When you think of biking or cycling, you may envision a flat road ahead, the roads around your home, or a windy mountain road. You may not think of an indoor bike, gym, or home gym. And while outdoor training may be what comes to mind, or what you even prefer, there are distinct advantages of training indoors vs. outdoors—especially for more advanced riders that are looking for optimal training conditions.
1. Is training indoors safer?
A major benefit of training indoors is it is an overall safer experience than riding outdoors. From an injury risk, bike malfunction, and weather risk, training indoors is just simpler and safer.
Less of an injury risk
While outdoor riding can be fun, it also means cars, traffic, pedestrians, unsafe road conditions, and more. Common outside injuries are being hit by a car, falling off a bike, or getting hurt on roads. While this is no reason not to ever ride outside, it is enough of a reason for concern and caution.
Starting indoors is smart if you are just getting back from an injury, or if you are visiting somewhere that doesn’t have safe riding conditions, but you need to train, it may be nice to train indoors.
We also recommend that if you are a beginner, you consider starting to ride indoors to start. That way you can learn basic bike safety, and build endurance and stamina before you head outside.
Avoid bike malfunctions
When you are outside, there are tons of things that can happen to your bike—you risk a flat tire, chain issues, or something else. But when you are indoors, you don’t have to worry about carrying parts, fixing your bike, or any other malfunctions. Not only is this just overall safer, it’s also efficient because you don’t have to worry about something going off with your bike.
There is no bad weather indoors
Live in a cold or rainy place? Or how about someplace with an average winter? Or a scorching summer? While riding in these conditions doesn’t seem ideal, it also isn’t particularly safe. In Winter, you risk being too cold or riding on ice or unsafe conditions, while in a hot environment you risk overheating. But indoor training can give you that consistent riding environment that’s ideal for temperature and safe!
2. Is training indoors effective?
Riding on your bike indoors is just as effective as being outdoors! So if you are training for something specific indoors or outdoors, training indoors is just as an effective prep. Or if you are simply training, training indoors has the same health benefits.
Higher or the same intensity
Experts argue whether indoor rides are either equal or even harder than outdoors because there is no wind or elements to help. In fact, the intensity of being indoors (regardless of the physicality of it) simply feels harder for many riders. So for any trainer looking to keep high-intensity riding as a part of their goals, they are not losing out by riding indoors.
Efficient rides at home
One reason to love indoor training is that it can be quick! You can accomplish a lot by getting on an indoor bike for 20-45 minutes. It also makes it easy to hop on in between things during your day, early in the morning or later in the evening with ease.
Track and ride at the same time
When you ride indoors you have access to multiple data points. Most indoor trainers give you access too
- Miles per hour
- Heart rate
And more! Many smart bikes allow you to be super precise about your ride, targeting specific metrics and knowing where you are at in every moment. Some riders will take a functional threshold power (FTP) to have a baseline, and then can build your plan and intensity from there. With so many controls,you can easily control your ride, but also know at any given point on your ride where you are at.
Helpful posture check
When you are riding outside, your body often does a natural sway. But when you are on an indoor bike, you’re more likely to stay in place. Taking the sway out can actually help you with your overall bike posture and keep you in check. For many, the static nature of the trainer and the posture makes indoor training feel more challenging. This challenge is important for advanced riders looking to hone in on their posture. Not to mention the chance to work on core strength to help support your posture
3. Is training indoors fun?
While the beautiful outdoors is great, sometimes your same cycling route just gets old, and that’s okay. Part of the reason indoor training can be fun is you have more entertainment options. You can go day by day based on your mood and try new things while having easy access to your bike.
Sometimes we just want to watch Netflix– and what better way to do it than actually still on a bike. Many indoor bikes have a TV as a part of their setup for a reason, people love to ride and watch. For lower intensity days this is a great way to stay entertained and relax even while getting a ride in.
Virtual Training App
When you ride indoors, you have a whole gamut of virtual training apps that you can access. This gives you options for virtual rides all over the world, cycling classes, training programs, and more.
At Vingo we’ve created a community for virtual riders to come together and explore new routes and worlds together. You can explore volcanoes, beaches, and mountain passes while speaking to other riders, and challenging yourself.
Another classic activity while you ride is reading. While we admit this takes some coordination, and certainly isn’t for everyone, if/when you are able to do it, you can really find that a lot of time will pass between rides and reading along.
Key Takeaways:Indoor training opens up a new world of possibilities on a bike. When you are looking for ways to control the variables—like weather, safety, and ride aspects. With ride data and less body sway, while you ride, any indoor training can be efficient and challenging. Not to mention the endless entertainment options you have on an indoor bike.