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Riding outdoors makes you happy and healthy

There’s only one place to ride a bicycle and that is outdoors, but through the winter more cyclists have been taking to indoor cycling to avoid the rain and cold. We’re here to remind you of all the benefits of cycling outside. 

We’re sure most of you don’t need us to tell you why cycling outdoors is so much better than indoors cycling, but just in case, here are six reasons.

- 6 reasons why using a home trainer is the best way to get fit over the winter — and how to make it fun too

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing

Yes, the rain and cold can make facing the outdoors challenging at times. But provided you’ve got the right clothing you can face any weather.

Cycle clothing has come on leaps and bounds in recent years with some big textile developments that make it so much easier to face the rain or cold weather. Waterproof and breathable jackets, waterproof socks, neoprene gloves, soft shell jackets. The Gabba. You don’t even need to spend a fortune either as the quality and performance you can get in clothing that doesn’t break the bank is impressive these days. 

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Cycling outdoors makes you happy

There’s nothing like the feeling of air rushing past your face and the exhilaration from hurtling along a road at high speed to make you feel alive and lift your mood. You don’t get that in a gym that’s for sure. 

According to some research outdoor exercise can be a cure for the seasonal affective disorder that some people suffer from at this time of year when the days are short and the nights long. So that’s a good reason right there for shunning the indoor trainer.

Riding outside is sociable

You can’t ride with friends on an indoor trainer. Though saying that Zwift does allow you to ride with virtual partners. What we mean of course if you can’t go for a ride with a group of friends and have a good old natter, racing each other to the top of each hill and then celebrate with a slab of cake and hot drink. Riding in a group is also safer and you’re more likely to push yourself that little bit harder.

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Cycling is a great sociable activity and it’s one of the big appeals for many cyclists. Doing regular rides with friends is a great motivator as well, especially if you’re feeling a bit lazy or the weather is a bit iffy. No one likes to let a friend down. 

Cold weather helps you burn fat

According to a study cycling in cold weather can promote the growth of brown fat (brown adipose tissue) which burns white fat and can reduce sugar levels. The brown fat consumes a lot of energy producing heat to keep you warm in cold weather and this process can help regulate body weight. So cycling outside in the cold is good for you.

Cycling outdoors is interesting

Who wants to sit on a stationary trainer staring at the wall or trying to distract yourself from the tedium and utter boredom by listening to music and watching television? Not us. Cycling outdoors is infinitely more interesting as you have the beautiful great outdoors, whether country or urban, to enjoy and prevent you ever getting bored. 

The outdoors gives you the chance to enjoy spectacular views, watch the sun rise over the valley, experience the transition from one season to the next, experiences that are far more enjoyable than staying indoors staying at a screen. Plus there's night riding which, provided you're prepared with decent lights, can be hugely enjoyable. 

Plus, not only is riding indoors on a stationary trainer so boring, it 'might' also knacker your bike, as Mat found out when he spoke to a few brands about using carbon bikes in a turbo.

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Outside is free

To borrow the popular #outsideisfree hashtag, cycling outdoors doesn’t cost you anything unlike indoor training which requires an expensive turbo trainer at the very minimum, and a smart trainer and Zwift subscription if you’re really going to invest in cycling indoors. Yes, there will be those rides in the rain, cold wind and snow even, but there’ll also be rides in the sun and it’s those rides that you’ll look forward to and remember fondly. 

What gets you cycling outdoors?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

65 comments

Avatar
tsarouxaz [134 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

ITS LIKE COMPARING MASTURBATION WITH SEX... COME ON GUYS....

Avatar
carytb [136 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
HalfWheeler wrote:
andyeb wrote:

There does seem to be a particular brand of cyclist, that believes the basic rules of physics, for some unknown reason, do not apply to them...those who think that their tyres still grip on black ice.

You could just cut your cloth accordingly. Busy or just even moderately busy rural A class roads are always gritted, the flow of traffic spreads the grit and breaks any ice up. Not my first choice of road, utility miles when all said and done, but better than sitting on a turbo.

Round where I live going out on main roads in the cold & wet with low sun certainly gets the heart rate up!

 

Avatar
big mick [189 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
steviemarco wrote:

I'm using Zwift because where I work (10 days on shift and 4 days off away from my home) the roads are awfull (Lincolnshire) and the drivers worse. After my 10hr shift  it's dark and for my own safety I choose to ride indoors. On my 4 days off I'll get out onto the road at a reasonable time of day but while at work Zwift has totally changed my opinion about training indoors even more so since I bought a Kickr. I think as long as you're riding your bike, and it's not collecting dust in the garage, who really cares whether it's indoors or out #justride

Steve is right.It don't matter indoors or out.It all counts and works.I'm thinking of trying  zwift this winter.I'm sick of freezing my arse off in the north of England.Winter is no fun so#justride anyway you can

 

Avatar
davel [2719 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
big mick wrote:
steviemarco wrote:

I'm using Zwift because where I work (10 days on shift and 4 days off away from my home) the roads are awfull (Lincolnshire) and the drivers worse. After my 10hr shift  it's dark and for my own safety I choose to ride indoors. On my 4 days off I'll get out onto the road at a reasonable time of day but while at work Zwift has totally changed my opinion about training indoors even more so since I bought a Kickr. I think as long as you're riding your bike, and it's not collecting dust in the garage, who really cares whether it's indoors or out #justride

Steve is right.It don't matter indoors or out.It all counts and works.I'm thinking of trying  zwift this winter.I'm sick of freezing my arse off in the north of England.Winter is no fun so#justride anyway you can

 

I'm sick of winter already and it isn't even autumn yet. 'Summer' was a fucking joke. If it isn't biblical rain it's the arse-end of gales. There's loads less weather in my garage... Just need to find a way of WFH 5 days per week...

Avatar
dottigirl [862 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Y'know, I've had some better winter rides than summer.

There's nothing like heading off for a bit of work-dodging, with the right amount of layers, having a lovely crisp ride, a couple of pints afterwards and getting home nicely tired to a warm house, hot shower and masses of stodgy food.

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