Monday, September 1, 2008

Lose Weight Riding Motorcycles

big oaks lodge boquet canyon roadI posted before about my weight loss, and experiencing a sore butt while taking long rides.

Yesterday, I came to a conclusion. Riding motorcycles is hard work.

I weighed in that morning at 189 pounds, and by this morning I weighed in at 185. I lost four pounds riding my motorcycle yesterday.

It was a long ride, about 250 miles in all, with about 100 of that going through twisties. The rest was taking freeway to get to the twisties, and to get home.

Midway into the ride, we stopped at Big Oaks Lodge, a biker hangout along Boquet Canyon Rd. I had a cheeseburger and a hefeweizen (wheat beer). Later on, we rode to Tom's Farms and I had a Diet Coke. That night, I took a run to Jack in the Box for a sirloin cheeseburger, and washed it down with a Jack Daniels & Coke (regular Coke).

I don't know the total caloric intake on that, I'm guessing around 4,000 calories.

It's said that the average American needs to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound.

And considering I did no exercise yesterday, no great amount of walking either, I should have gained a pound or two. But instead I lost four pounds.

I rode my Road Star yesterday. I don't ride with a windshield or any kind of wind protection on that bike. And with about 150 miles of freeway on that route, the wind was pushing me back for quite a ways. Maybe having to hold on tight burns calories.

And considering there was about 100 miles of twisties, I spent a lot of time focusing on the road, looking for debris on the road, watching the recommended curve speed signs, downshifting, upshifting, positioning my bike for the turns, etc. Basically, I had to do a lot of thinking. Maybe using your brain actually burns calories, and maybe that's why so few people use theirs.

I also led a group of 18 bikes, with 21 people. It was a group larger than what I'm accustomed to leading. So I always looking for my tailgunner to make sure we had everyone. I was always looking in the mirror to see if everyone made it through the green light. At all the gas stops I had to keep track of time and make sure we weren't wasting it. Perhaps leading a group is something that also burns calories.

What I do know is that by the time I got home, I was tired.

So I figure I burned quite a few calories riding my motorcycle. I just don't know where those calories went to.

Perhaps I should write a book, "The Motorcycle Diet". I could appear on Oprah Winfrey, and tell her to get her fat butt on a bike.


  1. I'm sure like anything else, weight loss or gain based on both caloric intake and physical activity, is going to vary by individual. I do agree with you 100% that riding a bike is work, and that being the Road Captain on a big ride definitely adds to it.

    I just did about 3,000 miles over the last nine days between going back and forth to Milwaukee plus the riding we did while out there. I think whatever I burned off riding I put back with all the beer and Jack and Cokes I drank. I just weighed myself. I was 190# when I left; I'm 190# now.

    If I lost 4 pounds for every 250 miles, I'd be down by 48 pounds! I guess it's a good thing the motorcycle diet doesn't work on me!

  2. Well, normally I would say you are full of crap, but I thought about it and you may have something here.

    First, when I ride I don't eat alot. It's just easier and I don't get tired on long rides if I eat well and lite. Less caloric intake. I drink alot of water, I mean alot. This in itself will help you lose weight. Studies have found that higher levels of alertness and constant excercising of the mind burns more calories. (Why do you think geeks are pretty skinny dudes, heh) Riding takes alot of focus and concentration. So, I guess I would have to say that in my case, I agree. I know I lose weight on a trip. Sturgis 2007 I know after 10 days on the road I lost almost 15 pounds, maybe more. People kept telling me it looked like I lost a buttload of extra weight.

    I will help prove your point on the next run. I'll track this just for laughs and will report back.

  3. There is an actual web site that basically gives you the break down. Assuming a body weight of 150 lbs, you burn approximately 170 calories per hour riding a motorcycle.

    See this site:

    Of course, that doesn't take into account windscreen or no windscreen, weight of your bike, but clearly, you are correct and riding a motorcycle is hard work and takes energy.

    I participate in Weight Watchers which works on a points system for food intake and activity expenditure. In that scenario, motorcycle riding for 30 minutes earns 1 activity point which is the same as what I earn for walking 20 mins and a moderate pace.

    I am a rider and its clear to me that riding engages your core muscles for balance, leg muscles holding on to the bike and when stopping at traffic lights or in traffic jams.

  4. Hey guys, I was doing a little reasearch on this topic and interestingly enough I have a body bugg that measures calorie burn within 90% accuracy (on their website.) Yesterday I took a Ninja 650R on a ride that was about 3 hours long, included twisties, a few stops, a run to a store for some groceries, and home. According to the program I burned 800 calories. Yes I park on the far side of the parking lot ;)

  5. I lost 70lbs last year I wish all from riding but weight watchers actually gives you 2 activity points an hour for riding in point lingo thats about 100 calories. plus i've got a theory of the wind sucking the moisture out of your body which is why we all love those watering hole stops so much. have fun keep the rubber side down.

  6. YES..U DO....!!

    Yes i agre with u n u aint talking no bullshit or crap..! Even i've lost weight after riding my bike..i own 2 machines..Yamaha R1 n Kawasaki ninja 250r n riding any machine is one hell of a tiring n tedious job n it does take ur toll n make u lose weight..wont hold true for everyone but i've lost weight and it happened after riding my machines frequently..! in simple words..too much of riding with/without proper gear, climatic conditions n constant mind games sucks essential minerals n water out of the body leading to weight loss!!

  7. You lost 4 pounds of water. Nobody loses 4 pounds of fat in one day unless Shylock the Merchant of Venice takes it out of him, because 4 pounds or 1816 grams of fat, at 9 calories per gram, has 16,344 calories.

    Really, the whole idea of weighing oneself is silly. Why worry about weight or dimensions when strength, endurance and flexibility is what matters, in that order. We need strength to punch out the Obamas, not weight loss to please them.

  8. I know this is old as hell but it comes up when you google motorcycle and calories. But I just wanted to point out you did not lose 4 pounds of fat, you lost 4 pounds of water. At 180 pounds, 4 pounds of water is outright normal weight flucation.

    That being said, motorcycling is clearly a physical activity and there is no doubt it will have an affect on your weight long term (vs doing the exact same things without a motorcycle anyway, if you eat a cake after every ride you'll still get fat)

  9. So by your math you burned 3500 x 4lbs = 14000 calories plus 4000 from a meal for 18000 calories. So the equivalent of running 6-7 marathons at 2500-3000 calories per marathon. Nice!! Will try!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)