Fresh air, great scenery and unpredictable terrain have made pedal biking one of the world’s most popular sporting pastimes. A long ride on the roads or a muddy ride in the woods are both great ways to get fit. The balance and agility required by outdoor biking means the real thing is better than an indoor cycling for all over body exercise too.
But indoor cycling is also on the rise, not only because it helps serious riders to train for events but also because a growing number of exercisers are realising they’re actually better than road and mountain bikes in a number of ways…
1. Your place, your time
City dwellers in particular find the time to book in a bike ride and the logistics of getting their bikes to a suitable location result in fewer rides than they’d like. And even on those occasions when you’ve organised yourself well, the weather may scupper your plans.
But if you’ve got an indoor cycle at home, or a spin studio nearby, the accessibility factor means you can get in your weekly revolutions in with ease.
A great indoor cycling instructor will ensure you get a variety of exercise on the bike to work through a variety of resistances, speeds and seating positions to come as close to the real thing as you can. And if you’re cycling at home there are plenty of great YouTube channels that will create that class vibe at a level which challenges you for a duration that suits your schedule.
A helmet is a must if you’re cycling outdoors and has been a lifesaver for many.
Despite riding in pairs and wearing bright clothing, many road bikers report unhappy experiences with drivers who do not give them a wide enough berth or simply do not see them. While the mountain bike crew are more likely to come to harm from hitting an unseen tree root or getting a jump wrong.
Whatever the cause, injuries sustained biking outdoors can be very serious, which is why it is always advisable to cycle with a buddy. So on days when a buddy can’t join you on your ride for safety’s sake it is better to cycle indoors alone. It may not feel as exciting but you being injury free will mean you’re safe to ride – indoors or outdoors – another day.
Most newcomers to exercise find the embarrassment of being new harder to overcome than anything else. And if you’ve not ridden a bike for a number of years, getting pedalling outdoors may be a mental milestone you’re not really ready for.
But an indoor cycle is an accessible exercise tool suitable for everyone. As long as you set the handlebars and seat to heights that suit your dimensions you’ll be able to cycle safely and when you do you can play with your resistance and RPM to gauge your fitness and set personal goals in the privacy of your own home.
Many people who begin on an indoor cycle at home progress to group classes and outdoor biking as their confidence and fitness builds. So those initial, private pedals may prove to be the first of many thousands more.
4. Your Ride on Your Terms
If you’re on an indoor cycle the length of the ride, the variety of resistance and the position you sit in are all variables you can determine. If you’re on the road or in the woods the distance, the weather, the inclines and any obstacles you meet along the way are there for you to negotiate.
Both are great, but for the novice rider the indoor cycle is best for a confident and controlled training session, which in time will prepare you for a ride outdoors.
So, are you an inny or an outy?
Riding in the great outdoors is terrific, but less practical than indoor cycling because it presents more physical and practical challenges. If you’re new to biking, the indoor option is definitely the more accommodating and adaptable of the two.
We’d always advocate variety in your exercise regime, but if you had to place your water bottle on one crossbar only, which one would it be?