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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Thumbs up Spinning to get stamina & leg strength back?

    Hey guys I had a quick question, so I started cycling around the end of last summer, I road my bike back and forth to work everyday (around 14-16 mile commute). Since the fall/winter seasons came I haven't road my bike at all. I know some people cycle even during the winter months, but I am someone who cannot take cold at all, if the weather is under 65 I am a wreck and cannot function properly .
    My question is, is it a good idea to hit the gym and use the spin cycles to get my stamina and leg strength back as the Spring approaches? Does anyone have any experience doing this and could possibly provide some insight? Possibly some better alternatives than the spin cycles for leg strength?

    Thanks,
    Jiggy

  2. #2
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    Invest in a trainer, set up bike and spin to a video or tv program

  3. #3
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    Simple answer: yes, spin at the gym.

    Since it seems that you just want to commute, spinning will help you maintain. If you wanted to race you should think about getting a trainer and mixing it with weights and different exercises.

  4. #4
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    Many moons ago I did the on again/ off again thing, riding in the warmer months and essentially hibernating in the cooler months, but (predictably) lost fitness and had to 'retrain' every spring. After a couple of years I invested in a stationary trainer. Far from ideal, but better than nothing and better (IMO) than using a bike that hasn't been fitted to you.

    What and how much you do in the off season (and in season as well) depends on your goals, but you can mix up time on the trainer (or spin cycle) with some core exercises, stretches/ yoga and weights.

    IME all of the above take a higher level of discipline than just hopping on your bike on a sunny, warm day, but the payback is increased stamina/ performance on those days.
    Last edited by PJ352; 03-09-2013 at 04:30 PM. Reason: correction..

  5. #5
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    It can't hurt. Most road cyclists who take time off in winter do some indoor riding, whether on spin bikes at a gym, or on a trainer that they put their bike on at home. While it doesn't exactly duplicate road riding, you're using the major muscles in the same way, so it's certainly useful for maintaing some fitness.

    I like spin bikes. I bought one for home some years ago (found a floor demo model discounted, though it was still a chunk of change). It's a pain on the rare occasions when I've moved it from room to room (probably weighs 120 pounds), but I like the workout I can get.

    And get some warm clothes and toughen up a little. 65? ;-)

  6. #6
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    I would kill for 65 degrees right about now.

  7. #7
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    Spinning is a good way to get into shape if you've got a gym with a good instructor. My local gym has a good spin instructor who's got a very defined idea of what she's trying to do with HR training. Even the cheerleader/screamer types who don't really have any idea what they're doing and just wanna get your HR up aren't bad, put on some earbuds and do your own thing. For whatever reason, being in a class full of other people makes it more interesting than trying to watch TV in your living room on the trainer.

    I've got a trainer (that I never use), and though I'm just riding through winters in SoCal now, I'd rather ride in the cold/wet, or go to a spin class than spend time on my trainer.

  8. #8
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    i like it for the HR training, plus it's more social (and easier on the eyes) than sitting on the trainer.

  9. #9
    Wheel Spinner
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    Re: Spinning to get stamina & leg strength back?

    I'm the same way. Below 55 degrees is my limit. I am much happier riding indoors in room temperature than suffering through cold weather and blowing my nose every five minutes.

    I use to use a trainer, but I am doing the rollers now. I find those to be better overall. Plus, the rollers I use, have three resistance settings that makes it even harder than my kurt kinetic trainer.

    Took me about a month to get comfortable on the rollers, but worth it. I am still a long ways from no hands and/or one legged tricks though.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggy View Post
    if the weather is under 65 I am a wreck and cannot function properly
    The Scandavians have a saying: there's no such thing as too cold weather - only people who dress badly. There are lots of high tech clothes available for cycling that will keep you warm.
    Last edited by Kerry Irons; 02-26-2013 at 04:48 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you View Post
    I would kill for 65 degrees right about now.
    I would kill for 45, seriously.

    Last week it was -7 F here, -28 F windchill.

