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Lazarus 02-05-2010 06:31 PM

Bicycling wastes gas?
 
Depending on what you eat but here's an Interesting Article

From another forum.

The average price of U.S. gas is $2.66/gallon. We can go 20.36 miles on $2.66 in the average car, how far can we go on $2.66 with a bike figuring 10 mph @ 528 calories an hour.

"MPG of bicycling" (i.e., miles a cyclist can travel on $2.66 worth of food)
6.1 miles - salmon or catfish (farmed)
8.3 miles - Big Mac
12.9 miles - ground beef (85% lean)
16.2 miles - chicken breasts (boneless)
18.8 miles - cheese

26.6 miles - Cheerios
46.1 miles - potatoes
68.6 miles - peanut butter
70.4 miles - oats
81.6 miles - pinto beans
94.1 miles - rice (white or brown)

So if your food fuel comes from the items in the first section, it actually costs you *more* to bike than to pay for gas.

hamsterpower 02-05-2010 07:41 PM

Although the basic math is correct, unless you are truly impoverished and starving it doesn't really apply. Who here can't spare a few hundred calories a day without adjusting your diet? I can and choose to use them to commute by bike.

thatguitarguy 02-05-2010 09:40 PM

It seems to me that the comparison of those numbers apply only if you choose to drive without eating. I don't know many people who will make that choice.

I like biking, and I like eating, but when I have to drive, I still like eating.

Lazarus 02-05-2010 10:35 PM

It's not the fact that the driver also eats. The fact that the driver *burns* calories by driving is whats is relevant.

theycallmeebryan 02-05-2010 10:49 PM

So riding my Ninja 250 is more efficient than riding a bike fueled by pinto beans.... interesting!

Lazarus 02-05-2010 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theycallmeebryan (Post 159389)
So riding my Ninja 250 is more efficient than riding a bike fueled by pinto beans.... interesting!

Heck of a lot more fun too :turtle:

MadisonMPG 02-06-2010 12:52 AM

I grow all of my food on my farm, with my animals that I slaughter personally. Your point is invalid for me.

Seriously though, this doesn't really make sense to me, at all. I eat the same thing when I bike that I would eat when I drive.

Christ 02-06-2010 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MadisonMPG (Post 159410)
I grow all of my food on my farm, with my animals that I slaughter personally. Your point is invalid for me.

Seriously though, this doesn't really make sense to me, at all. I eat the same thing when I bike that I would eat when I drive.

Actually, the point is still valid, only on a slightly larger scale. You have to pay for feed for the life of those animals, and care, so you have one more thing to consider in the "bigger picture".

Of course, the study has to consider the pollution created by growing the food that was burned in the act of bicycling versus driving, etc.

There are alot more factors than fuel in/energy out.

The point, however, isn't whether or not you eat, rather that you'd have to eat more to sustain a higher energy level for biking, for a commute, for instance. Or, you could drive, and save the extra food and all the fuel/crap used to create it.

Piwoslaw 02-06-2010 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 159429)
There are alot more factors than fuel in/energy out.

Like it's not only about pure calories, but also how they are delivered (correct ratios of fats, sugars, proteins, etc.).
Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 159429)
The point, however, isn't whether or not you eat, rather that you'd have to eat more to sustain a higher energy level for biking, for a commute, for instance.

Or keep your diet but lose the spare tire;)

Christ 02-06-2010 03:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Piwoslaw (Post 159440)
Like it's not only about pure calories, but also how they are delivered (correct ratios of fats, sugars, proteins, etc.).

Or keep your diet but lose the spare tire;)

That's cute, but in that case, there is still excess that is being used.

What do you do when all the "spare tire" is gone? Now you have to start eating more to sustain the same energy level that you would have had just from burning fat stores, right?

So, when that comes to pass, the point still becomes relevant. You still have to buy more food and consume it to bike, as opposed to buying fuel for your car to motor.

Fuel for fuel, there probably are instances where it's actually cheaper to run a car, even if you don't consider the actual impact of each fuel source.

Remember, food takes more fuel to make, deliver, buy, and consume than fuel does. ;)

dcb 02-06-2010 03:18 AM

This could also be viewed as an indictment of agricultural/consumer processes.

On plain energy required to get the immediate job done basis, not well to wheels/ground to poop basis, it will take much less energy to move a small vehicle to the store than a large one. And as you lose your spare tire you also become a smaller vehicle.

I mean you *could* supplement the calories needed for your bicycling with plain veggie oil if you really wanted to pretend you were more car like, but it is still a silly comparison :)

Christ 02-06-2010 03:21 AM

I think on a caloric basis, it's still "cheaper" to ride, as you say.

