Bike Riding – Road vs Stationary?
This post is dedicated to Julie and to Louise 🙂
Bike riding is fun! You can do road, track or mountain biking. You can do sprints or endurance racing. You can do tricks, flips and BMX racing. You can also watch TV if you use a stationary bike. I used to ride everywhere when I was a kid. My brother and I even made up patterns and routines to synchronise our riding...and then look down on the other kids who tried to copy us!
My personal opinion...
I personally *don't* like to ride bikes for a number of reasons
- I am quite tall in the torso - therefore the bike I would need would be quite expensive to buy and set up - no $200 K Mart bike for me!
- My back doesn't like too much flexion and my hips aren't flexible enough - this causes me to "wiggle" side to side in a flexed position and it strains my back
- I simply lack the leg power to be good at riding. I can cruise, I can cycle leisurely but I don't do well when I need to get somewhere fast. My legs simply burn out too fast
All of these problems can be fixed of course. They aren't *good* reasons not to ride, they just happen to be *the* reasons why I don't like to 🙂
But for the right person, riding is great!
Riding is a great aerobic workout. You get to pump your big leg muscles which really challenges your cardiovascular system. If you concentrate, you can develop great lumbopelvic hip stability and good core stability. And if you like the look of big strong legs, then a cyclist is who you are after! Check out the legs on Anna Meares - they are pure muscle! A cyclists abs are also quite good as they concentrate on maintaining their form and keeping their trunk still so their legs push the pedals as hard as possible.
Stationary vs Road?
A "real" cyclist rides on the road. The stationary bikes are for gyms and assessment only! For the average person though, the stationary bike offers them a chance to gain the physical benefits of riding without having to buy the equipment, worry about getting run over or getting wet in the rain!
Of the stationary bikes, there are a few types
- a road bicycle that has their back wheel raised - a trainer (see image)
- a typical upright stationary bike
- a recumbent bike
- a Spin bike
- Any other bikes that I may have missed go here!
Wikipedia has a good article on the recumbent bike and the different pros and cons - you can read it here...
Basically I prefer people to train on upright bikes unless they cannot achieve a good position that is safe for their back.
What gets my goat...
Can you guess what it is??
What really gets my goat is when I go to the gym and I see people sitting on the bike turning the pedals over at a leisurely pace, barely working up a sweat. They are kidding themselves. Some people do it to say "I went to the gym today". Others do it because they know they should "warm up" before weights but can't be bothered doing it properly. Whatever the reason, if you are going to ride a bike, do it properly!!
One thing I want you to focus on
The next time you are at a gym, watch the person riding in front of you. Are they keeping their torso still while their legs are pumping away? If they aren't, the chances are that they will eventually suffer an injury. Do you want to be like that?
So focus on keeping your torso still and push through your legs. Ideally, there should not be any side to side movement of your back when you ride.
Let's hear from the world's greatest cyclist 🙂
I was at the Gym yesterday and I went to a cycle class, for the first time in ages. Before commencing the class I asked the Instructor for help setting up. She advised me the proper way to sit, how to set up the stationary bike for my height and even how to push the pedals. Riding a bike, when done properly is not as easy as people might think.
Thank you AL.
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For me, I choose the spin bike to workout. Love it. You feel so strong after a spin class!