Calories Burned Biking Calculator

Calculate the calories you burn biking given your body weight, cycling intensity, and duration.

Calories Burned Biking:

Total Calories

 
calories

Calories per Hour

 
calories/hour


How to Calculate Calories Burned Biking

Biking is a great cardio and strength-building exercise that can burn a significant number of calories. The other great thing about biking, or cycling, is that it can take on many forms.

You can burn a high number of calories riding your bike down the road, mountain biking over trails, or taking spin classes at your gym.

Along with burning calories and helping you maintain a healthy weight, biking also has many health benefits, including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Plus, cycling is more gentle on your joints than running or sports that involve jumping. This decreases the risk of injury or putting unnecessary stress on your joints.

You can get an estimate of the calories you burn from biking by using a MET calculator. When you add your calories burned through your cycling workouts to your basal metabolic rate, you can estimate how many calories you should consume each day to match your energy output.

chart showing the calories burned per hour biking at various levels of intensity

Find the MET Value

To calculate calories burned during biking, you first need to determine the MET value based on the intensity of your cycling session. This will be based on both the intensity of your bike workouts and the form of biking you perform.

A MET, or metabolic equivalent of a task, is the energy burned during an activity that is expressed as a standardized number.

There is a MET value for nearly every type of physical activity. These numbers are a ratio of the metabolic rate during that specific exercise compared to the metabolic rate at rest. This is also defined as the amount of oxygen consumed while exercising compared to sitting at rest.

The MET associated with your resting metabolic rate is equivalent to the amount of oxygen you burn at rest. This is estimated to be about 3.5 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute, which is equivalent to one MET.[1]

As you exercise, you consume more oxygen. This means more intense activities have MET values above one.

METs are a simple way to estimate how many calories you burn during a number of different physical activities and exercises, including biking. A complete list can be found in the Compendium of Physical Activities.[2]

Calories Burned Biking Formula

Once you determine the effort of your bike session, you can use the MET value to determine how many calories you burn based on the amount of time spent cycling at that pace.

calories burned = time [min] × (MET × 3.5) × weight [kg]200

MET Values for Biking and Cycling

From this table, you can see that when you increase the intensity and bike at a higher effort, more energy is expended, and more calories are burned.

MET values for various biking and cycling intensities (from the Compendium of Physical Activities)
Bike Effort MET Value
General Biking Outdoors
Leisurely/Low Effort 3.5 – 6.8
Moderate Effort 8.0 – 10.0
Vigorous Effort 10.0 – 15.8
Mountain Biking
Moderate Effort 8.5-14.0
Vigorous Effort 14.0-16.0
Stationary Bike
Low Effort 3.5-4.8
Moderate Effort 4.8-6.8
Vigorous Effort 6.8-11.0

Even for the same effort, you can actually burn more calories mountain biking as compared to stationary biking. This is because mountain biking typically requires a greater effort as you navigate trails and hills.

Research has even found that mountain biking is associated with significant physiological demands, which are in a range associated with beneficial effects on health-related fitness.[3] This explains the slightly higher calorie expenditure as well.

For example, if a 140-pound woman is mountain biking at a vigorous effort for 30 minutes, she will burn:

calories burned = 30 min × (14 × 3.5) × 140 ÷ 2.2200
calories burned = 468 calories

If this same woman bikes at the same vigorous effort for 30 minutes on a stationary bike, she will burn:

calories burned = 30 min × (6.8 × 3.5) × 140 ÷ 2.2200
calories burned = 227 calories

This illustrates how the form of biking, and not simply the effort, can impact calorie expenditure.

Spinning Workouts

While mountain biking causes a high energy expenditure, stationary biking can also burn a considerable number of calories, especially during challenging workouts. For example, a study found that Spinning workouts provide a high heart rate response and high caloric expenditure in just a 40-minute cycling class.[4]

So even if you don’t have a road bike at home, you can still burn some serious calories doing spin workouts on a stationary bike, especially during more vigorous sessions.

Biking To Burn Calories: Formal Exercise, Commuting, or a Leisurely Activity

Biking is an awesome activity that can be done as a leisurely ride with your family, an intense mountain biking ride along challenging trails, or even as a vigorous spin class at your gym. In addition, biking can be a way to commute to work to burn calories and save money on gas!

Studies done in individuals who biked to work found numerous health benefits of commuting. In one 2017 study, bicycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, which all cause mortality.[5]

Commuting to work is just one more way to add exercise into your day to increase physical activity and burn more calories.

From intense outdoor or indoor bike workouts to leisurely rides with friends, cycling is a great way to burn calories, improve your overall health, and have fun all at the same time.

This biking calorie calculator will help you estimate how many calories you burn based on the effort of your workout sessions and the form of cycling that you perform.

References

  1. Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G., Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity, Clinical Cardiology, 1990, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809
  2. Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS., The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide, Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University, https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/
  3. Burr, J. F., Drury, C. T., Ivey, A. C., & Warburton, D. E., Physiological demands of downhill mountain biking, Journal of Sports Sciences, 2012, 30(16), 1777-1785. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02640414.2012.718091
  4. Falsetti, H., Blau, S., Burke, E., & Smith, K., Heart rate response and calories burned in a spinning® workout, Spinning® Instructor Manual. Venice, Italy: Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc, 2010, B1, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e3d4b081f37797fb4240a5b/t/5e622c4e7049210ba4df407c/1583492175682/Heart_Rate_Calories_Burned.pdf
  5. Celis-Morales, C. A., Lyall, D. M., Welsh, P., Anderson, J., Steell, L., Guo, Y., Maldonado, R., Mackay,D., Pell,J., Sattar, N., & Gill, J. M., Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study, BMJ, 2017, 357, j1456. https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/357/bmj.j1456.full.pdf