Comparing the costs of owning a car vs. a bike makes sense.
Comparing the costs of maintaining a car vs. a bike makes sense.
But, counting gas for a car in the totals and assuming a riding a bike = $0 fuel isn't accurate.
It takes some form of fuel for cars AND bikes.
For anyone who isn't in this to lose weight and arguing they are burning the same number of calories... Calories burned = calories consumed = calories purchased.
Depending on how far and how hard you ride each day, the increased calories burned can be significant.
Depending on what food choices you make, the increased calories consumed/purchased can be significant.
Here's how it breaks down for me:
During the 80-90 minutes I ride each day to cover 21 miles, I burn roughly 1000 calories.
During the same time driving a car I would burn about 100 calories and use .8 gallons of gas.
(Yes, driving takes less time, but I would be doing something else at resting heart rate if not riding)
1000 calories. I am more or less at a maintenance weight of 160 pounds
1000 calories can vary widely depending on what type of food you buy. Since I would burn 100 driving, let's look at the cost of 900 calories of various single foods:
The foods I regularly choose are all over this range, but it's safe to say 900 calories costs me about $2, so my gas savings isn't $2.40 per trip. It's only $0.40.
- Peanut Butter: $0.77
- Pasta: $0.95
- Glazed Donuts: $1.04
- Milk: $1.40
- Pretzels: $1.08
- Doritos or M&Ms: $1.75
- Black Beans: $1.89
- Eggs: $2.25
- Yogurt: $2.61
- Almonds: $5.00
- Power Bars: $6.84
- Carrots: $11.25
- Celery: $13.99
- Peppers: $14.53
Calories burned varies greatly depending on the individual, the bike, the route, and the speed, so some might easily argue they burn far fewer calories. Valid point. But what foods do you choose?
BTW: I got my numbers from a blog that was based on a Wise Geek article called "What Does 200 Calories Look Like?"
How about a Big Mac Value Meal? That's more than 900 calories, but also more than .8 gallons of gas.
If you eat a fairly healthy diet with lots of extra veggies and nuts, to go along with a healthy bike riding lifestyle, it can cost you a lot more than gas does.
On the flip side, one can argue that if you didn't ride to work, you would do some other form of exercise and that the calories burned would be the same. Or one can argue if they didn't ride to work every day they'd weigh twice as much and consume the same foods, and cheap garbage foods, anyway. Or one can also argue that you're not paying for other exercise costs like health club memberships or driving your bike to club rides in an SUV. All valid. Unless you do those things in addition to commuting. I dropped my Y membership, but I ride by bike to/from my club ride 3 days a week. My 10000+ miles a year burns and costs 4000 calories a day on average.
So... how's it work out for others? How many calories do you burn and how much do they cost?