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Old 02-14-13, 03:28 PM   #1
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Any one else spinning this winter?

Winter is not a good time for cycling over here. Used to be but the weather has changed somewhat over the past 10 years or so. We are getting wetter and windier weather and cold has come in aswell over the last one. With that in mind- I recently re-joined the gym so I can get some exercise in. I have only done one ride since Christmas and that was last Saturday with a 20 mph wind- temp of around freezing and sleet. Although it did at times take some motivation to keep riding instead of finding a short cut home- I did not fare too badly or rather not as bad as I expected.

I can only put that down to that gym work. Billydon has been posting about the velo garage crew and I think this is spurring me on to get some effective spinning sessions down at the gym. I had not intended to get into spinning classes as much as I have but tomorrow will be my 3rd one this week. Ride last Saturday-Cardio at the gym Monday- Spinning Tuesday and Wednesday- today off and tomorrow spinning again. I am not finding them addictive but now I have settles into them- they are not too bad.

They are an easy class to do. Not like Cardio where it is only me telling me how hard to work- and there is the option of slacking off a bit----or a lot as I have found out. The spinning classes have very few empty spaces and a couple of the instructors are good. One I do not like and one is not bad. Tomorrow is a good one.

I am trying to measure an improvement on each session and I am glad to say it is happening. The lessons are 1 hour long and I get the "Computer" zero'd at the start of each session. 1st session and I managed 480 calories- pulled a maximum gear (Take that as resistance) of 18 out of the 24 available and managed that at a cadence of 65 up a "Hill" for 7 minutes. Flat spinning was at 12 to 14 with a cadence of 100 to 110 and the maximum watts pulled were about 165. Yesterday and 540 calories- gear of 18 but with cadence of 80 on the hill for 13 minutes. Flat spinning was 16 at a cadence of 100 to 105 and max watts pulled was 205. Not the best session I have had and I do think that some of the bikes measure differently but Yesterdays session and I felt a marked improvement.

So how many of you have been spinning at the gym or on the home trainer this winter? Have you seen any improvement and do you think it is helping you to keep your fitness?
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Old 02-14-13, 03:52 PM   #2
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I did twice-weekly spin classes at my gym last winter and the winter before that. It helped me get a head start on those two seasons in a major way. I've only been once this winter, and I suspect that one class will be my last. The time at which I'm able to leave the office each evening has become so unpredictable I can't rely on making it to any of the classes on time. Besides, that last one pretty much confirmed for me that I can't take them any longer. I'd rather devise my own regimen and do it at home on the trainer in front of my little spare TV, or listening to the kind of music I enjoy that is apparently held in disdain by every spin instructor in the universe, probably because the songs contain melodies. But for now, the exercise/stereo/2nd guest room is in complete disarray and largely unusable, so I'll be starting this season way behind schedule.
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Old 02-14-13, 04:18 PM   #3
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50km of spinning each night afyer the kids sleep. Usually ride as fast as me legs will allow at max resistance. Managed to average 35km an hour for the session yesterday. Definate improvement. No way I could do tgat with terrain/wind resistance though. So far 350-420km a week including commuting for he whole winter.
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Old 02-14-13, 04:27 PM   #4
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No, no spinning classes for me.

Still riding to work, still riding outside on the weekends (rode the Palm Springs Century last Saturday) and now heading to the U.K. for a ride on Sunday Feb. 17 around the St. Albans area, which I think is Hertforshire if I'm not badly mistaken. So I'll get a chance to check out Stapfam's weather!

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Old 02-14-13, 04:58 PM   #5
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This year I received clearance from the tower to set up the trainer in the now vacant kids room, and have used a friends dvd's and downloaded one, also. I hope this helps my early season compared to years past. A week of riding in AZ at the end of the month will also give me a reprieve from riding indoors.
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Old 02-14-13, 05:20 PM   #6
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Given the fautigue level observed in my legs you can get a pretty serious workout indoors if you push your limits the whole way. Not as mych fun orcas challenging as a 100 miles outside, but since that would taje 10 hours due to slippery paths and rosds its the bedt I can do.
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Old 02-14-13, 06:40 PM   #7
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Bike commute Monday through Friday (15 miles round trip) and a one hour spin class on Saturdays. Although I'm on the bike at 6:00 AM Monday through Friday no matter what the weather is like (except for the rare times when it's icey), I can't bring myself to get on the bike on weekends when it's cold. The spin class is a good substitute until Saturday mornings start turning nice.
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Old 02-14-13, 08:41 PM   #8
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I'm doing 3 sessions on my Trek in the living room each week. I dont have a special formula, I just want to be in OK shape my first ride of the season. This is the first winter using a trainer so we'll see.
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Old 02-14-13, 08:59 PM   #9
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I am spinning on my own spin bike at home. Every morn before work. Billy donn's velo garage thread helps motivate. I usually go for 45 minutes each session and do some weight training three morning a week.
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Old 02-14-13, 09:02 PM   #10
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Way to go Stap!

