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Calories Burned When Riding a Bicycle

Updated on June 11, 2012
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Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer who ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Cycling: a great calorie burner

How many calories do you burn cycling?
How many calories do you burn cycling? | Source

How to calculate calories burned cycling

There is no doubting that cycling is a great exercise and that calories burned riding a bike can help you as part of a weight loss plan. However the question

How many calories can I burn when riding a bicycle?

Is a popular question asked by many people. Below are figures and information that should help provide an idea of your calorie expenditure from bicycling and therefore you can potentially tailor your exercise levels in relation to your weight loss goals. Or you can simply just find out how many calories you're burning while you ride your road bike, mountain bike or complete a spinning class there's no limit to how you can burn calories through cycling.

No matter where you cycle it's a great form of exercise and a way to burn calories.

How many calories do i burn cycling?

Cycling is a great activity to burn calories and below is information on how many calories you can burn road cycling

General figures for calories burned while bicycling are featured below and should give you an idea with regard to how long you need to cycling for when targeting weight loss.

In general you can burn between 400-500 calories for an easy hour of cycling which can have a seriously positive effect on your health and weight loss goals.

How many calories burned in 1 hour of cycling?

Speed and intensity
Weight= 155lb (70kg)
Weight= 185lb (85kg)
Light intensity. 10-12 mph (16-19 kmh)
450 calories
550 calories
Moderate Intensity 12-16 mph (19- 26 kmh)
550 calories
700 calories
Hard cycling 16-20 mph (26-32 kmh)
800 calories
1000 calories
Values for calories burned while cycling adapted from figures from www.nutristrategy.com
Calories burned cycling can contribute towards a healthy weight loss plan
Calories burned cycling can contribute towards a healthy weight loss plan

How many calories burned during a studio cycling session?

Studio cycling (or spin cycling) is another great form of cycling exercise and a fantastic way to burn calories. Studio cycling classes are also a great way to have fun and meet people who want to improve their fitness and are generally sociable so there's nothing to stop you attending.

Calorie values below are based on a general 45 minute studio cycling class.

Calories burned during a 45 minute studio cycling class

Intensity of cycling exercise
Weight 155 lb (70kg)
Weight 185lb (85kg)
Moderate
330 calories
400 calories
Vigorous
480 calories
640 calories
Values adapted from www.nutristrategy.com

How long do I have to cycle to lose a pound of fat?

The equivalent number of calories in a pound of body-fat is 3500 calories. From the figures above based on how far you've cycled and how fast you've travelled you can work out how many calories you've burnt in total? How close to 3500 calories is that?

If you cycle at a moderate intensity of 12-16 miles per hour for 2 hours (and weigh 185 lb) you will likely burn a figure of around 1400 calories. That's over 1/3rd of the way to burning off a pound of fat

Based in these same conditions you'd have to cycle a total of 5 hours to burn a pond of body-fat. You could even space that 5 hour period out over the course of a week as 5 rides of 1 hour duration.

Or you could increase the amount of cycling you do (by a sensible amount) and slowly increase your activity level to further increase the calories you burn cycling- Good luck

Good luck calculating your calories burned while cycling.

It's always good to know calories burned when riding a bicycle although these Mountain Bikers in the Peak District, UK look to be more concerned with having some fun
It's always good to know calories burned when riding a bicycle although these Mountain Bikers in the Peak District, UK look to be more concerned with having some fun

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    • CyclingFitness profile image
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      Liam Hallam 3 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Bridgitt, yes a turbo trainer is an excellent way to ride when the weather is too harsh. They're also a great way to allow more control on your training too. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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      Bridgitt 3 years ago

      It's a great idea to hook up one's road bike or mountain bike or outdoor bike to an indoor trainer and ride it inside when he weather is too poorly, you put on music or tv and can probably do it for 30-90 minutes if you get into it and adjust the resistance to make it easier and harder.

    • CyclingFitness profile image
      Author

      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks parkournut, they're never realistically programmed. I have a heart rate watch that gives an estamation of calories burnt running and the figures never look like anything related to what I'd expect to see from the available info online.

    • parkournut profile image

      parkournut 4 years ago

      I've always wondered how accurate my stationary bike is in detailing calories burned. It says approximately 60 calories are burned every mile, regardless of speed. Not very sophisticated, I suppose.

    • CyclingFitness profile image
      Author

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Colin. I'm glad you enjoyed and it has relevance to your 'blas'

    • CyclingFitness profile image
      Author

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Well I saw plenty of sun today so a spin class was not required. If you're after a hard cycling workout in a warm dry environment it's great- in my mind it is on a par with setting up a turbo trainer in the garage although the class is led by an instructor so you just have to go there and ride which takes away the monotony some people see in turbo training at home

    • plussize-lingerie profile image

      David Taylor 5 years ago from UK

      I've never done spinning - is it useful substitute for "real" cycling, so do you keep the benefits when (if) we ever see the sun again?

    • CyclingFitness profile image
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      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Get yourself off to a spinning class plussize-lingerie to get your cycling fix. 3 times a week is a fantastic way to get some healthy exercise.

      Lets hope we have some sunshine soon!

    • CyclingFitness profile image
      Author

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Jimmy for the feedback- always good to know we're doing something right

    • Adventure Colin profile image

      Adventure Colin 5 years ago from London (when I'm 'home')

      Very interesting information in this hub - I'll bear it in mind during my Sunday blast on the bike.

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 5 years ago from Scotland

      Great advice and well presented, thanks for sharing.....jimmy

    • plussize-lingerie profile image

      David Taylor 5 years ago from UK

      Speaking from experience, cycling is excellent for calorie burn - 3 rides a week is a great way to lose weight. I'm struggling at the moment precisely because I can't get out on my bike enough thanks to the terrible UK weather.