I’m a regular cyclist, but not a super adventurous one. I’m not a mountain biker, and I usually don’t ride after the snow flies. I’ve logged almost 2,500 miles this year, most of it on paved surfaces. So, when snow and ice cover the roads and Wheelway, I turn – begrudgingly – to my LeMonde RevMaster indoor spin bike, a piece of equipment I sometimes refer to as a torture device.
It’s a fact: riding a trainer or spin bike indoors, without the gorgeous scenery, watching a TV or just listening to music – it’s all pretty uninspiring. Indoor training is worlds away from actual cycling, but it’s an important off-season activity for those of us who want to maintain some degree of cardiovascular fitness as we wait for spring to finally roll around.
This year, since we’ve had so little snow thus far, my riding season has been lengthened, and I haven’t yet been forced to turn to my spin bike for workouts. I’m half-hearted when I say that, of course, because – like bike rides I’ve talked myself into – I never regret an indoor spin, more boring and less inspiring though they may be.
It takes a certain mindset to have successful indoor training sessions, whether on a stationary bike like mine, a set of rollers, or a Saris trainer on which you mount your own bicycle. Again, this is just my opinion derived from my own workouts, but prepare yourself for a totally different cycling experience.
Instead of lamenting the outdoor experience’s absence, focus on making the time you spend on the bike count. I use free training videos on YouTube to guide me through workouts of my choice. There are scads of such videos on YouTube, most of them free, and allowing the viewer/participant to ride in some beautiful locations around the world.
I choose hour-long workouts in which the required effort level and length of efforts are superimposed over the action, which, from my point of view, appears as though I’m in a group of road riders on a weekend outing. There’s no coach, only music, which I turn down in favor of my own.
Now, of course, there are more ways to make indoor training seem more life-like and interesting. My LeMond spin bike is dumb, having no Internet connectivity or computer monitoring at all. It’s completely electronic-free. It’s completely adjustable, but that’s where the bells and whistled end.
I explain all this to illustrate that while Peloton bikes and similar “smart” equipment are nice, you can still get a great workout with basic equipment – and certainly with the range of trainers we sell at Latitude 45 Bicycles & Fitness. (Check ’em out at http://www.latitude45.com)
The important thing is that you go into knowing full-well that this experience won’t be like your outdoor cycling adventures. You’re likely to spend less time per ride on a trainer or spin bike, but the time you do invest there will likely be more intense in terms of fitness and a great way to maintain fitness during a time when it’s more difficult to get outdoors.
While indoor cycling is less satisfying in some ways than outdoor riding. It is no less rewarding when a ride is complete. I always have a good feeling getting off the spin bike after an hour – the same as I do when I step off my road or gravel bikes. Either way, I still feel really good.