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-   -   Calories burned while biking (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/122791-calories-burned-while-biking.html)

Marylandnewbie 07-18-05 11:30 AM

I'm sure similar info is already in other threads but I was feeling lazy so I'm reposting this interesting table I came across. This table is interesting because it gives different calorie consumption levels for a 150 lbs person and a 250lbs person. It is quite a difference and one of the few times I have seen it laid out conveniently. Hope this is useful to people who are looking to lose weight by or while biking.

Activity 30 minute duration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calories burned
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150-pound person . . . . . . 250-pound person
Bicycling, light effort (10 to 11.9 mph) . . . . . . . . . 200 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Bicycling, moderate effort (12 to 13.9 mph) . . . . . 270 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
Bicycling, vigorous effort (14 to 15.9 mph) . . . . . . 340 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 570

Javan 07-18-05 01:06 PM

Bikejournal.com has a calorie calculator that works OK as well.

KingTermite 07-18-05 01:14 PM

A friend of mine sent me this cool link the other day....not just for cycling (at different effort levels), but calories burned for all kinds of activities.

http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index.html

The counter:
http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.html

lookinUp 07-18-05 01:15 PM

What I find interesting is that the charts don't take into account an elevated heart rate, even if one is riding 13-14 mph I would think that it would increase the calories expended. My HRM always shows a couple of hundred calories more over the course of an hour or so than the charts based upon my weight and riding speed.

Anyone else find this to be true? Any comments from you professional trainers?

Ganesha 07-18-05 05:28 PM

I always like how these charts list 14-15.9 mph as 'vigorous'.

Bikeguy1 07-18-05 06:29 PM

If you are like me and are pedaling a fully loaded bike with panniers, bike lites with heavy rechargable batteries, and the biker himself weighs 240 lbs, anything above 14mph is vigorous. :p :o

joejack951 07-18-05 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lookinUp
What I find interesting is that the charts don't take into an elevated heart rate, even if one is riding 13-14 mph I would think that it would increase the calories expended. My HRM always shows a couple of hundred calories more over the course of an hour or so than the charts based upon my weight and riding speed.

Anyone else find this to be true? Any comments from you professional trainers?

Speed and calories burned have very little to do with each other. If all you did was ride downhill (and not pedal) you wouldn't get much of a workout. But that calculator would say you are. I weigh around 160 and can burn 1000 calories per hour at my [almost] max effort (according to my Polar HRM). This is when I average over 160 bpm. When that BPM number drops, my calories burned also drops. At around 140 bpm, I'm burning 800 calories per hour. Speed can vary so much based on terrain/bike configuration that it's really meaningless if all you care about is burning calories.

borderline 07-19-05 08:03 AM

From what I understand, calories burned is most directly related to the distance travelled. Your burn more calories the faster you go because you are going more miles in the same unit time. Of course if it feels really vigorous then your heart rate is probably really high and you might be burning more calories per unit distance (not sure about this). I think a more important factor though is that the faster you go there is more wind resistance so you burn more calories per unit distance, therefore the number of calories burned per mile should go up. Here is a chart relating calories burned to distance that I found on the web. It has different rates than the previous past in this thread... I have no idea how it is computed...

10mph - 26 calories per mile
15mph - 31 calories per mile
20mph - 38 calories per mile
25mph - 47 calories per mile
30mph - 59 calories per mile

mtbkanata 07-19-05 08:08 AM

Wow, now that is cool! Here is my ride in and home:

Totals: 1,161 calories in 1 hr 20 min
Male 29, 5'9", 160 lb: BMI=23.6 BMR=1,744 RMR=1,681
Bicycling - 25.7-30.6 km/h (very vigorous)
1,161 calories in 1 hr 20 min

Calorie Balance: 0 consumed - 1,161 burned = 1,161 lost

That would explain why I eat like crazy during the day.. ;)

vtjim 07-19-05 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ganesha
I always like how these charts list 14-15.9 mph as 'vigorous'.

:rolleyes: Me too.

One day when I was bored, I developed a chart but instead of calories, the energy units were listed as pints of Guinness. :beer:

MsMittens 07-19-05 08:55 AM

Quote:

One day when I was bored, I developed a chart but instead of calories, the energy units were listed as pints of Guinness.
That I'd love to see. I know Bicycling does that chart as to how far/hard you ride and how much of something you can eat (e.g., Ho-hos, M&Ms, etc.). So if I make my onion rings with Guiness do I have to crank out more or would it be the same if I drank it? :D

Marylandnewbie 07-19-05 09:13 AM

That reminds me of a summer many years ago when friends and I would go play a good hour of racketball, hit the sauna and then go toss back a few beers and chicken wings on the logic that we had already burned off the calories. Ahhh... to be 20 again.

Actually I like the idea of a chart expressing calories in terms of beers or candy -- much more fun than calories and practical too.

vtjim 07-19-05 09:19 AM

Well it's about 200 calories for a 20oz pint (that's a proper British pint). No fat. Some protein and some carbs.

So do the math. :)

joejack951 07-19-05 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by borderline
From what I understand, calories burned is most directly related to the distance travelled. Your burn more calories the faster you go because you are going more miles in the same unit time. Of course if it feels really vigorous then your heart rate is probably really high and you might be burning more calories per unit distance (not sure about this). I think a more important factor though is that the faster you go there is more wind resistance so you burn more calories per unit distance, therefore the number of calories burned per mile should go up. Here is a chart relating calories burned to distance that I found on the web. It has different rates than the previous past in this thread... I have no idea how it is computed...

