Have you ever been to a cycling class or strolled past the exercise bikes at the gym and questioned if they provide a similar (or greater) workout than riding a bike outside? In this contrast of the benefits and drawbacks of outdoor versus indoor riding, you’ll find out.
To begin, it’s crucial to recognize that most indoor bikes are not the same as regular road, mountain, or triathlon cycles. A “flywheel,” which is a 30 to the 40-pound wheel that produces resistance when you pedal, is found on most of these bikes. This is why the pedals on these bikes continue to move after you stop pedaling. As a result of the flywheel, your hamstrings (rear of your legs) will have to work more to slow the pedals down as they come around. When you’re outside, however, you’re cycling against the friction of the road and wind resistance, which puts a greater strain on your hip flexors and quads.
Indoor Cycling: A typical cycling class keeps you at roughly 75 to 95 percent of your maximal heart rate, according to a study by the American Council On Exercise (ACE). That’s quite impressive. The heat of an indoor cycling room, peer pressure from riding classmates, and the encouragement of an instructor yelling instructions in your face are all powerful motivators, but nevertheless, it’s a decent enough heart rate to get a good cardiovascular reaction. However, due to the fly-wheel, indoor cycling bikes tend to employ primarily your hamstring muscles, resulting in more assistance from the bicycle and fewer overall calories burnt.
Outdoor Cycling: Serious riders and elite cyclists can readily raise their heart rates to levels comparable to those found in cycling classes. Most recreational cyclists, on the other hand, find it difficult to cycle so quickly while maintaining the bike, traveling, and lacking the drive of a crowd and an instructor. When you ride a bike outside, you use more of your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, and calves than when you ride an indoor cycle, therefore your muscle fitness will likely be higher if you don’t spend much time “cruising.” However, you must work hard enough to strike those muscles with enough force to strengthen them and burn substantial calories, and many individuals just do not ride their bikes that hard.