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Old 04-18-2009, 03:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cycling?

How does cycling compare to working out on a stationary bike in terms of benefits, calories burned, etc?

Please advise from your experiences.
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Old 04-18-2009, 05:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I can't really comment on the calories burned...etc but purely from a mental stand point I find cycling outside to be so much more of a work out and most importantly I am more motivated. Plus it helps that if you cycling a far distance away from home you can't just stop because you have to get home!

I am avid cyclist so feel free to ask me any questions, i know their are more of us here too.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I notice on a stationary bike I maintain an average of a 25 mph pace. On a bike on flat terrain I generally average 15-20 mph, and on hilly/windy terrain it drops to 10-15 mph.

As far as calorie burn. I have no idea. Unless its icy, I'd rather ride outside than on a stationary bike.
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I prefer to be outside.


I can't imagine there would be much a difference in the health benefit.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't really comment on the calories burned...etc but purely from a mental stand point I find cycling outside to be so much more of a work out and most importantly I am more motivated. Plus it helps that if you cycling a far distance away from home you can't just stop because you have to get home!

I am avid cyclist so feel free to ask me any questions, i know their are more of us here too.
So true. The variety of hills, wind and having to get home makes it much more interesting. A heart rate monitor is a must for either.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd imagine that on a stationary bike you are only working your legs, where on an actual bike you are using your torso/upper body as well in keeping balance and steering.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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For me the biggest difference is the ease of performing a longer workout. I've done multi-hour rides on my bike outdoors without a problem. 30 minutes the exercise bike inside is about enough for me. Boredom, poor-alignment (though I do have a $900 spin bike at home), whatever. I've made it as long as a single hour before, but that felt pretty lousy and wasn't much fun.

So, as far as fitness, I'd go outside whenever you've got the chance. You'll have more fun doing it. And that is what really makes a fitness plan stick. You can force yourself to exercise, or you can get exercise while you are having fun doing something that you love doing. Which do you think is going to work for you in the long run?
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I enjoy cycling, but I am concerned about the careless and cell-phoned drivers where I live. I don't have a bike right now, and I haven't decided whether to risk the road or stick to the indoors with my purchase. Thanks for all the valuable input.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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One of the other nice benefits of riding outdoors is that it can be somewhat of a social activity. That also helps with the cell-phoned motorists as it is easier to notice a group of 5-8 brightly colored cyclists than just one lone guy struggling up a hill.

I understand your trepidation about riding in the land of careless drivers. Every member of my immediate family, myself included, has been hit by a car while riding a bike. Injuries ranged from mild to moderately severe. Every one of those 'accidents' was around the central Florida area.

I now live in a relatively rural area of Kentucky. The roads here are terribly narrow, but fairly light on traffic. Surprisingly, I've noticed a lot less anti-cyclist sentiment since moving here.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd imagine that on a stationary bike you are only working your legs, where on an actual bike you are using your torso/upper body as well in keeping balance and steering.
This is what I'm thinking. The stationary bikes that I've used have you sitting in a rather relaxed and stable position, where your legs are doing all the work. The nice thing is that your legs will get nice and strong as there's no "coasting."But I figure when you're on a bicycle your body still has to work to maintain balance and control.

And there is no comparison when hills are concerned. Building up a good bit of speed on the approach, pulling up on the bars for leverage as you make your way, then having to get out of your saddle and mash on the pedals when you realize the hill was much steeper than you thought...the variables keep you on your toes and make you work. I can't say the same for stationary bicycles as they just get boring very quickly.

Are there any fairly quiet neighborhoods that you can ride through? I have the misfortune of living by the exits of 2 freeways (710 and 10), so I pretty much stay out of the main roads unless I'm biking in a group. Thanks to Googlemaps I was able to scout and map a course that mostly takes me through quiet streets with a few hills.

Last edited by evilbeefchan; 05-16-2009 at 12:41 AM..
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grancey View Post
How does cycling compare to working out on a stationary bike in terms of benefits, calories burned, etc?

