If you've considered signing up for a metric century bike ride, you've probably been asked—or even asked yourself—a simple question.
How long is a metric century, exactly?
The short answer is that a metric century is 100 kilometers. That translates to about 62 miles (62.137 miles, to be exact).
The long answer, though, is a little more complicated. Truth be told, some bike events use the term loosely, put together routes close to 62 miles and call it a metric century.
A search in Active.com's event directory will find metric centuries that are mostly either 62 or 63 miles, though some are as few as 58 miles and some are as many as 65 miles.
However precise the distance is, a metric century is no easy trip for many new cyclists. It's a good step up from a 50-mile ride, and is a great milestone to add to your list of accomplishments (perhaps on your way to a 100-mile century ride, the ultimate goal for many long-distance riders).
Before you set out on this accomplishment, however, consider just how far you'll be going:
- The 2008 Beijing Olympics velodrome used for track cycling events was 250 meters long. To do a metric century on this loop would take 400 laps.
- Since many of us have never been on a velodrome, here's a different perspective: To complete a metric century would be the equivalent of 250 laps around your local high school track.
- It's like cycling the length of a football field 1,093 times.
- A metric century is the same as biking from Washington D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland, then turning around and going halfway back to Washington again.
- Or, like biking the entire east-west width of New Jersey.
- Or, like biking from the west coast to the east coast of Hawaii's big island.
Isn't this fun? Sounding more and more like a big accomplishment now, isn't it?
Most of the time, metric centuries are not considered "races" so the act of finishing the ride is more important than the time it takes. Still, the metric century is a distance that will take a large chunk of your day to finish up. Experienced riders can break the 3-hour barrier in a peloton, but the average cyclist might take anywhere from 4-5 hours.
If a metric century is too easy for you, double it. Double-metric rides are common, too, covering—you guessed it—about 124 miles in a day.