How Much Bike Riding Is Equivalent To Running? Which One Is Better?

Biking and running are the most popular forms of exercise. If you love both, you might want to know how much bike riding is equivalent to running. Let us find out.

Running and bike riding are the most popular physical exercises which youngsters enjoy all over the world. They have immense benefits for your health. But sometimes, while running, you get injured, or your legs get tired, and you want to switch to bike riding.

I know bike riding is quite fun and adventurous in comparison to running. But bike riding is limited to specific circumstances. You cannot ride your bike when snow and ice are on the ground since bikes and slippery surfaces don’t mix. 

In short, both running and bike riding have pros and cons, but doing both will surely add a variety to your exercise regimen. 

If you are into both, you might want to compare them and figure out how much bike riding is equivalent to running? Well, one mile of running is approximately equal to 2.5 miles of bike riding, as per research. Sounds ridiculous? Let me state my claim with more facts.

How Much Bike Riding Is Equivalent To Running

What Is The Difference Between Running And Cycling?

Energy Spent With Higher Speed

The energy which a runner spends during running rises linearly with speed. But in bike riding, the energy increases exponentially with speed, which is just because of wind resistance during cycling.

A runner requires almost the same amount of energy in one mile irrespective of any speed, whereas in bike riding, the rider requires more energy when he travels at a fast speed or pedals harder in hilly areas.


Runner’s usually gets more injured as compared to a rider. It is just because of the impact of feet on the ground. If a runner runs one mile in 6 minutes, his feet will strike the ground with force three times his body’s weight. This force is transmitted through the legs, which can tear muscles or affect the tendons.

Impact On Bones

Running strengthens the bones of your body, but if you do cycling, it will have much less effect on bones

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Full Body Exercise

Running is a whole-body workout. It constantly engages all the core muscles, arms, and abs. But if I will talk about cycling, then a cyclist mainly utilizes the lower portion of the body.

Investment Required

You don’t have to invest much money in running. You have to buy running shoes to run properly on the road. But if I talk about biking, you have to invest a lot of money in purchasing a good bike and maintaining it. Besides the bike, you have to spend money on safety gear like helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, shoes, clothes, etc.

How Much Bike Riding Is Equivalent To Running

Approximate Calorie Equivalence


The number of calories that you burn while cycling depends on a number of factors such as your weight, the kind of terrain you are cycling in, your metabolism, and of course, the speed at which you are moving.

The table below explains the benefits of cycling at various speeds, terrains, and weight levels:

SpeedCategory130 lbs155 lbs180 lbs205 lbs
<10 mphVery Light236281327372
10–11.9 mphLight354422490558
12–13.9 mphModerate472563654745
14–15.9 mphVigorous590704817931
16–19 mphRacing7088449811117
>20 mphRacing944112613081489
Mountain bike or BMXRough Terrain502598695791 


We have to be more granular in our calorie counts for running because a minor change in speed can cause a much bigger number of calories burnt. The table below summarizes findings for various weights and speeds:

SpeedCategory130 lbs155 lbs180 lbs205 lbs
5 mphVery Light472563654745
5.2 mphVery Light531633735838
6 mphLight590704817931
6.7 mphLight6497748991024
7 mphModerate6798099401070
7.5 mphModerate73888010221163
8 mphModerate79795011031256
8.6 mphVigorous82698511441303
9 mphVigorous885105612261396
10 mphRacing944112613081489
10.9 mphRacing1062126714711675
Cross-countryRough Terrain531633735838
Track runningRough Terrain590704817931


You might notice from the two tables above that running at five mph is equivalent to cycling at a speed of 12-13.9mph, which means that 1 mile of running is equal to 2.6 miles of cycling (taking the average of the two cycling speeds) if you are a light runner/ moderate cyclist.

However, this conversion goes down if you are into a more vigorous exercise. For example, at speeds of 7.5mph, you are burning approximately the same calories as if you were cycling between 16-19mph, which indicates that 1 mile of running is about 2.4 miles of cycling.

How Much Bike Riding Is Equivalent To Running

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. How much biking is equivalent to running?

The general thumb rule of running and riding a bike is 1:2.5, which means one mile of running will equal 2.5 miles of riding a bike.

#2. Is biking a good substitute for running?

Both biking and running have pros and cons. You cannot say anyone better. But if you choose running, then it will burn more calories as compared to cycling. 

Cycling is a lower impact form of exercise which puts less stress on your muscles and bones. It is safer and certainly a better form of exercise if you are older or have recently been ill.

#3. How much biking is equivalent to running a 5K?

A 5k is equal to 3.1 miles. We know the general thumb rule that one mile of running is equal to 2.5 miles of biking. So running a 5K is approximately equal to cycling 8 miles.

#4. What is the running equivalent of biking 10 miles?

Biking 10 miles is equivalent to 4 miles of running.

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1 Mile Running = 2.5 Miles Biking

Cycling and running are great for your health. You cannot say anyone is good or bad. You can choose any of the activities that suit your lifestyle. You can also combine both activities just to add a variety of exercises to your fitness routine.

But if you are suffering from an illness, it’s best to consult the doctor before choosing running or walking. For instance, if a person has diabetes and decides to do both running and cycling, there are high chances of lowering blood sugar levels. That is dangerous for his life.

Anyways, I hope you liked this article and got some ideas regarding running and cycling. Please do share your suggestions for this article in the comment section.

Happy Cycling!