Please advise from your experiences.
There isn't as much consistency in the workout because outside has too many variables. If you are going for the purpose of a regimented exercise I'd say stationary. but if it's so you are getting "general exercise" give it a shot.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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i would think riding outside is a bit more of a workout due to all the variables. wind, steep grades, road surface, all give you variable amounts of resistance that you dont get on a stationary unless you are constantly changing the settings. you can hammer for 30 minutes at a certain setting and your body will get used to it. but going against the wind, then riding down a hill, then up a hill, then on a smooth surface etc etc forces your body to react and never quite get on autopilot mode. i think you end up burning more calories on the road, if for no other reason you end up riding longer.

for what it's worth, i was out mountain biking with a guy who claimed he was a spinning instructor. i dropped him like 3rd grade calculus. he may have been used to the stationary workout routine, but on the ground riding a bike up a hill he was having a hard time.


that said, i've done both. if you can, why not do both. as thespian pointed out, the stationary bike does give you a consistent, regimented workout and is great in shitty weather.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I think both serve a great purpose, sometimes you can't get out, your stuck in a hotel, or it is raining, so the stationary is great. But like many others stated, you just can't beat the open space and wind in your face!
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:29 AM   #14 (permalink)
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+1 with the outdoor rolling resistance crowd. Harder to ride outdoors than indoors, although the point should be do one or the other and stick with it. If you're overly concerned about distracted drivers, get a mountain bike and go off-road.
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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i agree with what other folk have said above--i'm not sure how much distinction there'd be in terms of calories burned if you paid attention to cranking up the resistance on the stationary bike. my problem with stationary bikes is that i get bored bored bored. plus it feels more like Exercise, which i hate---but i ride about 20 miles a day. i just trick myself into thinking of it as going places. and the scenery changes. you know, same as above.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeeeb View Post
i would think riding outside is a bit more of a workout due to all the variables. wind, steep grades, road surface, all give you variable amounts of resistance that you dont get on a stationary unless you are constantly changing the settings. you can hammer for 30 minutes at a certain setting and your body will get used to it. but going against the wind, then riding down a hill, then up a hill, then on a smooth surface etc etc forces your body to react and never quite get on autopilot mode. i think you end up burning more calories on the road, if for no other reason you end up riding longer.

for what it's worth, i was out mountain biking with a guy who claimed he was a spinning instructor. i dropped him like 3rd grade calculus. he may have been used to the stationary workout routine, but on the ground riding a bike up a hill he was having a hard time.


that said, i've done both. if you can, why not do both. as thespian pointed out, the stationary bike does give you a consistent, regimented workout and is great in shitty weather.
Interesting. I think it depends on the person and spin instructors aren't always the best riders. They think they are cool but are just individuals.

I rode at least 20 miles every day when I lived in SFLA. Did a ride of 40-80 miles at least once and sometimes both weekends days. Then I moved to Michigan - in the winter, no less.

So, I began taking spin classes to stay in riding shape. I had no idea how things would work and was extremely curious how I would be the first time our in the spring. Was I surprised. I did a 20 mile ride the first day on shitty roads with hills. My average speed at the end of the ride was nearly 2 mph faster than my average speed in FL before I moved.

The moral of the story: it doesn't matter what you do, just how you do it.

I use a heart rate monitor so everything is based on the heart rate I'm trying to achieve. Doesn't matter if it is a spin bike or a road bike outside, either works fine. I do long rides often on my spin bike, specially in the winter, say 90 minutes to two hours. I always have a good book for these rides and listen to classical music on my Bose III sound canceling headphones. I am always amazed at how much I sweat, where my heart rate stays and the calories I burn just riding and reading!

But of course, I also do HIIT rides, hills and other workouts. Even with those I read during the first 15-20 minutes of the warm up phase. That takes care of the potentially boring portion until I get into the crazyness.
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