Taking the outdoors inside

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Moving from riding outside to inside doesn’t have to be complicated. Riding indoors can have many benefits: the weather is (often) always the same, there is no wind, no traffic/stop signs/curbs, and rarely will there be fear of crashing. It is an easy and convenient way to ‘store’ your bike over the winter, and concurrently keep your legs moving and heart pumping while the cooler weather keeps you indoors. All that you need is a trainer, a clean bike, and a bike fit. 

Did you know? The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week. That may sound like a lot, but with an indoor cycling set up that works out to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. More attainable than you thought. 

What you’ll need:

A trainer 

Most types of bikes can be ‘converted’ to a stationary indoor bike for the winter season; the simple addition of an indoor bike trainer will have you ready to roll in no time. Indoor bike trainers come in two main varieties 1) classic trainers and 2) ‘smart’ trainers. 

Classic trainers: often are less expensive, and hold your bike with its wheel on. They offer resistance that can be modified by a lever you control, or by your pedalling speed. These trainers have been around for years, they are a simple and affordable option for those who operate under the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). 

Smart trainers: often offer interactive training set ups. These trainers have bluetooth connectivity that allows them to communicate with third party apps (e.g. Zwift, TrainerRoad) and potentially allow you to even re-ride past routes you might have recorded on a GPS device. Smart trainers will have resistance that can change based on a workout given to you by your coach or by an app; they have the capability to measure your ‘power’ and give you objective data on how easy or hard you are working. These trainers are more expensive than classic trainers, and can be either wheel on or ‘direct drive’ (the rear wheel comes off and your bike is attached to the resistance unit on the trainer).

A clean bike

After spending the summer riding your bike outside, your bike deserves a little bit of love. Bringing your bike in for a tune up before setting it up on the trainer will guarantee no dirt is tracked into the house, and can quiet any squeaks and creaks that may have developed over the outdoor season. Maintaining your bike can also help to extend the lifetime of the drivetrain (all of the pieces that move when you turn the pedals over), which will decrease your costs in the long run. Give The Bike Shop a call, or check out their website https://www.thebikeshop.com for more information on what different tune-ups entail. 

Did you know? If you purchased your bike from The BIke Shop, you have a lifetime of complimentary service checks and one free tune-up to use in the first 16 months – give them a shout to find out more.

A bike fit

No matter what type of bike you own, your fit can be customized. And while most people consider this when it comes to riding outdoors, there are certain factors unique to riding inside that make a bike fit paramount to your enjoyment and heart-pumping longevity through the cooler months. Consider the following: 

You don’t move as much when riding inside. Which means that how you are positioned on the bike, especially on the saddle, matters. When riding outside, there is more shifting in the saddle, standing up to pedal, and stopping to comply with traffic – all of this leads to less time seated and more time for soft tissue to recover when riding outside. Your sit-bones should feel supported when riding, and it is not uncommon for riders to use a different, wider, saddle when moving to riding indoors. A bike fitter can measure your sit bones and assess the pressure on your saddle while you’re riding to find a fit that works best for you.

You spend more time ‘riding’. This may seem counterintuitive, but when riding inside you take more pedal strokes, more consistently, than when outdoors. There is less coasting, which means more rotations and more opportunity for a saddle height that is too low or too high to lead to discomfort. While saddle height can be roughly estimated statically, a bike fit offers the option to capture your hip, knee, and ankle angles while riding to see what the eye may sometimes miss to get you in a more optimal position.

Aero is not everything. Inside, aerodynamics can be left as a consideration for the warmer months. Your upper body position on the bike can be adjusted for indoor riding to maximize your comfort. And while aerodynamics may not be a concern for everyone, upper body position can still be assessed to minimize neck, shoulder, wrist and hand discomfort which may present when grinding out the kilometers in your ‘pain cave’.

A bike fit preceding the indoor season is appropriate for all riding levels, from a high performance cyclist to a fitness enthusiast; comfort should not discriminate. Your feet and hands shouldn’t go numb, your neck and back shouldn’t feel achy, and your sit-bones and knees shouldn’t hurt when riding your bike – inside or outside! 

At Intrinsi, our fits are performed by physiotherapists and are insurance-billable. If you have any questions when it comes to position and comfort on your two wheeled machine, feel free to contact the clinic (403.229.9214) or book online at https://www.intrinsi.ca for an assessment with one of our three bike fitters: Spencer, Jon, or Sarah.

Check out The Bike Shop https://www.thebikeshop.com for more information on trainers and services offered.


Written By: Sarah MacArthur

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