But the question isn't one of ecology or conservation, it's one of economy. Which is cheaper to the end user?

I know I introduced a bunch of variables into it in earlier posts, but the most simplistic approach is the above question. Each further measurement just serves to add complexity to the equation, but proves that there is a substantial impact from either source, while showing how the question could apply to anyone, not just someone.

dcb 02-06-2010 03:30 AM

the cost of a (used) car and insurance and registration and cheap gas can still buy a whole lot of beans and rice and a decent $20 tenspeed off of craigs list. And I don't think I burn that many calories riding anyway (fairly relaxed pace)

Bicycle Bob 02-06-2010 04:47 AM

It usually takes quite a bit more oil energy to produce a calorie of food energy, even as grain. And steady bicycling will reduce your weight if you don't modify your diet or other exercise program. However, if you don't exercise, the energy needed for your medical treatments can cost far more oil.

Cd 02-06-2010 11:28 AM

Reading this thread is frustrating.
Have we become such penny pinching misers that we start thinking of the cost of biking over driving simply in terms of money ?

Embarrassing really.

Lazarus 02-06-2010 11:41 AM

From the article:

Quote:

It means that the amount of gas you use isn't just related to how you get from place to place, it's also related to what you eat. Meatless diets require half as much fuel to produce than the standard American diet. Pimentel calculated that if the entire world ate the way the U.S. does, the planet's entire petroleum reserves would be exhausted in 13 years. The typical American could save more gas by going vegan than by giving up driving two days a week.5

Those who think the question is, "Is it better for me to drive, or (eat a wasteful diet and) walk?" are missing the point. That's like asking whether it's better to pour oil or pesticides into the water supply. Ideally you shouldn't do either. To greatly reduce your energy and pollution footprint, you should reduce or eliminate consumption of animal foods -- no matter how you get around

MadisonMPG 02-06-2010 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lazarus (Post 159478)
From the article:

Can we eat vegetarians instead?

Seriously, is this how you look at things?

rmay635703 02-06-2010 11:54 AM

This has got to be the most irritating thread I have ever read in my entire life.

Generally most americans use calories to add to their beltline which is waisted

Although a human may burn calories less efficiently than an engine we also are moving much much less weight. You can't tell me bicycling takes more energy than driving a 3000lb suv, much of the food we eat is nill as it would be consumed anyway and that is the case for most of us, it is a small minority that has to eat more to sustain exercise.

We need to work harder to convert people to run on gasoline
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question527.htm

Cheers
Ryan

Piwoslaw 02-06-2010 04:44 PM

Bob, you beat me to the point about a balanced diet and exercise vs the cost of medical care.

Now we could get into a discussion on how the body needs more energy to maintain muscle tissue than fat tissue...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cd (Post 159474)
Reading this thread is frustrating.
Have we become such penny pinching misers that we start thinking of the cost of biking over driving simply in terms of money ?

Embarrassing really.

Aw, we're not penny pinching misers, we're just having fun discussing it. Because discussions with fellow ecomodders are fun. In an inteligent way:)

Christ 02-06-2010 06:15 PM

I don't want to see this thread get out of hand, so I'm going to mention now that every post in this thread by myself is of a light nature. I'm not being serious, because, well, come on; Who here is really going to change their mind as a result of this thread?

NOBODY.

If you like to bike, you like to bike. You'll keep biking. If you like to drive, you're going to drive. And seriously, if you count time as money, even at minimum wage, it's still cheaper to drive any place in the country, unless you can steadily hold 60MPH on a bike for 30 minutes or more, which I doubt very seriously that many of us can.

Biking has it's uses, but you wouldn't move your family to the next state over on bikes, or you'd be paying 2 rents for awhile, waiting to move some of your heavier furniture with your 10 bike team hooked up to a trailer.

NeilBlanchard 02-06-2010 11:51 PM

The OP has to be mistaken -- a person on a bicycle is the most efficient way to travel, period. Efficiency means it uses less energy than any other way of traveling.

If you drive a car (or ride a small motorcycle) -- you still eat a meal that is nearly the same as the one you would eat if you biked. The difference needs to be balanced against the well-to-wheel energy of the vehicle. Including the REAL costs of exploration, producing, transport, refining, transport again, and then the piss-poor efficiencies of an ICE powered car!

If you eat locally produced food, then you will save a lot of energy input. An average food item travels something like 1,500 miles TO GET TO YOU!

