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  1. #1
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    Cycling vs. Elliptical Exercise

    I try and get an hour of elliptical exercise 4 days a week and ride 20 miles for three of those days. The remaining 3 days of the week are reserved for longer rides and rest. With the days getting shorter I am not going to be able to get my cycling miles in. I was wondering what would be better exercise elliptical for 1 hour or cycling for 25 miles.

    The reason I ask is that I am considering exclusively riding my bike for 25 miles when I get home from work and then go to the YMCA after dinner and lift weights for 40 minutes.

  2. #2
    Pedo Grande Popeyecahn's Avatar
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    Personally, I think riding a bike is better on several fronts, not the least of which is mental exercise and wellness.

    I find stationary anything boring as hell and prefer the challenges of riding on the open road. But that's me, and I have time during the day (lunch precisely) that I can realize this as well as many days of dry weather, so only on the random rainy days will I feel the need to hit the stationary bike in the gym at work. Again I am lucky in this regard, and given my often lack of zeal to exercise it helps that I'm not forced to use the gym much because excuses can be all too easy to find ;-)

    That you can get 20-25 miles in an hour is nice, maybe if I keep at it I can average that by the time my AARP card arrives lol
    And tell my mama I'm a hundred years late
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  3. #3
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    I find that spin class or spin on my own is a great sub for outdoors. Elliptical bothers my back (bikes don't) and other stationary bikes are boring to me. Rowing is a GREAT cardio and if done properly, you'll really work your legs. I'm impressed with your drive to get out riding so often; by the time I get home from work, I don't have enough daylight left! weights don't beckon me and I have to force myself to lift at least once/week

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    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Definitely riding 25 mi. will help your cycling more. If the elliptical has upper body paddles, you'll get more upper body on the elliptical. Elliptical is generally 500 cal./hr., spin bike can be from 500 to 1000, and I'd guess rowing is similar to spin bike. I've done many 1000 cal.+ hour rides on a Kaiser spin bike, and it is a massive effort, but it can be done. We just got a Waterower rowing machine, but I haven't had a chance to use it much yet. I've used Precor ellipticals for endless hours in the past, but difficult to get more than 500 cal.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

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    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    A guy passed me yesterday on some kind of confounded rowing bike. Man he was haulin' but I marked his wheel until he slowed some and I passed him back. If I were going my usual weekend metric century I wouldn't have spent myself racing with the guy but it was about to rain and we both had some fun at it.

    Looked like a great way to get a comprehensive workout anyway.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    The only reason I got the trainer was so I could still ride when it was really crappy out. The cold doesn't stop me, but the rain and snow does.
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    My gym bike gets used when its too dangerous to ride outside at night. Generally about 1-2 months a year. Other than that I have bikes setup for all weather conditions. If you want a workout, put ice spikes on a bike and go for a ride on ice and snow. Three times as much effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyecahn View Post
    Personally, I think riding a bike is better on several fronts, not the least of which is mental exercise and wellness.

    I find stationary anything boring as hell and prefer the challenges of riding on the open road. But that's me, and I have time during the day (lunch precisely) that I can realize this as well as many days of dry weather, so only on the random rainy days will I feel the need to hit the stationary bike in the gym at work. Again I am lucky in this regard, and given my often lack of zeal to exercise it helps that I'm not forced to use the gym much because excuses can be all too easy to find ;-)

    That you can get 20-25 miles in an hour is nice, maybe if I keep at it I can average that by the time my AARP card arrives lol
    I don't ride 20-25 in an hour. I was hoping to ride right after work and get in 20-25 miles which would take 90 minutes. Sorry if I misled anybody.

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    The right elliptical will mimic stand-up riding, and absolutely BLAST those quads! If/when you can maintain a good cadence for a half-hour on an 'E', you will be a MONSTER on the bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    I think hour for hour they are about the same as far as burning calories and fitness. Biking is more fun than an elliptical though, so... I think your plan for riding and weight training is good.
    2012 Felt F55X

  11. #11
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Don't know what it is about my physiology, but I absolutly cannot do more than a minute on those elliptical thingies. Don't think I'm worse off for it.
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    Elliptigo makes a 2 wheeler that is powered like an elliptical. I was probably middle of pack for the typical RAGBRAI rider, which is nothing to brag about, but somebody passed me on a hill with one of those things. Not only passed, but blew by; a small spot in the distance in a very short time.

  13. #13
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    The cyclist that I came across was a on a recumbent rowing machine with big foot pedals and a rowing bar. Darnedest thing I ever saw. The guy was moving and it took me awhile just to reel him back in after he passed me. I don't know if he slowed down because we were coming into an inhabited part of the MUP (We were both no doubt breaking the speed limit out in the empty open) or if he was tiring any. Probably the former because he showed no sign of weaving or falling off his rhythm. He grinned when I passed him back and I just grinned back and shook my head and looked his machine over. By the time I pulled off I didn't see him back there but he probably pulled off and went home like I did.

    It was a lot like these
    Last edited by Zinger; 09-09-13 at 12:47 AM.
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  14. #14
    Pedo Grande Popeyecahn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
    I don't ride 20-25 in an hour. I was hoping to ride right after work and get in 20-25 miles which would take 90 minutes. Sorry if I misled anybody.
    Gutted...


    lol Nah that just means you're as slow as I am ;-)
    And tell my mama I'm a hundred years late
    I'm over the rails and out of the race...

  15. #15
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Many say that keeping your body guessing is a good idea. That is, a variety of exercise modes, and keeping away from the same pattern of exercise time after time. May or may not be true, but there's no harm in changing things up, elliptical one time, biking another.

    I get home from work and then go to the YMCA after dinner and lift weights for 40 minutes.
    I don't know if you mean every day, but I've been convinced that strength training more than once per week is not worth the extra effort. If you enjoy it, or are out for maximum bodybuilding results, go for it, but I switched to once per week a few years ago, and am very happy with the results.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Many say that keeping your body guessing is a good idea. That is, a variety of exercise modes, and keeping away from the same pattern of exercise time after time. May or may not be true, but there's no harm in changing things up, elliptical one time, biking another.
    I don't know if you mean every day, but I've been convinced that strength training more than once per week is not worth the extra effort. If you enjoy it, or are out for maximum bodybuilding results, go for it, but I switched to once per week a few years ago, and am very happy with the results.
    I am pretty satisfied with strength workouts 2-3 times a week. 2 will work, 3 seem to be a bit better.

    Before this year I would run with it gets too dark to get in a bike workout before work. I have a better light this year, so I will probably do cycle workouts Tues, Wed, and Thurs all September, then do 5k run workouts when it is cooler.
    Last edited by az_cyclist; 09-09-13 at 08:51 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
    I try and get an hour of elliptical exercise 4 days a week and ride 20 miles for three of those days. The remaining 3 days of the week are reserved for longer rides and rest. With the days getting shorter I am not going to be able to get my cycling miles in. I was wondering what would be better exercise elliptical for 1 hour or cycling for 25 miles.
    you can get the best (or worst) of both worlds with this:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    I don't know if you mean every day, but I've been convinced that strength training more than once per week is not worth the extra effort. If you enjoy it, or are out for maximum bodybuilding results, go for it, but I switched to once per week a few years ago, and am very happy with the results.
    If you are pushin' heavy weights you at least need to switch muscle groups by the day. Iow, chest and laterals one day and legs and curls the next. Something along those lines. You do need time for muscles to recover from weight work at first.

    And you need to already be in really good all around shape to mix massive cardio and heavy weights during the same periods.....light repetitive dumbbell work might be the exception.
    Last edited by Zinger; 09-09-13 at 06:05 PM.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

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