- 1. It’s one of the most popular activities in gyms & homes
- 2. An hour indoors on a bike goes a long way
- 3. Indoor biking might predate bicycles
- 4. Indoor biking was developed in South Africa in the 1980s
- 5. The record for indoor biking might not be beatable
- 6. Resistance can be magnetic
- 7. Nobody ever got rained on or couldn’t feel their toes
- 8. Less time cleaning, more time riding
- 9. You still want biker shorts
- 10. Virtual training makes indoor biking even more fun
- What are the disadvantages of cycling indoors?
- Key takeaway on indoor biking:
While there are plenty of things you are likely to know about indoor biking, here are some things you may not know about biking. From history to mechanics, to just some of the many reasons you should try it if you haven’t already!
1. It’s one of the most popular activities in gyms & homes
Exercise bikes are one of the most popular activities for any indoor gym or home gym. In fact, the exercise bike market is estimated to be around 1.2 million in 2019 alone. Then in 2020, exercise bikes were the most popular bought exercise equipment for people at home and tripled in sales. 1
Not to mention the popularity of the indoor bike classes, with an estimated 7,000 indoor cycling gyms in the US 2
Aside from the popularity of indoor cycling in the market, it’s a fan favorite because it’s accessible, challenging, and can be done from any indoor bike.
Interested in learning more about the many benefits of biking? Check out these 5 physical benefits of biking.
2. An hour indoors on a bike goes a long way
Indoor cycling fanatics will know that sometimes an indoor ride feels a lot harder than an outdoor one, and they don’t just imagine it. Indoor cycling is more challenging than outdoor riding due to a myriad of factors, but the main one is wind.
When you are on a bike outside, the wind can help push you along and lower your body temperature. But on an indoor bike, you don’t have this (even with the best fans, it’s not the same).
So it’s good and bad news. The good news is you can likely spend a bit less time on an indoor bike and get similar effects as an outdoor ride. The bad news is you don’t imagine it, it’s harder.
Looking for it to feel real? Perhaps check out a virtual cycling simulator. These are meant to take your biking experience to a different level, allowing you to cycle through different terrain and give you the feel of being outdoors.
3. Indoor biking might predate bicycles
In an event in 1796, Francis Lowndes received a patent for an indoor exercise machine. The machine was meant to exercise the whole body, but people pedaled their feet on the machine. The machine looks a lot like an indoor standing bike does today. While it certainly wasn’t a true bicycle, the machine did predate outdoor bicycles. 3
4. Indoor biking was developed in South Africa in the 1980s
The first class was developed in the 1980s by a man known as Johnny G. Johnny was inspired to make an indoor option after an injury on an outdoor bike. He created an indoor bike so athletes could train year-round regardless of season or time of day. In 1989 is when he opened the first specialized gym in Santa Monica— and as we mentioned now, there are over 7,000 studios in the US alone.
5. The record for indoor biking might not be beatable
If you think a couple-hour bike ride on an exercise bike is a long time, try over 200 hours on a bike. The world record for pedaling a stationary bike is set by Benjamin Alexis Miles, who rode for 268 hours.
6. Resistance can be magnetic
Although some bikes still use tension power, a lot of bikes these days are magnetic. Meaning they use magnetic power for resistance. Often referred to as a flywheel, this works by you pushing a button or turning resistance, and it increases the current going through the magnets, making it harder to push pedals.
7. Nobody ever got rained on or couldn’t feel their toes
Maybe not a shocker, but nobody ever got rained on, on an indoor bike! And nobody got so cold they couldn’t feel their toes. The beauty of indoor riding is you don’t have to worry about getting wet, being cold, or being too hot because you are indoors.
8. Less time cleaning, more time riding
When you ride outdoors, you often have to clean off your bike, clean its tires, and do general maintenance. But when you are indoors on a bike, you are ready to go right away.
9. You still want biker shorts
Even if you are indoors, you will still want to wear biker shorts for a comfortable ride. The good news is they seem to be back in fashion (no seriously). That being said, if you are a bit shy or uncomfortable in bike shorts, give them a try from the comfort of your home. They will probably make a big difference in your overall comfort while you ride.
10. Virtual training makes indoor biking even more fun
We might be biased here, but we know virtual training can make indoor biking even more fun.
Like Vingo! With Vingo you can join from any indoor bike — hop on a trail and explore, and go for a quick ride. We have options of all lengths and terrains so you can choose what’s best for you.
What are the disadvantages of cycling indoors?
Of course, there’s always a downside to everything. If you’re wondering about the disadvantages of cycling indoors, there are a few, but you can avoid many of them.
- Some cyclists experience pain and numbness. If your bike isn’t fitted to your body, you might experience some pain or numbness in certain parts of your body after completing long rides. This can become very painful and may prevent you from enjoying your rides! To avoid pain and numbness, invest in a professional bike fitting to ensure your bike is properly adjusted to fit your body.
- Cycling culture can be hypercompetitive. Some cyclists get a little intense about tracking their rides and comparing stats with others. (This is true of some outdoor and indoor cyclists.) The best way to avoid this culture is to use your own stats to gauge your progress instead of comparing to others. Or, you can use an indoor cycling app like Vingo, which focuses on having fun and creating your own fitness adventure instead of focusing on everybody else’s.
- Indoor cycling can be expensive. Depending on the bike and gear you purchase for indoor biking, you might spend thousands of dollars. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. With Vingo, you can get started for free using whatever bike and gear you currently have.
- It can get boring. Indoor cycling can get boring if you’re staring at a blank wall while you’re riding. Instead, completing indoor rides with Vingo allows you to explore exciting and scenic virtual worlds while you cycle. The adventure is motivating, fun, and takes the monotony out of your indoor rides.
Key takeaway on indoor biking:Indoor biking is unique, and perhaps surprising that it’s older than outdoor biking. Yet at the same time, it’s hard to believe that something so popular now, is so new. Perhaps this history just shows us how popular biking has become and remains.
Regardless, hopefully, some of these facts will inspire you to hop on your bike today and discover your own adventure!
- Bain, M & Shendruck, A.(2020, Oct).Good luck finding an indoor exercise bike. Quartz. Retrieved from: https://qz.com/1913871/indoor-exercise-bikes-sales-have-skyrocketed-during-pandemic/
- IBIS World. (2020, Feb). Indoor cycling workout Classes Industry Report. Retrieved from: https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/indoor-cycling-workout-classes-industry/
- Holloman,L. (2018, Dec). The goofy gymnasticon- the birth of physical therapy? Medium. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@lukehollomon/the-goofy-gymnasticon-the-beginning-of-physical-therapy-9b36b426f9d6