Im planning a bike from from Ottawa to Vancouver (approx 5000km) and my fellow traveler and I are trying to decide what is the maximum distance we can travel per day. This leads me to another question which is how much hill climbing can we expect to complete in a day.

Im looking for the MAXIMUM that can be done in a day. We are in good shape.

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6 Responses to How many feet of elevation is doable in a day of bike touring?

  1. wle ņ│ã∩╬α ░░▒▓▓▒░░ says:

    the hill climbing is a function of distance
    that is you could climb 20 miles at 3% grade, or 30 miles at a 2% grade, 60 miles on flat
    it just depends

    your fitness is the biggest variable
    no way to know

    also depends on how fast you ride and how much junk you carry


  2. Es99 says:

    I do a local ride with 7800 ft. of climbing in 60 miles for training. That's a decent amount for a day. I've also done up to 14,000 ft, but that kind of makes it more difficult for the next day. So, probably 10k is a good number if you plan to ride day after day.

  3. Mtrlpqbiker says:

    By the time you get to the big mountains in Alberta and British Columbia you won't have to ask this question. You give no idea how many kilometers you ride on a normal ride now, so how do you expect people to tell how far you will be able to ride in a day? "Good shape" is relative. Good shape for cycling is quite a different thing than good overall condition. You have to get out and cycle so that you can figure out for yourself how far you can ride in a day. It might take a couple of months to get in good enough shape to ride as much as 160 km per day, but you might take much more time if you have never done that sort of distance before. Without knowing your cycling background any answers are going to be guesses. If you don't have much experience with long distance cycling, the only way to find out what you can do is to actually go out and find out for yourself.

  4. John Milnic says:

    It will depend on the grade and your fitness level. Use the cycling calculator below. Figure out how much energy you use to travel on flat ground at your normal speed. Then compare it to the grade you are going to climb using the same amount of wattage. Don't forget to include the extra weight that you will be carrying. Use the new speed to determine how far you can ride in that amount of time.

  5. Tim says:

    Its hard to say. Will you have fully loaded panniers or a trailer?

    I did a century last summer, with about 18,000 feel of climbing, and I can tell you that the last 900 feet was exhausting.

    I do 2,000 feet on my commute to work every day, so I'm no slouch on a bike. I think 10,000 feet would be a comfortable amount of climbing to accomplish in a day. I know I can do a lot more, but I also know on a multi-day ride, but I don't think I would want to.

  6. agb90spruce says:

    Since you are riding east to west by the time you get to the mountains in Alberta you will be in great shape from fighting the headwinds. The mountains will be a bit of a challenge, but how much you can climb in a day really depends on your gearing, what you are carrying, the temperature and how hard you want to work. It's almost impossible for someone on here to say what you can do. The reality is you can do what you decide to do.

    Some friends and I rode from Jasper to Glacier and back up to Waterton in 4 days. One of the issues we had in planning the trip was the relative lack of places to stay (we wanted to stay in motels/hotels, not camp), so that dictated somewhat longer days than optimum. One day we did three mountain passes and went 160 km. The next day was a bit easier re climbing but we did 190 km in 34C weather. But ... we were not carrying any gear (we had a SAG vehicle).

    I'd guess you can plan on a maximum of 150 - 200 km IF you are riding without gear and are willing to hurt a bit, but if you have gear I'd plan on a maximum of 100 km. I'm not even attempting to suggest how much climbing since there isn't anything that huge on the route. Distance is a reasonable proxy but you WILL want to adjust each day according tot the topography.

    Hope that helps.

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