Biking is a cardio activity that is not only fun, but can also burn a great deal of calories. The actual number of calories expended while biking depends on two factors: the intensity of the ride and your body composition.
Factors Determining Calories Burned
Muscle burns more calories than fat, so someone with a muscular build will burn more calories riding a bike than a person of the same weight but higher fat percentage. In general, people of a higher weight will burn more calories than people who weight less. Intensity is the one factor easily controlled by a rider in order to burn the most calories possible. The more intense the ride (speed and/or resistance), the more calories burned. This is why there is no exact number of calories burned in a specific period of time that pertains to every person on every bike ride.
Biking Calorie Examples
Below are some examples of approximate calories burned biking; it's easy to see the calorie expenditure increase as intensity increases.
|Type of Biking||110 Pound Person||200 Pound Person|
|Leisurely bike ride||100 calories||182 calories|
|Vigorous bike ride||250 calories||455 calories|
|Stationary bike with low effort||75 calories||137 calories|
|Stationary bike with vigorous effort||263 calories||478 calories|
|Indoor Spin class with light effort||138 calories||250 calories|
|Indoor Spin class with vigorous effort||263 calories||478 calories|
Calories Burned in 1 Mile Ride
The average person will likely burn under 50 calories biking a mile with moderate effort on an easy course. If you're wondering how many calories you'll specifically burn by riding one mile on your bike, know that the answer depends largely on:
- How difficult or easy the route is to ride
- How much effort you put into the ride
- How long it takes you to ride a mile - most people can bicycle a mile on an easy route in under five minutes
- Your body composition
MPH and Calorie Burn
How fast you go has an impact on how many calories you burn because of the effort needed for increased speed. Ten MPH is considered a leisurely pace, 12-14 MPH is considered a moderate pace, and above that is a vigorous pace. Take into consideration the terrain and incline; 10 MPH may actually be vigorous effort if you're pedaling up a steep hill or navigating a bumpy trail just as 14 MPH may be light effort if you're rapidly coasting down a large hill.
Pulling a bike trailer or securing cargo on your bike will increase the effort it takes to ride, and therefore the potential calorie burn. A heavier bike may also take more effort to ride than a lighter bike. Your experience as a cyclist will also dictate the number of calories burned on a ride since it takes more effort to ride a bike when you're not accustomed to the activity.
Bike Your Way to Better Health
Biking provides a good aerobic workout which will challenge you as well as give important health benefits. Like any cardio activity, the more often you bike, the greater and more quickly your strength will increase. As an added bonus, biking can deliver a greater calorie burn than other less intense cardio workouts.