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How to Find the Best Time of Day for Cycling

By Jiri Kaloc

Have you ever wondered whether it’s better to go cycling in the early morning, squeeze in a ride around lunch, or just leave it till the evening? Each of these times has pros and cons. Let’s help you find the one that will be best for you.

Time of day doesn’t matter for performance

It’s not hard to find arguments that training in the morning is better than in the afternoon, and vice versa. But looking at research, it doesn’t seem like there’s good evidence for that. A meta-analysis from 2022 as well one from 2023 conclude that there is no best time of day for training that would lead to superior improvements in health or performance.

On top of the scientific evidence, it’s also good to note that professional cyclists still train at a variety of different times of day. If there were performance or health benefits to training at a specific time of day, it’s very likely that over time, most pros would start training exclusively at that given time. The moral of this story is that finding the best time of day for cycling is not about maximizing performance or health. Rather, it’s about finding a time that fits into your schedule and allows you to stay consistent in training while balancing it with your personal and work life.

Cycling before work

Going for an early morning ride can make you feel superior to those still in bed. Society looks kindly on early risers but don’t be fooled by this. As you know, the time of day is irrelevant when it comes to health or performance. What matters is whether this time of day works for you. Here are some pros and cons to help you see if this is a good fit for you.


  • Consistency: You get your training done before anything has a chance to derail you.
  • Morning boost: You get to start your day on a high with a boost of endorphins that helps with mental clarity and makes you feel good.


  • Early rising: Waking up early sucks, especially for night owls.
  • Pre-ride nutrition: It can be difficult to fuel properly before an early ride, especially when intervals as on the menu.
  • Sleep disruption: You risk regularly not getting enough sleep if you don’t go to bed early enough.

Cycling during the work day

This is simply not an option for many professions that need long uninterrupted stretches of time to get work done, or jobs where you’re not in charge of when you can take a longer break. On the other hand, people who freelance, run their own business or work as managers often have the option to divide their day into blocks. This leaves room for a mid-day ride, for example. So, if the morning ride carries too many cons for you, mid-day may be superior.


  • Break from work: Provides a mental and physical break from work, can energize you for the rest of the work day.
  • Efficient: Can be a good use of lunch breaks, making the most of daylight hours.


  • Sweaty: You need to have a shower available before returning to work.
  • Post-ride fatigue: If you over-do it, you may feel tired instead of energized for the remainder of the workday.
  • Logistics: You need to have a place to store the bike and cycling gear at work.

Cycling after work

Cycling after work is likely the most common option for the average amateur cyclist. It’s the longest stretch of time between work and sleep. But just because most people do it, doesn’t mean it fits into your schedule.


  • A way to decompress: It can help you to unwind and relieve stress after a long workday.
  • Social: It’s easier to join group rides or cycling clubs in the evening.


  • Fatigue: You may feel too tired and unmotivated after a long day at work, leading to lower quality or skipped training sessions.
  • Time management: Evening time is the most contested by other personal, family, and social commitments, further increasing the risk of missed sessions.
  • Sleep disruption: Some experience worse sleep if exercising later in the evening.

Hopefully this article helps to reassure you that you don’t need to search for the perfect time of day to exercise. Simply look what is the time of day that works best for you and commit to that. Consistency is what produces the best training and health outcomes.