My Bike vs. Gym Exercise Bike

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by dwj444, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. dwj444

    dwj444 New Member

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    Can anyone comment on their experience riding the exercise (stationary) bikes at the gym vs. riding their own bikes at home in the trainer? I have a weight lifting routine that puts me in the gym three days a week; it would shorten my day a bit if I could combine my gym workout with my riding (rather than having to ride when I get home, get sweaty twice, etc.).

    I have an HR monitor that is compatible with the bikes at the gym (IE, the bikes at the gym can pick up my HR from the monitor I wear, same as at home), which is an added perk. I'm mostly concerned about resistance, modeling of actual cycling motion, etc.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    It's been my personal experience that if I ride and lift on the same day, the one that gets done second usually suffers. My weight lifting routines currently only take about 45 minutes twice a week these days. I try to average about 7 hours a week cycling or endurance exercise.

    When it comes to stationary bike @ gym vs. real bike in trainer @ home, I prefer the latter. I've noticed that when I spent 2 and 3 hours at the gym working on a peice of equipment, people started looking at me funny. :eek: Most people just don't have the kind of commitment to exercise like that as they are just there for general health. Heaven forbid if I were to do some 4 to 5 hour sessions! :eek: They'd probably come up and ask me if I'm alright or if everything is OK at home or some such thing.

    Besides, at home I can watch whatever I want on TV, answer a phone call, use the rest room without someone else jumping on the equipment, have a tray with drinks and snacks handy, etc. It's also my contention that a cyclist should train on something that will more closely approximate real world conditions. Some of the exercise bikes in gyms just don't cut it. Depends on the bike and gym I suppose.

    Besides at gyms the music is often too loud or it's something I really don't want to hear, there will be 6 televisions on with different stations all blaring away, and the people tend to get in the way. I like to be able to do an exercise or use a peice of equipment without having to wait. I ended up cancelling my gym membership and am having better workouts at home now.
     
  3. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I stopped weight-training completely just before Christmas for various reasons. First of all, I figured that after some 19 years of attending the gym my muscles had become stale. I recall how my legs would blow up like baloons when I was in my twenties and deep-squatting 400 lbs. Several years later, I'd do just a little less and my legs would actually lose muscle. Then, I figured my knees could also use a break and that my hernia might benefit from less squats in the gym and more cycling. Finally, I had to confess that doing 12 hours a day at work, plus studying, plus weights and cycling combined was killing me. So, I decided I'd scale down and just cycle for a time.
    I just did my workout for today which consisted of a long climb uphill in the (not solidified) snow and a sustained, high pulse-rate as I pushed my cardiovascular system. These days I ride short and hard.
    However the case may be, I figure I haven't lost a great deal of muscle since Christmas and suspect my body is reading these short, intense cycle rides like gym sessions. However, I do notice a drop in my performance on the very steep climbs and I think this must either be down to the fact I no longer squat or it could be down to my recent habit of knocking back red wine more than I ought to.
    I dislike indoor trainers and tend to go out on the road no matter what the weather conditions are like. The only thing that sucks is the fact I keep getting mechanical hitches and find myself continually cleaning grit off the bike.
    I plan to resume weights very shortly and will do my whole body once a week (maybe twice). I figure that I should get good muscle growth using light weights before I work up to heavier reps. The emphasis will be on streamlining my weight work so it blends in more with my cycling and, if I squat, I'll skip riding the following day so my legs get a chance to grow.
    I'd be surprised if I can squat 150 pounds at present but I've enjoyed having a break.
    The hernia doesn't seem to effect my cycling at all but I fear it could be a problem in the gym till I get surgery sorted out.

     
  4. mdplayer

    mdplayer New Member

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    I prefer to ride at home on the trainer. Likes the Doctor Morbius said, you can listen to what you want or watch what you want. Plus the othered added benefit I get from riding at home is the fact that you are already use to your bike's positioning and when spring time comes, you wont have to get used to that position again like you would have if your riding someone else's machine.
     
  5. in.10.city

    in.10.city New Member

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    I guess it all really depends on the type of bike. Personally, I can't sit on their seats since they are made for 'larger' individuals - not even the Spinning bike seats. Not to mention they don't adjust to an acceptable and comfortable position. Plus, if you ride clippless on a real bike, you probably won't be able to on the gym bike. You could tighten the toe straps down but you loose a lot of the upstroke benefit that you would get on a real bike. The only bike that I can actually use for more than 5 minutes is the recumbant exercise bike - and even there it isn't natural.
     
