Indoor Cycling and Outdoor Cycling are not the same and neither are easy

Okay, so where to start? How about when we started riding bikes in 2017 on August 13th? When Annika and I started riding bikes our lives took a huge turn for the better and we started learning a lot more about who we wanted to be and what made us happy.

Shortly after we got bikes and started using Strava we were invited to join a Facebook club about fun cycling. Within that club, we were encouraged to ride more miles each day as they kept sort of a leaderboard. When I started riding longer miles and climbing their leaderboard straight to the top a member within the group sort of got sour. The more I rode the more I wanted to go further and further and in some cases going far outside was new to me so we got an indoor trainer to use Zwift for big rides too.

The moment I got on Zwift I was told immediately that I could no longer be in the cycling group cause indoor bike riding wasn’t riding and the guy had nothing but bad things to say from that point so I happily left their little club. The more I rode on an indoor though I realized that indoor cycling isn’t like outdoor cycling, it has similarities but the reality is indoor cycling can be so much harder.

Let’s look at what I’ve experienced outdoors on a bike. Now before I begin, I absolutely love outdoors riding over all forms of riding a bike; this is merely feedback on my experience and not just being a person like that crybaby asshole in the club that didn’t have experience.

Riding outdoors on a bike is a beautiful peaceful thing while at the same time if you’re a cyclist who likes to go fast it can be an endurance road race. I’ve gone fast and I’ve gone slow on a road bike and a mountain bike riding in groups of road bike riders. I’ve found that I don’t have an interest in the race side of things as I don’t have something to prove, riding is my happiness and that’s the peak of it all. I’ve climbed huge hills, hit high speeds, gone as long as 10 hours in the saddle without stopping for breaks other than stop lights or traffic. My longest ride so far is 150 miles in a single ride and it was done on Zwift indoors, outdoors longest ride is 120 miles.

I love the scenery of riding outside and I love the adventure of going anywhere by bike. I love to climb hills cause at the top I can enjoy that epic downhill ride as my reward. I love outdoor bike riding the most cause of the time I have to think and to get away from the world.

Now let’s look at Zwift as an indoor cycling option. Zwift is sort of like real-world cycling however it takes much more work to keep that speed. The tension that the trainer puts on your wheel to give that sort of real-world feel when going uphill is pretty cool but it isn’t at all compared to the real world. I’ve had to ride my bike 15mph to do 5 mph on Zwift in some situations, actually most. Also when Zwift puts out an update, they drop the ball when it comes to Wahoo products and it takes at least a week before it is riding normally again. Zwift does have a sort of real-world visual so that you can see the track while you’re riding and make turns as you want to. It is getting flooded with spammers and bullshit trainers though. Also, most of the riders on Zwift focus on KOM’s and they cheat a lot! KOM hunters, for the most part, are straight bullshit peeps, fake stats, cheating the system you name it; just another reason I have no interest in the race side of things. An example of a KOM cheat is we have a local rider here in Arizona who has done 90mph down our street on a bike; we call that guy a cheating piece of shit; he can be found on Zwift doing 300mph.

Back to the real point at hand about Zwift indoor versus an outdoor bike ride. In Zwift when I climb a huge hill and reach the top to go downhill if I stop pedaling my bike the bike on Zwift will stop; on any hill. Indoor riding doesn’t have a real world anything to it. You have to do double and sometimes triple the work to get the basics out of a ride; so indoor in this fashion is much harder than riding outside. Indoor is great for building muscles and endurance, it’s not perfect for just enjoying riding. I love Zwift for muscle building and endurance. I also use Zwift for long distance riding when I’m unable to go outside.

Peloton, whelp we just got the Peloton bike and already can say that it isn’t anything like riding outdoors nor anything like Zwift. Peloton, Zwift, and outdoor cycling are 3 completely different things and do three different things. Zwift, when you’re pedaling and then stop pedaling your bike, will keep rolling for a little bit. Like riding outside you can pedal and stop pedal over and over, on Peloton you can not! Peloton is spinning.

On the Peloton bike when you started pedaling you can’t stop pedaling unless you start slowly pedaling until you can bring it to a stop or you use the break. Peloton has no real-world resemblance. Peloton doesn’t have a real-world visual matrix like Zwift, Peloton simply has prerecorded videos to show scenery while you pedal. Peloton doesn’t have a system to change tension when going up or down a hill as Peloton doesn’t have a hill to climb, it’s all pedal and tighten the tension as you can and turn down low when you need to. So yes Peloton is a completely different system that Zwift and does so many different things to your body. Peloton from what we see right now can help build endurance. When you start a ride you’re basically watching a video while you pedal, during the video go as fast or slow as you want; then the real stats display on the screen to show your output such as mileage, speed, cadence, etc.

The biggest point of this article is to state very clearly that all riding or exercising, in general, are valid. If you’re working out then you are working out, don’t let some piece of shit bad mouth what you do. There are talkers and doers, be a doer. Riding indoors or outside or doing all of them are wonderful, epic, and are great for your body. We personally love all forms of riding bikes, indoors and outside and we plan to continue to use all forms of riding so that we can do so how we want to when we want to.

On that note, it’s time to get the day rolling. I’m gonna enjoy my coffee and do some working out, hugs and many thanks to our followers here on our website and our Patreon supporters. Have an epic adventure day.


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4 Thoughts

  1. I love Zwift. It breathed new life into my indoor training and the races are brutal, but I can’t sit on the trainer for more than 90 minutes or so before I get bored of the going nowhere. Sure the virtual miles don’t really compare to outdoor miles – that’s not the point. They’re different beasts.

    As long as you’re enjoying it and/or it’s making you a stronger rider it’s all good! Ride on! 🙂

  2. ‘Fraid I can’t get into the indoor riding, just as I can’t take to gym. I love the freedom a bike gives to explore and sightsee, and the rush of the wind.

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