Food (organically produced) is ALL short cycled carbon -- the plants pull carbon dioxide from the air, etc. -- and when you eat it, the carbon returns to the air. There is a zero sum gain of carbon.

Oil on the other hand is millions of years old! A single gallon of gasoline represents ~92 TONS of biological material, that had to be "cooked" for millions of years, and concentrated, by heat and pressure into petroleum -- and you know the rest...

jamesqf 02-07-2010 12:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lazarus (Post 159358)
how far can we go on $2.66 with a bike figuring 10 mph @ 528 calories an hour.

94.1 miles - rice (white or brown)

I think that either the math is off a bit, or you shop at expensive places. Looking around the web, I figure that uncooked brown rice has about 331 calories per 100 grams, or about 1650 c/lb. I can buy brown rice at about $0.40 per pound, so get 6.65 lbs for $2.66, which is about 11,000 calories. At 528 calories per 10 miles, it'll take me a bit over 200 miles - over twice the given distance.

Also, I have to wonder if that 528 calories is total calories burned, or the increase over what's used driving.

Later: OK, I got curious. The calculator here http://www.prohealth.com/weightloss/...culator2_2.cfm gives 544 cal/hr burn for biking at 10-12 mph (for me at 200 lbs). The closest thing I saw to driving was fishing while sitting in a boat, at 228 cal/hr. So when biking, I'm burning only 316 additional calories per hour, and I can do about 350 miles on that pound of brown rice.

Piwoslaw 02-07-2010 03:19 AM

(1) But driving isn't just sitting behind the wheel, it's analyzing the situation, talking on a cell phone, etc. That all takes energy. So the figure should be higher than for sitting in a boat.

(2) The figures for X calories per serving of some food: Is that X calories total, or X calories that the body can actually use. The undigested remains that leave the body as waste also have positive energy content, say Y calories, so maybe the useable calorie content of that serving is really X-Y?

Christ 02-07-2010 03:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Piwoslaw (Post 159646)
(1) But driving isn't just sitting behind the wheel, it's analyzing the situation, talking on a cell phone, etc. That all takes energy. So the figure should be higher than for sitting in a boat.

(2) The figures for X calories per serving of some food: Is that X calories total, or X calories that the body can actually use. The undigested remains that leave the body as waste also have positive energy content, say Y calories, so maybe the useable calorie content of that serving is really X-Y?

I think that's a really crappy suggestion... :P

Piwoslaw 02-07-2010 03:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 159647)
I think that's a really crappy suggestion... :P

I hope that comment left a bad taste in your mouth ;)

Christ 02-07-2010 03:29 AM

Good sport, that one... :thumbup:

MadisonMPG 02-07-2010 01:03 PM

lol ^^^

jamesqf 02-07-2010 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Piwoslaw (Post 159646)
(1) But driving isn't just sitting behind the wheel, it's analyzing the situation, talking on a cell phone, etc. That all takes energy. So the figure should be higher than for sitting in a boat.

But fishing from a boat isn't just sitting there, it's casting the line, occasionally (unless you're me) reeling in a fish, etc. Plus, of course, some of that "analyzing the situation" - though surprisingly enough, thinking does not take significantly more energy than not thinking.

I don't claim it's a perfect analogue, nor are any of my numbers better than what I could find in a quick search. (Even then, I had to go through a lot of sites giving calories per cup of cooked rice to find a figure for uncooked.) It's just a ballpark calculation to see if the numbers in the original post were reasonable.

Piwoslaw 02-07-2010 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 159727)
I don't claim it's a perfect analogue, nor are any of my numbers better than what I could find in a quick search. (Even then, I had to go through a lot of sites giving calories per cup of cooked rice to find a figure for uncooked.) It's just a ballpark calculation to see if the numbers in the original post were reasonable.

I have an idea of how hard it was to find any real info, so thanks for that:)
And I know the figure are approximations, but I'm just knit-picking and getting all anal about details. I love getting lost in the little things;)

Christ 02-07-2010 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 159727)
But fishing from a boat isn't just sitting there, it's casting the line, occasionally (unless you're me) reeling in a fish, etc. Plus, of course, some of that "analyzing the situation" - though surprisingly enough, thinking does not take significantly more energy than not thinking.

I don't claim it's a perfect analogue, nor are any of my numbers better than what I could find in a quick search. (Even then, I had to go through a lot of sites giving calories per cup of cooked rice to find a figure for uncooked.) It's just a ballpark calculation to see if the numbers in the original post were reasonable.

Don't forget the arm-chair exercise of lifting beer to face.