When the alternative is to do nothing all winter, using the trainer or spinner is a great choice, especially if you can make the sessions short and intense. But you are training muscles more than the heart in doing this. I would hate to try to maintain an aerobic/endurance base using the trainer all winter but, fortunately, that is the component of overall fitness that declines the most slowly.

But the endurance does still fall off some. I finally got in an outdoor ride of 1:48 last week (for the first time in about a month) and was a little more tired than normal afterward... but I was strong during the ride. When the time comes, the first few longer outdoor rides of the year are still going to be tiring and I think you should expect that too. That doesn't mean that your trainer work was wasted though. Ride on. It's the right thing to do if you can manage it.

(And a little core work in the gym doesn't hurt anything either.)

Last edited by billydonn; 02-14-13 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 02-14-13, 09:14 PM   #11
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I did spinning last winter and it helped when I started to ride outside once the weather got nicer.

I joined a place this winter and have been doing it regularly.
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Old 02-15-13, 04:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billydonn View Post

When the alternative is to do nothing all winter, using the trainer or spinner is a great choice, especially if you can make the sessions short and intense. But you are training muscles more than the heart in doing this. I would hate to try to maintain an aerobic/endurance base using the trainer all winter but, fortunately, that is the component of overall fitness that declines the most slowly.



(And a little core work in the gym doesn't hurt anything either.)
This is what I feel aswell. Cycle fitness may be what the spinner or trainer is improving but there is also the Cardio that has to be worked on. Hence the reason that I am trying to force a couple of sessions in the gym working on Cardio and mobility.
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Old 02-15-13, 07:46 AM   #13
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Spinning is just about my only bike-like option during the winter, and it really helps keep my legs in shape for when the weather is warm enough to ride. I usually bail before the end of a class -- 55 minutes, plus shower time plus changing time, plus getting to the gym time is too long a lunch hour -- but it's still 40+ minutes of decent workout. I try to get in three sessions a week, although I won't make that this week. Proof of the pudding will come next week when I head off for a week long in-the-sun bike vacation. I am not quite counting the hours, but at times I am tempted to do so.

At the start of the month I did a 3-hour spin class too, which was pretty awesome. You have six sessions of 27-28 minutes, with a micro break between times to fill up your water bottle, grab a snack and rest your legs. Again sort of mixed. A couple of the instructors were less good than the others, and I can't stand it when the music goes all techno on me. But there was one instructor whose half-hour session consisted of a single hill, of varying degrees of effort. It was surprisingly awesome.
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Old 02-15-13, 03:00 PM   #14
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I've been chronically cold all the time for years, and since losing more weight in the last year it's even worse, so riding outside this time of year just does NOT look appealing (I think perfect riding weather is 90*+), so spinning is my only option.

I've been doing a once-weekly spinning class since September and I hate it. 35 minutes of burn and sweat with none of the joy of actually riding a bike, followed by 20 minutes of strength or core training (depending on the class). As soon as it's warm enough to get out consistently at least 2-3 times a week, I get to kiss that $#*(@*%#$ stationary bike goodbye for a few months.

As far as I can tell the computers on the bikes only read out speed - no distance, average speed, watts, calories burned or anything else to give you some way of measuring your progress - you just suffer and hope you're keeping yourself in good enough shape to not require any extensive re-conditioning come spring.
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Old 02-16-13, 01:58 AM   #15
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I bike commute every day, but it is only a short ride. So I've been going to the gym's spinning classes occasionally, about 1x to 2X week.

Instructors vary widely in their approach. Some lead a pure cardio class without much reference to real cycling (bouncing in and out of the saddle, doing push-ups on the bars, pedaling backwards, high cadence standing). Others are cyclists and lead a cyclist-oriented class (seated suffering, intervals, sprints). When necessary, I do my own thing and use the class for motivation and pacing.

I've used the classes to work on specific things, too. One is pushing high resistance, simulating big gears. Another is smoothing out my stroke at high cadence.

