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Is the New Age of Indoor Cycling a Good Thing?

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Is the New Age of Indoor Cycling a Good Thing?

Old 11-26-17, 06:07 AM
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Noonievut
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Is the New Age of Indoor Cycling a Good Thing?

I feel like rambling about something Iíve noticed with indoor cycling lately, and thought I would toss it out there to see what others think.

This post came to mind yesterday when I was on a Zwift Facebook site and someone pasted a photo showing a rider having logged at least 300km that day (might still be riding ). This almost certainly would never have happened before this breed of new indoor cycling apps, or far less anyways. But is it a good thing?

As I type Iím waiting for my friend to drive up from Toronto as weíre heading out for a ride. Itís -5C, but the roads are dry and the wind not too bad. Where I ride itís rural, leave a small city (20k people) within 10 minutes if riding and then no lights and not much traffic). A month or so ago I would have ridden indoors instead, with my new smart trainer and Zwift subscription. But Iíve seen the light.

Iíve been riding for 15 years and before this year I hated riding indoors (between around November to March). Wouldnít call it riding, it was really training, so when I ride again regularly in the spring Iím not too slow.

The trainers and apps make training indoors more palatable, but I think you can still find plenty of opportunities to ride outside. I think of it this way, if last November I got out for a ride 15 times, inside 5 times, and the weather being equal (kind of is this year to last) should I not be outside as much this year? I had a fluid trainer last year, and watched movies as I followed a training plan off a book. Itís now more engaging to ride indoors, but itís still less than 1% if the experience I get from riding outdoors...
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Old 11-26-17, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
This post came to mind yesterday when I was on a Zwift Facebook site and someone pasted a photo showing a rider having logged at least 300km that day (might still be riding ). This almost certainly would never have happened before this breed of new indoor cycling apps, or far less anyways. But is it a good thing?
It happened. It just wasn't as public.

https://www.ultracycling.com/indoor-...nge-standings/


The most I've done indoors was 4 hours ... I got 2 movies I wanted to see, watched the first 2-hour movie, took a quick break (toilet, grab something to eat, change movies), then watched the second 2-hour movie.

But I've been doing CAM challenges, outside, many years including years when I lived on the Canadian prairies. So even if I'm regularly doing indoor cycling, I keep the outdoor element.


Oh and yes, I think getting people exercising and enjoying it is a good thing.
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Old 11-26-17, 07:51 AM
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It is a good thing. Now that I've been on the apps for a month or two now, I try to get something in every day, whether a hard workout or just some soft pedaling. And when weather permits, I always will opt for outdoors. But with a work schedule that gets me home at 7pm, I have to go out in the dark during the week if I want outside riding. In any case, a mix is the best for me, some structured workouts indoors, combined with riding outdoors, has put me in better shape than I've been in years.

One difference where indoors beats outdoors at the moment is that I don't have a power meter. I'm using virtual power with my Fluid 2 trainer. And as I train indoors I understand now that power is all that really matters. Yesterday I was riding really fast outdoors and felt invincible. When I turned around though I immediately knew why - tailwind. Going the other way was a little harder. So how much of a workout did I get heading north with the wind vs. heading south against it? Yes it all equalizes out, but maybe I'd have done the ride differently if I saw that my power output was still low riding with the wind. I don't really know. So maybe it is smart trainers and power meters that are going to change the sport for everyone now, not just the competitive athletes that already had them.

Last edited by zacster; 11-26-17 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 11-26-17, 09:57 AM
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I think those long rides still happen quite a bit outside. Some of the strava competition leaderboards show people doing 200-300k multiple times a month. It's just now it's so much more public.

It's not really any different than going to a gym and working out inside. Or running on a treadmill. Or even swimming in an indoor pool.
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Old 11-26-17, 12:07 PM
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I really enjoy riding my KickR and Zwift, but it will never stop me from going outside when I can. It is great to have to fall back onto when I can't.
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Old 11-26-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PaddleFoot View Post
I really enjoy riding my KickR and Zwift, but it will never stop me from going outside when I can. It is great to have to fall back onto when I can't.
I think this sums up my thinking too.

I do think that if this gets people off the couch, who would otherwise not ride outside anyways, then itís great.