  6. mcortazzo

    mcortazzo New Member

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    I was very curious as to this idea as well. I am concerned with how my training 7 hours a week or so on a bike at my gym will transfer to the road or mountain when the weather is better. I try to vary my seat height and positioning while taking advantage of clipless pedal spinnning bikes once in a while in hopes to minimize the effects of different positioning on bikes.

    This topic has also brought up interesting topics about cycling and weight training. I have for 8 years or so been weight training 3-4 times a week while cycling on and off during the same period. This is the first year I have combined an depth lower body workout with cycing. I am curious as to the effects endurance training along with stronger legs. With about fifteen hours a week in training I hope it pays off on race day.

    -Mike
     
  7. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Personally I dislike indoor trainers. The original tour de France riders would go out in freezing temperatures in the big cols and wind up splattered by mud. I don't think I could push myself as hard on an indoor trainer and yesterday I was even out in the snow, toes frozen to the bone. I figure it toughens a cyclist up in the long run.
    However, cleaning the bike every day is a drag.

     
  8. tcklyde

    tcklyde New Member

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    I'm 100% for trainers.

    Number one issue for me is position. Gym bikes are not made to train cyclists. They're made for people who want to lose weight or hang out at the gym. The pedals are basically the only component they share with a real bike.

    Riding a bike stresses a lot more than your legs. You have to be use to the prone position. To where you keeps your hands on the bars. To the feel of the seat. To the length of your cranks. To the feel of your feet in the shoes. The position of your shoes on the pedal.

    If you want to train to ride your bike, train on your bike!

    Oh yeah, and the TV and radio choices are usually better at home than watching Oprah at the gym :)
     
  9. CatSpin

    CatSpin New Member

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    Your body will not know if you are indoors or outside considering you set up your spin bike, gym bike or trainer as close to your actual riding position as you can. During a "build" period in your training, much like Feb/March in the US, indoor training for your Sub LT and LT intervals allows you to more closely control time and effort (power or HR). During this same time period on the road, your needed 10, 15, 20 or 30 minute efforts are subject to stop signs, lights, slower cars (wink, wink), snow, ice etc etc.

    Use that indoor bike or trainer. Unless you are a pro and someone is paying you a salary to ride 6 days a week, take the training time as you can get it. Don't sacrifice convience (the gym bike) for exact training (riding outdoors). There is plenty of time to ride outside or race when YOUR time is right.

    Enjoy,

    CatSpin
     
  10. Mouse Potato

    Mouse Potato New Member

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    In addition to the various reasons stated so far for preferring an ordinary bike on a trainer at home to a gymnasium-style stationary bike, a big factor for me is temperature. At home I can set the aircon quite low and have a huge fan blowing air on me to keep things nice and comfortable. At the gym the temperature is really too warm and the air circulation too limited: even a short go of say 30 minutes decent effort has me feeling and looking like I've stepped out of the shower with all the perspiration. (Blech!)
     
  11. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    What I tend to do is have 2 bikes, one of which I use in all weathers (although I have to clean it all the time after rides). It's just personal opinion but I don't think indoor training on a stationary cycle is as good as actually being out on the road.
    For example, there is no substitute for actually being outside climbing in all weathers or sprinting against the clock. As opposed to a trainer, for example, my session this evening will probably take place in the dark when there are few cars on the road. If it's windy, so much the better as then you have the wind to fight against as well.
    Traffic lights can be fun. Sometimes I'm sprinting uphill and wondering whether I'll get a few seconds breather if the lights go red, or whether I'll be forced to push ahead without respite.


     
  12. jstraw

    jstraw New Member

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    With the caveat that I've never ridden on rollers, which I assume ameliorate the problem I'm about to spotlight...here goes...

    I hate real bikes on stationary trainers because real bikes are not rigidly held in the horizontal plane when you ride them. They rock from side to side...

    So when I ride indoors I prefer a stationary bike and I own a Tectrix Bikemax 1000 (now Cybex).

    I'm tempted by spinning bikes...since I could duplicate my bike position but as I said...I don't think riding stationary is anything like riding for real.

    So I just work legs and lungs and opt for the comfort of my Tectrix.
     
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