Sunday I visited a different gym to try it out. They had some stationary bikes by Expresso, which featured a computer screen in front of the rider displaying different bike paths. I thought, "this is silly, so let's try it for a minute." So I climbed onto the saddle, chose the "Evening Bliss" ride, and began pedaling.
My stats tell the rest of the story:
Average speed 13.5 MPH
Heart rate - Average 120, max 156
Power - Average 110 watts, max 399
It was amazing. I generally don't perspire much while riding outside, but here I was dripping sweat. As I came up to the virtual riders, I pedaled faster to get around them. I may have even said, "on your left" once or twice.
Once "Evening Bliss" was complete, I chose "Fruitdale", which sets the bike path along a California beach. Again I revved up what little motor I have. And again I found my long-dormant competitive instincts coming out. As I passed a large virtual cyclist, I turned and asked, "where's Gina?"
I stopped after the 7.43 miles because I was tired, and the saddle was uncomfortable - I wasn't wearing bike shorts. Also, as usual, the bike's Q-factor was too narrow for my feet. As I climbed off the bike I noticed my t shirt was very damp.
Some points that came out from this experience:
1. I'm very out of shape, even by my standards.
2. I have a competitive streak I need to exercise more.
3. If I can find the right bike fit, or the right bike, there's nothing I can't do.
4. When I ride, I need to push myself harder. On tour and commuting I don't 'drop the hammer', because I'm sightseeing and because, in the case of commuting, my work doesn't have shower facilities. So as I try to get back in shape this riding season I need to work on sprints and other drills to make me a faster cyclist.
Sounds like a fun diversion to help slog out the miles on stationary equipment. So far the best my gym has to offer is a bank of televisions set to Fox News and CNN. It's really hard to push that last mile while watching the O'Reily factor.
Also, I too sweat like a wh_re in church at the gym.