When it’s -5 degrees outside, too cold to ski and spitting snow, sometimes you’re forced to remain indoors to get your ride on. But there’s reasons to love indoor training rides, too. Ingrid shares her favorite reasons to ride indoors. Have any to add?
Most of us think of cycling as an outdoor sport. The romantic notion of wind in your face, the freedom to roam the neighborhood as a kid, fun nostalgic stuff like that. But, with a busy life, I really look forward to the season of indoor group suffering on trainers. To be clear, I am mostly focused on the types of classes that allow you to put your own bike on a trainer, but spin classes are also really great. Here’s my list of reasons why riding indoors with friends is not so bad:
1. It’s scheduled
Most of us are just trying to barely fit our training schedules into our lives filled with work and family. And yes, it does feel like other people seem to have more time to train than you do. But, one thing that helps me is having a regularly schedule time to ride, where people will be expecting me. It’s on my calendar and as such, it’s set in stone. It’s a little too easy to skip a ride if you’re just going solo, but when you’ve paid a fee and people are expecting you to show up, it helps.
2. You can do it at night
This one could be considered reason 1.5, but being able to take a class in the evening can also help with hectic schedule and daylight issues in the winter and spring. Challenging myself to get out of work early enough to ride before the sun sets in the spring is one I never win. Inevitably, my ride is cut short as a result, if I make it at all.
3. You get to see your team mates in the off season or make new friends
One thing I love about cycling is the social side of it. I have so much fun during the season racing with women, getting to know them, seeing people improve, etc. The off-season can put a damper on these connections as schedules take over. Organizing a class at a local studio formally or informally with your team mates or good friends can keep those connections up over the winter. We are currently training together on Tuesday evenings at Inspired Training Center.
4. You can focus on your intervals, not worry about traffic and cars
I don’t know about you, but after a long day (or even in the middle of it!), getting on my bike and turning off my brain is really appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding outside, but putting my head down and focusing on only my legs is a good break from my daily chaos.
5. You can listen to loud music without annoying and unsafe earbuds
I try not to ride with earbuds most of the time so that I can be aware of cars and traffic behind me. But, a good jam can really increase your positive attitude and even performance Most cycling studios have great sound systems and some will even let you make requests. And, I have even ridden in a place that had a disco ball!
Overall, riding long hours indoors can get you down as the winter turns to spring. While you’ll see me skate or classic skiing rather than doing a 3 hour indoor rides ever, I do appreciate the mid week, social group cycling class.