104,650 Calories (or why I can eat all the blueberry cobbler I want)

This summer I participated in the AIA Summer Bike Challenge. AIA Alaska is a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and they put on this contest to see who could commute the most miles without using cars. Small teams of five to ten were invited to participate. The challenge focused on bikes, but other forms of human powered transportation were allowed as well. The contest ran from May 21 to September 21. I was required to log my miles weekly and turn in my mileage count monthly to my team leader. Our team leader had provided me with a spreadsheet for keeping track of my miles, and the spreadsheet included formulas to calculate roughly how much gas money I had saved, my CO2 offset, and also the number of calories I had burned.

This summer I logged 1,610 miles, and according the calorie formula, in five months I had burned 104,650 calories!

Now, I’m sure I didn’t really burn quite that many. The calculation was based on an “average sized” person. Since I’m much smaller than the average person, the calorie formula would not have been accurate for me. But still, it could explain why I can eat all the blueberry cobbler I want without having to worry about gaining weight! And according to the calculation for gas money, this summer I saved $354.20. That could buy a lot of blueberry cobbler.

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