Dustin Braden rode his bike for almost 15 hours straight one day last year, and no, he’s not a competitive cyclist or a triathlete—he’s a pedicabber.
Megan Knight, 24, said she rides, on average, about 220 miles each week, but she also isn’t a pro cyclist—she’s a spin instructor.
Austin Fit Magazine did a side-by-side comparison between the pedicabber and the cycling instructor in a bid to find out whose legs work more in an average week.
What the data showed is that Knight generally rides more miles—nearly double the amount of her counterpart—but Braden seems to be working much harder since he’s pulling around hundreds of pounds every time his feet touch the pedals.
“I’m basically a big horse,” he said.
Braden and Knight both recorded data recently to see how many miles they rode in an average week. The data collected is non-scientific and was recorded on apps used by cyclists, runners and triathletes to measure their mileage and caloric output. Braden said his mileage varies, but found on weekdays he tends to ride about 20 miles and on weekend days that rises to about 30 miles, for an average of 100 miles per week considering a four-day workweek.
According to the data he collected, he is burning about 3,000 calories on each weekday and close to 4,500 on each weekend day for an average of about 15,000 thanks to all the weight he’s pulling around.
Knight teaches an average of about seven classes per week and takes another five for a total of 12 sessions, on average, and found that she rides about 19 miles per session, for a total of about 228 miles per week, far more than she had forecast prior to tracking her mileage.
“It’s a lot more than I was expecting,” she said. “I obviously underestimated what I was doing. When you’re doing indoor cycling it feels more like dancing than a cardio workout. When you’re on a treadmill you think `yeah, that felt like five miles,’ but when you’re done cycling you don’t feel like you just biked 20 miles.”
Data she recorded on her smartwatch showed she’s burning an average of roughly 500 calories per session for a total of about 6,000 calories per week, less than half of those burned by Braden in almost twice the miles.
“That’s really interesting,” Braden said after learning of the results. “The weight I’m pulling is definitely what’s contributing to that.”
The 26-year-old pedicabber said he got into the business when the drummer in his band, who was also a pedicabber, suggested he give it a try. He’d been delivering pizzas in his car, which he didn’t enjoy, so he thought he’d give pedicabbing a whirl.
Always a fan of biking for fun, like most American kids, he wasn’t much of a cyclist when he became a pedicabber. What he found is that it takes a lot of time to get good at driving people around on essentially the back of a bike all day and night for hours at a time.
First comes the strength, then comes the stamina—much like any other sport. Festival weekends are always the busiest times, he said, and after South by Southwest recently he found that he had ridden for almost 15 hours.
“Once I got into it I found that it’s athletic, the money is pretty good, it’s social and you’re downtown in the social hub of the city but you’re not spending money and not getting trashed every weekend,” Braden said. “You can still be in the party but in a good way.”
In a sense, Knight’s story is similar—she was working a job she didn’t particularly enjoy and was looking for something where she could stay in shape with a social aspect.
The New Braunfels native who moved back to Austin after attending college on the East Coast said cycling is a way for her to get an intense workout in a short amount of time, similar to the type of training she did while swimming competitively at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
After graduating, she entered New York’s world of high fashion—working for Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. It wasn’t for her, though, and she’d become “complacent” and lost her passion for the industry.
She came back to Texas and knew she wanted to do something that kept her active. That’s when she saw LOVE Cycling Studio was hiring for their new location on Fifth and Pressler and immediately applied.
“I got the job,” she said. “I love it. I feel like I really connect with that group of people and I feel like it was meant to be and that the stars aligned.”
Braden said he respects his cycling counterparts because, at the end of the day, they’re doing similar jobs—riding for a living. He said he was surprised at the results that showed he burns far more calories than Knight, though it makes sense since he’s constantly pulling around heavy loads.
“The bike and other stuff weighs about 150 pounds, and then you have to think that we’re hauling people,” Braden said. “A small person is 100 pounds, so imagine three jacked football players—when you’re hauling those guys you’re contemplating ‘why do I do this job?’”
Knight said the results weren’t that surprising considering the type of cycling the two do are completely different. Still, she said, people really shouldn’t compare themselves to others who do similar types of training because, while both are pedaling, they’re doing completely different workouts.
“It’s really about how hard you work and how far you can push yourself. For me, it’s all about working out and having fun and enjoying the 45 minutes I have with my riders.”
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