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  1. #1
    The Boss James B's Avatar
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    Stationary Biking vs. Rode Biking

    How does stationary biking (like the ones you can find at any gym) compare to road biking?

    A little background: I live in Newfoundland, Canada and 8 months out of the year it is ALWAYS too cold to go out. The other 4 months are pretty volatile too, but you do get a few nice days. It's kind of like playing Russian Roulette.

    Because of the situation with the weather and the fact that I'm in college, I can't justify dropping any money on a new bike right now. As it is we're in the last weeks of the "warm months" and starting in September I'll be back in school and I'll have access to the stationary bikes in the university gym for free.

    Eventually I do plan on getting a bike (if even just for use in the summer months), so what sort of differences can I expect to notice when I go from a stationary bike to a road bike?
    Last edited by James B; 08-13-11 at 03:13 AM.

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    - Realistic resistance changes
    - Having to change gears (unless fixed/SS)
    - Wind
    - Rain
    - Having to deal with people/cars/animals rather than stare at a screen while listening to your iPod
    - Having to lock your bike
    - Having to maintain your bike
    - The rush of moving at high speeds on your own power

  3. #3
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    Discovering the odometer on the spin bike was lying to you and you really can't ride 5 miles in 10 minutes.
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    There are a number of types of stationary bikes. "Spinning" bikes and road bikes on trainers or rollers are closer to road cycling than the cushy exercise bikes you often find in gyms. You can do a lot of very productive training on spinning bikes or trainers. Many riders do train on these when conditions prohibit riding.

  5. #5
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    Hey James

    I live in Newfoundland and regularly cycle from mid March until snow, mid January this year. Last season I did over 5000 miles. I don't ride in the rain or when the winds exceed 35kph. Cycling uses more musles than a stationary bike, think back, shoulders, and arms. I ride stationary in the off months and it helps keep the legs and wind at a decent level but when I get back to cycling it takes a few weeks to reaclimatize. There are a lot of hills here as you know and gusty winds, that's something that's hard to simulate on a stationary. I turned 54 this year and have done 2 centuries this season. My usual rides are between 30 and 50 miles.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by James B View Post
    I live in Newfoundland
    Quote Originally Posted by charles1324 View Post
    I live in Newfoundland
    It seems we have, like, half the population of NF in this very thread!

    ================

    Quote Originally Posted by James B View Post
    Eventually I do plan on getting a bike (if even just for use in the summer months), so what sort of differences can I expect to notice when I go from a stationary bike to a road bike?
    Spinning is much better than nothing.

    As others have indicated, the big difference is that the environment has a significant impact on real riding. The other thing is that the spinning sessions might be much shorter than a typical bicycle ride.

    http://www.trifuel.com/training/bike...ing-vs-cycling
    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in...p/t-98339.html
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-13-11 at 08:52 AM.

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    Spin bikes seem to mimic quite a bit of the cycling reasonably accurately. I think the large fly wheel gives quite a bit of the "feel" of a bike to a spin bike.

    Of course, you do not get the wind, balance, rain, road, turns, dodging pot holes and dealing with traffic.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    you can't do long coasts.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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    Stationary bikes aren't as good for commuting.

    never understood the concept of people driving a car to a gym to use a stationary bike, when they could instead ride a bike to the same gym (then realize they are already getting the exercise and keep riding past it)

  10. #10
    The Boss James B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles1324 View Post
    Hey James

    I live in Newfoundland and regularly cycle from mid March until snow, mid January this year. Last season I did over 5000 miles. I don't ride in the rain or when the winds exceed 35kph. Cycling uses more musles than a stationary bike, think back, shoulders, and arms. I ride stationary in the off months and it helps keep the legs and wind at a decent level but when I get back to cycling it takes a few weeks to reaclimatize. There are a lot of hills here as you know and gusty winds, that's something that's hard to simulate on a stationary. I turned 54 this year and have done 2 centuries this season. My usual rides are between 30 and 50 miles.
    Well that's just embarrassing, I'm 18 and I don't have the willpower to get off my lazy ass to go grab a bag of chips.

    How do you fight the cold temperatures? Even with the wind at 10kph, things can get very cold, very quick. (At least to someone who is from North Carolina, like myself)

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    I think it's a lot like running on a treadmill. I could run on a treadmill forever but then I run outside .... well that's a different story.

