Thursday, 3 February 2011

More from the Dark Side... and info on calories!

I've been out every morning in February so far!! - okay it's only three days - but it's the thought!

This morning I set off at 5.30 - pitch black, quiet and peaceful. I rode 13.5 miles and I think in all that time I saw only 3 cars! - and one other cyclist!

The more i manage to get out in the dark the more i realise how enjoyable it is. It's strangely peaceful compared to daytime riding, and i've come to appreciate the environment in a new way. Sometimes, if the moon is bright enough to cast shadows across the landscape, new textures are revealed - even on familiar routes. As your vision is reduced you become more aware of your other senses. Surface and gradient changes seem more pronounced, the texture and the scent of the air is different as are the sounds. I have heard many owls and seen 2 or 3 barn owls, their eerie, ghost like shapes catching my front light as they swoop across the road in front of me.

I feel super-fast in the dark too! As the night rushes past and my light creates a natural focus I find I have little in the way of distractions. Give it a try! - the more times you manage to get out in the dark the better your chances of adjusting yourself and becoming comfortable with it - it's well worth it, and the extra miles will benefit you later on.

I was reading a useful article yesterday about how many calories are burnt on a ride, and how you can calculate what you are using.
The basic principal is that you use a 'cycling speed coefficient' which is based on your average speed. This gives you a figure of calories burnt per minute.
So, average speed 15mph = 0.0561, 16mph=0.0615, 17mph=0.0675, 18mph=0.0740, 19mph=0.0811, 20mph=0.0891

After you have identified your average speed and the relative coefficient value, then multiply the coefficient by your weight in pounds by the time spent cycling in minutes. This will give you your cycling calories.

Eg. 0.0561(coefficient) x 182lbs(weight) x 60(1hour cycling) = 612.61 calories used in that hour.

To be super accurate you should subtract the calories you would normally use during that hour - eg 612.61 - 100 = 512.61

So for a 3 hour ride averaging 15mph you would burn 1537.8 calories, over and above what you'd burn normally. (based on a weight of 182lb)

That might be useful for those of us who don't have a Garmin to work all this stuff out automatically.

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