Calories per mile-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jan 2014

    Calories per mile

    Sorry if this has been asked before as I am new to this forum. How many calories does it take to cycle a mile on average. Yes I know it may vary like cars and MPG.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    As you said too much variation. Each persons metabolism will function at a basic rate of its own so that needs to be taken into account. But if we disregard that and look at the ride only you still have lots of variables. how faster your riding, what your power output is. Cruising for 1mile is different than sprinting for 1mile. You than have to consider your bodies energy depending how trained you are some people are going to be more efficient in aerobic, threshold and anaerobic zones than others and therefore can use less energy or even ride in a lower zone when other need to ride harder to keep up. Finally the bike weight, the road, uphill downhill, flat, the resistance from wind, tire width, bike weight. How efficient the rider is in terms of how good is thier technique. you can ride the same speed and have the same fitness but with good technique it changes how hard you have to work.

    Lots and lots of variables.

    Too many to give an answer.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Straz85's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Calories per mile isn't a good measure. To get an even remotely accurate number you need speed and time. That doesn't take into account terrain and your personal metabolism, but it's a start. Most calorie calculators you see grossly over estimate calories burned. Even a fancy Garmin GPS or one of those smartphone apps that tracks your ride usually overestimate, sometimes by up to 100%. My bike computer has a HRM and when using that, it tells me I burn something like 1200 calories per hour usually at around a 17mph pace. That's obscenely high. I love watching the calorie count go up as quickly when I'm coasting downhill as when I'm climbing. Makes no sense at all. I have read quite a few threads about this on some hardcore training forums with many users that use power meters. From what I gather, I burn 450-500 calories per hour probably at 17 mph average. I weigh in the high 150's. If you weigh 250lbs or average 23mph, you're going to burn a lot more calories, if you weigh 130 and average 12mph, you're going to burn a lot less.

    The only way to get a good number is with a power meter ($$$) or to measure your CO2 output. The former is much more practical, but pricey.

    I just used the CycleOps power to calorie calculator. I've never ridden with a power meter, but I have a friend who does indoor trainer sessions at the LBS and gets his wattage measured regularly. The other day he told me his latest was 210 watts. He is slightly faster than me, usually 18mph when he's alone and he does group rides around 20mph. I put in the following info for him:

    210 avg watts
    30 minute ride
    150lb rider weight

    It said he would burn 367 calories in 30 minutes, and that would be near his max effort.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by snailspace View Post
    Sorry if this has been asked before as I am new to this forum. How many calories does it take to cycle a mile on average. Yes I know it may vary like cars and MPG.
    Most cyclist (they ride alot) can manage 500 kcal/h pretty steady. This will result in a 25 km/hr (no hills wind or stop lights).

    So that will be 20 kcal/km. This is probably sustainable for a week's commuting..lets say 100 to 150 km/wk.

    Go hard as you can...maybe 800 kcal/hr maybe 30 km/hr average

    So that will be 26.6 kcal/km....normal people will be close to dead after an hour of this.

    With the no hills stipulation rider weight doesn't matter much...except for more air drag.....that is why sprinters can keep up on the flats, but die on the mountain stages.

  5. #5
    CB of the East
    Reputation: bedwards1000's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    My own proprietary formula is S*S*0.04+22. Where speed is speed in MPH. I curve fit it to a table. I guarantee it to be "pretty close" Not counting wind or hills of course and only for riding a road bike. I wanted to be able to plug a formula into a spreadsheet.

    @ 12mph 12*12*0.04+22=27.8 calories/mile ->27.8*12 = 333 calories/hour (easy crusin)
    @24mph 24*24*.004+22=45 calories/mile -> 45*24 = 1080 cal/hour (Racing)

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