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2016-09-11 12:28 PM


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Subject: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
I've spent the better part of five months training for sprint triathlon primarily on the stationary bike at my gym maintaining 40-50 min workouts at 80-90 RPM of (15mph). I've started transitioning to cycling outdoors (paved trail, no real hills), but with significantly greater effort I am covering half the distance (averaging 8.7mph) in the same amount of time.

Is it me or is it the bike? More outside training is needed, no doubt, but I didn't think (or plan) that the differential (indoor vs outdoor) would be this great. I'm not using a tri or racing bike, just a decent 6-speed road bike for this first race that my brother fixed up.

I welcome feedback. Would love to figure this out!!

Edited by kmariesmyth 2016-09-11 12:52 PM


2016-09-11 12:51 PM
in reply to: #5198338

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
I would say the indoor is great for heart rate and some strength training. But it's all about the type of resistence that you have on the indoor bike. I'm sure with hills and an older bike you are going to have more resistence than you've been training with.
2016-09-11 1:22 PM
in reply to: kmariesmyth


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Originally posted by kmariesmyth

I've spent the better part of five months training for sprint triathlon primarily on the stationary bike at my gym maintaining 40-50 min workouts at 80-90 RPM of (15mph). I've started transitioning to cycling outdoors (paved trail, no real hills), but with significantly greater effort I am covering half the distance (averaging 8.7mph) in the same amount of time.

Is it me or is it the bike? More outside training is needed, no doubt, but I didn't think (or plan) that the differential (indoor vs outdoor) would be this great. I'm not using a tri or racing bike, just a decent 6-speed road bike for this first race that my brother fixed up.

I welcome feedback. Would love to figure this out!!


Unless it's something like a watt bike I wouldn't place a whole lot of confidence in the data coming from your average gyms stationary bike. I think you've figured it out already. The stationary bike is not giving you realistic data anywhere close to what you'll be doing on a road bike outdoors. I would definitely recommend spending more time outdoors on your road bike.
2016-09-11 3:02 PM
in reply to: #5198338


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
I have the same problem, I am training for my first tri (sprint or maybe olympic in summer 2017) and for the bike part I am using my stationary, first time I get out with an old mountain bike it was a nightmare...for sure I will focus on "real" cycling as much as possible, but during winter time stationary is mandatory, is there any hint to make indoor training more effective?
2016-09-11 3:55 PM
in reply to: FrankieP78

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Originally posted by FrankieP78

I have the same problem, I am training for my first tri (sprint or maybe olympic in summer 2017) and for the bike part I am using my stationary, first time I get out with an old mountain bike it was a nightmare...for sure I will focus on "real" cycling as much as possible, but during winter time stationary is mandatory, is there any hint to make indoor training more effective?


If you go to the search function and look up the ' BT winter cycling program' you will find a great program you can follow.
This can be done on your bike and a trainer, or a gym bike.

2016-09-11 4:37 PM
in reply to: #5198346

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
A stationary bike just doesn't give you the constant changes in gradient, wind, road surface and the stop start of junctions and lights. They can be useful for interval training (although a turbo trainer would be better) but are next to useless in terms of gauging how far and fast you can cycle outside.


2016-09-11 4:38 PM
in reply to: FrankieP78

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

Originally posted by FrankieP78 I have the same problem, I am training for my first tri (sprint or maybe olympic in summer 2017) and for the bike part I am using my stationary, first time I get out with an old mountain bike it was a nightmare...for sure I will focus on "real" cycling as much as possible, but during winter time stationary is mandatory, is there any hint to make indoor training more effective?

Get a trainer, such as the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.  Then sign up for Trainer Road.  You use your bike with the addition of a speed sensor and a cadence sensor.  Trainer Road will calculate "virtual power" using your speed and the type trainer you have.  TR has various training plans and individual workouts.  Using the guided plans you can make huge strides forward.

I believe TR is ~ $12/month.

