Does cycling help you lose weight?

weight loss scales


The good news is yes but it won’t happen overnight. If you cycle for about one hour per day at an average pace you will burn about 4000 calories per week which could equate to about 0.5 kg of weight loss.

Burn fat and carbs.

Cycling helps you burn fat and carbohydrates more efficiently. Your body’s metabolism changes, the basal metabolic rate goes up and stays elevated for over a day after the exercise. This means your your metabolism is sped up by cycling and you continue burning calories long after you put the bike down.
As you burn off fat your cycling causes your muscles to work harder and become more toned and developed. This can result in calves, butt and thighs that look great.

Lose belly fat

Belly fat is the first place you will lose weight. This is particularly good for your health as its been shown that excess weight around the waist is linked to health problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. The fitter you get the more oxygen circulates through your bloodstream increasing the fat burning process.

When you cycle at a lower intensity the fat burning process is more efficient. This is good news if you are starting out cycling. You don’t have to flog yourself at pace to burn fat.

Lose weight like me

Look at the photo on the right. That’s me weighing in at 95 kg eight years ago.Today my weight is constant at 84 kg. Before I started cycling I had been up to 100 kg. Just start riding and stick with it. You will be amazed at your progress and shrinking waistline.


overweight cyclist

When you cycle regularly you will find you sleep better. Its been shown that lack of sleep can lead to hypertension and elevated blood sugar and weight gain.

Less stress

Cyclists are usually less stressed. A fitter, leaner body helps elevate your mood and reduce stress factors.
A reduction in stress hormones such as cortisol helps prevent weight gain. When you are relaxed and in a good mood you are less likely to use food and snacks to give you a feel good lift.


When you get used to cycling you will get so much enjoyment from the riding that any weight loss will be a bonus. No spending hours in the gym doing boring exercises on the treadmill. You can plan a different ride every time you go out if you wish.

Once you lose weight and keep it off your body will reset the metabolism for that lower weight. You would think that cycling regularly would increase your appetite. Not so, a lower body weight demands less calories hence you appetite actually decreases.

Make cycling part of your regular activities

You can use your bike to visit the local shops, a friend, even commute to work everyday or several days per week. These activities will increase the hours spent pedaling hence help you with your weight loss.

The amount of weight you lose will depend on a number of factors such as your own body build and metabolism, the type of riding you engage in and the hours you spend riding.

Watch your food intake

Your food intake has a huge bearing on your weight. Cycling isn’t an excuse to over indulge after the ride. The secret is to be sensible with your nutrition. Good wholesome foods will bring huge benefits for your health, weight and cycling.

Cycling is suitable for a wide range of people

One of the great advantages cycling has over other activities is it accessible to a wide range of people and being a non load bearing activity it is easy on the joints, opening the sport up to people who are restricted from activities like jogging.

Once you lose weight, the goal is to keep it off. By making your cycling enjoyable and increasing the distances and or intensity of the rides you will maintain a healthy weight. You could follow a simple plan to help you with your riding target. Check out my article on


In summary, does cycling help you lose weight?-Absolutely.


  1. rick

    I just bought a bike, a Dauz Mountain 27 speed with front and rear suspension. I’m 57 and wanted to cut back on the sitting around. I have a flashlight mounted on it with a flashing red light under the seat! So I can even ride around the neighborhood at night if I want!

    I really do enjoy riding again, and it does help the weight loss. I walk my dogs as well, as with one of them I ride and he runs! Be better if I ran and he rode the bike I’m sure. But not looking to loose ten pounds over night, just over 90 days to six months!

    One thing about bike riding is it is enjoyable like you said, and fun. You forget about how much work you are doing! I like that part of it.

    Great article and website. I have bookmarked it for future reads!
    Rick Bell

    1. Bruce (Post author)

      Hi Rick,
      Glad you bought a bike. I don’t know that brand but a mountain bike is great as you can get off road and follow the trails.You have to work more off road so its great for weight loss. Cycling can be hard work, that’s what I love about it. You can make it as tough or easy as you want.

      I had a dog that went with me on rides. On the last hill before we got home he would get in front of my wheel and refuse to let me pass.If he was tired he would slow to a walk but would stay in front of my wheel. He had to be first home.I loved his competitive spirit and missed him when he passed away.

      Look forward to hearing your comments again.


  2. Camille

    Cycling is a great work out. I use to ride frequently, then I tried to find other ways to squeeze in exercise, until I just stopped. Now, I’m back at square one. We have to keep exercise as a part of our lives. I have hypertension and it is important I exercise. I am very interested in reaping the benefits of a good night’s sleep, less stess, and of course weight loss.
    How many times per week do you recommend a beginner start with?

    1. Bruce (Post author)

      Hi Camille,The secret is to start and get into a habit. If you overdo it to start with it will put you off.I tell people to go out once a week for a good ride to start, when you are comfortable, increase the number of times you go out. Ideally you want to do about three rides per week. Have a read of my post on interval training. Using this method you only have to ride for about 20 minutes at a time and it gives the benefit of a two hours plus ride. If time is a factor you could do two of these short rides and one longer one per week.To start with you could always go for a brisk walk for two or three days per week until your bike riding has settled in.You can apply the interval training technique to other sports as well it gives great results for the short time you do it.
      Good luck with your riding,


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