Cycling is a fun hobby and a thrilling sport that almost everyone, regardless of their age, has at least once carried out in their lives. However, had they enjoyed it or not is another story. People cycle for various reasons at various locations and roads of their preference to feel that rush of excitement coursing through their blood as they pedal straight onto the trail.
But why do people cycle? Are there different types of cycling? Is there any cycling gear required before you head out with a cycle? Is there a proper way to cycle? Is it better than other exercises? We discuss similar questions and more, while covering a lot more aspects of cycling in this article. But that’s not it, as we also review important cycling apps and equipment that cyclist might prefer in their two-wheeled adventures. For the final cherry on top, we’ll drop some beginner tips and advice that will go a long way, whether you’re new to this exercise or it’s been your hobby for years.
What is Cycling?
Cycling is one of the most prominent aerobic exercises and sports that we’ve been witnessing for a long time. The idea of a frame with two wheels that is driven by nothing but balance and pedaling was originated in Germany in 1817. Back then, the archetype of a cycle was referred to as draisine, which gradually evolved into a bicycle and to the types of cycles we use now in this age.
No matter the century, cycling has undoubtedly been one of the easiest and fun ways to commute between short distances, and sometimes even longer ones, for athletes. It is not limited to only commuting as casual activities, stunts, or racing competitions hold high positions on the list of things you can do with cycling.
But generally, apart from being just a thrilling activity or a mode of transport, cycling brings your health a ton of benefits. From physical fitness to mental calmness, cycling offers it all. In a way, this makes it a perfect exercise.
Why Do We Cycle?
When we turn 4, the most prized possession of ours is a 3-wheeled cycle that we’re gifted by our parents. When we grow a bit older, the 3 wheeler is turned into two wheels and we learn to balance and ride the way how it’s meant to be ridden. Then as we turn into teenagers, we start using these cycles for either commuting to and back from high school or going freestyling with our friends to showcase our skills. And as we enter adult life, we prefer cycling to remain healthy, fit, and burn off the extra fat and calories in hopes of losing weight.
Either way, regardless of our age and situation, a cycle always has our backs in whichever endeavor we need it for.
We cycle when we feel the need to get out there and explore our surroundings. We cycle when we need that dose of endorphins in our system. We cycle when we don’t have enough money to own any fuel-driven vehicle. With this, the huge number of pros that come with cycling must be highlighted.
Pros of Cycling
- Cycling utilizes all the major muscle groups and works your entire body each time you engage in this activity.
- It enhances your strength, boosts stamina, and promotes overall fitness.
- Cycling can be as simple as going straight on a road, for beginners, and as intense as a competitive sport for the professionals.
- It is of low impact and causes fewer injuries than any other form of sport or workout.
- it is environmentally friendly and reduces your carbon footprint in the world.
- It has numerous health benefits; cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, improved posture, decreased level of fat, enhanced muscle and bone strength, immunity to several diseases, and reduced level of anxiety.
Cons of Cycling
- Since it’s a simple geometry of a frame and two wheels without much body, cycling makes you exposed to the weather, dust, debris, water, and other elements.
- The tires can run into any puddle of mud, road cracks, gravel, or a tiny sharp object on the road and go flat midway.
- With the limited storage space, you can’t carry an extra tire with you.
- For any car that is over speeding or an irresponsible driver behind the wheels taking a wrong turn, it could be fatal for a cyclist upon impact with the car as there is nothing to protect him/her.
- Cycles don’t have very intense or high beam lights as compared to other vehicles. It is often hard to notice if a cycle is coming your way in a low-lit area.
Does Cycling Contribute As A Cardio Workout For Burning Fat?
Cardio workouts are usually known for enhancing your cardiovascular health and burning off calories, thus making you shed some weight with each exercise. With a huge variety of exercises available for losing weight, the most common of those is cycling, for not only burning off fat but flawlessly boosting up your health and stamina too. This also leads to the improvement of your overall physical and mental health.
