The days are getting shorter, wetter, and cooler, but that does not mean that the cycling season is over. Some may choose to retreat to the indoors for their riding and fitness fix, and if you do, there are ways to make it more enjoyable and comfortable. Below I have outlined some great tips and suggestions regarding equipment, entertainment, and comfort.
As far as equipment is concerned, there are options. Many people choose a basic exercise bike – old school spin bike, with a weighted wheel and no electronics. These are easily adjustable and exceptionally reliable, with little to go wrong. If you already own a bike, a stationary trainer that attaches to your rear wheel is an affordable way to create a realistic riding experience indoors. The other end of the spectrum as far as cost is concerned includes Peloton bikes, Direct Drive Smart Trainers and the like, which are expensive, but allow you to remotely join friends on their home machines, or fitness club spin classes if applicable. Whatever you choose to use for equipment, inside riding is rarely as enjoyable and comfortable as being outside on a sunny day. It is safer, however, as the roads become wet with rain and leaves, and the sky becomes darker.
For me, entertainment through music and/or a television is an important distraction as time seems to drag while riding by myself indoors. I tend to notice that the first 20 minutes on a stationary bike is the longest portion of my typical 60-75-minute workout. Being a cycling fan and having the ability to watch bike races makes the ride much more enjoyable. To mix up your workout, turn on a race and “compete” with the racers, adjust your effort based on what you see from the riders. A cyclocross race is perfect to watch and pedal to. It is close to 60 minutes in length, and if that is your goal for length of time, you can simply start and finish along with the racers.
The last two suggestions relate to comfort. I recommend a fairly strong fan to minimize the sweat puddling into your eyes and on to your equipment. Bike shorts are also extremely helpful to make the workout more comfortable, as I tend to sit more during an indoor ride, so it keeps my rear end happy.
Try these tips, and gradually build up your time and effort. When Spring reappears, you will be ready to roll outside again! If you have any questions related to biking and bike injuries, give our clinic a call or schedule an appointment online. We have an education staff of Physical Therapists who can address you needs on and off the bike saddle.