Over to you: Is indoor training a necessary evil, or just evil?

As winter sets in, do you ride inside, outside, or just hang it up?

As the days get shorter and the temperature plummets, cyclists begin self-sorting into groups. Some of us dig out the lights, the warm clothes, the thicker tires and keep grinding along. Some of us pull out the trainer and spin up a sweat inside. And some of us look at those two options, wrinkle our faces quizzically, and settle in on the couch with our feet up and motivation down.

Which type are you?

Clearly, geography and family status play huge roles. I remember years back, when single and living in southern California, being utterly perplexed as to why anyone would even own a trainer, much less ride one regularly. Fast forward nearly 20 years and I was on the other side of the coin at the San Francisco launch of Zwift. Now living in snowy Colorado with two kids and a wife who works full-time, the idea of entertaining indoor riding at weird hours made sense to me. My younger, childless colleagues stared at the indoor training software with that perplexed look on their faces...

Riding a bike inside does make you question things. Things like, why are you doing all this in the first place? Do you ride bikes outside for the fun or the fitness? Are they intertwined? And what could possibly make a grown adult — who is in no danger of a pro contract — feel the compulsion to pedal a bicycle indoors?

Riding a bike outside when it is cold can cause similar self questioning. But, if dressed properly, you can still have some good fun, and getting some fresh air and endorphins is always good for your head, if not your legs. But then there's the prospects of black ice on the road, cleaning a filthy bike in the freezing cold, and spending more time getting into your Michelin suit than actually riding...

So, over to you... Will you be riding inside this winter? And why, for Pete's sake, will you do such a thing? 

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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