Weight loss patterns are constantly changing. Carbohydrates are good. Carbohydrates are bad. Red meat is good. Red meat is bad. In addition, you can use statistics to back up any claim, whether it is true or not. We already know that the bike is good for you, but some say that riding can even help you lose weight.
Saying that the bike helps you lose weight goes against the stereotypical image of an older Harley runner with a big belly, where the only six-pack involved is what he drinks when he gets to his destination (Fortunately not before) As my own metabolism slows down with age, I am more interested in what is happening in my body and how to burn it effectively. The idea that the bike, which is my favorite activity for years, could help me to intrigue. After watching this video on Facebook, I decided to dig a little deeper.
Of course, motorcycling websites do not fail to point out the beneficial effects of motorcycling on exercise and weight loss. (Mental health is an established fact.) An article in Leather Up’s blog talks about it enthusiastically, but ironically, it contradicts itself almost at the same time. While saying that a 150-pound person riding a motorcycle for an hour will burn 179 calories, it’s hardly more than the same person who burns it by driving a car for an hour. It also lists several other forms of exercise that burn a lot more calories than riding. An important point, however, that this post argues, is that off-road driving is much more painful than just navigating the highway. A 230-kilo cyclist can burn 400 calories for an hour of off-road driving, which is even more than cycling.
Another post at Harley-Davidson Tallinn, Estonia, echoes this feeling: up to 600 calories per hour of off-road driving. Street riders still benefit. Turning the handlebars, applying the brakes and clutch, and shifting gears are small, simple movements, but they all require a small amount of energy, which is added during a race. On the other hand, motorcycle riders have virtually no benefit in terms of calorie burning, which is one more reason for passengers to start driving their own journey.
The motorcycle sites preach to the choir, so I looked for corroborating evidence from sources that had nothing to do with motorcycles. A discussion on the MyFitnessPal forum includes many runners indicating how many calories they burn during their off-road driving. I use the MyFitnessPal app to track my daily calorie intake and, when I went through the list of her possible exercises, I found “Motor-cross” included. At my weight, the app says I would burn 408 calories in an hour of “Motocross”. My usual route is not listed, but activities such as auto repair, curling, fishing, gardening, horse grooming and bag piracy all have entries. I guess throwing tools and magic words on a car project that goes wrong can also be a bit of a workout. Not that I know of experience or anything.
A recent VeryWellFit Article quotes an estimate of 100 calories per hour for a 150-pound person riding a motorcycle. It seems that most places seem to agree that a sofa potato (or RideApart Contributor writing this article) burns just 68 calories per hour. Even if I’m just going to work on a motorcycle, I’m doing a lot better than sitting on the couch. Taking the long way home on a nice day simply adds to this benefit.
The best value, however, is off-road driving. You can buy an off-road bike or a used double sport cheaply, drive it on the street as you normally would, then hit the ground for a more intense workout. Add this to my ever-growing list of reasons why I want to add a dual sport to my fleet of motorcycles. It’s not just fun, but it’s good for me too.
Sources: The Life of a Rider, Leather Up, Tallinn Harley-Davidson, MyFitnessPal, VeryWellFit