My Bike Has Saved My Life

How healthy is it, in the long run, to bike places instead of driving?

I began biking regularly in the latter half of 2006. How much have these past six years of biking helped my life?

For all this time, I’ve averaged about 20 miles a week, the typical length of my commute to school or work. Many weeks of inactivity have been roughly balanced out by a lot weeks of 70 or 100 miles.

So I’ve biked about 20 * 50 * 6 = 6000 miles in six years. That’s just three miles a day, a pittance, but sustained over a long time.

Using this calorie counter for bikes, with my average weight during this time (about 250 lbs), 10 mph average speed, no elevation change, 80% flat ground, 10% uphill, 10% downhill (conservative estimates for sure!), and 6000 miles, I get 475,305 calories.

At 3500 calories a pound, that’s 135 pounds that I could have otherwise gained.

I weight 273 lbs. Even at six feet tall, that makes me a very large man! If I had gained all those calories, I would weigh 408 lbs. At that size, my risk factors for diabetes and heart disease would be huge.

 

I’m totally sober in this photo. That’s just how much I like cake.

 

This isn’t even considering the downstream effects (more muscle, thus even more automatic weight loss) of having biked those miles, nor the roughly $600 in gasoline I would have otherwise spent*, nor the general therapeutic benefits to my happiness.

My bicycles have saved my life. We’re not done yet (273 lbs is a long, long way off from the good), but I’m glad to know I got something done.

 

This post is dedicated to my favorite of all bikes, the blue bomber. I miss you, dude!

 

*Okay, maybe more like $400, taking out a lot of the fun rides.

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