How many calories does cycling burn?
The average person will burn between 450 to 750 calories per hour cycling.
The number of calories depends on your weight, speed and time spent biking.
Use our calculator to get a person estimate of the calories burned on your last bike ride.
Calories Burned Biking / Cyling Calculator
- Enter your weight
- Enter the time spent cycling in minutes
- If you know the distance enter your distance
- If you don’t know your distance leave this blank and select your speed, the calculator will workout your speed
Cycling is not only a great way to travel, but also to burn calories and lose weight. It’s low impact so ideal if you’re unable to run or want to rest legs from impact on your days off from more impactful exercises.
How Many Calories Does Biking Burn
The same as any exercise how many calories you burn cycling depends on three key factors:
- Your weight, the more you weigh the more energy required to move cycle
- Your speed, the faster you peddle the more energy required, the more calories you’ll burn
- Your duration, the longer you’re on your bike for the more calories you’ll burn
How Many Calories Do You Burn Biking a Mile?
As you see above the number of calories burned biking a mile will depend on your weight and how fast you cover that mile, but as a general indicator here’s a couple of examples:
- a 150 person cycling a steady pace of 14 mph will burn 48 calories per mile, that same person traveling at 20 mph would burn 56 calories per mile.
- A 200 lb person biking at a normal speed of 14mph will burn 64 calories per mile, if they sped up to 20 mph this would increase to 75 calories per mile.
What’s The Most Important Piece of Bike Safety Equipment?
Bike helmets reduce head injury by 85%!
In lower light conditions drivers can easily fail to see a cyclist.
Make sure you’re visible, check out which bike helmet with built in light is best for you.
For further details on safety, see bike safety tips.
What are calories?
A calorie is a unit of energy. Calories are used to measure the energy in food we eat and the calories we burn through everyday activities and other exercise. The calories eaten via food vary between the type and quantity of food eaten.
Different exercises and activities expend different calories, for example, walking slowly for 10 mins will burn far fewer calories than cycling at full speed for one hour.
When you eat more calories than you burn, you put weight on. When you eat fewer calories than you burn then you will lose weight.
1lb of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so for every 3,500 calories you eat over those you burn, you will put on 1lb of body fat. Conversely for every 1lb of body fat you wish to lose, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you eat.
The safest and most effective way to lose weight is to reduce the calories you eat and increase the calories you burn through a regular exercise plan.
How Many Calories Burned Biking / Cycling per Mile / KM
The best way to burn the most calories is to ride a longer distance, however be careful not to push yourself too hard as it may cause injury. For example instead of doing a massive bike ride straight away and risking an injury, you would be best to gradually do a little extra so you can still do the exercise but not risk hurting yourself, which could prevent you from exercising for a month or two.
So, what this means is the further you ride, the more calories you burn. For example if you ride 5 miles one day and another day you ride for 10 miles, then you will burn double the calories than you burned on the 5 mile ride.
If a person who weighs 200lb cycles for 1 mile for 5 minutes (at a fixed speed of 12mph) then they would burn 64 calories.
If the same person cycles for 10 miles for 50 minutes (again at a fixed speed of 12mph) then they would burn 635 calories.
Finally if the same person cycles for 30 miles (at a fixed speed of 12mph) then they would burn 1,905 calories.
|1 mile/1.6 km||48||56||64||71||79|
|5 mile/8 km||238||278||318||357||397|
|10 mile/16.1 km||476||556||635||714||794|
|15 mile/24.2 km||714||833||953||1,072||1,191|
|20 mile/32.2 km||953||1,111||1,270||1,429||1,588|
|30 mile/48.3 km||1,429||1,667||1,905||2,143||2,381|
The table shows examples of calories burned per distance at a fixed speed of 12mph.
Calories burned biking over different periods of time
When biking over a period of time, you will see the longer you cycle for the more work you have done, which means the more calories you will burn.
When you start to cycle to burn calories and keep fit you should make sure to gradually increase your time on each ride, again you don’t want to jump straight into a long bike ride and risk hurting yourself.
The more work you put into your bike ride means there is a higher level of physical exertion. Physical exertion means the physical activity of your muscles.
From our table of results, we can see that if someone weighs, 225lb and cycles for 30 minutes then they will burn 429 calories (at a distance of 6 miles)
If the same person then cycles for 60 minutes then they will burn 857 calories (at a distance of 12 miles)
Finally, if he cycles for 2 hours then he will burn 1,715 calories (at a distance of 24 miles)
How does speed (mph/km) affect your calories burned?
The faster you are going, the more miles/kilometres you will cover in a quicker time.
However if you are doing a group ride and someone completes the same distance as you in a slower time, then it doesn’t mean you have burned more calories. If you weigh more than someone else in the group then you may burn more calories even if you finish behind them. So if you have a fixed time to exercise the quicker you exercise the more calories you will burn.
From the table of results, if you weigh 175lb and you cycled for 1 hour at 10mph then you would burn 567 calories (10 miles).
If you cycle at 12mph then they would burn 572 calories (12 miles).
Lastly if you cycled 16mph for 16 miles would burn 1,000 calories in 1 hour.
How does your weight affect your calories burned biking?
When measuring your calories being burned when biking, your weight is very important to consider. You will burn different units of calories depending on your weight.