  12. #12
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    Hey guys sorry I took so long to reply, thanks for all the feedback. I actually bought a membership to the gym today will begin spinning (and other exercises) this Thursday. I will be spinning 4 times a week until the weather is stays above 65 consistently. Right now we are averaging around 50, with mornings in the upper 30's. I will defintely look into buying a trainer as well, when my budget is able to accommodate.
    Again thanks guys


    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    And get some warm clothes and toughen up a little. 65? ;-)
    Quote Originally Posted by MN_Roadie View Post
    I would kill for 45, seriously.

    Last week it was -7 F here, -28 F windchill.
    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you View Post
    I would kill for 65 degrees right about now.

    I don't know where you guys are from, but I'm from Atlanta,GA.. Born & raised in the south. Under 65 is cold to me, especially for cycling. That cold air hitting your face..... Just the thought of it is terrifying! I really can't handle being cold... I can barely walk around my house when it's cold. I don't even want to take my feet from under the blankets. Until my thermometer in my house hits 70, I'm not leaving the bed or moving. If I have to pee, I will hold it.

    I can't do it man....

  13. #13
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    Re: Spinning to get stamina & leg strength back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggy View Post
    Hey guys sorry I took so long to reply, thanks for all the feedback. I actually bought a membership to the gym today will begin spinning (and other exercises) this Thursday. I will be spinning 4 times a week until the weather is stays above 65 consistently. Right now we are averaging around 50, with mornings in the upper 30's. I will defintely look into buying a trainer as well, when my budget is able to accommodate.
    Again thanks guys









    I don't know where you guys are from, but I'm from Atlanta,GA.. Born & raised in the south. Under 65 is cold to me, especially for cycling. That cold air hitting your face..... Just the thought of it is terrifying! I really can't handle being cold... I can barely walk around my house when it's cold. I don't even want to take my feet from under the blankets. Until my thermometer in my house hits 70, I'm not leaving the bed or moving. If I have to pee, I will hold it.

    I can't do it man....
    Man up. I rode 50 miles recently where the high was 7 not factoring wind chill. You can do it =)

  14. #14
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    You would have been weeded out by natural selection if it were pre Industrial Revolution times. Although I am firmly in the man up camp, I will not belittle you because I liked it when you said I cant do it man and then inserted a frowny face. Its endearing.

    But just to review, 50F is not cold at all. sub 40 is getting chilly, sub 30 is chilly, sub 20 is cold. Anything sub that is hardcore material.

    I can only assume youve never ridden when it got cold or that you didnt have the right clothing.

    Oh, to answer your question, yes spinning will absolutely help.
    I ride mostly in the honorable pursuit of being kissed on both cheeks at the same time by one blond and one brunette. But not redheads, they scare me.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonG View Post
    You would have been weeded out by natural selection if it were pre Industrial Revolution times.
    Not if he lived in the tropics, where people evolved and where most of them lived until a few thousand years ago.

    But yeah, it would have been rough if he were born in Germany 500 years ago.

  16. #16
    Wheel Spinner
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    Re: Spinning to get stamina & leg strength back?

    Do you guys really enjoy riding at those temps? Ive tried colder than my usual 55. I have the cycling jacket and leggings and multiple layers, but its just not enjoyable. If I was training for a team or getting paid for it, that would we where I'd "man up".

    Id suspect if was raised in a colder climate or had a few years of living up north in Chicago or something, id get use to it. Been in Houston, Texas for most of my life, so im used to the warm temps. I can get out in the 100 degree temps and be ok.
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  17. #17
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    If you stay cold outside at 65 you need to go faster and harder. anything above 50 should see you getting pretty warm once you get going. Are you riding at any measurable speed? No climbing to do where you are?

  18. #18
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    Personally id say man up and bike in the cold, 65 isnt even that bad (and this is coming from a california boy).

    But I guess if that doesnt work for you, spinning is the best option.

