“Baby, it’s cold outside!” As the seasons get cooler, cycling can get rougher – especially on days when inclement weather can make the road dicey. Not only do cold temperatures increase skeletal muscular stiffness as well as the risk of muscle tears, but heavy precipitation and wind can also create dangerous environments for cyclists and increase probability of accidents.
When outdoor riding isn’t your best option, indoor cycling can offer a fantastic training environment. Get strategic about taking control of your ride and boosting your training to the next level with our Top 5 Tips:
1. Dress for Success
While you can’t always control the temperature outdoors or indoors - your workout attire is something you certainly can. We recommend focusing on layers & sweat-wicking material to ensure you’re dressed for success.
Layers, layers, layers! We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but layering workout clothing is especially helpful when your body temperature can fluctuate from cold to hot then back to cold - potentially multiple times during a ride. Wearing removable layers of clothing during your workout affords thermal comfort, optionality, and optimization.
Are your workout clothes made of sweat-wicking fabric? As you’ll see in our 7 Tips To Help You Get Started With Indoor Cycling the #1 tip is to seek out athleticwear that is “sweat-wicking,” or designed to pull sweat away from the body. This helps prevent cold sweats both during and after your workout.
2. Take Warming Up & Stretching Seriously!
We’ve probably all heard about the importance of warming up and stretching, especially for an intense workout. Cooler weather only heightens the importance of getting our muscle tissues prepared as well as primed for recovery. How can you make sure you’re properly stretched and warmed up?
In this deeper-dive on Movement, Activation and Stretching for Indoor Cycling, we walk through a number of specific mobility movements, activation exercises, and stretches together with Matthew Smith, owner of REVO Physiotherapy and Sports Performance in Boulder, Colorado. Ever heard of Fire Hydrants, Skates, or the Couch Stretch? Either way, we’ve got you covered!
3. Ride at the Studio
When outdoor weather interrupts smooth cycling, the good news is that there are ample indoor cycling opportunities, including guided classes at local fitness studios and gyms with motivating coaching and curated music to amp up your workout. With all types of classes out there, how do you begin to choose?
If you’re just getting started on your group class search, or even looking to optimize your current discovery process, we recommend checking out our guide to Finding the Right Indoor Cycling Class. We cover some of the most important factors you’ll want to look out for that drive the overall class experience.
4. Ride at Home
If you happen to have an indoor bike or trainer that you can ride within the comfort of your home, your own turf provides the singular indoor riding environment where you have complete control of the temperature when that colder weather outdoors is keeping you indoors.
For our indoor riders, we’ve worked with industry experts to curate pointers to most out of your at-home riding, including our seven most recommended apps for the very best indoor riding experience, and top tips on optimizing our home riding setup.
5. Look out for Specialized Indoor Climate Control
A rising trend to watch out for is the use of intense indoor climate control at fitness studios and gyms to induce specific physical responses for training and recovery. You may have heard of temperature controlled sessions from hot yoga to cryotherapy, but have you heard of hot cycling? This is certainly a trend we’re keeping an eye on, with some potential places to check out in your neighborhood:
Known as the original heated cycling studio, Sweat Cycle in Los Angeles and Atlanta heats up its rooms to 80-86 degrees using infrared technology, with movement and interval sequences crafted to this environment in order to increase blood circulation and plasma, caloric burn, power output, VO2max, and more. A number of celebrity trainers such as Peloton’s Tunde Oyeneyin kicked off their coaching careers at this pioneering brand.
Whichever path you choose while riding indoors during the cooler seasons (maybe even multiple paths!) we hope you find something that you end up enjoying the whole year ‘round!