Junk Miles – Really?

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  • Junk Miles – Really?
  • Premier Icon stumpyjon

    Out riding this morning pootling uphill, well within my comfort zone behind my mate who’s (currently) not as fit as I am and was wondering whether today’s miles count as junk miles. But what are junk miles? Surely all miles are good miles as they increase fitness and burn calories. In my case every time I get out and ride has got to be good as riding becomes more of a habit and less a special event meaning I’ll ride more. So is there really any such thing as junk miles?


    No. It’s just riding a bike. To me anyway. Less about miles more about smiles.


    if you’re doing ‘proper’ training with a specific regime leading to a definite goal then there are certainly junk miles as they don’t contribute towards your target objective

    if you’re getting out just to ride a bike then no

    Premier Icon ton

    junk miles only exist in the minds of competative types.

    so that is nobody on here then……. 😀


    Well the idea of junk miles only has meaning if you’ve got some particular training goal, in which case, any miles that don’t actively contribute to that goal are “junk”. Otherwise, it’s all just riding a bike.

    I think junk miles only exist if you are trying to build a big aerobic engine and fritter away valuable training time by doing endless hours at well below your ability.
    Personally I love a good pootle but only as an antidote to solid training rides and hard targeted sessions. I love the way my idea of a pootle is actually pretty darn fast compared to a few years ago. This makes the training feel worthwhile.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I’ve never trained in my life, but, I gather the concept isn’t about the miles you did not achieving anything, because they always will- rather, it’s about the opportunity cost, the loss of the gains you would have had if you’d done nonjunk miles.

    All sounds like an excellent way to ruin a ride tbh!

    Don’t always think of slow riding as junk miles.

    I’ve got a mate at work that’s a cat 2 roadie, which is a very good level obviously, and he decided this year to give it a proper go to achieve cat 1 status. Anyhow, all the fitness tests etc done, guy tells him to bin his commuting as it’s junk miles. He commutes very quickly, about 30 mile round trip daily.

    Apparently he doesn’t do enough long slow riding, emphasising the slow. He rides everything at training pace, so he has no base miles in him, which affects his stamina. I’m no expert, and someone will no doubt be along in true STW stylee to say I’m talking pish, but I’m only the messenger.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    I bimbled 8.5 miles today with the kids, aged 7 & 10. They were not junk miles, mainly because my only target is the 500 mile a month thing and I am so far behind already…..

    Premier Icon Drac

    To gain the earn you have to feel the burn.


    Just ride your bike and enjoy it, that’s far better.


    Riding for the sake of riding. Just to clock up miles is what i consider junk miles.

    Riding for enjoyment. Riding to get fit/fast … all good.

    the teaboy

    I’m of the view that for the vast majority of people, fitness comes by doing more of the chosen activity. I get fitter for riding when I ride more, irrespective of pace. I get fitter for running when I run more.

    Might not be the most efficient use of training time, but every little helps.

    Don’t poo poo training! I train a lot and I race a fair bit, but the real delight comes from the fact that me and my fit buddies can do 10’s of downhill runs without having to worry about the uphills. Plus we can sprint the flat sections to maintain speed even after 2 hours and 2000m of climbing.
    Training brings the trails alive (on my 26″ bikes)


    I popped out on the bike to pick up a Chinese meal for two earlier on. Those were junk miles.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Training brings the trails alive

    Can’t see that catching on – how are the big bike companies going to create and sell new niches (nichi?) with that attitude? 😆

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    I assumed the term only applied to people who live in Escher paintings and hence are able to do a whole loop of nothing but coasting downhill…

    I suppose if you are properly training, any miles that might be detrimental to recovery would be”junk”, but its a term that’s been appropriated by tubby Roadie wannabes who like to rubbish others riding whenever possible…

    Surely all miles are good miles as they increase fitness and burn calories. In my case every time I get out and ride has got to be good as riding becomes more of a habit and less a special event meaning I’ll ride more. So is there really any such thing as junk miles?

    Burn calories yes. But if you’re riding slowly to stay with your mate, you may not be increasing your cardiovascular fitness or your muscular strength.

    But as others have said, these things don’t have to be important to you. It all depends on your goals and your reason for riding.


    No such thing as junk miles, it’s all muscle memory. You just needed to up the cadence.

    You just needed to up the cadence.

    In the same gear though, right?

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