But some days are better than others in that regard. :slight_smile:

The longest rides I’ve done recently are the San Francisco Coker tours, at around 42 miles, and the Marathon at Unicon last summer, at 36 miles. I also did about half of the ride around Lake Tahoe in June, at around 35 hilly miles with lots of road camber. Years back, when I lived in New York, I did the 5-Boro Bike Tour several times, at 36 miles. Those were always fun, but always painful in the second half.

The longest rides I’ve done were the March of Dimes Superrides I did in the early 80s, at 75 kilometers. The first time I did that was on a Schwinn Giraffe with a big sprocket up top. Ouch, hard to freemount, and much harder to ride than a Schlumpf in high gear!

But I will ride farther in the future, as I intend to participate in the Ride The Lobster race, if I can qualify.

I’m with Mikefule on the whole a long ride being better than what you have done before.

The most I have done is 80 km or 50 miles, I could easily do more if I ate a dinner but so far thats my longest ride done with only a coffee and a couple timbits in me.

This summer when it warms up more I plan on doing a 160 km trip to my cottage. I still don’t know if I want to do it in a day or two as it gets pretty hilly and rough near the end (you need four wheel drive to get through some of the hills without getting stuck).

So without further ado:
Age: 18
Years riding: 1.5
Opinion: Stated above
Tiny: under 10 km
Short: 10-20 km
Medium: 20-40 km
Long: 40-80 km
Ultra: 80km plus

When I was at my peak a few years ago, I regularly (more than once a week) did an hour (12 - 13 miles) without a dismount. A couple of times I did 2 hours with out a dismount - around 22 miles.

For long distance rides, rather than to prove a point, a dismount every 20 minutes or half an hour is probably wise. You learn to pace yourself.

I tend to take one big break for about a half hour or so to stop at a restaurant or the like for a meal about half way through, other than that its non stop riding.

Me on 24":

tiny: To end of road
medium: 1-2 km
long 5-8 km- the fearthest i’ve ever gone;)
ultra: 9 km +

Age: 52
Years riding: ~3 since I started again.
Opinion: Over 10 miles is long, more than 20miles is great for those who want to do it.
My personal range:
Tiny: Under 1 mile
Short: 5 mile
Medium: 7 mile
Long: 10 mile
Ultra: 20+ mile I have never done more than 12 miles.

I’ve never done more than low 20’s in mileage, always on the stock Radial 360. I can maintain 10mph with casual effort over this distance. I’d like to get a block of time and crack 30 miles. The time seems to be the determining factor. The 2hr MTN bike race I just did left me MUCH more tired than any 20 mile road ride I’ve ever done. I think 30 miles would be no sweat (well, some sweat).

Improvements since my last 20 miler:

Age: 44
Years riding: 2.5
Tiny: 2
Short: 5-10
Medium: 10-20
Long: 30+
Ultra: I need two back-to-back 70km rides to qualify for the Lobster’08 race. I also would like to do a metric and imperial century.

I never consider distance as a measure of how long a ride is because it is so variable.

Age: 28
Years riding 6
Short: less than 1hr
Medium: 1-4hrs
Long: 4+ hours.
Ultra: 8+ hours

This is a good measure for variable amounts of climbing on road rides, but hour-for-hour Muni is MUCH more tiring than road riding, no?

Age: 17
Years riding: 4, Seriously for the last 7-8 months.
Short: 25 miles
Medium: 50 miles
Long: 100 miles
Ultra: 100+ miles.

I plan to do a ultra ride, and long rides. So far, all my rides go from a few miles, to 50-60 miles for a day of riding. On my trials I can ride easily 10 - 15 miles with no soreness. Once I have gone around 20 on it, it gets to be painstakingly boring.

On my coker, I can go forever without getting sore or tired. I just use an old, fat KH seat. No modifications to it, and just the regular handle on it. I hop on it and just go for miles and turn around once it gets dark. Longest was right above 50 miles.

You make a good point, Ken. However, no one, realistically, would ride a 20" uni for 8 hrs! Generally most of us thinking about long rides are on a 29" uni or larger, geared or otherwise.

I noticed that many “new” riders find that rides of just a few miles are tiring. Of course, a lot of their difficulty is related to technique (I can’t ride an ultimate wheel longer than a few hundred yards without getting exhausted bc my technique sucks) as well as to muscular conditioning.

You ride a lot faster than almost anyone, Ken, so it’s a good point that distance is not the best comparison measure. I ride pretty fast, too, so I could revise my list as follows:
Short: less than an hour
Medium: 1-3 hrs
Long: 3-7 hrs
Ultra: 7-12 (my longest rides took 12 hrs, with about 3 hrs in breaks)

But yeah, the whole idea of quantifying rides is pretty silly.

I have!!! Sometimes longer, my rides can consist of riding my trials from my house, to everybody else’s house to pick them up, ride the few miles downtown, and ride there for hours, then riding back and hitting spots all along the way. =p

I have never really done a long ride on a unicycle. My longest being 22km on a 20", though I have done a lot longer on a 24", I have just never figured out the length. If I was using a 29" or a coker I would say:

Years riding: 1
Tiny: 0 - 5km
Small: 5 - 15km
Medium: 15 - 40km
Large: 40 - 80km
Ultra: 80+