Calories Burned Biking One Mile

Triathlon training
Bicycling is one of the best calorie-burning exercises. (Image: aaron_belford/iStock/Getty Images)

Bicycling is one of the best exercises you can do if you want to burn as many calories as possible. Bicycling more than 20 mph is tied for first with running among 150 exercises assessed by the Harvard Heart Letter in its July 2004 publication and tied for third among approximately 175 exercises assessed by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Family Services. In their book "The Well Adult," Dr. Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels analyze only 25 exercises, but bicycling ranks second behind running.

Racing

Bicycling 16 or more miles per hour is considered “racing” by the Wisconsin Department of Health’s “Calories Burned Per Hour” chart. You can convert calories burned per hour into calories burned per mile by dividing the number of miles into the calories burned figure. When you bicycle in the range of 16 to 19 mph, you burn about 59 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 48 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 40 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Vigorous Cycling

Bicycling 14 to 15.9 mph is considered a “vigorous effort” by the Wisconsin Department of Health. More vigorous efforts spur greater calorie losses by increasing your heart rate and the amount of fuel your body burns, according to “Swim, Bike, Run.” When you bicycle 14 to 15.9 mph, you burn about 58 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 47 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 39 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Moderate Cycling

Bicycling 12 to 13.9 mph is a “moderate effort,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Health. When you bicycle 12 to 13.9 mph, you burn about 53 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 43 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 36 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Light Cycling

Bicycling 10 to 11.9 mph is regarded as a “light effort” by the Wisconsin Department of Health. When you bicycle 10 to 11.9 mph, you burn about 47 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 38 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 32 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Expert Advice

Many exercise experts favor bicycling over running because it “is less traumatic to the joints than running,” according to well-known exercise expert Dr. Kenneth Cooper in his book “Controlling Cholesterol.” Cooper recommends bicycling four miles three times weekly in the first two weeks of a bicycling program, cycling five miles four times weekly in the third through fifth weeks and continuing to bike four times weekly, and then increasing your mileage in subsequent weeks.

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