  19. #19
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    Yesturday's ride started in 63.0 F weather, dressed in Bib Shorts and a Short Sleeve Jersey. Plenty warm enough with the heat generated during the ride. Today's Ride, 54.0 F and overcast with raining threatening. Dressed in Bib Shorts, leg warmers, long sleeve jersey and a windbreaker, long fingered gloves and a over the ears skull cap. Plenty warm and a tad over dressed for the ride. What I am getting at, you have to dress appropriately for the weather. It is far easier to take off, fold and tuck under the jersey than it is to put on non existent clothing..

  20. #20
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    Yesterday's ride of 53 miles started off at 34f with light flurries and ended with mostly sunny 40f. Couldn't stop thinking of how I hate the cold...I guess you could say I survived but don't like the cold none the less. Chalk it up to March riding in New England.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    The Scandavians have a saying: there's no such thing as too cold weather - only people who dress badly. There are lots of high tech clothes available for cycling that will keep you warm.
    I can say that I have gone as low as lower 30's in Central Illinois, but even that is pushing it. I love the mid to upper 90's with the sun shining for my rides. It doesn't get better than that. It irritates me to no end the constant runny nose while cold riding, but I do it anyway. All the expensive cold weather riding clothes aren't in my budget. I have been loosing a lot of weight which makes it that much more expensive. After I stabilize, I'll start looking at making a few purchases. After all, I am still a beginner and I can't buy everything at once anyway.
    I go to the gym and do a bunch of cardio. It may not be the same exact muscles, but it is helping my heart rate and breathing which should help me in the end. My average has only dropped 2-3 mph through all of this. I can live with that.

  22. #22
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    Riding OUTSIDE in the cold with appropriate clothing trumps riding inside any day that doesn't include rain. I hate to be cold, but, I can ride in temperatures down to 20 F for an hour without a problem. Do I like putting on all the clothing and feeling like an Eskimo? Not really, but, it still beats another round on the rollers riding hard and going nowhere. Learn what layers to use and you'll be fine. You just have to determine how much you need at given temperatures. Overdress because you can always take stuff off.

  23. #23
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    I am now to the point where I use the roadbike for anything over 35 degrees unless its windy then I'll bump it up to 40. Under that I'll do 40+ miles on the CX bike on the canal towpath or do some single track on the MTB. Get the right clothes and you'll be fine if you are pushing hard. I got heavy merino wool socks, PI amfib tights, merino wool base layer and thick turtle neck and a Castelli expresso due jacket. use shoe covers and a merino wool skull cap and gaiter for you face and you will be fine. I prefer warm weather but you will feel like the king of the world when you finish a hard 3 hour ride in 25 degree weather.
    I got a great trainer for christmas and that has really helped me toughen up for cold rides. After 10 minutes on the trainer Im ready to blow my brains out...

    I case I was not clear - I like merino wool
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  24. #24
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Took 3 months off and it hurt when I got back on. The legs, the behind ... the back. I am sure the gym or trainer will definitely help.

    I enjoy cycling because of the wind in my face and just being out there, so a trainer will not be good for me. Too static ... Gym? ... I dont know ... you get those with a gym-trainer 'edging' you on and music playing and doing intervals ...

  25. #25
    .je
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    I just got off the bike a few minutes ago. I've been going to all-terrain class, or road drills class (hardly different, same instructor), and if I can't avoid it, RPM class, twice a week, or 5 times every 2 weeks. I'd like to be there more often but this isn't too bad yet.

    I noticed today that my speed was better than any other early-season ride. I could get up hills without too much effort, as long as the hills weren't long. I was out of stamina pretty quickly, but it was as much mental as muscle. I did feel that strength and endurance are attainable.

    If you have access to a spin class, it's great to keep yourself in form, but the short length of the class and the very short intervals don't build great endurance in the off-season. I noticed that the way the spin bikes build resistance makes it easy to build strength, but puts a lot of friction on the wheel so endurance is hard to modulate - which is OK for the intervals and short classes. If you're already paying for the gym, these classes are good for strength, and OK for endurance, and will get you ready to work on these when the riding season starts.

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