I guess it comes back to electronics in general (think smart phones), lots of benefits but you have to balance things.
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Old 11-26-17, 03:28 PM
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Cross training is a great option during the off season, too. I guess stuff like Zwift takes away some of the need for that, for a lot of people. I'm not one of them, but to each his own.
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Old 11-26-17, 05:59 PM
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The only training I do indoors is with a barbell...I refuse to do any type of cardio or aerobic work indoors, I just go outside and get it done outdoors no matter how cold it is. I just can't think of anything more depressing than doing some boring cardio indoors while watching television. It's no wonder that most people end up with winter blues during winter season. I've spend many years doing daily bike commuting all year round and getting outside on the bike just feels natural to me. The benefits that one gets from training outside in cold weather should be enough to motivate people to get outside and train outside...oh and I don't need apps or electronics to motivate me to train.


Five Benefits Of Cold Weather Training
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Old 11-29-17, 08:07 AM
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I'm not against indoor training and have done it a lot myself when I was training on a Concept 2 rower. I've even done some long runs on a treadmill at home, but I always find it easier to be running outside.

I don't have an indoor trainer, and no plans to get one either. Weather and road conditions have to be pretty bad for me to stay indoors.
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Old 11-29-17, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The benefits that one gets from training outside in cold weather should be enough to motivate people to get outside and train outside...]
That's all rainbows and unicorns, but some people have pretty common work schedules that would necessitate training in the dark during rush hour. Plus said cold.

So, yeah, safety and not death and all...

I train indoors. It's a means to an end. My legs don't know the difference. More efficient use of time, too.
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Old 11-30-17, 06:30 AM
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I can get two 1 hour outdoor training sessions in a day. One on the way in to work, the other on the way back. And you know what, because they are the same each time tracking progress is easy. I'm getting faster on my uphill intervals (Prospect Park hill and the Manhattan Bridge) and on the flats (Flushing Avenue). And while Manhattan riding is just slow, my 10 mile one way ride is only 2.8 miles in Manhattan. Brooklyn has much less traffic and stoplights. When it is colder outside I'm not as sweaty when I get there. In the summer I can't do this on the way in, I'd be a dripping mess.

And on the days I don't ride in, I still get a workout on the trainer.

Last edited by zacster; 11-30-17 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 12-02-17, 06:38 PM
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One advantage of indoor training is recovering from an injury. I had a total knee replacement 12 weeks ago and I've been back of the trainer for about 8 weeks now. Managed to ride the 3 Sisters on Zwift today and climbed the radio tower for the first time since the surgery. Zwift and the smart trainer have been a blessing for me. Last year I was doing most of my riding outside at this time but I see no reason to take any risks while I recover. Bored? more grateful than anything else that I'm able to bang out 170+ trainer miles last week.
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Old 12-02-17, 10:05 PM
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170 trainer miles? That would really test my commitment. Since most sessions I do are about 15-20 miles I doubt I'd ever break 100.
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Old 12-03-17, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TCR Rider View Post
One advantage of indoor training is recovering from an injury. I had a total knee replacement 12 weeks ago and I've been back of the trainer for about 8 weeks now. Managed to ride the 3 Sisters on Zwift today and climbed the radio tower for the first time since the surgery. Zwift and the smart trainer have been a blessing for me. Last year I was doing most of my riding outside at this time but I see no reason to take any risks while I recover. Bored? more grateful than anything else that I'm able to bang out 170+ trainer miles last week.
There are many reasons when Indoor is preferable to outdoor, such as coming back from an injury. I just think itís (getting to) easy for cyclists in general to avoid outdoors cause of convenience, and other reasons that are debatable (ďtakes me so long to put on those extra layersĒ).

Iím assuming if you do 170+ on the trainer in a week youíre used to pretty big distances outdoors. Iím jealous (of the outdoor distances ;-)
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Old 12-03-17, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
There are many reasons when Indoor is preferable to outdoor, such as coming back from an injury. I just think it’s (getting to) easy for cyclists in general to avoid outdoors cause of convenience, and other reasons that are debatable (“takes me so long to put on those extra layers”).
But ... so what? As long as people are active, it's all good.


We opted to exercise inside this weekend. We could have probably donned a pile of wet weather gear and taken on the all-weekend downpour, wind, and chilly temps. But why? Instead we ran on the treadmill at the gym on Saturday and today we rowed at the gym, then I hopped on the trainer for a while.

