General Question

dogcatman's avatar

Does it take more energy to cycle than the same distance to walk?

Asked by dogcatman (53points) January 21st, 2010

With the weight of the bike.

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

It would depend on the speed of the walker and the gear used by the biker.

Fyrius's avatar

I would say no.
Someone on a bike is faster than someone on foot, whether they’re both at a calm pace or they both put effort into it. To keep up with a bicyclist who puts no real effort into it, you need to jog, and you’ll be out of breath long before the bicyclist will be. Q.E.D.

It’s because bicycles have wheels, and legs don’t. Having wheels means having a lot less ground resistance. (For a more direct comparison, look at an in-line skater.)

By the way, if cycling would take more effort than walking, I would wonder who in their right mind would have bothered to invent it. It would be easier to walk home than to go by bike.

wonderingwhy's avatar

here’s a calorie calculator

Keep in mind it’s all about level of effort, duration, and weight. You’ll burn more calories walking 10 miles than biking it, but it will likely take you 3–5 times as long.

LostInParadise's avatar

I remember reading somewhere that riding a person riding a bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation. The reason given is that animals get a higher energy return than manufactured transportation and the use of a bicycle is much more efficient than walking.

gailcalled's avatar

@LostinParadise: I would think that if you were riding a person who was riding a bicycle, you’d both be expending a lot of energy and not very efficiently.

And I don’t get the logic about animals using more energy because they don’t ride bikes as opposed to people (I assume) who use the more efficient bikes rather than their feet.

LostInParadise's avatar

@gailcalled Let me clarify. I meant to simply say people riding bicycles. And animals use less energy than machines for the same amount of output. So if you harness an animal engine (like a person) to a wheeled vehicle you get the most efficient means of transportation. See Link

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