Ironically, beer probably contains more proteins and calories than some of those fish you're trying to catch, depending on how many beers you've had while catching (or not) one. Oh, and it doesn't have mercury in it.

Bicycle Bob 02-07-2010 03:26 PM

I wish we had yogis sitting in boats with blank minds. Alas, the ones near here seem to remain at least half engaged, while also releasing ethanol vapour.
Next time I find some real data, I'll be back. :-)

bgd73 02-07-2010 07:05 PM

that is clever.

bgd73 02-07-2010 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hamsterpower (Post 159368)
Although the basic math is correct, unless you are truly impoverished and starving it doesn't really apply. Who here can't spare a few hundred calories a day without adjusting your diet? I can and choose to use them to commute by bike.

I can't. I don't want to talk about it either.

A fat guy who needs to bike, can pretend a less calorie consuming efficient, because the slob has a bigger full gas tank. :rolleyes:
but then again, if your lean or trained like a pro, calories disappear like a race engine, or folks like me, calories just disappear.

I wouldn't even attempt rice. I would have to go for broke thinking of 94 miles and grab 10 pounds of beef....at cheap stuff, hey, 30 dollars.

and that is only you getting hauled around. no passengers. A gas car is more efficient of course, if that is what this thread is about.

Christ 02-07-2010 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bgd73 (Post 159801)
I can't. I don't want to talk about it either.

A fat guy who needs to bike, can pretend a less calorie consuming efficient, because the slob has a bigger full gas tank. :rolleyes:
but then again, if your lean or trained like a pro, calories disappear like a race engine, or folks like me, calories just disappear.

I wouldn't even attempt rice. I would have to go for broke thinking of 94 miles and grab 10 pounds of beef....at cheap stuff, hey, 30 dollars.

and that is only you getting hauled around. no passengers. A gas car is more efficient of course, if that is what this thread is about.

You pay $3 a lb for ground beef? Jeez dude... You could get it for like $0.99 a lb if there's a meat grinder anywhere near you... it's all about getting the seconds, though. I used to get it for dog feed when I worked at a dog farm (that's the polite term), to mix with brown rice and feed to the dogs for extra protein and calories. Invariably, I'd have some of that rice and meat with beans and a little beef gravy for lunch.

shovel 02-07-2010 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lazarus (Post 159358)
81.6 miles - pinto beans
.

That's pretty cool, I wonder how far you can go if you supplement the pinto bean propulsion with some pedaling, too?

jamesqf 02-07-2010 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Christ (Post 159740)
Don't forget the arm-chair exercise of lifting beer to face.

Better known as the 12-ounce curl :-)

Just to keep the record straight, I don't fish myself. (And haven't since I was a kid, since I could never catch much of anything on a hook - though I did get fairly good at tickling trout.) I just picked that from a long list of activities as seeming closest to driving in calorie burn.

Christ 02-08-2010 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 159825)
Better known as the 12-ounce curl :-)

Just to keep the record straight, I don't fish myself. (And haven't since I was a kid, since I could never catch much of anything on a hook - though I did get fairly good at tickling trout.) I just picked that from a long list of activities as seeming closest to driving in calorie burn.

I don't fish either... the reel and pole are just there because the beer stays colder in the water. :thumbup:

SentraSE-R 02-08-2010 01:09 AM

I'm thinking of the bicycle-powered rickshaw we took on a city tour of Victoria, B.C. One teenage cyclist moving my family of four. He was geared low, but obviously had to work hard. Assuming he needed double the normal bicycle calories to move us, but quintupling the payload, that has to be a very efficient way to travel.

JacobAziza 02-09-2010 10:36 PM

Another consideration: instead of eating more, you might just reduce caloric output in other areas of life to compensate. This could be not going to the gym (saving money on the membership) or jogging after work since you got your exercise during your commute, or it could be something sub-conscious like you fidget a little less when sitting at your desk. Studies have shown that if you force feed people more calories than normal, they tend to fidget more.

I was gonna also add that the original calculations of the caloric needs of cycling seem to have not deducted the base metabolic rate (only about 250-300 additional calories), that there will eventually be extra costs in health care from not getting exercise, and the money saved by not paying insurance and and parking and maintenance and the car payments themselves, but someone beat me to it

Bottom line, car doesn't come remotely close to being as cheap as a bike by any measure when all costs are taken into account

NeilBlanchard 02-09-2010 11:44 PM

Yeah, they say chess masters burn like 6,000-7,000 calories in a game. Our brain takes a lot of calories, too, folks!

I think the whole premise of this thread is a red herring!


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