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Peloton vs Cycling

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Peloton vs Cycling

Old 08-04-21, 07:57 AM
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Wrecks24
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Peloton vs Cycling

Would you say that one could get more out of a stationary bike than actually cycling? If I ride my Peloton for 20 miles, my legs are burning the entire time as where when I am road biking the same mileage is no where near the workout. Of course this is because coasting and down hill stints. With the Peloton that 20 miles is consistant from begining to end.

I do local no drop rides and want to get better. I am averaging 18.5 mph on a 25 mile route and a time of 1:17.

So, my question is am I hurting or helping my riding by riding the Peloton more than the road bike?

Thank in Advance
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Old 08-04-21, 08:24 AM
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Any fitness activity depends on what you put into it. Both each workout and if you ever bother to "progress" or not.

Plenty of folks are just fine "maintaining". Always only ever to do a few pullups and pushups. Always only able to run a 30:00 5k. Always only able to have a bike ftp of 225w.

The Peloton thing is no different. You get out what you put in. If you bother to test and do workouts and training volume in such a way to progress............sure. There's a whole generation now of "Zwift fit" folks who can't ride a bike on road with others without being a danger, but they've got the power.

So, yeah, you could.

Also, a no drop ride is typically Z1 or Z2 "volume". It isn't mean to feel like a race. If you want a stay together ride that hurts, lookup a local "rotation" ride. You'll get 3 to 8 or so folks rotating. If you want to actually "hurt" do the drop rides.

Most average joes I know local to me haven't broken past maybe doing 180w for 30min workouts on their Peloton for a couple years.

Most cyclists do enough bike volume you'd be bored to death only riding a spin bike indoors to get enough volume to be equivalent.

Zwift is engaging enough some folks I guess can do half or more their volume inside with it, hours and hours and hours a week. But still.
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Old 08-04-21, 08:28 AM
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There's more to riding than aerobic fitness, leg strength, FTP, etc. So, if you say your goal is to get better at group road rides, the best way to get better is do more group road rides and maximizing your speed on real roads and riding in groups.

I've found that indoor training at Zwift is better training for increasing my FTP than riding on the roads around here. That translates into me being able to do longer outdoor rides more comfortably, but doesn't translate into much higher average speeds over long rides - traffic conditions and getting through traffic lights/stop signs have a big effect.
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Old 08-04-21, 09:19 AM
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You can absolutely get fit, increase your FTP, etc. while riding indoors. I think you'd get farther doing actual structured cycling workouts with a training plan than workouts on Peloton, but that's a completely different discussion.

However, once you get outside you can tell the people who got strong on an indoor trainer. They're more likely to be unpredictable in their riding, corner poorly, less able to pace themselves, etc. Cycling is so much more than just fitness.
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Old 08-04-21, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
Would you say that one could get more out of a stationary bike than actually cycling? If I ride my Peloton for 20 miles, my legs are burning the entire time as where when I am road biking the same mileage is no where near the workout. Of course this is because coasting and down hill stints. With the Peloton that 20 miles is consistant from begining to end.

I do local no drop rides and want to get better. I am averaging 18.5 mph on a 25 mile route and a time of 1:17.

So, my question is am I hurting or helping my riding by riding the Peloton more than the road bike?
"More of" what?

The stationary bike doesn't teach you much of the technique of riding a real bicycle (techniques like pacing).

Nothing wrong with stationary bikes but it can't be the "only thing" (exaggerating some).
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Old 08-04-21, 11:14 AM
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In general, yes, it’s easier to get a more intense workout in a shorter period of time indoors, simply because you have total control over the environment and can maintain your effort level without interruption (as from traffic, terrain, wind, etc.).
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Old 08-04-21, 11:43 AM
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I do several different rides such as rotation rides, no drops and longer "tours". As far as riding etiquette goes, I feel very confident. My neighbor races for a university near me and I ride a lot with him, he has taught me many things. But I am looking for the best route to gain more endurance. When I ride the Peloton, I feel a whole lot more leg fatigue than I do when I ride on the road, unless off coure we ride 50+ miles. But all things being equal ie...time and distance, my legs are much more "worked" as the ride is non stop pedaling at a higher resistance. Some of the guys I ride with can smoke me and I just want to be able to keep up...lol
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Old 08-04-21, 12:05 PM
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I attended a few spin classes with an ex in the past. After each spin, I was a sweaty mess, whereas when cycling normally, I am rarely sweaty. My perceived level of effort felt the same and the lack of wind very likely added to the sweat. I mainly do climbs, putting in hard efforts, but take it easy on flats. Flats do not get me excited.
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Old 08-04-21, 12:21 PM
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Sweat is for keeping you cool. Even on a hot day moving the bike provides a breeze.
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Old 08-04-21, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe View Post
I attended a few spin classes with an ex in the past. After each spin, I was a sweaty mess, whereas when cycling normally, I am rarely sweaty. My perceived level of effort felt the same and the lack of wind very likely added to the sweat. I mainly do climbs, putting in hard efforts, but take it easy on flats. Flats do not get me excited.
I sweat SEVERELY indoors, even on mild efforts. Don't underestimate the power of moving air to facilitate evaporation. Even with a sizable fan, I'm still a drippy, drippy mess after indoor workouts.
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Old 08-04-21, 12:55 PM
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I do both Peloton classes and outdoor riding. I like them both, but they are almost completely different workouts (at least the way I do them). It's much easier to do a structured workout indoors, and it's more efficient in terms of squeezing maximum effort into minimal minutes. Of course, it's also more boring and requires no road awareness, handling technique, etc. I think it's good to do both.

