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June 20, 2008

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Me

I want this to be true, but I fear you have missed one important factor in your calculations. The efficiency of the human body turning food into work. Maybe you've accounted for that in some wway that I have missed.

steve

This calculation factors in the efficiency of the human body - the calories burned number are those you have to eat. The physical work at the pedals is much less. Also the the efficiency of the bike is accounted for, but that is a high number and you can almost ignore it.

It turns out people are about 25% efficient in turning food energy into work on a bike.

crhilton

The thing he missed is the reality of our food supply. If you eat like a typical American you can expect there to be about 10 calories of oil for every calorie of human food (according to Michael Polan, he's making a big estimate).

By the way: This means you're eating a gallon of gasoline a day if you're an obese male. A fit male should still expect to be eating 4-5 gallons a week.

A lot of this has to do with our food supply:
* Grain fed cattle.
* Shipping food multiple times, over large distances.
* Intercontinental food
* Frozen food
* The green revolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_revolution

The next thing to consider is that you need about 200 calories of exercise a day. If you do that by bicycling you get about 5 free miles per day of transportation. That's 1,800 miles a year which is more than 10% of car use.

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    you can save some gas by being very gentle on the brake and accelerator. drive like there is a glass of water on the dashboard. you'll also save wear and tear on your brakes. and if you have an iphone, there's an app for that.

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