2016-09-11 5:21 PM
in reply to: #5198356


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Thanks so much!!! I have found the program and I will try to integrate it in my winter plan as I am starting to train for next season...

Turbo trainer sound interesting but next big purchase has to be a bike....
2016-09-11 7:09 PM
in reply to: kmariesmyth


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

The miles you cover on the gym bike are nearly meaningless. 

 

Almost every gym bike I've been on (a LOT) does not factor the resistance setting on the gym bike into distance covered. So someone who covers 1 mile but has it on zero resistance and can pedal 90rpm with nearly zero effort, would get the same credit for someone who covers 1 mile but has it set on 25 setting or some setting so strong that it's like climbing a 15% climb. 

 

So in summary, it's pretty hard to compare gym bike efforts to outdoors. But as a rough estimate, 'perceived effort' is actually not bad at all - if it feels harder outdoors, you can crank up the resistance on the gym bike so it matches or exceeds what you're feeling outdoors. 

 

I actually do regular training on a gym bike (gasp!) and I set the resistance fairly high, and there has been no problem whatsoever for me to continue improving and getting good results with it. 

2016-09-11 7:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Trainer road is awesome and I love it. Been using it since May this year. I do also like Zwift but only for group rides when I want to do something different but prefer trainer road
2016-09-11 9:43 PM
in reply to: kmariesmyth

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

Its the gym bike, not you or your road bike.

Not only is a gym bike near meaningless in terms of real training, you don't get any real world experience. You have no bike handling skills, no sense of resistance, no skills dealing with other bike traffic, passing, being passed, road etiquette, etc...If anything you would pose a real danger to yourself and other riders if you only train on a indoor bike and then go jump into a real world competitive setting such as a triathlon.

As an example, I ride a 27yr old 12 speed and I would consider myself a intermediate rider, to cover 18.5 miles at 18mph in about 1 hr takes some rather serious effort. 

I've spent the better part of five months training for sprint triathlon primarily on the stationary bike at my gym maintaining 40-50 min workouts at 80-90 RPM of(15mph). I've started transitioning to cycling outdoors (paved trail, no real hills), but with significantly greater effort I am covering half the distance (averaging 8.7mph) in the same amount of time.

This sounds actually pretty close to real world. Exactly why indoor cycling is fairly worthless for real world training. I would recommend finding a local bike shop and talking with them about local bike groups that you could start riding with. I used to be a lone wolf, but now really enjoy riding with a group of other folks. Again you really start picking up skills. For instance just this last Saturday on a 55 mile ride I was having issues passing a gal on a downhill. We where pretty evenly matched but I was just abit faster then her, but I had to keep backing off just to keep it safe. We where hitting speeds of 47mph and she is 68yrs old! I don't want to have to explain to the grand kids how I bumped grandma doing 47 down a mountain road! So safety, bike handling, road etiquette, etc all come from riding out doors and with groups of others. Although there are times when going solo is very rewarding too.

Anyways, thats my bit of opinion. Best wishes and have a successful training session and excellent first race!

 

 



2016-09-12 10:16 AM
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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
I disagree - I think you can get a very good workout in the gym, depending on which bike you're using. If you're using a regular spin bike and are spinning at a constant RPM with somewhat light tension, then I agree that type of riding is not that helpful. But if you're using a bike with computerized programs, like an upright Lifecycle bike, then I think you can get a very good workout in the gym.

I ride alot on a Lifecycle bike at the gym and get a great workout. I use the random program, ride at level 10-12 and hunker down in aero for 2-4 hours. To get better hill training, I ride for 1 min intervals at levels 15-19. And when I ride indoors like this, it's at race pace/effort and you're pedaling the entire time. It's all about having the focus to use the gym sessions as best as you can. 2-4 hours of this, and you will be ready. This is great training IMHO. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

For a sprint you don't have to ride for 2-4 hours, so dial down the time, but the idea is the same.

