Uneasy about leaving your bike love behind when you can't get outside? Have no fear, indoor rides are here! Learn to love them, too!
This is a blog post from Miranda, one of our brand ambassadors in Washington DC. All photos are hers.
Chilly air, dark mornings, PSL and, soon enough, the day where you just can’t manage to get outside for your ride. Indoor rides are nothing to dread - too often they get a bad rep for being boring or un-motivating, in which case I say you haven’t found the right way to do it. Personally, I enjoy indoor rides *somewhat* more, and there are advantages to consider…
Permission to ride “dangerously”
While some people brush up against the safety line more closely than others, let’s at least agree that the presence of vehicles, other riders, pedestrians, and unexpected terrain can be a reason to take it slow or to stop when biking outside. Maybe the rolling pace and enjoying the fresh air is what you’re all about, but for those who want to turn up the music and leave everything behind, nothing is better than hopping on a stationary cycle. No traffic lights, no obstacles, only your own limits.
Better sweat sesh
After no limits comes more power! Under no circumstances on indoor rides will you ever have to push yourself or wait to stay with the group, ride through a storm, dehydrate from lack of water nearby, stop to reroute your GPS, etc. All the discomforts of the outdoors are removed, allowing you to tune in to your body without distractions. Super efficient workout, if done in moderation.
It is a chance to have a creative outlet
In spin class, you may be given cues but you still have control of the tension and rpm. Once you gather ideas on components of a ride (intervals, climbs, sprints, high- or low-resistance, etc) you can combine them in a way that makes sense for you. As a cycle commuter, I understand taking the same route every day is relaxing, but I really appreciate a different “course” when doing indoor rides.
How to make that transition successfully?
I recommend finding an environment that you enjoy. Maybe its a solo 6am ride in the cycle studio at the gym before the day gets crazy. Or maybe its an underwater spin class with post-ride prosecco to kick-start the weekend. Even still you might prefer using rollers or a trainer so you don’t have to adjust to a new frame, saddle or cleats when you ride. Regardless of the details, try a few options and you will no doubt find an option you look forward to when cycling outside gets impractical.
Check your gear
It’s still important to have working chains and cables on your bike if you’re using rollers or the trainer, so set aside time to get a tune-up or make improvements yourself. Riding on worn-out parts is never safe. If you’re headed to a studio, many provide shoes, towels, and music but it’s on you to get there on time. Be prepared by carrying something that can help you stay organized. I prefer my Fulton Powered Handlebar Bag as I can easily transition it from my bicycle to the cycle in a studio- any move to decrease time by crowded lockers is a win for me.
Bump up the cross training
While it’s important to vary your activity year round, the winter conditions make it that more appealing to try something different. Weight training has consistently been recommended to strengthen muscles cyclists don’t train much, but I personally enjoy adding pilates classes and climbing in the “off-season”, too.
Join the virtual world!
If you choose an at-home approach, options for getting stats or coaching during indoor rides are more prevalent than ever before. Here in DC at least one studio offers both virtual and in-class experiences. Even if it's not for your indoor rides, connect with others via activity or music apps for a constant influx of ideas or motivating music.
No need to drag through your activities until you can get outside again- embrace the change, and keep riding!
Miranda is a Po Campo Brand Ambassador, also a recreational and commuter cyclist, previously a spin instructor, in the DC-area. On weekdays you can find her biking to the lab or to Capitol Hill for health research and policy initiatives, and on weekends she's cycling newer routes or joining a group ride.