This might seem like an obvious thing but for many triathletes here in the UK riding through winter can be a challenge. For people who feel the cold, are new to riding or nervous on their bike it can be easy to retreat to your turbo and stop riding outside.
While a lot of indoor riding is good for your fitness it’s still important to get outside for a many reasons.
Cycling is technical. It’s a skill that needs to be practised. Descending, cornering, hills, using gears, dealing with strange roads, pot holes and general bike handling.
Having good skills is free speed on the bike and many triathletes totally underestimate the benefits this.
Cycling outside is dynamic and constantly changing. It requires reaction and attention which riding on the turbo doesn’t teach you.
Cycling indoors is the opposite of dynamic. It’s very static. Which can be bad for your bottom and bad for your back. This is because the turbo isn’t moving like a real bike is. So sitting locked in to one position for a long time can be sore for your bottom and being in a very static position can make your back very stiff.
It gives you a real life gauge of your fitness and average speed. Many modern turbo’s give an estimate of your speed based on your weight, power, resistance but it’s not real life and can lead you into a false sense of security.
Riding outside gives you a chance to experience the elements. Wind, rain, wet roads, bad surfaces etc. Just like you might on race day.
Riding outside can be less mentally taxing than riding on the turbo as there’s more to look at and distract your brain from the monotony. Actually riding somewhere rather than on the spot is much easier.
Riding outside gives you experience of riding up and down hills so that you develop the skills, confidence and experience of how to cope with hills.
You get some fresh air and Vitamin D which is always good.
You sweat less!!