Riding indoors vs. riding outdoors

We ride outside, we ride inside…..we love both.

Yes, we run an indoor studio, but we love the idea of cycling of all kinds. The benefits of indoor and outdoor riding are awesome in so many ways!

About 25% of Spynergy riders are also serious about their outdoor riding. They do both inside and outside riding. The vast majority of our spinners do NOT ride outside….ever.

Riding inside and outside are different………and the same.

The same because they are both rhythmic, low impact, cardio exercise. While fundamentally solitary endeavours, indoor and outdoor cycling are often done in groups and can be social. Both workouts can be intense….but both can be moderated. Both are exercise that experts agree is ideal for a range of health and fitness related goals.

How do they differ? Other than the obvious (you don’t need a helmet indoors, the sun shines outdoors), there are differences that make the workouts somewhat distinct. One is time spent. Spin classes are an “in and out” workout. In less than an hour, you can burn huge energy. With time pressures everywhere, the “exercise value per minute” is extremely high in a spin class. With outdoor cycling, equipment, preparation and clean up issues add significantly to the average ride — but you get scenery!

Outdoor rides tend to be a more varied mix of endurance and interval training, indoor rides focus more on intervals. Intervals (intermittent periods of high exertion) tend to be longer outside, leading to a very different feel and experience.

In either workout, you can work hard….or not. In both workouts the presence of other riders around you tends to motivate. Indoors, the music keeps you alert, outdoors it’s the presence of cars.

Spinning is great aerobic training for outside riding. Some outdoor cyclists complain that the cadence and saddle positions in spin class do not simulate outside riding —- but even the most ardent admit that there is tremendous heart rate work in a good spin class, not to mention the toning of key muscle groups.

Spinners who don’t ride outside usually cite traffic and safety concerns, or sometimes technophobia about all the “stuff”. These are legitimate reasons not to ride —- but if you’re a spinner, you would actually be pretty good at it, and even periodic outside riding is great cross-training for your spinning!

What’s the bottom line? Both are great exercise depending on your preference, your available time, and your mood! If you’re an inside rider looking to explore outside (or vice versa) —- feel free to email us with any questions. We love both.


2 responses to “Riding indoors vs. riding outdoors

  1. This is more of a question: I sometimes get knee pain when I ride outside but never have this issue in spin class. Any idea what would cause this? I’m wondering if the weighted flywheel on the spin bike is keeping my stride (if that’s the right term) more even than in the outdoor bike? (Or maybe I just shouldn’t have done the 28 miles outside after taking spin class, ha-ha. I’m laughing inside but my poor knees are not.)

  2. You have to be careful about knee pain and certainly take it easy when you experience it indoors or outdoors. The fact that you do not have it indoors leads me to believe your set-up and seat settings are better on your spin bike than they are on your outside bike. You need to be sure you are properly fit (which most bike shops will do for a small fee). A very small adjusment up or down on your seat post….or forward and back on your seat can make a major difference in your comfort and stress on the bike. Also if you clip-ins are not adjusted properly that can impact your knees as well. Since outside rides can be much longer time in the saddle, adjustment and alignment issues are extremely important. Hope this helps.


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