Just to be clear, I do not primarily ride as a means to a weight maintanence scheme. That is not my motivation, but it is a fringe benefit. And since I am all about encouraging and empowering people to reduce their drive time, lets explore this angle; it might just be the motivation you need.
I pass a couple of health clubs in rout to school, and rare is the day that I dont see people circling the block in their big ugly SUVs, looking for parking so they can go in and excercise, before driving on to their next stop. This confuses me to no end, it is obtuse, wrong-headed and inefficient.
So, say you plan to spend 45 minutes exercising at the gym, and another 45 minutes getting to the gym and on to your next stop. An hour and a half. Of course that does not include changing in and out of your gym clothes and showering, but bare with me, more on that in a moment
The following table appears in the '92 Schwinn ATB catalog which references Bicycling magazine, there are dozens of charts out there, and each one has slightly different numbers because the actual calories burne will depend on a number of variables, including terraign (are you riding up hill, on the flat, or all downhill), is there a headwind? are you towing a trailer? In any event, this chart gives us a point to start from
(mph) 12 14 15 16 17 18 19
150 383 457 534 593 675 779 883
160 405 485 567 629 717 828 938
170 427 512 599 666 758 876 993
180 450 540 632 702 800 925 1048
190 472 567 664 738 841 973 1104
200 493 593 695 772 881 1019 1157
So, even at a recreational pace of 12 MPH, 1 hour a day of riding will burn over 3000 Calories per week, the equivalent of approximately 1 pound of fat (if your route has hills you will burn even more). Over the course of a year you could loose over 50 pounds! If you took that hour and a half that you would have spent getting to the gym, circling the block for parking, doing you work out, and getting to your next errand; and just spent it cycling to your next errand, you would burn over 5000 calories, potentially loosing some 75 pounds a year while acomplishing your errand running! WOW! Yes, at some point you will need to take a shower and change clothes. Just as you would at the end of your work out at the gym. In the mean time, you will be saving time and money while improving your life and getting stuff done ~AND, because you are intergrating your exercise into your daily life and the things you need to get done anyway, you are more likely to stick with it. How cool is that?!