Calorie Counter

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Calories burned bicycling

OnedaywriterOnedaywriter Member Posts: 136 Member Member Posts: 136 Member
Trying to get some handle on calories burned. Looking at online estimators, MFP, Strava and MapMyRun even- the estimates are all over the place. Anyone have any data or info they can share from a power meter?
As an example. Today I rode 18.77 miles in 1:19:40. Very flat. Avg speed was 14.1.
Strava: 550 cals
MFP:
Bicycling magazine:1026-1300(depends if I pick 12-14 mph or 14-16) I would split and say like 1150
Spark people 1114
keisan.casio 869

Just a few examples. As you can see the numbers are all over the place.

Trying to get an approx. like if someone says for example 30 or 50 or 70 cals per mile - something like that

Thanks

Replies

  • OnedaywriterOnedaywriter Member Posts: 136 Member Member Posts: 136 Member
    Whoops. Wanted to edit post but technical difficulties
    MFP 1035-1288 so I’d split at like 1150. Similar to bicycling magazine
  • dawnkirkwood18dawnkirkwood18 Member Posts: 29 Member Member Posts: 29 Member
    I can’t help much- I will tell you that I use a heart rate monitor and a 16.5 mile ride in 45 min in a flat terrain burns me about 389-400 ish calories according to it. I am 5’7” and 170lb female. I usually assume my calorie burn estimate is about 15-20% high so I am careful not to eat back more that 50-70% or exercise calories.
  • dmkoenigdmkoenig Member Posts: 269 Member Member Posts: 269 Member
    Based on your speed, flat terrain and duration, unfortunately I would say Strava is likely the closest. Bikes are very efficient machines. If you are working your tail off in a spin class (high intensity, pools of sweat) you could reasonably get to 700 cals/hr, but if you are riding outdoors at a moderate, comfortable tempo on a flat surface you are probably more in the 400-450 calorie per hour range.
    edited August 2
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,718 Member Member Posts: 16,718 Member
    I use a power meter so I'm working from what I'm putting into pedalling rather than trying to work backwards from distance with all the variables of speed, type of bike, type of surface, elevation, wind, aerodynamics etc....

    Yesterday's ride was 29 miles and 943 net calories (remember most estimates including MyFitnessPal's and app's estimates are gross calories).
    32.5 calories per mile for what would be quite typical terrain for me (not flat) and my normal average speed of 16-17mph.
    A far more hilly and much slower average speed ride of 59 miles gives 34.4 calories per mile. Good example of why basing estimates on speed ranges (like MFP does) can be fairly useless.

    You haven't mentioned what type of bike or surface which could potentially be a huge difference between my numbers for a road bike on tarmac or a MTB offroad. Assuming road then I would highly doubt all your numbers beyond 10cals per minute.

    Before I got the power meter I used Strava and despite being a gross calorie estimate it is trying to estimate your power from the terrain it knows you are riding over (it can't of course take things like wind strength or group riding into account).
    As I have pretty poor aero its gross cal estimates turned out to be very close to actual net cals. That's the estimate I would strongly suggest you use.
    edited August 2
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,718 Member Member Posts: 16,718 Member
    Found a fairly flat ride with similar duration to yours.....
    23miles in 80 minutes - 29cals per mile.
  • OnedaywriterOnedaywriter Member Posts: 136 Member Member Posts: 136 Member
    Thanks all. I’m on an aluminum frame road bike on pretty decent roads.

    I was afraid these would be the answers I got! Was sooo hoping it was close to the MFP ranges but I’m guessing that MFP is about double. Dang! But it’s definitely better to be realistic! So I’m thinking I’ll stick with Strava which is the lowest estimate- better to be conservative anyway.
    edited August 2
  • BrianSharpeBrianSharpe Member Posts: 9,015 Member Member Posts: 9,015 Member
    Getting a power meter a few years ago was a real eye opener. Bikes are insanely efficient so unless you're riding hills or have a bike that has tires with terrible rolling resistance you burn surprisingly few calories for the distance traveled. My Garmin, before power meter, would routinely estimate about 30 to 35 cal per km (multiply x 1.6 for miles) for my relatively flat bike commute, with the power meter it dropped to slightly less than 20 per km (about 32 per mile).


  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,687 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,687 Member

    If you entered your correct weight and bike stats (geometry type, weight), then Strava is probably the most accurate sans a power meter.

    ETA: They did do a fair amount of work into developing as accurate an algorithm as they could for the information that could be provided. Make sure you enter your bicycle information and select it, since it uses that in the calculations.
    edited August 3
  • Machka9Machka9 Member Posts: 16,980 Member Member Posts: 16,980 Member
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 9,804 Member Member Posts: 9,804 Member
    Typically 500 to 600 per hour. With a power meter. Hilly terrain.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 5,275 Member Member Posts: 5,275 Member
    Machka9 wrote: »
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.