When it comes to how effective cycling is in regards to weight loss, the answer to that lies in your biological factors and the intensity of the workout. These factors, namely age, weight, gender, and a few others determine how many calories you can burn with each passing minute on a cycle. But as a common fact, which is true for most exercises, the faster you cycle, the faster you’ll lose weight. This is due to the functionality that your body uses more energy when you pedal faster; thus you’ll end up burning more calories in a short time unlike the casual strolling down the road.
Is Indoor Cycling Possible?
Although the concept of pedaling was to move the wheels forward and use a cycle as a mode of transportation, in recent ages, it’s not necessary to move around with pedals and wheels. Indoor cycling, or spinning, is more popular and efficient than you think. With stationary bikes, you can sit on a cycle’s frame and pedal as much as you can for as long as you can while remaining in the same spot. This is beneficial for those who have a hard time going out but don’t want to miss out on the thrill of cycling.
Pedaling for a solid hour on a stationary bike is a low-impact and safe exercise focused on strength, endurance, and burning off an adequate amount of fat. You can either get one for yourself at home or join the nearest gym or studio to get all the perks of indoor cycling.
The Different Types of Cycling
Cycling is not limited to the straightforward ‘pedaling on a paved road to reach your destination’ type anymore. Over time, cycling has advanced into various categories, such as track cycling, cycle speedway, mountain bike racing, cyclo-cross, road bike racing, freestyle BMX, cycle polo, mountain bike trails, and artistic cycling.
Best Cycling Apps
Moving into the technologically advanced world, it might be pondered upon that we’re losing our touch with physical activeness and staying fit. With the world in our hands, we no longer bother to go out and take a run or ride a bike. However, if you’re smart enough to not turn into a lazy couch with just mindlessly scrolling through apps, you can utilize the same technology to stay fitter than ever.
Using a fitness or tracking app is better if you have trouble finding the time in your busy routine to go to a park or a gym. With an app at your ease of access, you can work out anytime and anywhere and there are countless options to choose from. Different apps have different features and plans for the user, while some are even personalized.
When it comes to cycling, there are five apps that just might be perfect for you. These apps provide numerous benefits and will make your cycling experience worth the ride every single time. Which apps are we referring to? Let’s find out.
For all the cycling enthusiasts out there who need a workout family with state-of-the-art studios and equipment, SoulCycle is what makes it all possible. It is the app that connects you to the real world of fitness, or more like it simply lets you book indoor cycling classes in the nearest SoulCycle studio. These studios are spread all over the city and offer intense indoor cycling training with the instructors that you pick yourself. Once you start going there, you’d only wait for the next day you have to visit as the workouts are fun and the environment is positive.
Ruth Zukerman, Julie Rice, and Elizabeth Cutler are the names of the women who presented the idea of SoulCycle and opened their first studio in Manhattan in 2006. The concept of indoor cycling with a group that gives you the worthy experience of cycling for your mind, body, and soul had many people intrigued. Their studios expanded to various locations and so they developed an app to keep them all connected as well as help the users track their progress digitally.
The SoulCycle app tracks all your progress from the day you step in there and start cycling until the day you’ve reached your goals. Your progress won’t stop and disappear after that though; you can always go on and keep cycling for as long as you want.
The interface of this app is very simple and straightforward. Once you’ve signed up, you can easily, browse through the instructors and time, select the seating position of your choice, and pay online. As soon as the session is booked, you can check the shop for any gear you require beforehand. And once you arrive at the studio, you can digitally check yourself in.
The drawback to this app is that it is only available to those who reside in US, UK, or Canada. Anyone outside of these regions can’t do much with the app as SoulCycle studios exist only in the aforementioned states. And the app and program, as efficient as they are, lack the aspect of calorie count and dietary meal plans.
To see if it’s worth it, you can read the detailed review and weigh the pros and cons here.
Peloton is one of the most versatile apps for workouts out there that you can make the most out of. If you’re truly passionate about cycling and other activities that come along with it, this app is for you. Offering 11 workouts; strength, treadmill, running, cycling, HIIT, yoga, stretching, meditations, cardio, walking, and indoor bike boot camps, the app excels with instructions, tracking, and keeping you motivated in all of these. The app offers 4 levels of difficulty depending on the sort of workout intensity you’d prefer.
