I know from experience that 9-to-11-year old children can handle 30-km bike rides, subject to a few constraints:

  • Regular hydration and nutrition are critical—even more so than for adults.
  • It is crucial to practice 10 km and 20 km bike rides many times before tackling 30 km rides.
  • Kids dislike riding for the sake of riding. There must be some objective, such as a playground or a pizza lunch at a destination point 15-km away.

I'm wondering:

  1. Are 30-km rides useful for the development of preteens and teens? If not, are they downright somehow harmful?
  2. Will the benefits be seen in other activities, such as increased stamina in tennis and football?
  3. Are longer rides of 60-80 km—tackled in small increments—within the ability of preteens and teens?
  • 1
    When I was 13, my father, brother, and I did a 1000 mile trip from Munich to Nice in just shy of 3 weeks. Delightful time.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 14, 2022 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


To your nr 3 - they absolutely can, we did a ride of over 150 km when I was 15, my brother 13 and my niece 11. Keys:

  • motivation: we were driving towards our vacation spot for the next 2 weeks
  • pace: we started early in the morning and took our time to arrive in the evening, no rushing
  • health and training: we were certainly not top athletes, but in good health and shape, with experience biking
  • fun: we took regular breaks for drinks and food (purchased along the way, no skimping by taking everything from home) and for a little sight seeing along the way
  • back-up: we had mother/aunt willing to pick us up if we got tired of it, or we could take a train

This all depends on the individual child. Each child has different endurance levels and motivation.

And there is a keyword, "Motivation", you should only do it if your child is up for the challenge, forcing it would only make it harder for the child and it might also create some resentment to both you and bike rides as a whole which would be rather counter productive.

Secondly. always have a back-up plan... you can try it but if the child says it can't go on you should not force it. So somebody with a small buss or a car with a trailer should be able to throw the bikes in back and give a ride for the rest of the journey.

so 1: It is a useful (health) development, but when forced it can be counter productive.
2: Physical endurance is physical endurance, it won't make them stars at the sport but it would allow them to go on longer without tiring. 3: Depends on the individual, how much training and motivation he/she has to do it.

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