Riding outdoors at race pave/effort is of course the best workout, but I disagree that all gym riding is useless. Gym riding, if done with purpose and with the right equipment, can be very effective.



Edited by LarchmontTri 2016-09-12 10:18 AM
2016-09-12 10:54 AM
in reply to: kmariesmyth


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
How are you measuring speed outdoors? Have you calibrated that? Real easy to be off there as well. Just thought I'd mention it . . .
2016-09-12 11:40 AM
in reply to: kmariesmyth

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

There are several things that are different.  One of the big differences in riding outdoors is the traffic.  You slow down for stop signs or traffic lights.  Even on a path, you are slowing down for other people.  You also have hills to slow you down.  The downhill and uphill don't average out.  The uphills cost you more than you gain back on the downhill.  And lastly, you are probably working more on controlling the bike due to inexperience than maintaining the same effort you were indoors.  Check your heart rate on both.  I bet you are not working as hard yet outdoors. Even if you have a reasonably accurate power measurement from your indoor bike, I would generally expect a 15 mph indoor speed to translate to something like 12 mph outside on a flat course closed off to other traffic (i.e. race conditions.)

I would disagree with those who say the indoor bike is worthless.  It probably has a different body position and does not work on bicycle handling skills, and probably is unrealistic in estimating your speed.  So road cycling is better training for riding on the road.  That should be obvious.  But I understand issues such as safety and weather even convenience that may cause you choose to use the indoor bike a lot.   You are working mostly the same muscles so you are gaining fitness and getting your body ready for the race so that much is good.  Ride outside as much as you can but if the choice is between not riding at all and the exercise bike, by all means use the indoor bike.  You are getting a huge fitness improvement which is what you are looking for after all.  Riding 40-50 minutes at 15 mph regularly for 5 months is nothing to sneeze at from a fitness point of view.  Good job and good luck on your race.  

TW

 

2016-09-12 2:13 PM
in reply to: LarchmontTri

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Originally posted by LarchmontTri

I disagree - I think you can get a very good workout in the gym, depending on which bike you're using. If you're using a regular spin bike and are spinning at a constant RPM with somewhat light tension, then I agree that type of riding is not that helpful. But if you're using a bike with computerized programs, like an upright Lifecycle bike, then I think you can get a very good workout in the gym.

I ride alot on a Lifecycle bike at the gym and get a great workout. I use the random program, ride at level 10-12 and hunker down in aero for 2-4 hours. To get better hill training, I ride for 1 min intervals at levels 15-19. And when I ride indoors like this, it's at race pace/effort and you're pedaling the entire time. It's all about having the focus to use the gym sessions as best as you can. 2-4 hours of this, and you will be ready. This is great training IMHO. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

For a sprint you don't have to ride for 2-4 hours, so dial down the time, but the idea is the same.

Riding outdoors at race pave/effort is of course the best workout, but I disagree that all gym riding is useless. Gym riding, if done with purpose and with the right equipment, can be very effective.


A second vote for a stationary bike, with the caveat that you do it right. It is no different from any other training tool. Used right and you will get benefit from it, used poorly you will get the results your effort deserves.

I ride three days a week on a stationary bike and outdoors both weekend days. For anyone who thinks indoor cycling at a gym is of no value, I would challenge you to sit in on my Mon & Wed classes taught by a former pro rider. His classes are tough. On Fridays I do two hours of Sufferfest. I know they have helped me get stronger and faster. The other thing to remember about cycling in a gym is there is no coasting. Your legs are spinning for as long as the class is.

That said, I would never use that exclusively. I ride almost every Sat & Sun outdoors, this past weekend 114 miles across the two days.

What many have said about mileage and other metrics you get from a spin bike being suspect are accurate. However, you can learn something from net improvement. I do an FTP test indoors once every quarter. I have no illusions that the numbers translate directly to the same outdoors. But I can use the differential improvement as a barometer given I do the same test (Sufferfest's Rubber Glove) on the same bike every time.