What makes this app more versatile is the fact that equipment is not always a necessity here. The workouts here are both outside and zero equipment as well. However, if you do get the relevant gear and equipment over time, it would only be beneficial for you.
The bike and treadmill that come from the peloton can help you track your progress within the app, but for some reason, if you can’t get the peloton machines, you can opt for the regular bikes and treadmill and track your progress through a smartwatch. The peloton app also gives the statistics of calories burned through the cardio exercises but don’t expect a meal plan here because that’s for you to create and follow on your own.
Since there are a huge variety of workouts available, you can mix and match a few and come up with something that’s fun and impactful; one that works for you. The classes in this app are mostly live so you’re connected with your instructor in real-time. This brings the chance for new workouts and exercises dropping in every single day. However, if you manage to miss one, it’s not hard to get your hands on a recorded session as well.
If you’re interested in trying out the app, it offers a free trial for you to see if it suits you. If it does, you can subscribe to it monthly for $12.99. The price is relatively more affordable than other apps and real gyms. However, if it doesn’t seem worthy enough, you can cancel the trial before you’re automatically enrolled as a user.
The list of pros and cons of Equinox can be read here.
Strava is a remarkable tracking app that uses the GPS system to track and keep the progress of any activity involving distance. Cycling, swimming, and running are primarily the sports this app takes care of but it’s not limited to only these disciplines. You can use Strava for when you’re going ice-skating, rock climbing, windsurfing, alpine skiing, and for a lot more adventure-driven activities.
The app’s monthly subscription comes at $59.99 a year, which is relatively reasonable than several other apps. Perhaps this is because there isn’t much offered in the premium version either way. The free version covers tracking distance and progress attempting challenges, joining clubs, and social networking. For the yearly subscription, you’ll get the chance to customize your training plan along with an in-depth analysis of your metrics.
The ‘Join-a-club’ feature is a distinct feature of this app as it lets you find new people and activities and interact with them, leading to expanding your network of people with similar interests and goals. You can even build friendly challenges and competitions to improve your ranking.
The interface is easy to understand, but what’s better is that it works offline too. However, what we didn’t like is the fact that Strava shares your runs and rides publically on its own. This could be fine for most people but some might find an issue with it.
A detailed review of Strava can be found here.
After Poleton, Equinox is yet another highly versatile apps that provides a huge variety of exercises, such as cycling, running, yoga, pilates, dance, and boxing, etc. Equinox is now a name that is familiar to anyone who’s deep into the fitness world. Providing luxury equipment, facilities, apps, and owning a chain of hotels, you can’t miss out on the name. Even SoulCycle is owned by the company.
The app offers you the chance to train with real fitness trainers on a routine that works best for you. But it is not available to anyone who resides outside of the US, UK, and Canada. This is because all the equinox gyms and hotels are in these regions, thus the app services can only be provided to those who can physically show up for training.
Since the app works on the aspect of having personalized plans for everyone, you can only expect all the workouts to be of fitness. This means that if you’re aiming for weight loss, the equinox is not your answer as it will focus only on your overall fitness and not provide any meal plan either. Although, the HIIT exercises are aimed at burning calories, and happen to be very effective and impactful.
The users also get the choice of either working from home or showing up on site. However, if you do decide to work from home, you would require a lot of equipment to carry on with the equinox workout.
The problem arises when it comes to paying for the app as it does not provide a free trial. Firstly, you can’t download the app on android as the functionality there is too glitchy and incompatible. Secondly, if you don’t have a membership of their gym, you can’t utilize any of the classes, and this app comes with the price of $2,200 a year with $500 initial charges.
You can check this review for a better weight of pros and cons.
Les Mills is the dream fitness app for anyone who prefers working out in the comfort of their houses without having to go to any gym. This comes in handy for those beginners who need easy-to-follow instructions, a proper workout schedule, and thrilling music that go with their workout.
The app was developed by none other than Les Mills himself, the four-time field and track Olympian, who had launched his first gym in 1963. Over the decades, his workout plans and fitness courses got widely recognized for being highly effective. Eventually, he deemed it better to launch a brand after his name that becomes the center of fitness for the enthusiasts out there. That was the right decision as the impact and credibility of this app are unmatched with its diverse combos of workouts.
