Thirty-Onedurful Thousand Calories

An idea, long in the making, will finally begin tomorrow. After researching alternative fuels at Winding Road magazine, a way to compare the energy consumption between cars and bicycles burst into my head. Read on for the story behind my ride.

There are 31,000 Calories in a gallon of gasoline, which is a heck of a lot of energy. It is enough to push a car between 10 and 60 miles, but while the most efficient cars sip gas, they still guzzle energy.

Calories are not just for food--they are a unit of energy. One Calorie is enough energy to heat up one liter of water by 1 degree Celsius. I'm not going to drink a gallon of gasoline, but I will show just how far that much energy can take me.

My ride, from New Haven, Connecticut to Augusta, Georgia, will burn up 31,000 calories in a quest to find out exactly what real-world "miles per gallon" a bicycle can achieve. I think it should get between 700 and 900 mpg, which is pretty good, don't you think?

The ride will cover around 80 miles each day--the exact distance will be measured by the cyclocomputer shown on the left. The energy consumption will be measured by the Polar heart rate monitor on the right, which is calculates energy consumption with an acccuracy better than 97%.

The bike is set up, just needs to be pedaled.


Anonymous said...

Nick-I have passed your sight on to everyone!!! We are all rooting you on so you will be a huge looser if you fail!! Just kidding. Good luck- hope you made it in today!

Nick Goddard said...

I'm writing this after I did it- A winner, I guess- Thanks for all your encouragement (SW, I suppose)