Also, Peloton/spin classes tend to be structured differently than most people's non-class indoor training sessions. For better and for worse. I feel it gives me more fitness variety, even if it may not be as good training purely for road cycling. YMMV
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Old 08-04-21, 01:21 PM
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We have a Peloton - I think it is a great training tool if used properly. For me, the most useful classes are the powerzone classes. In a given week if I'm not riding outside (mainly fall / winter), I use the PZ endurance rides to, well, work on endurance. The no coasting thing definitely means an hour class is harder than an hour on the road. Those closes moving between zone 2 and zone 3 of very much helped me on longer rides on the road however - FWIW, the Christine D'Ercole and Denis Morton endurance rides are my favorite. Then the Powerzone and Powerzone max classes are basically interval sessions. I personally have preffered Wilpers' offerings for those.

I definitely got stronger quickly when I started working Peloton in, but you do need to mix in road work. If you want your legs to scream on the road, ride with a group stronger than you - if there is a local ride with A, B, and C groups, hit that A group. My hardest ride each week is a really early morning twice a week 20 mile loop that has 4 sprint points built in. Of late, it is basically a bunch of guys trying to rip the legs off everyone else. It is great fun - depending on the day and who shows up, it definitely hurts as bad as the Peloton during major efforts (and the power file looks a lot like an interval session).

So... on the Peloton, I'd recommend doing the Powerzone rides, especially the endurance ones if you are working on building your base. Stack 2 or 3 if you like.
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Old 08-04-21, 01:46 PM
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For a few winters I did spin classes. When they say to add tension and climb I did. But when I got on a real bike I couldn't climb. This winter I road outside exclusively and never lost my ability to climb. In April I as in mid summer form already. Not so when going to spin.

On a spin bike there is not gravity or balance, so you're upper body doesn't get the same workout.
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Old 08-04-21, 02:21 PM
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Probably hurting and helping. Helping your fitness and hurting your technique.

What are your goals?
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Old 08-04-21, 02:31 PM
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I also ride both Peloton classes and outdoor riding. Bother are very different workouts. What I like about Peloton is that the classes are very structured and some instructors really push you int going beyond current fitness levels. Also, there are no stop signs, lights or traffic. Im very glad I got the Peloton as it makes me stronger, provides variety and can be ridden anytime/convinience. Prefer to ride outside most of the time as its more fun.
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Old 08-04-21, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
For a few winters I did spin classes. When they say to add tension and climb I did. But when I got on a real bike I couldn't climb. This winter I road outside exclusively and never lost my ability to climb. In April I as in mid summer form already. Not so when going to spin.

On a spin bike there is not gravity or balance, so you're upper body doesn't get the same workout.
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Old 08-04-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
For a few winters I did spin classes. When they say to add tension and climb I did. But when I got on a real bike I couldn't climb. This winter I road outside exclusively and never lost my ability to climb. In April I as in mid summer form already. Not so when going to spin.

On a spin bike there is not gravity or balance, so you're upper body doesn't get the same workout.
True. That's why I do the Peloton Pilates, core workout and strength classes, go paddle boarding at least once a week, and ride outdoors all year.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Spin bikes don't work the upper body.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
For a few winters I did spin classes. When they say to add tension and climb I did. But when I got on a real bike I couldn't climb. This winter I road outside exclusively and never lost my ability to climb. In April I as in mid summer form already. Not so when going to spin.

On a spin bike there is not gravity or balance, so you're upper body doesn't get the same workout.
no offense, but this is hogwash, I ride inside almost all year on my trainer and doing trainerroad workouts, I am plenty good at climbing and bike handling.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:22 PM
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You absolutely can get fit on a Peloton or any other indoor trainer. It's also a more efficient and convenient option, particularly in the winter. Just note that it's not doing anything for your road awareness or bike handling skills, which are important when riding with others.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Spin bikes don't work the upper body.
They do when the instructors yell at you to do push-ups on the bars, etc.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Spin bikes don't work the upper body.
And they don't take into account wind.

A spin bike will never be the same as riding outside. You folks that sit inside in the winter and spin need a fat bike. It opens up a whole new world.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
And they don't take into account wind.

A spin bike will never be the same as riding outside. You folks that sit inside in the winter and spin need a fat bike. It opens up a whole new world.
I've got 2 friends that are killers on spin bikes... they suck on a road bike. They can't climb for *****. Both are certified spin instructors.
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Old 08-04-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
And they don't take into account wind.

A spin bike will never be the same as riding outside. You folks that sit inside in the winter and spin need a fat bike. It opens up a whole new world.
I don't understand that at all. Wind just adds resistance, which you can replicate indoors by . . . . increasing the resistance
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Old 08-04-21, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I've got 2 friends that are killers on spin bikes... they suck on a road bike. They can't climb for *****. Both are certified spin instructors.
That probably has more to do with the fact that most spin classes are geared toward high cadence interval training rather than slow grinds than anything to do with upper body strength. There are other types of classes and indoor training that are better prep for climbing. Also, what type of hills are you talking about? If you are talking about 100' climbs out of the saddle (I see you live in LI), then upper body strength would matter a lot more than 2000' climbs in the saddle.
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