When it comes to the range of workouts and programs, Les mills offers martial arts, yoga, dancing, HIIT, and our favorite, cycling, with more programs. All these have multiple combos of training and instructions, thus not letting the user get bored.
Offering most of the things that a fitness app should, the app lacks the personalized approach. The user can’t create their own plan of workout with instructors as the app has already set training. Additionally, it lacks the community and networking through the app with similar individuals, so on this app, it’s just you.
A good thing about the Les Mills app is that it offers a free trial period of 14 days. but what’s even better is the pricing of the monthly subscription i.e. $14.99. however, if one decides to go for the yearly subscription, it would be $120 a year and $9.99 a month. This significant change makes the app cheaper than plenty of others.
For a detailed review of the Les Mills app, you can check this article.
Best Cycling Equipment
What should one do when they feel the need to cycle regularly? Well, if that’s the case, you can just grab a cycle and ride your way. It’s as simple as that, but then the question arises, is cycle the only thing you need to have before you’re ready to ride outside? The answer to this is both yes and no; the latter is because there are several things that can be needed with a cycle to enhance your training process and maximize efficiency.
For starters, to prevent injuries, you wouldn’t want to go out there cycling down the trail without a helmet or pads on. Similarly, if you can’t go outside for cycling, as was the case during the pandemic or when the roads are bad due to weather conditions or repairing work, you’d have to stay home. Staying indoors doesn’t mean that you can’t cycle as you always have the option of getting stationary or exercise bikes to continue experiencing the thrill of pedaling inside the comfort of your house.
We have searched and picked out the five pieces of equipment that we think could be highly beneficial for you. so scroll down and see if they’re worth the expense as we review the features for you.
YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
The YOSUDA indoor cycling bike comes with a carbon steel frame, flywheel, padded seats, and no-slip handlebar to make the exercise smooth and the machine stable. The company, YOSUDA, is recognized for its quality products and sports equipment that is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts of all ages.
Usually, the bikes with a chain system but the noteworthy thing here are the belt-driven system that not only provides smooth cycling but doesn’t make noise. You can easily work out even when it’s too early that your family is still in bed.
What makes this bike worth the expense is the personalization that comes with it. The handlebars and seats are both adjustable to suit the needs of the user considering the kind of exercise they’re opting for. Whether it be for working out muscles and doing cardio or for improving your heart and lung health, the adjustments will tailor to you. You can even set the amount of resistance you want to pedal against and work on your overall strength.
The LCD monitor on the bike helps in tracking your time, speed, and distance of you’ve cycled, along with the number of calories burned during the ride. Since the ride might get boring with you just pedaling in an indoor room with nothing to see, no scenic view, and no entertainment either. The table mounts beside the monitor will hold your phone or tablet so you can either watch something or listen to music when cycling to keep your thrill alive.
The pedals are protected with a cage that will keep your feet safe from any slipping during a fast ride and avoid potential injuries. The resistance bar also contributes to that as you can pull it in case of any emergency and the flywheel will stop immediately.
The transport wheels at the bottom of the machine make it easier for you to carry it around without having to lift it, while the water bottle mount keeps your bottle ready for easy access.
However, the problem that several users have reported is that after some time, they face trouble with the parts. For instance, the knob got hard, the seat wasn’t comfortable, or the wheel was making noise.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike
Exerpentic bikes are not very popular but those who are familiar with the brand know its worth it. The equipment from this brand is suitable for most beginners and those looking for a moderate workout. If you’re a pro cyclist, then perhaps this bike might not be for you.
Exercising through this bike can strengthen your legs, back, glutes, and core.
They contribute towards weight loss and calorie deficit without taking much of your time and without the need of you heading outside either. This is something that was appreciated during the pandemic that locked the entire world in their houses.
This exercising bike, apart from catering to your workout needs, will also consider the space that it occupies in your house. It can be folded in half and moved around with the attached transportation wheels.
The LCD featured here also tracks your distance covered, calories burned, time of cycling, the speed you’re going on, and pulse. The hand pulse sensors installed are a great way to sense your heart rate and keep track of it as well.
