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What's the smallest loop for a longer ride?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What's the smallest loop for a longer ride?

Old 07-13-20, 11:37 PM
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Beldar77
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What's the smallest loop for a longer ride?

I don't usually do loop rides. Today I did a 15 mile loop as part of a 35 mile ride. What is the smallest loop you would do as part of a longer ride? Say a 30,40 or 50 mile ride. 5, 10 miles? Would it depend on road conditions and/or elevation gained?
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Old 07-14-20, 04:15 AM
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atwl77
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Do virtual rides count? Because I did loops around Zwift's Watopia Tempus Fugit route (approx. 17km) for a 230km ride (including lead-in and lead-out).

In the real world, most I did was an approx. 27km loop for a 92km ride (including lead-in and -out).

Pretty sure those who race crits do plenty of small loops for a longer total all the time.

As for the smallest loop that I've heard of, Francis Cade did 1km loops 500 times to complete the Rapha Festive 500 in a single ride:
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Last edited by atwl77; 07-14-20 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 07-14-20, 04:31 AM
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Dean V
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Surely this is just dependant on the roads where you ride?
I have no reason to do multiple loops to make up a long ride where I live, so I don't.
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Old 07-14-20, 04:45 AM
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I'll do multiple 10 mile loops from my house when time is limited and there is an 11 mile trail around BWI airport I'll do 2 or 3 times. That's about my bottom limit.

I have a friend who had one car incident too many and said "No more roads." He is doing 3 mile loops around parks in his area - too monotonous for me.

For many years here in the Washington DC area, on New Years Day a local group held the "Worlds Most Boring Century" - 33 laps around Haines Point. I did it once and only made to to 15 laps or so!
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Old 07-14-20, 06:23 AM
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For a 30, 40, or 50-mile ride, the smallest loop that I'd do is 30, 40, or 50 miles.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:40 AM
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I stick to 1 mile loops, so as to ensure if I flat I don't have more than a 1/2 mile walk back home. .. no not really. Typically the loop is the same distance as the overall ride. I could however see an advantage of a shorter loop if it made it possible to secure a route that was completely devoid of stoplights / intersections throughout the ride.

Here in NYC, lots of folks ride the Central Park loop (6.1 miles I think) for morning training laps, since if it's early enough (~6am or so) you can ride without usually having to stop.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:41 AM
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What's your goal? For scenery a longer loop would be good, but for fitness I think you work with what you have. I read about a person in Chicago that wanted to do hill repeats, but since Chicago is very flat he was forced to do his workout at a section by our Shedd Aquarium which is probably 2-3% for about 50 yards and 1% for the remaining 25 yards.

That's desperation.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:42 AM
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I've done 35-40 mile rides on loops as small as .6 of a mile.

For training, though, I just do one big loop regardless of distance.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:46 AM
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None.

You go forward, not in circles.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:53 AM
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https://www.strava.com/activities/1055986638
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Old 07-14-20, 07:00 AM
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If at all possible, I try not to cover the same territory on a longer ride. Depending on the direction I start out with, I can do that most of the time. If I need to go back over the same section/s, I keep it to a minimum.My priority this time of year is to get out early and be done before the sun gets higher and intense, 10:00 a.m. at the latest.
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Old 07-14-20, 07:01 AM
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Within my normal route there is a 10 mile loop. Lately I have upped my daily mileage so, I have added the 10 mile loop at the end. It’s more for convenience. The starting point is near my house, so If I’m not feeling it, or I am out of time I can just head home.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:21 AM
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I just did a 100 mile ride in our local park which is a 5.6 mile loop. For those who are math challenged it was 18 laps. To answer your question it’s up to you!
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Old 07-14-20, 09:28 AM
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I remember that as a kid, it was exactly 0.4 miles around the block that we lived on. So a hundred miles would be 250 times around the block...

Might want to verify that though because who knows, that "0.4" might really be 0.39 or 0.41 which could throw the math off a little.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:55 AM
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All my rides are out and back. That might seem boring, but the funny thing is, the scenery looks entirely different when you're going the other way!
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Old 07-14-20, 10:01 AM
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If I did routes with laps past my house, many(most?) rides would end early. Same with if I drove somewhere and laps went past my car.
I dont do laps because there are seemingly infinite routes around me that dont require loops.

What I look for in recreational cycling is the opposite of riding a solo crit.
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Old 07-14-20, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by upthywazzoo View Post
What's your goal? For scenery a longer loop would be good, but for fitness I think you work with what you have. I read about a person in Chicago that wanted to do hill repeats, but since Chicago is very flat he was forced to do his workout at a section by our Shedd Aquarium which is probably 2-3% for about 50 yards and 1% for the remaining 25 yards.

That's desperation.
There was a hill near where I grew up, about 100m at 5%, that I used to do repeats on at night. I just checked on google maps and the loop was about 1.7km. The hill going the other way around would have been a better test, but it would have meant making right turns across traffic, at night. I wouldn't do 30 miles of it, but it was a good kicker and great for a quick half-hour post-homework ride with no traffic light stops back in those days of no home trainers. The 4th or 5th time up it would burn the legs a bit.


Also, having a loop near home is handy for bumping a ride past a round number. If you roll up to the garage and Garmin says 39.3 miles, and you know a 3/4 mile loop from your front door, then boom, "I did 40 miles today."
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Old 07-14-20, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
For a 30, 40, or 50-mile ride, the smallest loop that I'd do is 30, 40, or 50 miles.
I did "the ocd thing" once. You know, record a track that looks like the street map. Got boring real quick. Amazing how quickly the miles add up vs how far away you are.
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Old 07-14-20, 03:05 PM
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So a ride around my cul-de-sac is a no-no? I'll have to stop doing that after I finish my other rides. <grin>
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Old 07-14-20, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_max View Post
Okay, that's impressive on several levels!

Earlier this month I did a 125 mile ride made up of about 44 2.9 mile loops. Is for fun.
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Old 07-14-20, 03:32 PM
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I have a number of "neighborhood laps" that I'll do when I just don't feel like going anywhere. One is a 3.5 mile segment that I've covered around 250 times, once doing 18 laps in one morning to get a metric century without ever getting more than 1 mile from the house. I've done an imperial century buy riding nine 11-mile laps around the local "airport." I have a half mile lap around East Parking at the same airport, which I have covered 460 times, including something like 80 times in one sitting.

I have started and/or finished 4+ hour rides with that 3.5 mile loop dozens of times. All right turns, the perfect place to warm up or cool down.
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Old 07-14-20, 03:32 PM
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I have a one mile loop around part of the local 9-hole muni golf course that's convenient for interval work early in the morning. I've done 20-30 loops of it at a time, depending what I was working on that day.
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Old 07-14-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_max View Post
what did i just see...you were on your bike, for that short a loop for 400miles???!!

JAG
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Old 07-14-20, 05:23 PM
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I find it is difficult to ride, come back home, and then head out again.

Easier to just keep going and going and going.
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Old 07-15-20, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sirjag View Post
what did i just see...you were on your bike, for that short a loop for 400miles???!!

JAG
haha, not my feat sorry

I would like to do that by my 5 kids would try to kill me after by jumping repeatedly on my legs
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