Pack On 20% More Weight, and Ride

Cyclist Carrying Backpack

Do you know what it feels like to ride a bike as someone heavier than you currently are?  Yeah, kind of a strange question.

The other day I rode my mountain bike to Mocha Spoke and then from there I rode off carrying an additional 20 pounds of stuff in my backpack.  I rode for 10 miles with this load and could totally feel the difference it made.  Seeing as I’m a lightweight cyclist who weighs in at around 120 pounds, that extra 20 created a big difference.

Going up hills felt significantly harder, and I felt much faster going down.  I also noticed how slight shifts in my body made me swerve the bike around.  As I rode along I realized just how much harder it is to ride a bike if your strength to weight ratio is lowered (Visit our post for more information on Cycling and the Power to Weight Ratio).

I think this is something cyclists should give a try, just for the experience.  If you take me up on this, I’d recommend you doing so on a mountain bike as it makes the adjustments easier to manage.  I also recommend that you go out for a ride that’s long enough to feel the difference.  Be sure to add in some climbs so you can feel what that is like as well.

Let me know if you try it, and how it goes.  It definitely works as an incentive to keeping fit and light……and the bike is the perfect way to help keep you there.

  • tedly3000

    I have a commuter, but I also ride a 1951 Schwinn balloon tire bike, with a backpack. The Schwinn is 50 pounds, the backpack carries tools, locks, you name it, so probably an extra 20-30 pounds. One gear on the bike. Uphills are fun, and doable, you just have to get used to it. And folks, there is no shame in walking your bike up a hill!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Awesome….sounds like quite the ride. Yeah, hills must be a definite challenge on that thing.

  • TarheelBornGal

    Yes, I do this all the time when I go on grocery runs (rides) on my mountain bike with backpack. Since I weigh no more than 105 lbs. soaking weight, every extra pound in the backpack makes a difference. However, I am not sure it’s really the equivalent to gaining that much weight, since it’s all concentrated on my shoulders, which get quite sore by the time I get home. If I’d gained 15 lbs, it would be all over and not just in one area, and it wouldn’t throw my balance off as much as a pack with all weight concentrated in one area does. But the slowing down uphill and speeding up downhill would certainly happen, so your point is well taken.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks for sharing your comments and experience. Yeah, when it’s in a backpack it’s not quite the same as if it were on your body…..but either way, it sure is nicer to ride a bike with less weight.

  • amira

    It reminds me of how much harder biking was when I was pregnant. I rode (and kept up with the peleton) until I was 5 months along with only a small weight gain of 12 lbs to that point. But each and every pound sure did make a difference!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Totally, I am so thankful that I’ve never had to try cycling while pregnant….hahahahaha. Good for you for keeping up with the cycling while you were.

  • hyllas

    I wish more people realized this. It is my everyday experience hauling both my kids to school and back. No level of fitness or weight loss will resolve the issue, either.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Yeah, it definitely takes doing it to appreciate what it’s like. Great job on using the bike for all that you do.