Bottom line, there is a place for indoor cycling in a gym.

2016-09-12 2:54 PM
in reply to: Stuartap

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

I don't think there is any argument in the benefits of a stationary bike.  At the end of the day if you ride hard (or at x bpm/power output) it doesn't matter what it is on, you will still see benefits.  But, using a stationary bike to judge your performance on the road just won't work, which I think was the OP's concern.



2016-09-12 4:05 PM
in reply to: rjcalhoun

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

I wanted to make a quick apology here for my above statements that riding a gym trainer style bike is near worthless. I think what I was trying to get across was in terms of real world riding experience. 

Yes of course you can get a good workout and build appropriate muscles/fitness. We can also do this on the treadmill for running and in the pool for swimming. The point I was trying to make was that you can spend all your time training in the gym and everything in the real world is going to be much harder due to natural laws of physics.

So it should be no surprise to the OP in the huge difference in effort she was experiencing.

My apologies for making what appeared to be a blanket statement that gym training is worthless, it has obvious benefits. 

Best Wishes

 

2016-09-12 4:41 PM
in reply to: rjcalhoun


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

Originally posted by rjcalhoun

I wanted to make a quick apology here for my above statements that riding a gym trainer style bike is near worthless. I think what I was trying to get across was in terms of real world riding experience. 

Yes of course you can get a good workout and build appropriate muscles/fitness. We can also do this on the treadmill for running and in the pool for swimming. The point I was trying to make was that you can spend all your time training in the gym and everything in the real world is going to be much harder due to natural laws of physics.

So it should be no surprise to the OP in the huge difference in effort she was experiencing.

My apologies for making what appeared to be a blanket statement that gym training is worthless, it has obvious benefits. 

Best Wishes

 

 

The bolded is patently false unless you're so green on the bike that you're a raw beginner in terms of road handling. 

 

I do 80-90% of my training indoors due to scheduling. 50% of my bike miles are done on a Lifecycle gym bike that's pretty upright not 'aero' like my TT bike. But I crank the heck out of the gym bike resistance, and pump on the treadmill so it's a HARD effort when it counts.

 

Outdoor riding and running feel MUCH easier for me to go fast as a result. There's nothing wrong at all with gym bikes provided you go hard on them, and nothing at all with indoor training. In fact, for the disciplined, indoor training is often superior to outdoor training, with its better structure, lack of interruptions (stoplights), and ability to make tiny incremental upticks in your paces when needed to keep the benefits coming.

 

I tend to win or podium in my AG at most races except the biggest national-class races, and most of my improvement occurred during indoor-heavy blocks, not outdoor-heavy blocks. 

 

Pro triathlete Lionel Sanders is also a great example of dominating the pro competition by training mostly indoors, well documented on his blog. He's not just some lowly pro - he's one of the very best, and he's been indoor training for most of his tri career.

2016-09-12 7:32 PM
in reply to: #5198338


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
TrainerRoad, Cadence Sensor, road bike and a trainer you will be good to go. You will see far better gains then a stationary bike or your road bike on a trainer alone.
2016-09-12 9:36 PM
in reply to: MikeD1

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling

Originally posted by MikeD1 How are you measuring speed outdoors? Have you calibrated that? Real easy to be off there as well. Just thought I'd mention it . . .

This along with what Tech Geezer said.  It's pretty easy for a speed sensor to be off by a good margin if your wheel size isn't calibrated properly or if you don't have some type of auto pause turned on.  Waiting at a stop light for a couple minutes can easily drop your average speed a good chunk if the timer is still running.

A stationary bike generally simulates flat riding when it comes to calculating "distance" and I find it very hard to believe that with the same effort you can only manage 8.7 mph while riding on flat terrain outdoors.  It's possible you were averaging 14-16 mph while riding on flat ground but lost a lot of speed when approaching stop lights, turns, being cautious of traffic or pedestrians, or riding up hills that you didn't want to descend back down fast.  

