If you are looking for a quick conversion, then a moderate intensity biking for one hour is equivalent to 10,000 steps. You can skip the rest of the article. But if you are interested in more details, then stick around. We will look into multiple aspects of biking, walking, step counting and various ways to convert biking into steps.
Why am I talking about this conversion?
I am participating in the WebMD Team Team Steps challenge with my colleagues. There are similar challenges from Fitbit and other organizations. In this challenge, your steps are compared with other people and a winner is announced every few days. This encourages everyone to do better.
Not everyone is a walker, though. I like biking and riding my bicycle for two hours is an easier job for me than walking for one hour.
Unfortunately, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other activity monitors do not capture corresponding steps for biking.
This is because activity monitors such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin and Xiaomi Mi Band count steps based on the arm movement. Your arm is mostly stationary while riding a bike.
There are many discussions in Apple and Fitbit forum regarding this issue. You can find similar conversations on other forums. All those discussions confirm that natively Apple Watch, Fitbit and other activity monitors cannot record steps for your bike ride.
Poor biking to steps conversion
How to get steps to count when biking?
Bike riding is much more extensive compared to bare walking
Picture by Manosainz / 71 images
Bike riding is a complete exercise; much more extensive compared to bare walking. According to WebMD, biking is a top-notch cardio workout.
?Biking is a top-notch cardio workout. You?ll burn about 400 calories an hour. Plus, it strengthens your lower body, including your legs, hips, and glutes. If you want a workout that?s gentle on your back, hips, knees, and ankles, this is a great choice? ? WebMD.
Apps such as Workout, Strava, or MapMyRide provide you with a detailed analysis of your heart rate, blood pressure, and calories burnt. The following are a few screenshots from the Strava app for my 17 miles bike ride.
Photos are from Strava App for my recent bike ride.
So instead of just steps, you can look for speed, heart rate, calories and much more.
Disclaimer: Nothing wrong against walking here. Doctors, health consultants and health websites recommend a daily 60 minutes of walk to keep you healthy.
There are alternative ways to capture & convert bicycling into corresponding steps.
I think you get the point that the bike miles and steps are two completely different things; comparing the two is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.
Here is the problem. What do you do when you want to participate with your friends on a challenge which relies on counting steps?
There are a few alternative ways to capture or convert biking into steps.
Method #1 ? Use one of the online convert such as Kyle?s miles to steps converter
You can use one of the online converts such as Kyle?s miles to steps converter.
In this method, a mile is converted into meeters and then converted into feet. Somehow they convert 1 mile = 1.609344 km = 80 chains = 5280 ft.
Then they take the distance covered by a single step assuming a stride length of 2.5 feet.
Method #2 ? Convert your biking miles into steps (manual conversion/calculation)
This idea is similar to the 1st idea with a difference that you will do everything manually and get an accurate count of steps.
According to the 10,000 Steps A Day article from The Walking Site, an average person has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. That means that it takes over 2,000 steps to walk one mile. 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles.
The livestrong.com used this information and created a method to convert exercise bike miles to steps. In this method ?
- Take 10 normal steps and measure the distance between your starting and endpoints.
- Divide this distance by 10 to get your average stride length. So if the distance between your starting and endpoint is 25 feet then your average stride length is 25/10=2.5 feet.
- Now convert your bicycle miles into feet. You can either search in Google or ask Siri, Google, Alexa to ?convert miles into feet?. If you like math then you could multiplying your bike miles by 5280 to convert miles into feet.
- Finally, divide the total feet by your average stride length.
Example: If you ride 10 miles then you would have 52800 feet/2.5 stride = 21,000 steps.
Method #3 ? Convert your biking time into steps (manual conversion/calculation)
Websites such as WebMD Health Services allow you to manually enter steps for their challenge. They do this for two reasons ? (a) Everyone does not have a fitness tracker and (b) WebMD Health Services does not have integration with all fitness trackers.
This type of conversation is simple and effective. In this approach you multiple your biking duration with a conversion number.
The best part of this approach is you don?t lose any of your bike activity data because you are not changing how you wear your activity monitor. Steps are just a byproduct for you to enter into your challenge.
To get a more accurate conversion, you can look at the following activities to steps conversion charts.
Activities to Steps Conversion Chart by PEHP Health Benefits
According to this conversion chart, a 60 minutes bicycle ride with an average speed of 10mph is equivalent to 133 * 60 = about 8000 steps.
- Easy (10 mph) ? 133 steps/minute
- Moderate (13 mph) ? 178 steps/minute
- Vigorous (15 mph) ? 222 steps/minute
A general rule of thumb is a moderate intensity biking for one hour is equivalent to 10,000 steps.
You may notice that this method provides a fairly low number of steps compared to the 1st method where biking for one hour bicycle ride with an average speed of 10mph is equivalent to 21,000 steps. (10mph is 10 miles in 60 minutes).
Convert Your Exercise Minutes Into Steps by Central Washington University
Similar conversion chart with slightly different conversion numbers. Original source for this chart is America on the Move; Healthy Steps to Albany; Concordia Plan Services.
- Bicycling, easy pace ? 130 steps/minute
- Bicycling, moderate pace ? 170 steps/minute
- Bicycling, vigorous pace ? 200 steps/minute
Calculating 10,000 steps in cycling by Tom Crandall
Instead of using bicycle riding speed, Tom uses the intensity of bicycle riding. Tom uses a talk test to define intensity.
- Low intensity (gentle) = 85 steps/minute At low intensity, you can carry on a normal conversation without breathing difficulty.
- Moderate/Brisk intensity (comfortable) = 150 steps/minuteYou?re now warmed up and you?re beginning to have little breathing issues, but nothing too strenuous.
- High Intensity (tolerable intensity but not for a long period of time) = 200 steps/minute The pace has picked up to the point where you would have a very difficult time talking.
- All Out (crazy hard intensity) = 265 steps/minute The only talking at this point is in your mind and it?s screaming how painful this is.
This is my recommended method and the one I am using.
Method #4 ? Attach Apple Watch to your shoe/ankle instead of your wrist
Photo by Mae Dulay on Unsplash
This method can provide you with a way to automatically count steps but you will lose all the great statistics you could get for biking. Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin and Xiaomi Mi Band capture heart rate, calories, speed etc when attached to the wrist.
Ankle Band for Apple Watch
Ankle Band for Fitbit
Takeaways and advice
I hope one of these methods will be helpful to you. If you are looking to convert cycling to steps or looking for a cycling to steps calculator or cycling to steps converter, then one of these methods will help you.
How to Convert Bike Miles to Steps
The following are some conversations for your reference.
- 10000 steps equal how many miles? Or 10000 steps equivalent? According to method #2, 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles.
- What are the steps equivalent to riding 10 miles? Using method #2, if you ride 10 miles, then you would have 52800 feet/2.5 stride = 21,000 steps.
- How many steps are 2 miles of cycling? 5280*2/2.5 stride = 4224 steps.
Please comment and share which of these methods you liked.