I'm happy with that. In fact the run on the treadmill gave me such a blast of endorphins I had the most energy I've had in an evening in a long time and got my Christmas decorating finished.
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Old 12-03-17, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
But ... so what? As long as people are active, it's all good.


We opted to exercise inside this weekend. We could have probably donned a pile of wet weather gear and taken on the all-weekend downpour, wind, and chilly temps. But why? Instead we ran on the treadmill at the gym on Saturday and today we rowed at the gym, then I hopped on the trainer for a while.

I'm happy with that. In fact the run on the treadmill gave me such a blast of endorphins I had the most energy I've had in an evening in a long time and got my Christmas decorating finished.
I hear you. For me though, the benefits of riding outside include a sense of adventure, mental stimulation (hard to explain), and though it sounds corny, passion. Like when youíre young and go out exploring on your bikes with friends, stretching the boundaries of how far you can go, finding more routes each time. I train indoors when the weather is bad, to enable that experience.
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Old 12-03-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I hear you. For me though, the benefits of riding outside include a sense of adventure, mental stimulation (hard to explain), and though it sounds corny, passion. Like when youíre young and go out exploring on your bikes with friends, stretching the boundaries of how far you can go, finding more routes each time. I train indoors when the weather is bad, to enable that experience.
And that's your perspective. Other people have different perspectives. Some may just want to exercise to keep fit. Others may tolerate cycling so that they can do their passion, cross-country skiing, each winter. I've known a few like that, and they don't care whether they cycle inside or out, just as long as they stay in shape for cross-country skiing. Some like pushing themselves with all the numbers and bells and whistles, and virtual other riders, in front of them when they cycle indoors. I have a friend like that.

Personally, I like cycling really long distances ... but I also like spinning classes. There's just something that feels really good about a good spinning class.

There's no right or wrong.
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Old 12-03-17, 04:23 PM
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tried it. Got all the stuff, smart trainer etc. Didnt like it. Not sure why.
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I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
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Old 12-04-17, 05:22 PM
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Guess it just depends on where and how you live. We live in a motorhome and more or less follow 70 degrees. I can't ride trainer indoors (300 sq ft) unless DW is gone long enough. So I ride outdoors and if it's a rain day I just ride trainer outdoors under the awning. Biggest drawback to trainer outdoors is any screen, TV, laptop or cellphone with Zwift and the like is hard to see. So my trainer entertainment is limited to music. While you are riding trainer indoors - just dream about retirement and the ability to ride outside just about every day.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:19 AM
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I think indoor biking is great. It helps build strength and stamina needed in biking long distance. And it could be an alternative when the weather is not that great for biking, to avoid getting accidents outside.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:01 AM
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Given nice weather I would always opt for outdoors, even if just to do laps of Prospect Park. It is during the off season where indoor comes into play. And what is nice weather? So far I've skipped going outside on windy days when it is also on the cold side, on any wet day, and on any day where it is cold and dark. Cold and sunny I'll opt for outside, cold and cloudy I'd probably stay in. And the definition of cold varies too. In September I'd probably skip a 50 degree day, in December I'd consider 50 OK. But the flip side is I can get a really good ride in on the trainer without having to deal with the weather at all.

My riding right now is more to lose weight than to get into shape, but one does lead to the other. Once I'm at my weight I'll follow a more structured plan that will undoubtedly involve more indoor riding.
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Old 12-10-17, 06:19 PM
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This is an interesting topic for me. I don’t use trainers much; mostly in winter when it’s too dark to ride in traffic. I did do Zwift for one year, coupled with a smart trainer. Zwift is very social, and riding with others takes the edge off from boredom. There’s even racing. However I found that I was going too hard when I really should have been working base miles or SST. You can do a structured workout on Zwift, but that almost defeats the major draw to this platform. Eventually I gave it up. If pressed for time I use the trainer for old-school intervals, but mostly I just get on my rollers and watch movies. One movie = a pretty decent winter’s endurance ride.
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Old 12-10-17, 06:23 PM
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Old 12-10-17, 06:35 PM
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Delivering with UberEats as a part-time flexible fun activity has taken away all the thoughts of trying out trainers or spinning classes for me right now. Let's see how February will be.
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Old 12-11-17, 07:00 AM
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I did lots and lots of climbing, hill repeats, and 200+ mile weeks this last summer, and made good progress, but I have still increased my FTP approx. 60W since the end of August by focussed work on a smart trainer, at about 9 hours per week.

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