There are few things in life more fun than riding a bike, and the summer months are some of the best times to enjoy life on two wheels. However, hot temps, unexpected thunderstorms, and buggy muggy conditions might mean you need to take a few of your rides indoors when it gets too extreme to safely pedal outside.
Thankfully, there are ways to make indoor training both safe and effective. In fact, lots of triathlon pros like Andy Potts, Lindsay Corbin, and Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae incorporate regular indoor riding into their training schedules to ensure they get in quality, targeted miles on the bike.
Here are six reasons to plan some indoor rides this summer, and a fun way to do it! We’ve included a one-hour workout that will help increase your cadence and speed in the saddle, and a playlist to go along with the drills. All you need to do is clip in, click the link, and go!
6 Reasons Indoor Riding is Awesome
1. Keep Cool
It’s not a secret that it can get hot outside during the summer months. If you’re sensitive to high temperatures or need to get in your training during the hottest hours of the day, riding indoors is the best way to stay cool and safe while you’re training.
2. Avoid Weather
I live in Florida, which means it can literally be sunny in the front yard and raining in the back. Although many cyclists don’t mind a little rain during a ride, if you’re in an area where dangerous storms with high winds and lightning can pop up out of nowhere, taking your spin indoors can eliminate that risk.
3. Safety First
Although cyclists have many of the same rights on the roadway as vehicles, it’s not always safe to ride out there unless you’re with a group. If you live in an area that doesn’t have bike lanes or paths and can only ride solo, taking your training inside might be the safest way to get in the miles.
4. Focused Workouts
If you’ve ever had your coach prescribe intervals, hills climbs, or a time trial and attempted to do the workout outdoors, you may have run into some complications. It’s difficult to find a hill that takes exactly 2 minutes to climb, for example, or to find a straight section of road where you can drop the hammer for 20 minutes with no interruptions, traffic, or stop signs. If you want to be able to do your ride exactly as prescribed, doing it indoors is your best bet.
If you’ve ever been in desperate need of some cold water or a bathroom break while on your bike 50 miles away from home, you know what I’m talking about there. There’s something to be said for riding indoors when you’re steps away from creature comforts.
6. Sun Protection
The hot summer sun means lots of exposure to cancer-causing rays when you’re out on your bike. You can help prevent damage by wearing sunscreen, reapplying it regularly, and investing in gear with built-in protection, but that doesn’t eliminate the risk 100%. As an alternative, you can take one or two of your rides weekly indoors to cut down on your time exposed to the harsh rays without sacrificing your fitness and training.
Sample Indoor Ride for Speed
You can focus your indoor training sessions in a variety of ways, and this sample hour-long workout is designed to help build speed. First, you’ll warm up; then you’ll do a series of drills that focus on your cadence (or RPM’s) while adding intensity.
All you’ll need is a bike, trainer, and cadence sensor, or a spin bike that measures your cadence. We’ve put together a playlist that will help you hit the targets if you follow the beat, and you can click to listen to it on Spotify for free.
Remember, this workout can be tailored to your needs and fitness level so go at your own pace and have some fun!
Let's Do This!
Minute 0-10 Warm Up
Spin it out for the first 10 minutes keeping pace with the music and adding resistance until you’re on a steady flat road and you feel ready to hit it hard during your workout. This should be a gradually increasing effort that ends in low to mid Zone 2.
“Take on Me” A-ha (4 mins at 85 RPM)
“Candyman” Christina Aguilera (3 mins at 86 RPM)
“Footloose” Kenny Loggins (4 mins at 88 RPM)
Minute 11-15 Interval
When the song starts, pick up your cadence to try to match the beat (around 110 RPM). Adjust your gearing to ensure you’re not bouncing in the saddle. Hang onto this pace through the second chorus at around two minutes. Following the chorus, during the musical interlude let your pace slow down and take the break to catch your breath (30 seconds). When the vocals start up again, increase your pace back to 110 RPM and hang onto it until the end of the song.
“Life in the Fast Lane” Eagles (5 minutes at 110 RPM )
Let your cadence fall back to a more comfortable pace for the duration of this song. If you follow the beat, you’ll be at 93 RPM. Once you’ve caught your breath, if you can, add a gear to increase your resistance heading into your next interval set.
“No Scrubs” TLC (3 mins at 93 RPM)
This short and sweet song is your next interval. Pick up your cadence to try to match the beat at 115 RPM. Think “fast feet” and focus on both pushing and pulling during your pedal stroke while keeping your upper body stable. Hang on to your speed for the entire song.
Take your speed down a notch and catch your breath. If you match the beat, you’ll be spinning out your legs at 94 RPM. Now is a great time to towel off and grab some water before your next round. If you can, give yourself another gear to make it more intense.
Get pumped up for your next interval, the longest in the workout. It’s all downhill from here. Find the beat early on in the song (around 109 RPM) and hang onto it for the full four minutes. If you find yourself fatiguing, think about dropping your heels and relaxing your shoulders down away from your ears. You should climb into a high zone 3 during this interval.
“Eye of the Tiger” Survivor (4 minutes at 109 RPM)
A long interval means a long recovery. Hit the beat (94 RPM) and flush out your legs. Try to keep your resistance the same as your spin out, and if you want a challenge, add one more gear. You only have two interval songs left.
“Girls” Rita Ora (4 mins at 94 RPM)
After your longest interval, it’s time to do one of your fastest. This song is quick, and you’ll need to maintain 119 RPM’s to keep the beat. Hang onto it for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, and you’ll only have one left to go.
“We Are Family” Sister Sledge (3:30 at 119 RPM)
This is your last recovery before your final long interval, so make the most of it. Now is the time to do a top-down check to ensure your body is relaxed and your form looks good. Three minutes here at 94 RPM.
“Bella” Wolfine and Maulma (3 mins at 94 RPM)
Here it is, your last interval! This one will progress in two parts. When the song starts, increase your cadence to try to hit the beat. It’s 125 RPM’s so it’s FAST. It might be too quick to match it, but chase it to the best of your ability while keeping good form.
Hold this tempo through the second chorus at about two minutes into the song. Take the next verse and chorus (about a minute) following that chorus to recover just a bit by backing off your pace. Try to keep your RPM’s above 90 and get your mental game ready to go for round two.
At the 2:45 mark, it’s time to pick it back up. You’ll know when as a chorus of dudes singing “Get buck” (whatever that means) will get you pumped up and count you down to the last interval.
Pick it back up and hang on until the end of the song.
“Too Legit to Quit” MC Hammer (5:30 at 125)
51-60 Cool Down
Take some time following this workout to cool down, decrease your cadence and resistance, and let your heart rate fall. Drink lots of water and pat yourself on the back, that was a hard (and fun) workout!
“I like me Better” Lauv (3 mins at 92 RPM)
“Despacito” Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee (4 mins at 88 RPM)
“Lean on Me” Bill Withers (4 minutes at 78 RPM)
Written by Nicole Kurz, Siren Luminary
Follow Nicole on Instagram! @nicolemkurz