Transitioning From Indoor to Outdoor Cycling

Making the switch to outdoor cycling takes more than just adding a long ride over the weekend. While regular workouts on your indoor bike have left in you a great position for outdoor rides this spring, there are a few things to keep in mind to keep the transition smooth. Here are a few tips for safe and fun outdoor riding this spring. Build your endurance through regular indoor training. If you’ve been sticking to steady state sessions on your indoor cycle, try mixing up the intensity and the time on and off the saddle during your workouts in order to mimic the wind, incline, and uneven terrain that you’ll experience on the road. Set up a great playlist and let it motivate you through an interval training session that will leave you prepared for whatever rolls your way. When you transition to outdoor riding, start with shorter rides to give yourself time to build up strength in the saddle. For more tips on getting into the right frame of mind, I like this article from Wellbridge. Stay Flexible. Between prepping your bike, packing for and dealing with the unexpected, and responding to changing weather conditions, outdoor cycling can be time consuming. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time before and after your ride and carry a cell phone in case you run into trouble. If the weather or your schedule doesn’t allow for long rides during the week, you can always mix up your schedule with some indoor training or shorter rides, taking advantage of the weekends for longer trips.
  Give some thought to safety. In addition to carrying a cell phone and a tire repair kit, you’ll want to plan for traffic, visibility, and road conditions. For more on safety and prepping, check out this list from Tridigest. If your ride takes place in the early morning or near dusk, wear reflective clothing and include a light on your bike. Inspect your shoes, pedals, and wheels for damage prior to heading out so that you don’t get stuck with unexpected problems on the road. Also, take your time building up endurance in your early rides of the season. Injury is more likely to happen as you fatigue and find yourself paying less attention to the road or losing form on your bike. Finally, as you build up your time in the saddle this spring, include some cross training that will counter the effects of time on the bike. In addition to your cycling workouts, include strength training that focuses on the quads, glutes, core, and shoulders and flexibility sessions addressing your hips, low back, quads, and shoulders. Enjoy your spring rides! – Joli About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more on the Meet Our Writers page.