If you are not waiting for something while cycling, it is a headwind. Pedaling costs you mountains of energy and sometimes it seems as if you are barely moving. Yet there is also one big advantage to cycling with a headwind: you burn considerably more calories.
According to Hans van Dijk, author of the book ‘The Secret of Cycling‘, this mainly has to do with the effect that headwind has on the speed at which you cycle.
For example, if you normally cycle forty kilometers per hour, but you suddenly have wind force seven against you, you will not be able to cycle faster than eighteen kilometers per hour. This means that you are working twice as long as if there were no wind.
Climb Alpe d’Huez
And that cycling with a headwind can be quite tough, says Van Dijk. “Headwind has a huge impact: cycling with wind force eight is just as difficult as climbing Alpe d’Huez. In order to keep going as fast – despite the wind – you would basically have to cycle seven times as fast, which means that you would also burn seven times more calories than normal. ”
Do not cheer to early
Still, you shouldn’t cheer too quickly: you really can’t manage to cycle seven times faster than what you normally do. “At a certain point you are just at the upper limit of your human motor, which means that you simply cannot pedal faster. So you don’t suddenly burn seven times more calories than normal, but you are at your maximum calorie burn, ”says Van Dijk.
How many calories?
How many calories do you burn? “Someone who weighs sixty kilos will burn an average of 600 calories per hour, someone eighty kilos will burn 800 calories per hour and someone who weighs ninety kilos will burn 900 calories per hour.” To calculate how this works for you, you can very simply put an extra zero behind your weight to know what calories you can burn per hour when you cycle against the wind.