Indoor cycling is a great way to improve fitness and overall health, but many people find it uncomfortable and painful.
Based on my experience and trial-and-error, I know what factors cause this discomfort and pain, but also some possible solutions.
So, below, I will provide tips and strategies for making indoor cycling more comfortable so that you can enjoy all its benefits.
1. Tackle Saddle Discomfort
Saddle discomfort is one of the most common issues faced by indoor cyclists.
This phenomenon is caused by the fixed position of the saddle when pedaling. It basically acts as sandpaper.
When you cycle outdoors, the saddle moves in a wave-like motion from left to right.
But most bike trainers and exercise bikes are rigid. So, they won’t move from side to side unless you use a rocker plate.
There are multiple solutions to saddle discomfort. Let me explain them one by one.
Use a Rocker Plate
A rocker plate is a platform that sits under your bike trainer and allows for a more natural riding motion.
It reduces the stress on your intimate parts and makes your ride more engaging and fun.
In my other articles, I wrote about rocker plate benefits and explained how rocker plates work.
If you are a passionate cyclist or spend a lot of time riding indoors, it’s a worthy investment. Check out the best rocker plates.
Wear Cycling Shorts
Consider using padded cycling shorts (also called bib shorts) or a gel saddle cover to add extra comfort to your ride.
Riding with or without them is like day and night. Just remember to wear them without underwear.
Experiment with Different Saddles
No saddle suits all. I had to try about 5 saddles before I found the one that fits me well.
I prefer short nose saddles with a cutout. Those are more gentle on intimate parts (browse them here). But you may prefer a wide saddle with more cushion.
You can check out my article on choosing a bike saddle if you need help knowing where to begin.
2. Adjust the Bike Fit
Proper bike fit is essential for preventing discomfort and pain while cycling, not only outdoors but also indoors.
When setting up your exercise or smart bike, take the time to adjust the saddle position (its height, fore-and-aft position, and angle) to fit your body.
A proper bike fit will ensure that you won’t put unnecessary pressure on your knees, hips, or back.
So, how to do that?
When adjusting the saddle, make sure it’s level. When you sit on the bike, your knees should be slightly bent when the pedal is at the lowest point.
You should also adjust the handlebar to reach them comfortably without stretching or hunching over.
I recommend watching the following video for more tips.
3. Keep Cool
Keeping cool during indoor cycling will improve your comfort and overall performance because you avoid overheating, which has the opposite effect. (Source 1, Source 2)
Use an indoor cycling fan or air conditioning. Just be careful not to set the temperature too low when using it, so you don’t get sick.
In addition to keeping cool, it’s also important to take care of your body during the exercise. Drink enough and eat something during longer workouts.
4. Mix Up Your Routine
Indoor cycling can quickly become monotonous and boring. One way to combat this is by mixing up my routine.
You can mix your cadence, riding style (in and out of the saddle), or stretch. These simple tricks break the routine, making the training more engaging.
Or, you can try using different indoor cycling apps, such as Zwift or ROUVY, to add variety to your rides.
These apps provide virtual environments to ride in, as well as the ability to ride with others in real time.
5. Invest in the Right Indoor Cycling Equipment
Another way to make indoor cycling more comfortable is by investing in the right equipment.
For example, some trainers like the Wahoo KICKR provide slight side-to-side tilt, so they are not as rigid as other trainers.
A bike trainer mat placed under your trainer (spin bike) can absorb vibrations and improve your riding comfort further. And it will also protect your floor and make the trainer quieter.
Regarding bike trainers, there are many brands to choose from. Some of the best bike trainer brands include Tacx, Wahoo, and Elite.
The following tips helped me to make my indoor cycling more comfortable. I recommend you try them too:
- Make sure your exercise bike (or bike) has the proper fit to avoid possible injuries and overloading some muscle groups.
- Use a rocker plate to allow your saddle to swing from side to side and move freely under your butt.
- Keep yourself cool by using a fan and hydrated by drinking enough fluids.
- Wear cycling shorts
I hope you find these tips helpful. Please, share them with your friends if you do so.
Preview picture source: saris.com