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Monday, October 23, 2017

Hypermiling and Cycling

Hypermiling is a term commonly used for driving cars (in an effort to save fuel costs by wasting less energy braking), but it is also sometimes used by cyclists.

In terms of cycling, your goal is to save effort and lower the total number of pedaling rotations that you do. (Or on an electric bicycle - save electricity.)

Hypermiling Tips for Cyclists
  1. If you are getting closer to a stop sign, cease pedaling and try to time it so you glide to a stop right near the stop sign - with little or no braking required if possible.
  2. Going downhill? Cease pedaling and get into a more aerodynamic position.
  3. On a flat surface? Only pedal once in a rare moment in order to maintain forward momentum.
  4. Whenever possible try to use a more aerodynamic position.
  5. Try to time green lights so you can pass through intersections on greens.
  6. Try to choose gear combinations that allow you to maximize distance and momentum vs the amount of energy expended pedaling.

Personal Thoughts on Hypermiling

I like to Hypermile sometimes. Mostly for me it means if I see a stop sign up ahead, I stop cycling and use the minimum effort required to roll to a stop close to the stop sign without needing to use the brakes, if possible. Hypermiling is slower obviously, but it is also more relaxing. I get to coast downhills quite a bit and just "ride and chill".

One time years ago I managed to cycle from my old apartment to the Eaton's Centre, a distance of 2.4 km, and only pedaled a full rotation 17 times. Thanks to the destination being downhill, I was able to get from my apartment to the mall with almost no effort at all. Coasted down Jarvis and Yonge most of the way.

The beauty of hypermiling is that it allows you to follow all the traffic signs / laws, while simultaneously relaxing and chilling.

Going so slowly (except on the downhill parts) you also get more time to focus on riding safely. On a downhill you really want to avoid braking and allow yourself to gain as much speed and momentum as possible while doing no pedaling whatsoever.

In theory if there was no stop signs or street lights I could have done it in less than 17 rotations. Maybe 15. But whatever. Still an amazingly low number of pedaling to travel 2.4 km.


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Charles Moffat is equal parts bicycle mechanic, cyclist, painter, sculptor, fantasy writer, poet, website designer and pun maker. For more details see



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