Cycling outdoors can be great fun. But sometimes the weather is not suitable for cycling and in some places it can be difficult to find roads that are safe for cycling. Indoor cycling on the other hand can be done in any weather. Here is a short overview of indoor cycling training.
You can use your outdoor bike with a trainer or a roller. If you like cycling outdoors, training indoors with your bike will prepare your body for longer tours. A more expensive solution is to buy a stationary bike.
A roller consists of three or four cylindrical rolls in a flat framework. Rollers are cheap and simple. You can’t adjust the resistance so they are not the best solution if you want to improve your fitness. Note that rollers don’t lock the bicycle in place, so a highly developed sense of balance is necessary. Falling of the rollers can cause injuries. On the whole, rollers are good for improving your balance and pedaling skills. For indoor cycling training, you have better options.
A trainer, or stationary trainer, is another cheap solution. It is a small metal frame that locks the rear axle in place. It keeps the bike upright, with the rear wheel a little bit above the ground. You can also apply resistance to the rear wheel. You can use your outdoor bike on the trainer. But beware that the trainer will put a lot of strain on the bike frame, which can cause metal fatigue. For that reason, a lot of cyclists prefer to use an old bike on the trainer, rather than their best bike.
A spin bike is a stationary bike that looks similar to a racing bike but it has no gears. Instead a spin bike has a flywheel that is used to adjust the resistance. A lot of cyclists like spinning, it is close to the real thing. Spin bikes are relatively expensive but most gyms have spinning classes. A lot of people like spinning classes, cycling alone indoors quickly becomes boring, a spinning class with a good instructor on the other hand can be great fun.
Stationary exercise bikes are the best solution if you want to improve your fitness. But exercise bikes are much more comfortable than racing and touring bikes, so if you want to prepare yourself for longer bike tours, an exercise bike is not the best solution.
Your muscles will be ready but your body has not got used to sitting on a bike. Note that an upright bike and a recumbent bike use different muscles. A recumbent stationary bike is more comfortable than an upright stationary bike. But if you want to prepare your muscles for longer rides on an upright bike, a recumbent exercise bike will not help you. You need to use an upright stationary bike.