Recovery rides incremental benefit to no ride

Velo Jayhawk

New Member
Jul 31, 2006
I've searched but not found an answer to a very specific question - does a low intensity, ~ 1 hour ride provide greater benefit for recovery than not riding at all? Benefit in terms of cellular repair, mitochondrial generation, etc.

Given that I'm not a pro and have other things that need my time, if I do a couple of easy rides each week that means I generally have less time for the harder mid-week rides.

For example, I ride hard on Saturday morning long rides, (4-5 on a 5 scale), Sunday afternoons a bit shorter and usually a 3 -4, and another solid 4 on Wednesdays for maybe 2 hours. I fill in on Mondays with something like a 1 hour ride at a 2, and Thursday is maybe a 3 for around 1 1/2 hours.

Would adding another easy ride Tuesday and/or Friday add incremental benefit? To do so, I'd probably have to shorten the hard midweek ride on Wednesday.


Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
Velo Jayhawk said:
...- does a low intensity, ~ 1 hour ride provide greater benefit for recovery than not riding at all? ....
Folk's debate this question, but it depends in part on how you define "benefit." Easy L1 riding does little or nothing in terms of increasing your aerobic fitness but it can help loosen you up and it does burn a few calories. If you're working to drop weight then it adds one or more days of easy caloric burn, if you find yourself tight the day after a complete rest day then switching to an easy spin can help you stay looser and ready for the real workout. But those easy spin days won't directly improve your aerobic fitness so if you don't feel tight and blocked up after complete rest and you're time limited as you mention, it might be better to just stay off the bike on rest days. Folk's that can't help but go hard and chase down others would benefit by taking total rest days as well.

I've mostly been taking total rest days this year instead of easy spins. It sort of depends on where I am in a training cycle, how much spare time I have and my larger goals. When I was dropping weight this spring I did easy spins for an hour or so on rest days since that's still a few hundred calories per ride but more often than not I just take the day off and focus on other things.

Folks definitely have differing opinions on this subject, but particularly if your time is limited it makes sense to just rest on your easy days and spend your training hours for actual training.

Good luck,


New Member
Aug 12, 2005
I like and have both.

If I'm going to do a really hard workout after a rest/recovery day, I typically "feel" better having done an easy spin on that day.

On the other hand, I think the freshness lasts longer into the week after a complete day off, so my Tuesday's are typically L2 longer ride days so I can take Monday off completely.