Cycling is great exercise, but as the weather turns cold, it can be hard (and even dangerous) to keep cycling indoors. Many cyclists make the transition to indoor cycling throughout the winter months so they can continue to get good exercise and train the muscles they need to hit the road again in the springtime. Here are a few tips that will help smooth out your transition to indoor cycling.
Buy the right clothing.
Make sure you have clothing that is comfortable for cycling indoors. Most cycling gear that you wear outside is wind-proof, but indoors, where there is no wind, that clothing is going to hold onto heat and sweat, making you overly warm. The best clothing for indoor cycling is lightweight and breathable. Remember, you can always start with an extra layer on and strip it off once you warm up, unlike with outdoor cycling, where this is a real hassle.
Prepare some distractions.
Outside, it's easy to keep your mind focused as you cycle. You can pedal past various things and observe the world! Inside, when you're staring at the same walls throughout your whole session, it's easy to feel bored. Prepare ahead of time by making sure you have some way to keep your mind occupied during your cycling sessions. You may want to attend some group classes where the other cyclists can chat with you and keep you occupied, or you may want to download some podcasts to listen to as you cycle.
Take it slow.
Although indoor cycling is a lot like outdoor cycling, there are some key differences. You don't have the wind resistance to worry about, and you may sit in a slightly different position on the bike, meaning that you work slightly different muscles. So, you need to give yourself a little time to adapt. If you've been cycling 100 miles a week outside, don't just jump into doing 100 miles a week indoors. Cut back to maybe 60 or 70 miles for the first week. Then, do 90 miles the second week. Then, by the third week, you should be adapted enough to indoor cycling to return to your prior mileage.
If you take the steps above when transitioning from outdoor cycling to indoor cycling, you'll have more fun and be more likely to stick with your exercise routine. Above all else, go easy on yourself. This is a transition, so you can expect a few tiny bumps along the way.