  12. #12
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    In Central Alaska biking is a challenge in the Winter. My wife and I have mountain bikes with studded tires for icy conditions and we have Pugsley bikes with fat tires. You may be able to find a cheap mtn bike to use. BUT...we also enroll in spinning classes. The most important thing is the things that are the same...like the ability to get a good aerobic workout and to work the muscles that are biking specific. One huge downside to many spinning classes is the lack of a breeze...they bring fans to ours but it's still a sweat shop. Spinning bikes also give a false sense of what it's like to stand and hammer. The moving flywheel makes it seem easier than it is when you're on a bike. All said and done they are a great way to keep in bike-shape for the summer.

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Cycle riding can be tough- takes a lot of training before you can call yourself a cyclist. You find that out on the first hill you come to when the legs give out and the lungs feel as though they are going to burst.

    But you can overcome some of this problem by being fit in the first place. Spinning classes and a good cardio vascular workout at the gym can help by giving you some initial fitness- or even a lot. What it can't give you though is that "Bike fitnes" required to do a 20 mile ride up hills at speed.

    That you will find after about 2 years of hard riding. And it will be hard till you get that bike fitness.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    One aspect for me that is very different is that bicycling is fun and doing anything in a gym is pretty boring. So surely you can duplicate much of the workout that goes into bicycling in a gym in one way or another, but the big challenge is being able to put the time in that you would bicycling.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    never understood the concept of people driving a car to a gym to use a stationary bike, when they could instead ride a bike to the same gym (then realize they are already getting the exercise and keep riding past it)
    I like that!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by James B View Post
    How do you fight the cold temperatures? Even with the wind at 10kph, things can get very cold, very quick. (At least to someone who is from North Carolina, like myself)
    Your winters are worse than mine, but I ride year-round with a 20-mile one-way commute parts of the winter in the NW US.

    I wear warm tights over my shorts, and sometimes also leg warmers under the shorts under the tights. Insulated shoe covers, gloves or mittens, balaclava, helmet cover, layers on upper body. I have made that ride in 15 F (-10 C) weather, though that is about my limit. Cold rain probably is the worst. I wear a rain jacket and otherwise put up with being wet.

    I ride in the dark (lots of flashies) but bad fog or other unsafe conditions are a no-go. I worry more about what drivers might do (or not do) than falling myself. Slick roads are one of those times. An out-of-control car will paste me quite nicely regardless of my traction situation.

  17. #17
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Discovering that standing to pedal on a real bike is a dynamic process, with the bike moving under you.
    Craig in Indy

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
    Discovering the odometer on the spin bike was lying to you and you really can't ride 5 miles in 10 minutes.
    Holy crap, this. My stationary says I'm twice as fast as I really am. What the hell.

  19. #19
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    I was just told by someone that I was a fool to spend money on a bike when I can go to a gym and spin which is way better for me then just riding a bike around. BTW, I don't agree and how fricken boring that would be.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

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    Descending down the side of a mountain really sucks on a stationary bike.

  21. #21
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    You should talk with whoever in your school deals with "lost and found" items like bikes. Our local Univ. has dozens of sometimes decent bikes that are just abandoned each year as students leave and have no way to take their bike with them. Bikes are left locked and abandoned. I taught bike repair to jr. high kids sometime ago and got all the free bikes I needed from the U. I struggle to spin for more than 30min at a time but I just finished 9.5 hours in the saddle on a long ride. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to do 9hours on a spinner indoors and even then I'd probably opt for death.

  22. #22
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    Descending down the side of a mountain really sucks on a stationary bike.
    Sounds like something for the next installment of Jackassİ

  23. #23
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Oh, and OP, get out there and ride, ya wussy.

    During the winter here, which is hardly as bad as either Newfoundland or Alaska, I get coworkers asking me if I'm cold. I tell them that I make my own heat.

    My wife got some jeans and khakis for me this past season that are lined with flannel insulation. They look normal, yet are warm and comfy inside. I admit that I never rode in them long enough to get them wet with sweat, but they sure were nice on my short commute. I also have insulated tights for cold weather, shirts and jackets of various thicknesses, gloves, and beanies for under the helmet. I'm pretty set for any weather around here except for ice and snow.

    And, if you haven't already, dig around the Winter Cycling subforum.

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