Jimmy - Jan 01 2020
Indoors Cycling Guide: 7 Essential Items you need to start cycling indoors for 2021
Technology has helped to increase the popularity of indoor cycling dramatically. Thanks to the development of turbo trainers and apps such as Zwift and Peloton there is a cult following for indoor cycling.
There are some significant differences between cycling outdoors and indoors, not least the fact that you do not move from the spot, no matter how much effort you exert.
Whether you have just bought your first turbo trainer, signed up for Peloton or want to make you indoor cycling experience even better. Here is a list of the 7 essential items you need to start cycling indoors (on the assumption you already have a turbo trainer or exercise bike).
- Cycling Shorts
- Other Cycling Clothes
- Women Sports Bra
- Cycling Shoes
- Indoor Bike Mat
- HR Monitor
- A fan and Towel
1. Cycling Shorts
One of the most critical items of cycling clothing is cycling shorts. Finding the best quality cycling shorts is just as crucial for indoor cycling. It can be easy to forget about your cycling clothes as you think that you can survive a 30 min indoor cycling workout without having to “dress like a cyclist.” However, the reality is that cycling shorts can make or break your training plan. Even during the most intense Peleton or Spin workouts, you will be spending a lot of time sitting on the seat. Without the proper protection, you can develop a nasty saddle rash or get serious discomfort from the wrong type/fit of padding.
Indoor cycling gets your blood pumping and your body sweating in an attempt to cool you down and maintain a healthy core temperature. Unlike cycling outdoors, you do not have to fight the wind, rain or cold. Therefore indoor cycling shorts need to be able to effectively wick away moisture better than they have to keep you warm. The best materials to wick away moisture are a synthetic blend of Nylon and Spandex. This combination is quick-drying and incredible at wicking away moisture, perfect for indoor cycling.
2. Other Cycling Clothes
Even if you are a regular cyclist, indoor cycling clothes do not have to have the same properties. Similar to cycling shorts, you need materials that wick away moisture and are quick drying. You do not need to worry about aerodynamics so you can prioritise comfort over super tight cycling clothes (other than your shorts).
Although a classic cotton T-shirt may seem appealing, this will soon become very uncomfortable after you build up a sweat. You can, however, wear a gym T-shirt, as you do not need a super tight-fitting top. Also, the pockets that cycling jerseys have are as useful during indoor cycling. For example, the pockets store the essentials like your card, key and snacks.
Light socks that are a quick-drying is a must. You will get hotter than you usually would, so should avoid the heavy wool socks you typically wear on your cycling commute.
Finally, a cycling cap not only makes you look like a serious cyclist, but it is also great at absorbing sweat from your head. This helps to prevent it from pouring into your eyes mid-workout and ruining your view of the screen.
The best cycling clothing for indoor cycling is a lot lighter than you are used to, it can be baggier and needs to help your body to breath.
3. Women only - Sports Bra
As a female indoor cyclist, you also need to make sure you have a comfortable sports bra to wear. A high-quality sports bra will help you to stay more comfortable by making sure that your torso moves as one unit. This is especially important for more intense workouts where you will be standing up out of the saddle.
Make sure your sports bra is tight enough to give you the support you need, but not too restrictive or uncomfortable. As with all your indoor cycling clothing, you need your sports bra to be moisture-wicking to help keep you cool.
4. Cycling Shoes
Cycling indoors is the perfect opportunity for you to learn to ride with cleats (with your feet clipped into the pedals). It helps you get used to having to unclip to dismount, without having a fear of falling over if you forget to twist your foot as you come to a stop.
Cycling shoes help improve cycling efficiency, making the most of the power you are putting into the pedal on the full pedal stroke. They also help to further define all your leg and butt muscles (meaning you look even better in your cycling shorts). Once you have gotten used to the action of twisting your feet to disconnect from the pedals, it becomes second nature.
That means that when you are ready to take your bike back out on the road, you will be able to wear cycling shoes.
5. Indoor Bike Mat
An indoor bike mat is an essential piece of equipment for indoor cycling. The mat should be laid underneath your exercise bike or turbo trainer.
Firstly an indoor bike mat helps to dampen the vibrations and noise of your turbo trainer. Particularly important if you live in a flat or are training upstairs on a wooden floor (honestly your family and neighbours will appreciate anything you do to keep the noise down). Also, an indoor bike mat absorbs all the sweat that you generate during your workout. It is much cleaner for it to be picked up by the mat than to drip on the floor or into the carpet. Finally, indoor bike mats are usually texturised with a non-slip design; this keeps your trainer firmly rooted to the ground, no matter how hard you are pedalling.
6. HR Monitor
Heart rate training is a great way to give some focus and structure to your workout, especially while cycling indoors. Choosing the right cycling clothing will help to keep you comfortable, but a good heart rate monitor will give you real-time feedback that will keep you focused on your goals and improve your fitness.
The most accurate seems to be the HR chest straps that sync with most cycling computers or digital devices through Bluetooth, giving you real-time data.
7. A fan and Towel
Without the wind and fresh air you get while cycling outside, you do get hot very quickly cycling indoors. So quick-drying and moisture-wicking cycling clothing is essential, but you will need some more assistance to help keep you cool and performing at your best.
Set up a small fan in front of you to replicate the feeling of the wind against your skin while cycling. This circulation of air will help keep you cool and improve your cycling clothes ability to wick away moisture.
In addition to a fan, you should also have a towel handy so that you can keep more comfortable and dry throughout your indoor cycling workout. No matter how good your cycling clothes are, you are going to sweat a lot more while cycling indoors, so be prepared.
To make the most of your indoor cycling workouts, you must get comfortable cycling shorts that are quick-drying and moisture-wicking. Your top does not have to be a tight-fitting cycling jersey, but should be breathable and have similar properties to that of your cycling shorts. Investing in a pair of cycling shoes is not only a safe way of learning how to use clip-in shoes, but it will also improve your pedalling efficiency. The addition of a HR monitor will help to give focus and structure to your indoor cycling workouts. Finally, invest in a fan and towel, as no matter how good your cycling clothes are, you are going to be sweating more than if you were outside.
Indoor cycling is an excellent way for you to maintain your cycling training without having to go out in the cold and wet. It can also be the perfect way for you to build up your fitness and learn the basics before you head out onto the road. Whether you are using the latest tech such as Peloton or an interactive racing app like Zwift, you need these essential items to start cycling indoors.
Remember to stay hydrated and have fun!
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