Cycling is not only a fun way to commute to work, but it is also a great way to burn calories. The average person can expect to burn between 450 to 750 calories per hour cycling. The number of calories burned depends on the weight of the rider, the speed at which they’re pedaling, and the amount of time spent riding. This is a rough estimate as there other factors that are harder to quantify. The good news is that if you’re looking to burn calories quickly, a bike ride will burn calories faster than many other activities (source).
If you have all the data from a recent ride you can plug it into this calorie calculator at MapMyRide.com The chart below will give you an estimate of how many calories you can expect to burn during an hour of bike riding.
What other factors go into burning calories while riding a bike?
One of the other factors is whether you’re riding uphill or coasting downhill. On my morning commute to work I find myself pedaling mostly uphill. It’s enough of an ascent that there’s a shine of sweat on my brow. Due to the extra exertion it takes to get uphill I guaranteed to be burning more calories than if I was going the same speed on a flat service. When I clock out of work to bike commute home I find myself going downhill for most of the ride. I love it, because I can just sit on my bike and cruise most of the way home. Even though I can easily get up to speeds of 15 mph coasting downhill that doesn’t mean I am burning lots of calories. In fact, I’m hardly burning any calories if I find myself barely pedaling down the hill.
Another factor to burning calories is the type of bike you’re riding and the terrain. You will burn the most calories on a mountain bike that is off-road. Riding a road bike on general roads is the second quickest way of burning calories. Lastly, you’ll burn the least amount of calories while on a stationary bike.
A body that has more muscle will burn calories faster than one with more fat. If you’ve got muscles on muscles you can expect to burn more calories than if you’re on the softer side. The reason is that muscles are active organs that need to have a supply of oxygen. Muscles that are sedentary will burn 7-10 calories per 1 pound of muscle. Fat will burn 2-3 calories if a person is sedentary. The more muscle you have will lead to more calories being burned.
One more factor depends on whether you’re sitting or standing up while cycling. Generally I find myself sitting on my seat during my commute to work. You burn less calories sitting than standing. While standing you will increase your heart rate and begin to develop core and body strength which in turn leads to calories being burned.
Bike Commuting is a Great Way to Burn Calories and Get Fit!
There’s so many activities that you could be doing to burn calories and get in better shape, but bike commuting is an easy way to do it within your schedule. Not too long ago we asked bike commuters to give a reason for why they bike commute, and we heard lots of responses. The truth is burning calories is one reason out of many to why you should start biking to work. It allows you to unwind after a long day at work. Bike commuting lets you enjoy being outside. It can bring a sense of freedom.
So why not give it a try? Pull out your bike, strap on a helmet, and go for a ride! You won’t regret it.