This time of year, I cycle outside less. I still average 200 km every week on the road but it is different. The days are shorter. It is cold and wet. And, I bundle up. I still enjoy the rides but, it is a different kind of cycling.
These days I spend more time in the gym. I have been working out on a spinning bike for years. A Keiser M3 indoor cycle. I even enjoy the occasional spinning class. Here are a few things I like about the spinning bike.
- There is no wear and tear on my bikes. I have an in-door trainer and have used it frequently over the years. I can use my own bike but there is wear on the drive train and rear tire. I know you can purchase tires designed specifically for this purpose but you use the same chainrings, chain and cassette as you do on the road.
- I can workout anytime of the day regardless of the weather. Rain. Cold. Wind. Dark. It doesn’t matter. I can train whenever I like. Whenever I have the time.
- In 45-60 minutes I can complete a good workout. It is an uninterrupted workout. No stop signs, no stop lights and no traffic. I like to simulate actual rides with a combination of flats, climbs and fast descents. Sometimes, I will climb the entire workout as if I am climbing one of the local mountains. It takes me about 60 minutes to climb either Mount Seymour or Cypress Mountain. I can do the same workout indoors all winter.
- There is a power meter on the bike. This is a big benefit. I do not have a power meter on any of the bikes and have no idea how much power I am generating. I monitor speed and time but power is the real measure of performance. On the spinning bike, I can monitor power output throughout the workout and use the average power output estimate to compare one workout to the next.
- My heart rate monitor is integrated. I wear a heart rate monitor, particularly indoors. The spinning bike computer is integrated (Polar compatible) with my belt so that my heart rate is also displayed along with elapsed time, gear (resistance), power output (watts), calories expended, trip distance (km) and RPM (cadence). These metrics help manage the workout.
- I can use my cycling shoes with cleats. This is a big benefit. This makes riding the M3 very similar to my road bikes. I can work on maintaining a circular pedal stroke, engaging all of the leg muscles throughout the stroke, pushing down and pulling up, applying consistent power throughout.
- There is a floor to ceiling mirror in front of me so that I can work on my form and positioning. I pay attention to my spine angle, shoulder position and arm reach when both sitting and standing. Over the years, I have noticed a difference. I maintain a straight back, relaxed shoulders and bent arms throughout the workout. My knees and ankles are perfectly aligned over the pedals causing less wear on the joints. The mirror allows me to easily check these positions.
If you are looking to put more miles on over the winter months, give a spinning bike a try.