Gym cycling v real cycling

chuckla Posts: 132
edited March 2013 in Road beginners
As its been a bit cold and also I'm a pussy when it comes to riding alone in the dark! I've been putting the miles in at the gym on an exercise bike, sometimes on a rolling hills program, other times moving up and down the resistance myself.

According to the cycle computer, I'm averaging about 2:45 per mile, so covering about 20 miles. It doesn't feel like 20 miles, I know it's stationary and the position is different, but if feels a lot less! How accurate are these machines?
I know it's no substitute for getting on the road, so getting my thermals on tomorrow and will plug 20 miles and see how quick it happens!


  • estampida
    estampida Posts: 1,008
    the distance measurement is probably quite close (the uncertainty is not that far from a cycle computer, maybe an average of the GPS and odometer might get a closer distance)

    but in a gym you are missing:

    wind resistance
    tyre drag on road (it is constant and adjustable but not the same in gym)
    resistance of the gearing (considerably less on a exercise bike, and constant)

    the manufacturers will claim that it is very close to real life, but running or cycling you can tell who spends time exercising indoors when the incline changes rapidly or surface roughness, head wind and so on.... they will struggle as they never train for that
  • plus in a gym you can watch tv, listen to music, wear shorts a t shirt and shoes, have unlimited access to water and are being cooled by fans
  • Gizmodo
    Gizmodo Posts: 1,928
    plus in a gym you can watch [the fit women/men* wearing lycra], listen to music, wear shorts a t shirt and shoes, have unlimited access to water and are being cooled by fans

    (* delete as appropriate, or not if you prefer :shock: )
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    As static bike miles are nothing like real world miles it seems pointless comparing them. I think you would be better off doing a time-based workout at an effort level or a set of intervals - using either HR or RPE - and not worry about the apparent distance, though you could record it once you have finished.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Gym miles are nothing like the real world. Either go from perceived effort or your heart rate
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    2 sufferfest sessions on the turbo this week, sweated, grunted very hard work. Out on the road today, everything is harder, much harder, there's just no comparison IMO. Of course it will help your overall fitness, I'm not knocking that at all, but I'd guess people who have only done the gym bikes or turbo will get quite a shock first time on the road.
  • elderone
    elderone Posts: 1,410
    I have been on the turbo a bit with all this snow and ice but managed to get out yesyerday and did 25miles and it was much harder than the turbo..
    I really notice how hard the road is when there is a longer than normal gap betwwen road rides.The turbo can keep legs spinning and be hard work even,but no substitute for the road.
    That,s all I have to say about that.
    Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori
  • danlikesbikes
    danlikesbikes Posts: 3,898
    The machines are pretty accurate in the data you get. But is hard to compare due to the set up of the bike, the mechanicals of how the bike works & the physicals as others have described. If your in a gym because you don't like being out in the cold & don't have a turbo a better compromise would be a good quality spin session.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • Roobsa
    Roobsa Posts: 37
    Gym cycling is better than no cycling though.
  • chuckla
    chuckla Posts: 132
    Did 14 miles on the road today, firs 7 or 8 had one hell of a head wind! Every other cyclist I saw was going in the opposite direction! Todo just over an hour, would have been a bit quicker, but the water bottle on my bro's bike just out at speed as he hit a bump in the road on the A48 so stopped to retrieve it! Time flew by on that run mind! Will be back in the gym on week days this week, coz I won't be riding in the dark and then a 40 miler planned for next Saturday morning!