    If I do the 100km tour I've planned for the coming weekend then I'd be burning 2000 calories. I honestly don't see this happening as I hardly break a sweat and just cycle about relaxed on my light bike. If I walk 20-25km I'd be a lot more exhausted. And burn a lot less.
    edited August 4
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,718 Member Member Posts: 16,718 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.

    If I do the 100km tour I've planned for the coming weekend then I'd be burning 2000 calories. I honestly don't see this happening as I hardly break a sweat and just cycle about relaxed on my light bike. If I walk 20-25km I'd be a lot more exhausted. And burn a lot less.

    But based on what data?

    I'm probably heavier than you but recent and not very hilly 100km rides burned an accurate 2,024cals.
    A more challenging 100km with more climbing burned 2,348.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 5,275 Member Member Posts: 5,275 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.

    If I do the 100km tour I've planned for the coming weekend then I'd be burning 2000 calories. I honestly don't see this happening as I hardly break a sweat and just cycle about relaxed on my light bike. If I walk 20-25km I'd be a lot more exhausted. And burn a lot less.

    But based on what data?

    I'm probably heavier than you but recent and not very hilly 100km rides burned an accurate 2,024cals.
    A more challenging 100km with more climbing burned 2,348.

    I know. I don't have the data to support this. For me it's a walk in the park apart from for my bum (really need different saddle) while walking leaves me exhausted, hurting and sweaty. If I had a power meter it would probably collapse laughing as I'm only cycling at a relaxing speed (which obviously is faster than on my heavier everyday bike).
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,718 Member Member Posts: 16,718 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.

    If I do the 100km tour I've planned for the coming weekend then I'd be burning 2000 calories. I honestly don't see this happening as I hardly break a sweat and just cycle about relaxed on my light bike. If I walk 20-25km I'd be a lot more exhausted. And burn a lot less.

    But based on what data?

    I'm probably heavier than you but recent and not very hilly 100km rides burned an accurate 2,024cals.
    A more challenging 100km with more climbing burned 2,348.

    I know. I don't have the data to support this. For me it's a walk in the park apart from for my bum (really need different saddle) while walking leaves me exhausted, hurting and sweaty. If I had a power meter it would probably collapse laughing as I'm only cycling at a relaxing speed (which obviously is faster than on my heavier everyday bike).

    A relaxed pace long duration ride that feels easy and a moderate paced shorter duration ride of the same distance that feels harder and gets you breathing and sweating more won't burn hugely different amounts of net calories - you are just spreading your energy expenditure over a longer time frame. Different rates of burn but net calorie totals pretty similar.
    At high pace then overcoming aero drag does make more of a difference.

    Depending if you are near my 76kg weight I wouldn't dismiss 2,000 cals just because it feels easy.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 5,275 Member Member Posts: 5,275 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    I go with 100 calories for every 5 km ... which is pretty close to what Strava gives me.

    So if I cycle at 20 km/hour, I burn 400 calories per hour.

    If I do the 100km tour I've planned for the coming weekend then I'd be burning 2000 calories. I honestly don't see this happening as I hardly break a sweat and just cycle about relaxed on my light bike. If I walk 20-25km I'd be a lot more exhausted. And burn a lot less.

    But based on what data?

    I'm probably heavier than you but recent and not very hilly 100km rides burned an accurate 2,024cals.
    A more challenging 100km with more climbing burned 2,348.

    I know. I don't have the data to support this. For me it's a walk in the park apart from for my bum (really need different saddle) while walking leaves me exhausted, hurting and sweaty. If I had a power meter it would probably collapse laughing as I'm only cycling at a relaxing speed (which obviously is faster than on my heavier everyday bike).

    A relaxed pace long duration ride that feels easy and a moderate paced shorter duration ride of the same distance that feels harder and gets you breathing and sweating more won't burn hugely different amounts of net calories - you are just spreading your energy expenditure over a longer time frame. Different rates of burn but net calorie totals pretty similar.
    At high pace then overcoming aero drag does make more of a difference.

    Depending if you are near my 76kg weight I wouldn't dismiss 2,000 cals just because it feels easy.

    I'd probably count about 1500 calories for such a day. But it also involves occ. getting off the bike and into the woods or elsewhere for finding geocaches. I don't have a car. I am around 60kg, but my bike is likely a bit heavier than yours. And I bring a backpack with water, lunch and geocaching stuff. So maybe 10kg less.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 17,729 Member Member Posts: 17,729 Member
    For Strava estimate to be best, besides confirming you have your own weight correct, and bike weight, with accessories and maybe half the water included in the bike weight.

    I'd suggest if riding with extra weight, include it. It does count when the inclines come up.

    That's been the only time it's estimates are close to the power meter for me, and there is no extra wind or lots of drafting involved.
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