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Cycling Calories – How Many Do You Get Rid Of?


If you are a keen cyclist, there is a good chance part of the reason you enjoy the pastime is down to the fitness aspect. Like all forms of cardiovascular exercise, including swimming and running, cycling is a great way to shed a few pounds by burning off calories. Those who are getting on their bike as part of a weight loss regime might wonder to themselves exactly how many ‘cycling calories’ they are burning each day, and in this blog we will take a closer look at the question.

What’s the maths?

The exact number of calories burned through a bike ride depends on a number of variables and is hard to gauge. According to the book ‘Pedal Away the Pounds – A Guide to Cycling & Weight Loss’, a 180 lb cyclist will burn around 650 calories in an hour ride – this is based on a moderate level of effort. Unless you are cycling at a vigorous speed, it is thought that a run or a swim will burn more calories over the space of an hour. However, crucially, we know that cycling is easier for people to engage with over a longer period. You might cycle for half a day – but how many can run or swim for that long?


As outlined above, there are a number of factors which are involved in how many calories are burned by cyclists. It is understood that more calories are burned by cyclists with more muscle mass. What does this mean in practical terms? That generally male riders burn more than female riders, because they typically have more muscle mass. As older people tend to have less muscle mass, it can also mean the younger you are, the more you burn.


The people behind ‘Pedal Away the Pounds – A Guide to Cycling & Weight Loss’ produced a table which categorised the intensity of different bike rides and the calories they produce. According to this study, intensity levels produce the following amount of calories, (based on a person weighing 185lb):
12-13.9 mph – 654
14-15.9 mph – 817
16-19 mph – 981
> 20mph – 1,308

A little cycling goes a long way

You can incorporate cycling into everyday journeys. Small distances, such as commute to work, go to the shops, or to see a friend can easily be cycled. It all adds up: if you choose to cycle instead of walking or driving, you will typically burn more calories in the process. It also means you are not going to the trouble of ‘making time for exercise’ – with this kind of workout, you are completing the journeys you would do over the course of the day anyway.

Look at your lifestyle

It is worth to remember that if your diet is not on track, you might end up with more calories to burn. This in turn, will leave you with more work to do on the saddle. Eating clean, whole foods, and making sure you are fuelled up with the right carbohydrates can go a long way in making your calorie burning more proficient.

At CycleFox we believe the bicycle has a big role to play in building happier, more vibrant and connected communities. Our mission is to help more people enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling.

Join our community and help make happier places to live – our membership card will give you discounts on a range of cycling stuff.

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