10mph - 26 calories per mile
15mph - 31 calories per mile
20mph - 38 calories per mile
25mph - 47 calories per mile
30mph - 59 calories per mile

The person who made that chart does not ride a bike. It doesn't matter how hard I try and how much energy I expend, I cannot average 30 mph (unless the ride was completely downhill). Trying to compare calories burned to any unit of distance/time is not worth it. Variables like a person's physical condition, weight, age, wind, uphill, downhill, etc. have such a large effect on the energy expended to go a certain speed/distance that any simple formula will almost never be correct.

filtersweep 07-19-05 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Activity 30 minute duration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Calories burned
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150-pound person . . . . . . 250-pound person
Bicycling, light effort (10 to 11.9 mph) . . . . . . . . . 200 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Bicycling, moderate effort (12 to 13.9 mph) . . . . . 270 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
Bicycling, vigorous effort (14 to 15.9 mph) . . . . . . 340 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 570

That is way off... I burn about 340 and HOUR at 14-15 mph (I'm not even in my cardio zone)... if I avg. 19 mph I can approach 700 calories/hour- per my Polar unit. Also, a heavier person will not arbitrarily burn more calories per minute, unless going up hill, or if they are markedly more out of shape.

wheezl 07-19-05 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vtjim
Well it's about 200 calories for a 20oz pint (that's a proper British pint). No fat. Some protein and some carbs.

So do the math. :)

and about 165 calories for an equivalent amount of Amstel Light. Makes you wonder why people drink horrible beer to save 35 calories.

:)

grgs 07-19-05 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingTermite
A friend of mine sent me this cool link the other day....not just for cycling (at different effort levels), but calories burned for all kinds of activities.

http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index.html

The counter:
http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.html



I've used this a lot, though I generally try to use it only for fun. Seems to me any chart (or fitness machine readout) that claims to know calories burned is extremely suspect.

Roody 07-19-05 01:38 PM

While you all have your scientist hats on, here is something that has always puzzled me:

Why does the cyclist's weight have such an effect on the energy (calories) expended? I understand it does when walking or running, since you really are doing more work to move your weight against gravity. But when cycling, does the bike actually carry or hold your weight, and your only work is pushing the load?

For example, it doesn't seem much more difficult to hand-push a bicycle with a 200 pound person sitting on it, compared to pushing a 100 pound person. The bicycle is holding the weight, and you are only pushing more mass? Or something like that?

MsMittens 07-19-05 01:48 PM

I ain't no scientist but put it this way: when I used to go up hill when I first started it took a lot longer than it does now. Gravity does have an affect, AFAIK, when you are going up and down (unless you're in Flatsville). :D

Marylandnewbie 07-19-05 02:55 PM

Roody, MsMittens is on the right general track. Both a light and heavier rider are expending less energy per unit of speed than they would walking. That is the mechanical advantage of a bike and the wheel.

But the heavier rider will expend more energy than the lighter rider to get a larger mass moving and keep it moving. Thus they work harder to get up the hill, but then enjoy slightly greater potential energy for the downhill ride (all other things being equal as they say). There is no free ride in physics so moving more mass means expending more energy.

I'm not sure of the biology of it all but I also believe that the heavier rider (unless we're talking about a large athlete who is in great shape) burns more calories because of inefficiencies in the engine. So the 250 lb rider burns more calories to do the same ride as a 150 lb rider because the 250 lb rider burns them less efficiently. Again all of these assertions assume that all other factors between the two riders are the same.

simco 07-19-05 04:23 PM

I imagine the weight has more to do with they're assumption of your fitness and body composition.
I don't believe you will ever be able to calculate your metabolism online.
All these numbers are general and shouldn't be taken for more than that.

noisebeam 07-19-05 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simco
All these numbers are general and shouldn't be taken for more than that.

Which is why it is a good tool, if it wanted to be more accurate, it would be too complex and require to much data input in regard to the engine (the rider, metabolisms, effciencies, wind print size), the tool (the bike, tires, etc.) and the environment (terrain, gradient profiles, weather, wind, temp, etc.) that the average (and often above average) user would not have readily available.

Al

yotman 07-19-05 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noisebeam
Which is why it is a good tool, if it wanted to be more accurate, it would be too complex and require to much data input in regard to the engine (the rider, metabolisms, effciencies, wind print size), the tool (the bike, tires, etc.) and the environment (terrain, gradient profiles, weather, wind, temp, etc.) that the average (and often above average) user would not have readily available.

Al

Here's a good one that takes into account riding position, wind speed and direction, percentage of time spent climbing, percentage of time spent drafting, etc.

http://www.geocities.com/SiliconVall...alcApplet.html

sbhikes 07-19-05 05:54 PM

So then on the flats when I'm tooling along at 17mph I'm doing vigorous exercise, but when I'm grinding up the hills at 6mph I'm doing light exercise?

webist 07-19-05 06:07 PM

I am using a computer program wich uses averages for exercise not unlike some that are in these posts. However, it also adjusts itself. It changes the BMR and the daily target calories based on actual weight loss recorded over time.

One enters starting weight, goal weight and target date. Adjustments are made daily based on the computer's analysis of your actual weight change. No point in lying to this program. It will assume your metabolic rate is higher or lower and modify itself based on reported weight.

I've only been using it for about a week now, so it hasn't fully dialed in on me yet. However, if I use tables and underreport calories burned, underreport calories or skip data entries, this program will catch up and modify the projected weight. I like it. It does appear to be accurate too.


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