Overall I'm retaining more fitness this winter than I would be otherwise. Not falling on slick or icy roads. And the scenery in some of the classes is very fine. Practice your, err, drafting.
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Old 02-17-13, 12:34 AM   #16
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I did do some spinning the past few months, because I had a broken wrist. I'm back on my bike, though. Yes, the calendar says it's February, and I do live in the Northern Hemisphere. On the other hand, I live in Southern California. Thus it's now early spring.

So here's a picture from my ride late on Friday afternoon, up into the Hollywood Hills, with Los Angeles laid out below.

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Old 02-17-13, 06:18 AM   #17
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I hate indoor cycling. I would rather ride in 20 degree weather than ride indoors. I have been running, lifting and on the trainer one day a week. I wanted to maintain my fitness and have. I was out for a few rides this month and I am down a little. I am happy with that & looking forward to the spring.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:36 AM   #18
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Until moving mostly to NM, I was doing spin classes in NJ during the winters. Regular use of a spin bike over the winter months dramatically improved my level of riding fitness. I'd do 2-3 nights a week and weekends if I couldn't ride outside. The class used Keiser magnetic resistance spin bikes with a power estimating function. I was ringing up some fairly massive power numbers, and consistently hitting over 1000 kcal/hr. I now have a Keiser bike in my exercise shed in NM, and after travels, the flu and a stomach bug this winter, need to get back on it regularly.
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Old 02-18-13, 01:38 PM   #19
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My wife and I have been spinning a few times a week this winter, and we also did some last winter. We also have a Tour de France exercise bike at home for other workouts. We found last year that we were way ahead of the game in the spring when we started riding outside regularly. We were faster on our first ride than we were on the last ride of the previous season. So it really helps. This year the weather has been more friendly and we have ridden on all but 2 weekends. So hopefully we will be even better this spring.
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Old 02-18-13, 02:38 PM   #20
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I work full time and my hours are such that I can only ride on the weekends. I teach spin class twice a week and it definitely helps keep my fitness. We do lactate threshold tests 3 times during the year and I've been able to hold my level pretty consistent. I don't think I could if I didn't spin during the week.
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Old 02-18-13, 05:10 PM   #21
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I did do some spinning the past few months, because I had a broken wrist. I'm back on my bike, though. Yes, the calendar says it's February, and I do live in the Northern Hemisphere. On the other hand, I live in Southern California. Thus it's now early spring.

So here's a picture from my ride late on Friday afternoon, up into the Hollywood Hills, with Los Angeles laid out below.

Ah, so serene. So traffic free and idyllic!
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Old 02-18-13, 10:51 PM   #22
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I did do some spinning the past few months, because I had a broken wrist. I'm back on my bike, though. Yes, the calendar says it's February, and I do live in the Northern Hemisphere. On the other hand, I live in Southern California. Thus it's now early spring.

So here's a picture from my ride late on Friday afternoon, up into the Hollywood Hills, with Los Angeles laid out below.

You must have photoshopped that -- where is the smog Looks pretty nice, I'm envious.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:24 AM   #23
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I'm going to resort to spinning, today in fact (ugh). We've got the Solvang 100K on the tandem coming up on March 9 and with business travel my riding is way down. I've got to do something to move my legs more than 1-2/week. Found a small fitness place near my business travel destination and they have classes at 0600; this works unless I have to get on the phone, but better than nothing. Once the days get longer I'll be able to get in 30 miles or so after work when on travel.
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Old 02-19-13, 10:31 AM   #24
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The gyms I've belonged to have dedicated spin rooms, empty 90% of the day. Why bother with lame spin instructors, DIY. The goods spin instructors are fantastic, but pretty rare breed.

My current gym has the big screen HD projection system for road and trail training videos, pitch black room. Yikes, it's a bit too realistic ... I find myself leaning right and left, bunnyhopping...makes me dizzy, disoriented if I really get into it. I will say city riding vids in that room is a mind trip, I found myself yelling at video pedestrians, dodging street poles.
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Old 02-20-13, 09:22 AM   #25
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I started spinning this winter, but I have avoided the instructor-lead classes and do it on my own. I saw too many people in the spinning classes who didn't even work up a sweat. For me, spinning is very intense, much more than being on the road. I don't understand why some are saying it does not provide cardiovascular training though. Unless I am spinning with virtually no resistance, my heart rate routinely gets to 70-80% of my theoretical maximum and higher when I do intervals. Maybe this just means I am starting from a very low baseline compared to the other riders who have posted.

Distance measured on the spin bikes doesn't have much relation to reality - it seems to be based on the number of pedal spins, regardless of resistance. I need to output about 300 watts before I feel the effort for distance is about the same as on the road, and that is much higher than I would average on the road.

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