For example, if you weigh 200lb and your partner weighs 175lb, if you both do 5 miles then you will burn more calories because you weigh more than your partner. The reason why heavier people burn more calories is because it takes more energy to move a heavier body.
If you weigh 150lb doing 5.5mph which is 5.5 miles in 1 hour would burn 250 calories.
Secondly, if you do 12mph which again is 12 miles in 1 hour then you would burn 572 calories.
Again, if you do 14mph which would be 14 miles in 1 hour you would burn 714 calories.
Calories burned biking at different distances (miles / km)
When biking at different distances, burning calories does vary.
From tables above we can see that speed vs time vs distance all affect the amount of calories you burn. For example, if you weigh 200lb and cycle for 1 hour at 5.5mph and someone else cycles at 10mph for 30 minutes, then you would burn more calories because you are cycling for longer even though you aren’t cycling as quickly as the other person.
Calculators will show that you have burned more calories in cycling in 1 hour rather than 30 minutes however you had burned these extra calories in just being alive.
How does incline (downhill / flat / uphill) impact your calorie burn
Incline is basically a slope either uphill or down. Going uphill means there is a positive incline however that means it harder. Downhill is a negative incline which means it is easier.
For example, you may want to burn 750 calories in 30 minutes and the incline of the track is very flat you may have to do a longer distance to reach your goal whereas if the track was at a fairly high incline then you would not have to ride for as long a period of time.
It is very good to exercise at a high incline because it will help you increase your endurance and it will also help you improve your speed, so you can cover more miles/kilometres in a quicker time.
However cycling uphill is a lot harder than cycling at a flat/downhill incline. The reason for this is because your body is working harder against the forces of gravity. The calorie calculator does not take into account the incline as it assumes you will be going on a bike ride with no net incline. So for example, if you go on a bike ride where it’s a high incline on the way back rather than on the way there, then the positive incline may cancel out the negative incline on the way there.
The affect of age and heart rate on calorie burn
It is important to understand about maximum heart rate when exercising. As you get older you will find the maximum heart rate slowly declines due to your heart ageing.
To calculate your approximate maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. E.g. If you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be approximately 220-40= 180bpm.
For an average person their resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 bpm. This can be affected by age, as you get older your heart can’t beat as fast however it should always be in that zone (60-100bpm).
Anaerobic exercise is where you exercise for a short amount of time but at a high intensity, this exercise also relies on energy sources that are stored in the muscles.
Aerobic exercise is the complete opposite of anaerobic, it is an activity which lasts for a longer amount of time and uses large muscles groups. This relates to your heart rate because aerobic exercise trains your heart and cardiovascular system, which helps deliver oxygen quicker to every part of the body that requires it.
Your heart rate cannot be measured via an online calculator however it can be measured by heart rate monitors.
Calories burned biking compared with running and walking
Minute for minute, running is a more effective way to burn calories, however the best way to burn the most calories is to choose an activity you enjoy and are able to maintain.
If you weigh 150lb and you go for a 1 hour run, at a speed of 5mph and you run for 5 miles, you would burn around 593 calories.
If however you then did the same time, distance and fixed speed on a bike then you would only burn around 250 calories.
If you find it easier to cycle and are able to maintain this as an ongoing activity you will ultimately burn far many more calories than simply two weeks of running and giving up.
How does the amount of calories burned differ between track, mountain, trail, road and stationary biking?
Here’s the type of biking activities and their relative calories burn from most to least.
- Mountain biking
- Road biking
- Road bikes on indoor or outdoor tracks
- Stationary bike
Mountain biking and trail biking would burn the most calories. This is due to there being more of a physical exertion is required.
Road biking would be next because there can be different incline levels however unlike mountain and trail it is normally a fairly smooth surface.
Road bikes on indoor and outdoor tracks would be the hardest way of burning as much calories than mountain and trail biking. This is due to the road bike being very light and the tracks are incredibly smooth.
Stationary bike would depend due to you being able to alter the settings to make it harder/easier to cycle. If you have the incline set at 0% then you would find this way being the easiest at burning calories.
If you’re doing indoor cycling, be sure to read our guide to spin shoes.
Where is the best place to ride your bike to burn the most calories?
The best place to burn the most calories is wherever you enjoy the most, simply because you will be able to maintain this and do it a lot more often.
Weight loss comes from maintaining a common habit of dropping the calories you eat and increasing the calories you burn.
If you are just focusing on burning calories then the best place would be on trails and mountains only because the intensity you are working at is a lot higher rather than tracks and roads. On the other hand, you may find that you are able to maintain road biking rather than mountain biking.
It is best to do more exercise of something you find enjoyable as it will be more maintainable.
The key factors you may need to consider when burning calories for example:
- Eat after your bike ride
- Do different amounts of bike rides
- Try to push yourself but not too hard
- Do bike rides with other people
- Try and be as consistent as you can.
Do you burn more calories sitting or standing while cycling?
Sitting down burns fewer calories than standing up. Standing up increases your heart rate and develops core and upper body strength.
You should try to split standing and sitting on a bike 50/50 then again most people stand up for going uphill and sit down when going downhill.
Biking is no doubt an effective way to bun calories and have fun at the smae time.
By combining a regular cycling workout routine with a low calorie diet you should be able to lose all the weight you want and build the ideal body.
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