The 5-mile ride for time is an oxygen depleting, soul-crushing middle distance cardio masterpiece.
If you’re aiming for personal records with each attempt, this workout will cut you down every single time.
The airbike is a low-impact/high fatigue piece of cardio machinery perfectly designed for high-intensity workouts. The 5-mile ride is an ideal challenge to measure aerobic threshold capacity.
If you’re looking for a baseline cardio challenge or just a time-efficient workout, this is it.
I love airbikes…
Airbike training is a bland topic to write about because biking is uneventful. There’s virtually no skill required to peddle a stationary bike.
I have friends that rip on my love affair with the airbike. I’ll argue they one of the best, if not the best piece of cardio equipment available.
The training effect is potent, the risk of injury is non-existent.
The dual-action arms make riding a total body experience.
The amount of air resistance is proportionate to intensity. In other words, the resistance increases with the increase exertion. Trying to sustain higher intensities on the airbike is a first-class way to trash yourself (in a good way).
The 1-minute ride for most calories is a perfect example.
5-Mile Ride Instructions…
The instructions for the 5-mile ride are simple: ride 5 miles as quickly as possible.
I wish I had more to add, but simple is best.
Hop on the bike and ride 5-miles as fast as you can. Record your time so you can monitor progress and identify the time to beat for the next ride. If you can self-motivate, tracking your numbers will give you massive fuel for future attempts.
Make sure you remember to record your time. Each time you set a personal best, it will serve as the benchmark for the next attempt. It’s a great way to measure improvements in fitness.
Knowing your best time also serves as motivation during the next attempt.
Finding the data…
Over the years, I’ve been unable to find a log of best 5-mile airbike times on the internet. I’ve seen private gyms and colleges post times, but not the general public.
I’ve come across plenty of recorded times using the large fan Schwinn Airdyne, but fewer using modern airbikes like the Assault Bike.
The Airdyne has been on the market for 20+ years so naturally there will be more data for the bike.
I was able to locate several clips of 5 -mile rides on YouTube, but watching someone ride a bike for 12 minutes is boring, not to mention no quality control to verify methods.
Basically what I’m looking for is visual proof of finishing time.
It could be a video or a picture of the computer monitor upon completion.
Strategies to crush the 5-Mile Ride…
Briefly, your best 5-mile time will depend on the following:
- Increase in fitness levels (strength, power, endurance, etc)
- Willingness to be uncomfortable for an extended period of time (grit).
- Strategizing pace for 80-85% of the ride, sprinting the remaining distance.
Unlike a lot of popular air bike workouts, the 5-mile ride requires a bit of strategy.
Don’t sprint too early. If you come out of the gates too hard, you’ll hit the wall and have nothing left to give as you near the end. I’ve done this plenty of times. The mental chatter gets louder and louder if you push too hard, so much so that it often convinces you to back off so much that it affects your finishing time drastically.
Don’t save it all for the end. If you save most of your effort for the end, you’re likely losing valuable seconds in the beginning and middle, which you might not be able to make up at the end.
Pace yourself with RPM’s and heart rate. When testing myself, I monitor my heart rate (beats per minute) and RPM’s closely to gauge my effort. I try to limit tunnel vision on mileage and time in the early parts. The miles never pass by fast enough and the time drags on, both of which can cut your heart out when you just want it all to be over.
Intra-workout, obsessing over distance can be awfully defeating. So, I avoid checking up on distance until the back-end of the workout. The beginning and middle sections of the ride is a good time to find your groove with pace, focus on breath and find some sort of comfort with the exertional stress.
When the monitor reaches the 3.5-mile mark, it’s time to floor it. All-out effort until the end.
This hasn’t always been the strategy for me. I used to kick it into gear at the 4.3-4.5 mile mark.
Use your arms. The legs can generate more power and exert for a longer duration, but the arms play an important part in shaving seconds off your personal best. You must get your arms involved to take on some of the workload. The dual-action arms are attached to the bike for reason, use them to your advantage. Push and pull, push and pull.
Lift your legs. Resting your legs on the pedals creates more resistance for the working leg and the arms. Actively pull your knee up to help the pedals turnover with less resistance.
Posture. Keep the chest tall and the butt situated firmly on the seat. Standing during the ride is cheating and hunching over restricts your breathing. Fatigue is notorious for eating away at body posture. Stay tall to open the lungs and bring in more oxygen when you need it.
What’s a good time?…
Anything below 12 minutes is a great time.
Here are the closing seconds of my most recent attempt:
Finishing closer to 11 minutes is considered elite status. A sub-11 minute ride can be done, no doubt about it. However, as you become more fit, it becomes more difficult to shave seconds off the finishing time.
In my last attempt, I finished at 11:26. My best time is 11:07, verified with picture proof Instagram.
I need your help compiling the data…
If you decide to test yourself, come back and leave your time in the comments section (Meauxtion.com), either in the comments section or on the Meauxtion Facebook Page, Meauxtion on Instagram, whatever.
*** If you choose to submit your time, please take a snapshot of the computer monitor immediately after finishing. We need proof. No cheaters.
The original mission of writing this post was (and still is) to establish an online logbook of best times for the 5-mile ride using the Lifecore Assault Bike, Schwinn Airdyne or Xebex Airbike.
I have not been able to locate a list of best times, similar to what Concept 2 does with popular Skierg and Rowing Erg distances.
Note: If you’re riding the 5-mile using the Schwinn Airdyne, please make sure it is the large fan version, not the small fan. Large fan bikes provide more air resistance. One more consideration for Schwinn Airdyne users… it’s been reviewed by many that the newer generation bikes (Assault Airbike, Amazon) have an increased level of resistance.
I cannot quantify how much harder the Assault bike compared over the Airdyne, but I’ve read some people speculate there is up to 40% more resistance using current generation bikes like the Assault.
My finishing times do not reflect a 40% increase in resistance. Not sure where people are getting this from.
I can speak to SOME increase in fan resistance with the Assault Bike, but not like Mike Boyle did on this blog post.
Mike’s computer monitor must be calculating distance and time differently because an 8-minute difference between old-style Schwinn Airdyne and current generation Assault Bike is huge!
What I can speak on, are the improvements in design, material choice and therefore the overall durability of the Assault Bike.
Compared to my old Schwinn Airdyne, the Assault Bike smoother and feels like a more sturdy machine. Basic maintenance of any airbike requires ongoing tightening of bolts and lubricating the chain.
But man, the current generation of airbikes are nice.
Assuming this article can draw enough visitors who are willing to share times, I will start compiling the data.
Cheers to the 5-mile ride for time,