2018-01-10 3:41 AM
in reply to: kmariesmyth

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
The stationar bike is one of the best indoor exercises for all.it have lots of benefit like
Cardiovascular:
ACSM prescribes that solid grown-ups matured 18-65 years of should participate in the high-impact physical movement for at least 30 minutes, 5 days for every week or lively power, a high-impact action for at least 20 minutes, 3 days for every week.
A well-directed indoor cycling class will steadily keep your heart rate well within a likely vigorous range for approximately 45-60 minutes. Over time, continuous cardiovascular activity (including interval training often practiced in indoor cycling) can help lower your risk of coronary artery disease, can help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, and can help lower your overall resting heart rate.

lowered Stress Levels.
Increased Muscular Endurance.
Major Calorie Burn.
Low Impact.


2018-01-10 2:23 PM
in reply to: kmariesmyth

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
When I signed up for my first tri back in 2009 I didn't purchase a bike until 2 weeks prior. All of my training was spin class. But I will tell you that I went HARD in those classes! When it was interval time, I hit it pressure hard. I didn't pay attention at all to cadence. I just turned that knob to where it felt like hard work. A little less resistance on regular intervals and more resistance for when the instructor said we were simulating a hill.

There was a big friggin' pool of sweat on the floor (until I started putting towels down there) after each workout.

In my first tri I had only ridden a multi-speed bike for two weeks (I had never owned a multi-speed bike before). I race on a hilly course with a few short and steep hills and one longer gradual climb. I averaged around 18-19 mph and then I knew the work I put in spin class payed off.

I had good tips on position on the spin bike from the instructor which helped as my position on the actual bike wasn't too far off.

Also, in "recover" in spin class I didn't totally take all of the resistance off. I took it down but no so there was no resistance.

IMO riding should be mostly hard, sometimes easy unlike running which should be mostly easy sometimes hard.

Not sure if this helps but this was just my first experience with cycling.
2018-01-10 8:35 PM
in reply to: #5198596


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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
I travel quite a bit for work meaning that I often have to use a gym bike to keep my training up. I find they are quite fine for doing specific workouts such as intervals or heart rate zone training.

I wouldn't want to use one as my primary method of training though. Metrics other than heart rate on those bikes do not translate to the real world.
2018-01-11 11:40 AM
in reply to: k9car363

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
Originally posted by k9car363

Originally posted by FrankieP78 I have the same problem, I am training for my first tri (sprint or maybe olympic in summer 2017) and for the bike part I am using my stationary, first time I get out with an old mountain bike it was a nightmare...for sure I will focus on "real" cycling as much as possible, but during winter time stationary is mandatory, is there any hint to make indoor training more effective?

Get a trainer, such as the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.  Then sign up for Trainer Road.  You use your bike with the addition of a speed sensor and a cadence sensor.  Trainer Road will calculate "virtual power" using your speed and the type trainer you have.  TR has various training plans and individual workouts.  Using the guided plans you can make huge strides forward.

I believe TR is ~ $12/month.




Is this different from what Zwift does? I'd love to be able to calculate virtual power output (did I say that correctly?)
2018-01-11 11:51 AM
in reply to: MuscleMomma

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Subject: RE: Stationary bike vs Road cycling
With an indoor workout doesn't it matter if you use a stationary bike or your own bike on a trainer? I think using a trainer would be close to outdoors - minus the all-important bike handling skills. Still my ride brakes going downhills and am nervous on turns

Besides the different position I really dislike the standing up that fills a lot of spin classes. Has no correlation with what you do on a road bike.

I have a question - I work really hard on my trainer and still come up with 8-9 mph paces. Is it because I ride in the lower gears? They feel hard, probably should do intervals in higher gears. It's not a smart trainer, but it's a decent cycleops fluid trainer.
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