Let’s face it: riding an indoor exercise bike can get boring if you do it all the time. Whether it’s in your living room or a gym, you lack a view. Even more, you lack the sun, the wind and the adventure of riding outdoors. If you’ve been training on a stationary bike all winter (or longer), it may be time to consider a real bike.
Don’t get us wrong; indoor exercise bikes are great. That’s why we sell them. With a stationary cycle – recumbent or upright – you don’t have to worry about the weather outside. They’re also:
- Super convenient – especially if you invest in one for your home
- Easy to use
- Safe – there’s no traffic or obstacles
Indoor cycles are also a great way to build stamina and work your lower body, especially if you’re being pushed at an intense group fitness class. In fact, if you’re the type of person that would be distracted riding a bike outside, perhaps indoor training is indeed better for you. But at the end of the day, training exclusively on a stationary bike isn’t as comprehensive as riding outside on a traditional upright bike.
Some benefits to riding outdoors include:
More core muscle recruitment
When you ride a bike, you have to balance. This requires your core. Because a stationary bike is already balanced, you don’t have to stabilize it with your body, which takes away from your workout.
More upper body work
Although you’ll use your upper body for more intense indoor cycles, more casual indoor bikes that don’t require you to lean onto the handlebars won’t require as much effort. The same is also true for recumbent bikes since your weight is almost entirely distributed to the seat. With a road or mountain bike, more of your weight will be on the handlebars, thus, recruiting more muscles.
More calorie burning potential
Riding on the road or trail means you’re riding against the wind, hills and even the ground’s friction. Those are factors that an indoor cycle can’t replicate. Although adjustable resistance comes close to mimicking hills, the truth is that flywheels and other forms of resistance do some of the work for you.