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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    Converting Cycling to Step Count

    My company is starting an annual program to try an increase employee fitness. The idea is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. They have a conversion chart for various non-walking activities but the conversions seem way too low. They list cycling at:

    5mph = 55 steps per minute
    10mph = 125 steps per minute
    15mph = 200 steps per minute

    I'm surprised that they would have the numbers so low, and that they wouldn't have anything for more than 15mph.

    Do y'all know of a more accurate step conversion than these?
    Last edited by Dolamite02; 05-05-10 at 10:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    Just for comparison, they list the following activities as well:

    Backpacking with 10 lb. load 180
    Backpacking with 30 lb. load 235
    Gardening, (heavy) 155
    Gardening, Moderate 90
    Hiking with 30 lb load 235
    Hiking with a 10 lb. load 180
    Hiking, (no load) 155
    Shopping for groceries 60
    Housework 90

    Maybe it's just my own bias, but I'd like to think that cycling is more than a few steps a minute more intense than "heavy gardening."
    Last edited by Dolamite02; 05-05-10 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Formatting

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    None of these numbers is going to be very accurate anyway. There's going to be quite a wide variation.

    No numbers for running?

    Note too that cycling is very efficient.

    The cycling at 15 mph works out to be 50 minutes to be "10,000 steps".

    What is your average cycling mph?

  4. #4
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Do you have a heart rate monitor? If so, you could do a personal comparison.
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  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    With backpacking, the best places to do it are far far from Houston, and the major issue is going uphill in thin air. So that's a very approximate correlation at best. I can run downhill easier than I can walk uphill, for example.

    With a 10-lb load, you're not backpacking. That's a daypack. I've done dayhikes where I had more than 10 lbs of just water.

    Anyway, I can ride 15 mph on level ground easier than I can hike uphill in Colorado, so the correlations are not altogether out of line.

    Have you ever seen anyone walk at 55 steps per minute? I'm thinking even people using walkers beat that.
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  6. #6
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolamite02 View Post
    My company is starting an annual program to try an increase employee fitness. The idea is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. They have a conversion chart for various non-walking activities but the conversions seem way too low. They list cycling at:

    5mph = 55 steps per minute
    10mph = 125 steps per minute
    15mph = 200 steps per minute

    I'm surprised that they would have the numbers so low, and that they wouldn't have anything for more than 15mph.

    Do y'all know of a more accurate step conversion than these?
    I've worn a pedometer while riding. It only picks up half the steps. It doesn't register properly on my hip so I have to put it on my ankle and it only sees the motion of that leg. When I double the number of steps I get on a typical commute (17 miles in 75 minutes) I come up with about 150 steps per minute, which is just slightly lower than expected according to their numbers. It's all approximate anyway, but that seems to be in the ballpark.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    I did forget the running numbers, they're

    Running 08 mph (7.5 min/mile) 305
    Running 10 mph (6 min/mile) 350

    My cycling pace is around 18-20mph. I was thinking that I could use the cadence sensor to calculate the average and run with that. At least then I'd have some hard data rather than a generalized approximation.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    If I use the cadence sensor, I should double the average to account for both sides, right?

    Hmm, maybe 200 steps a minute is higher than I'm giving it credit for. On my last ride, I averaged 17.6 mph (Moving speed), a cadence of 82 /minute, over a duration of 87minutes (moving).

    If I double the cadence to account for both "steps," that comes out to 14,268 steps in that hour and a half. Does that sound about right to anyone else?

  9. #9
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Same deal where I work. We can enter as steps, cycling minutes (147steps/min) or vigorous activity minutes (211steps/min)

    For my commute my average solo speed as reported by computer is almost always 20mph+ (I live in flatland)

    The annoying thing is if you enter as cycling or vigorous activity the slower I ride the more steps I get!

    I did note that the conversion table indicates that cycling at 14-16mph is 250 steps per minute.
    This table: http://www.healthline.com/hlbook/dia...-caloric-goals suggests that cycling at 20mph is 1.8x the metabolic equivalent as at 15mph. So 250x1.8=450 steps/min

    (I was told that the idea for activity matching was equivalent calories burned, or metabolic rate, not equivalent miles covered or actual physical steps or pedal strokes)

    Last year I entered my cycling converted at 400 steps/min when the cycle computer noted 20mph average and entered my data as steps. With 200mi/wk of cycling I got flagged my the admin as an 2x outlier and debated with them what I should enter and just settled on vigorous activity at 211steps/min so as not to cause controversy.
    Last edited by noisebeam; 05-05-10 at 03:02 PM.

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    This link says that 'bicycling fast' is 364 steps per minute (not 360 or 365!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolamite02 View Post
    At least then I'd have some hard data rather than a generalized approximation.
    Use 13.3 steps/mph * average speed. This will underestimate the "equivalent" steps at 20mph (for example) but you'll get more credit for going faster. (And I'm guessing you want more credit for going faster.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolamite02 View Post
    My cycling pace is around 18-20mph. I was thinking that I could use the cadence sensor to calculate the average and run with that. At least then I'd have some hard data rather than a generalized approximation.
    Keep in mind that they are using "odd" units (steps) for effort. Using your cadence to measure steps would overestimate the effort.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-05-10 at 02:12 PM.

  12. #12
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Use 13.3 steps/mph * average speed. This will underestimate the "equivalent" steps at 20mph (for example) but you'll get more credit for going faster. (And I'm guessing you want more credit for going faster.)


    Keep in mind that they are using "odd" units (steps) for effort. Using your cadence to measure steps would overestimate the effort.
    Exactly. A walking or running step is not equivalent to a pedal revolution because the bike holds up your weight. That's why I suggested using a heart rate monitor earlier.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Exactly. A walking or running step is not equivalent to a pedal revolution because the bike holds up your weight. That's why I suggested using a heart rate monitor earlier.
    Can you elaborate on how I'd use the heart rate monitor? I don't understand the correlation to step count.
    Last edited by Dolamite02; 05-05-10 at 03:00 PM. Reason: typo

  14. #14
    billyymc
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    My company does the same thing...hey, we might all work for the same company!

    Anyway...the instructions with the pedometer they gave us say to put it on your shoe when you bike. So I do. On my 13.5 mile (one way) commute, I avg about 18mph. I think it registers between 4500 and 5000 steps for the ride. Eh...dont' really care. I'm kind of tired of wearing the stupid pedometer around anyway.

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Well, it's not that you can really correlate steps to pedal revolutions, especially on a geared bike. So you want to come up with an approximation of equivalent work. If you have a heart rate monitor, particularly one that will calculate energy expenditure, you could do a test. Walk for 30 minutes at a strenuous pace, check the average HR and calories, and then do the equivalent pace by HR and calories on the bike.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dolamite02's Avatar
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    Hmm, very interesting suggestions, thanks all for your input. I'll mull over my options while the pedometer comes in. Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Exactly. A walking or running step is not equivalent to a pedal revolution because the bike holds up your weight. That's why I suggested using a heart rate monitor earlier.
    We don't actually know what the goal here is. I'd guess it's to be able to substitute cycling for walking (a reasonable thing to want to do). Using 13.3 steps/mph for average speeds over 15 mph is a simple and cheap way to to that.

    There isn't that much meaning or value to the "steps" equivalences. A single number for one activity doesn't make any real sense.

    I'd suggest not spending too much effort polishing the turd.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-06-10 at 12:40 PM.

  18. #18
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    Shopping for groceries 60
    Cycling 15mph = 200
    I find shopping for groceries twice as exhausting as riding at 15 mph.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Very inaccurate. No variance for coasting or cadence. They are converting apples to oranges and that doesn't really work.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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