....If this is true?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
sirmy
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....If this is true?

Postby sirmy » 18 Mar 2011, 8:11pm

I just saw this quote on City Cycling -

"For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon" Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist


ANy one know how true this is?

slacker
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby slacker » 18 Mar 2011, 8:30pm

According to my very quick research, there's 34,000 odd calories in a gallon of petrol and cycling uses around 30 - 40 calories a mile, which comes to about 1000 miles/gallon. That was just getting info from the first hits I got with google so your mileage may vary as they say.

rualexander
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby rualexander » 18 Mar 2011, 8:34pm

It's maybe on the high side but in the right 'ball park'.
A gallon of petrol (gasoline) 'contains' somewhere between 29,000 and 34,000 calories (see here, a cyclist riding leisurely at around 10mph burns around 200 calories per hour, therefore would cycle for around 160 hours on 32,000 calories, and would travel 1600 miles.
All highly hypothetical of course, we can't drink petrol!

snibgo
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby snibgo » 18 Mar 2011, 8:43pm


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hubgearfreak
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby hubgearfreak » 18 Mar 2011, 8:48pm

additionally;
if the person on the bike wasn't on the bike, they'd still be consuming energy.
or to look at it another way, the car needs a driver & the driver must eat

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Mick F
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby Mick F » 18 Mar 2011, 8:50pm

slacker wrote:...... and cycling uses around 30 - 40 calories a mile ...............your mileage may vary as they say.

This year - so far - 560.47miles and according to Ascent (my bike logging diary program) I've used 41,230cals.
That makes 73.56cals per mile.

Total ascent for this year is 58,389ft
ie 19mtrs per Kilometre

Some miles are hillier than others! :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

rualexander
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby rualexander » 18 Mar 2011, 8:52pm

snibgo wrote:Or 775,000 miles/gallon (http://app1.kuhf.org/houston_public_rad ... 1274071598).

That can't be right, it actually says '775-thousand miles per gallon' so maybe they mean between 775-1000 miles? Or are they using the unobtainable potential nuclear energy bound in the fuel?!

snibgo
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby snibgo » 18 Mar 2011, 8:57pm

Ah, yes, good point, we should (probably) read that as "between 775 and 1000".

When making such weird comprisons, it's worth mentioning that our "gallons" are renewable.

gilesjuk
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby gilesjuk » 18 Mar 2011, 9:23pm

The efficiency is probably why cyclists emit less gases.

Vorpal
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby Vorpal » 18 Mar 2011, 9:26pm

These seem to be US American sources. British cyclists get 25% more miles to the gallon. :wink:
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

sleeping_menace
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby sleeping_menace » 18 Mar 2011, 9:43pm

rualexander wrote:It's maybe on the high side but in the right 'ball park'.
A gallon of petrol (gasoline) 'contains' somewhere between 29,000 and 34,000 calories (see here, a cyclist riding leisurely at around 10mph burns around 200 calories per hour, therefore would cycle for around 160 hours on 32,000 calories, and would travel 1600 miles.
All highly hypothetical of course, we can't drink petrol!



re: drinking petrol.. Obviously you've never been to Sardegna and had filu e ferru :)
........................
http://anotherdooratthe.endoftheinternet.org

Cycle related blog entries, including a few 5 minute reviews:
http://anotherdooratthe.endoftheinterne ... y/cycling/

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Zoid
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby Zoid » 18 Mar 2011, 10:03pm

Hi sirmy

Such a quote will no doubt be a dumbed-down soundbite based on several unwritten assumptions. For example, over what terrain are we talking about, how fit is the rider, etc.

Best to ignore pretty much everything you read in the papers as its all opinion dressed as fact.

Zoid

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hubgearfreak
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby hubgearfreak » 18 Mar 2011, 10:53pm

snibgo wrote:When making such weird comprisons, it's worth mentioning that our "gallons" are renewable.


if you exist exclusively upon food from your own allotment, from seeds you've saved, maybe.
but if even part of those calories come from grains harvested by oil guzzling tractors, some californian raisins, maybe a belgium beer or three then it's not quite the case. and that's ignoring meat & dairy which is worse.

when making such comparisons, it's obviously going to take less energy shifting 15kgs of metal and tyres around with you than it is 1500kgs of metal and tyres. and that's true regardless of health and terrain

snibgo
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby snibgo » 18 Mar 2011, 11:19pm

hubgearfreak wrote:if you exist exclusively upon food from your own allotment ...

Yes, and that's one reason why these sorts of comparisons are a bit weird. Or a bit of nonsense, really. My bike is fuelled by bananas, which are renewable, but I shudder to think of the fossil fuels that brought them to my supermarket.

john.will.wright
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Re: ....If this is true?

Postby john.will.wright » 19 Mar 2011, 11:50am

I wonder how many calories it'd take per mile if you had to lug around all the stuff I usually need when I use the car. Trying to cycle back from the market with a cwt bag of potatoes, half cwt carrots, 8lb onions and enough meat for a fortnight tends to fill my boot and back seats of my car, I'm just lucky my milks delivered otherwise that's an extra 4 pints a day, equating to 7 gallons over the same fortnight (which obviously wouldn't last that long anyway).