How many miles per gallon does your bike get?



nick2ny

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Jun 12, 2006
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(I formatted my thread so it is a little easier to read, I hope it works on everyone's computer)


Good Monday morning. I'm new to the forum, but signed up
today after a Google search for Polar HRM info.

Right now, I'm travelling down the east coast, while recording
my energy expenditure, in order to determine how far a bike
can travel on the energy in a gallon of gasoline.

There are 31,000 Calories in a gallon of gasoline and...

In the past 4 days, I've travelled 312 miles on 16,695 Calories, so
it looks like the "gas mileage" of a bike is going to come out to
around 600 mpg.

I'm wearing a heartrate monitor which tells me how many Calories I
burn (I've got an odometer as well) and just riding my head off each
day.

The online journal (which I just updated) can be found at http://onegallon.blogspot.com

This is the machine, a steel Autro-Daimler which I found in
my basement. It has been a great companion so far, with no
flat tires (luckily, since they are tubulars!) or any mechanical
mishaps, touch wood.





I'm in College Park, MD right now, and am going down to​
Charlottesville, VA tomorrow.​
 

edp773

New Member
Jul 11, 2005
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That is great mileage for you. I am not that efficient, as I get around 470 miles per 31,000 calories.
 

nick2ny

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Jun 12, 2006
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edp773 said:
That is great mileage for you. I am not that efficient, as I get around 470 miles per 31,000 calories.

That's cool that you've calculated that. Did you extrapolate from a day of data or actually ride it out over time? When I did it from one day I got high numbers, like 700 mpg, but actually riding with a rack on my bike, the mileage plummeted.
 

artmichalek

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Sep 15, 2004
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nick2ny said:
That's cool that you've calculated that. Did you extrapolate from a day of data or actually ride it out over time? When I did it from one day I got high numbers, like 700 mpg, but actually riding with a rack on my bike, the mileage plummeted.
On an average long ride I'm doing about 17mph (unloaded road bike) and according to my Sigma HRM, burning about 700 cal/hr. That puts me at about 750 mpg.
 
Jun 6, 2006
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One pound of macaroni: 1680 calories, 70 cents.

In other words, a gallon of our gas costs $13.

The other stuff you gotta eat doesn't count; you'd have to eat it anyway.
 

nick2ny

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Jun 12, 2006
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garage sale GT said:
One pound of macaroni: 1680 calories, 70 cents.

In other words, a gallon of our gas costs $13.

The other stuff you gotta eat doesn't count; you'd have to eat it anyway.

Right- I haven't been counting my BMR, just the calories my Polar HRM tells me, and I only wear it when I'm riding.

Yes, our gas is expensive, but we can go really far on it and it is delicious!
 

AussieRob

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Mar 7, 2005
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garage sale GT said:
One pound of macaroni: 1680 calories, 70 cents.

In other words, a gallon of our gas costs $13.

The other stuff you gotta eat doesn't count; you'd have to eat it anyway.
A person who is not riding is like an idling car. The energy expenditure is required otherwise you would 'stall'. To ignore the energy required when you are not on the bike is to understate your 'mpg'.

I am not voting for the car, but lets not get too carried away here.
 
Jun 6, 2006
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Then you would have to compute BMR fuel and "body maintenance nutrients" when you calculated a car's MPG too!

Or else the EPA would have to put a note on the window sticker of a new car:

"18/25 mpg, only valid for dead people":D
 

AussieRob

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Mar 7, 2005
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Hang on, what they do and what they should do are two separate questions. Should the oil consumed by your car be included in mpg? Of course it should. Its just difficult to measure so they can't be arsed to do it.

Its the same with people if you live in Nth Canada you really should take into account the calories used to heat your house in winter. With out heating of some type would you not die?
 

AussieRob

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Mar 7, 2005
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garage sale GT said:
I am not referring to oil. You would need to EAT whether you drove or biked to work.
Good call, I guess one could argue that exercise increases your metabolism...
 

artmichalek

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Sep 15, 2004
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AussieRob said:
Good call, I guess one could argue that exercise increases your metabolism...
Only while you're doing it:

[size=+1]Does aerobic conditioning cause a sustained increase in the metabolic rate?[/size]

Elliot DL, Goldberg L, Kuehl KS.

Division of General Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.

We measured the metabolic rate by indirect calorimetry for 90 minutes following exercise in six healthy individuals. Ten and 30 minutes of cycling at 80% of maximal intensity produced comparable increases in the resting metabolic rate, (37% and 32%, respectively) immediately after exercise. However, by 30 minutes following exertion, the metabolic rate was not different from control values. The total additional caloric use during the 90 minutes of recovery was similar for the two exercise durations, and the mean increment in recovery energy expenditure was 11.4 +/- 7.1 kcals. The majority of caloric use with exercise is during the activity. Recovery energy expenditure following usual aerobic training results in only a minor contribution to total energy use.
 

ebola

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Jul 22, 2003
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from my last attempt to measure i found myself burning 35kcal/mile approx for urban cycling, i've yet to get figures for extra-urban.
 

edp773

New Member
Jul 11, 2005
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nick2ny said:
That's cool that you've calculated that. Did you extrapolate from a day of data or actually ride it out over time? When I did it from one day I got high numbers, like 700 mpg, but actually riding with a rack on my bike, the mileage plummeted.
A long distance rider pointed out a website that has somewhat accurate calorie rates. From this site, I ride in my zone so that the average calories burned are somewhat consistent. From my research most HRMs tend to be less than accurate. Here are two interesting links:

http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

http://www.caloriesperhour.com/
 

Lonnie Utah

Banned
Aug 21, 2004
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Not sure of the source and it only relates indirectly, but funny none-the-less.

http://vegancyclist.blogspot.com/2006/06/oh-yeah.html

Main_HOME_refuel.jpg
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7180/2690/1600/Main_HOME_refuel.jpg
http://vegancyclist.blogspot.com/2006/06/oh-yeah.html
 

JTE83

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Jan 28, 2004
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I burn 35 cal / mile biking in the fat burning range of 82 to 88% MHR. So I get 885 mpg.

I wouldn't mind fueling myself with pecan pie, carrot cake, Ben & Jerry's, and other junk food.
 

nick2ny

New Member
Jun 12, 2006
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Fuelling yourself with junkfood can be great- One of the days I ate tons of taco bell and tastee freez - it was great! I finished the ride too, at 633 mpg!