Why cycling outside is so much better …


It’s January.

This is the time of year that I transition inside. The time when I spend more time on the spinning bike than I do outside on one of the road bikes. It’s a sad time. Sure, there are benefits to training on a spinning bike. It is more focused. I have a power meter to regulate the intensity of the workouts. I stay warm, and dry. But, and this is a big but, it isn’t as much fun. Here are the 5 top reasons why I much prefer to ride outside.

  1. I like being in the fresh air. It’s healthier. More invigorating.
  2. It is more interesting. The scenery is constantly changing. I am careful to select scenic routes by the water, and in forested areas where the air is the best.
  3. The terrain, and subsequently the intensity, varies. Instead of regulating my workout by time – 7 minutes at 250 watts following by 3 minutes at 150 watts – the terrain regulates how hard I work. Some routes have long, steep climbs. Others are flat. And, still others are a mixture of rolling hills and flat sections. Some routes combine all three.
  4. I’m more focused, fully committed. I have to pay attention to the road ahead for potholes, pedestrians, and cars. Time passes quickly. One of my regular routes takes 90 minutes. And, the time flies by. I can’t imagine sitting on a spinning bike that long.
  5. It’s more fun. Nothing compares to negotiating a long, fast, and windy descent. Or, the satisfaction of summiting a tough climb in record time.

When I return from a ride outside, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and satisfied. There is no better feeling.

I schedule my rides with the weatherman. It is the first thing I check when I get up in the morning. When it is dry and sunny, I’m outside. No. It is more precise than that. When it is dry, and above 5C, I train outside. When it is cold or wet, I generally head indoors for a spin.

So far this year, it has been mostly dry and relatively warm.

3 thoughts on “Why cycling outside is so much better …

  1. I spend a fair bit more time inside these days than I should, I no longer do after-dark rides or wet rides (getting soft in my old age). I have an ace indoor training setup. I still MUCH prefer to be outside though, that’s where bikes were meant to be ridden! Fresh air, scenery, sunshine, changing terrain. No better place.

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