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Ride indoors in the summer? Are you crazy?

  • 10 June, 2009
  • TJ Juskiewicz

It is finally warming up here in Iowa and we can finally get out for some nice long rides to get ready for RAGBRAI.  We haven’t had the best spring for riding and some of us have been riding indoors way too much already this year, whether on an indoor stationary trainer or in a spin class.   The last thing you probably want to hear is to continue to leave the option open to ride indoors if you can’t get outside.  That’s right, indoor cycling is not just for winter.  

spinningThe main thing you need to concerned about as you prepare to ride RAGBRAI is to be consistent and ride your bike as much and often as possible.   We can’t always get outside and ride, even in the spring and summer.   Despite my previous article “Train in the Rain”, you may not want to ride when it’s raining.   Or, maybe you can’t get away because you have small tykes to look after at home.   Or, maybe by the time you get home from work and evening meetings, its dark out.   Don’t let these excuses stop you from getting in miles in your legs.  

You can get very good quality training miles riding an indoor trainer or doing a spin class.  Actually, I tell people that indoor riding counts more than outdoor miles.   That’s because you typically work harder riding indoors than you do riding outdoors.  If you’ve ever done a spin class, I know you’ll agree.  Because we tend to ride for shorter periods of time when riding indoors, we also tend to push harder and ride faster.  And that’s exactly what you should be doing. The general rule to use is:   The less time you have to ride, the harder and faster you should go.   If you plan on riding at 16 mph, for example, on RAGBRAI, pick up the pace on shorter indoor rides (e.g. 17-18 mph).  This will make 16 mph easier to ride.

So don’t put your trainer away, and don’t stop going to your local spin class.  If you can’t get outside to ride, riding indoors is much better than not riding at all.

If you would like more cycling training information, check out my website www.CyclesportCoaching.com where you will find numerous free articles. 

By the way, I also just had a book published, by the name of ‘101 Cycling Workouts’ and as the title suggests, it contains 101 different workouts to improve your cycling, both on and off the  bike.   Check it out at www.101CyclingWorkouts.com

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach. He coaches individual cyclists,  the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter for the Ride to Cure Diabetes.  He is also an NSCA certified Personal Trainer.  He can be contacted at Coach@CyclesportCoaching.com .   


  1. Rob K

    I was looking to add an indoor training setup, I was looking at a recumbent style vs a regular bike style. Would this be a good choice? I am not a racer, but more a leisure rider. Is one style better then another?

  2. Coach Ertl

    It really depends on what you are riding now. What style of bike do you ride outdoors? If you ride a recumbent, then a recumbent style indoor trainer is probably what you want. If you ride an upright bike (road bike, mountain bike, hybrid), then you should probably get a trainer that you can put your own bike on. There are a lot of indoor trainers available you can mount your own bike on to ride indoors. These make the most sense so you can continue to ride your own bike when doing indoor cycling.

  3. Coach Ertl

    The answer really depends on the type of bike you currently ride. If you ride a recumbent bike on the roads now, then you may want to consider a similar style for your indoor training needs. However, if you ride an upright bike (road, mountain or hybrid bike), consider getting a stationary trainer that you can mount your bike own on and ride your own bike indoors. There are a number of good ones out there, which go by the names ‘fluid trainer’, ‘wind trainer’ or ‘turbo trainer’. Ask you favorite bike shop for ideas, too.

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