The tension control system featured in this bike is magnetic and it has up to 8 levels of tension you can control for your workout, depending on if you prefer an easier or difficult workout for the day.
The geometry of the bike is durable and strong enough to cater to people of tall heights, with the adjustment of the padded seat, while the bike itself can easily support people who weigh up to 300 lbs.
Many users have stated that this bike is not so quiet and has a clicking sound to it that can be annoying.
PooBoo Foldable Exercise Bike
Exercise bikes can be found in a lot of houses as they’re remarkable for cardio and contribute to your overall fitness and physique as well as improving your organs’ health conditions. What makes this one stand out is the number of features it has to bring out the fitness freak in you with the 3-in-1 system.
The PooBoo foldable exercise bike not only features the typical pedals and a seat but also dumbbells and arm resistance bands. From legs to shoulders, you can work out your entire body on this bike and the bike doesn’t restrict you from working out if you have an uncommon height or weight as it is highly adjustable. The seat featured is extra-large with 5 levels of height while the handlebars can be adjusted for better grip.
It features magnetic resistance with 8 levels of adjustable tension control that ensures the silent cycling process. The LCD monitor and pulse sensor track your speed, distance, time, calories, and heart rate.
When it comes to the bike occupying too much of the room and or it not having a designated place with the furniture, you don’t have anything to worry about. You don’t have to disassemble the bike; instead, you can fold it in half and move it easily to wherever you’d prefer to store it until next use.
Several users have stated that the seat is too high and people shorter than 5’5 might have a hard time hopping on it. If you’re taller, you’re good to go. However, a repeated issue observed is the noise of cranks that develops after some time of use and only increases gradually.
MOREOK Cycling Gloves
The shock absorbent gloves by Moreok are perfect for cycling as well as other sports as they’re tailored for fit and comfort and give you more control with the 3-panel palm.
The construction of these gloves is from highly breathable mesh fabric with elastic lycra, and anti-slip suede, and widened velcro making it a comfortable fit for your palm and wrist. This gives you more control of the handlebar while ensuring that your hands are cool by not allowing sweat to stay. The air holes designed are there to allow more breathing room.
The terry cloth outside the thumb part is water-resistant and can be used to wipe sweat, while the mesh will keep your hands dry and cool. The padding is of extra-thick SBR gel with a non-slip silicone surface. This helps in relieving pain and fatigue and shock absorption thus easing your palm fatigue you cycle around.
Taking them off is no hassle either with the pull tab that can get the gloves off in a matter of seconds. The gloves are washable and durable to last for a long time, whether you cycle with them or go hiking.
A small percentage of users faced trouble with the misalignment of the gel pads, making them uncomfortable to wear and work with. Such manufacturing issues are less but not impossible.
TIEM Slipstream – Indoor Cycling Shoe
Cycling indoor with slippers or crocs on isn’t the ideal setting. Cycling with joggers or running shoes is a better approach but that’s not directly it either. For cycling purposes, you need shoes that are specifically constructed to endure the intensity of cycling, make the movement compatible, and ensure that your feet remain comfortable.
We recommend buying the TIEM Slipstream indoor cycling shoes that would constantly remind you of why they were needed in the first place. The mesh material and athletic textile make the shoes breathable while the rubber outsole and SPD cleat assembly make it easier for you to move around.
The design is of the original slip-on with a single strap-on. They’re not necessarily aggressive looking but rather suitable for casual wear as well.
If you decide o go with these, make sure that the sizing is right. If the shoes are too tight or too loose, they’ll cause pain, make cycling hard, and even lead to potential injuries.
As someone who has only recently developed an interest in the world of cycling, there are a few mistakes that you could make in the beginning stage. Don’t worry, it is perfectly normal to make mistakes as we only learn through them. But luckily, we’ll give you just enough tips that would ensure that your first ride isn’t a disaster and you stay motivated enough to develop a new healthy hobby.
For starters, the most important thing you need to go cycling is the cycle itself. There are countless models and types to choose from but since you don’t have much experience or knowledge in the field yet, it’s best if you stick with a road bike at first. This bike will be lightweight with thin tires that will make it easy for you to ride on paved paths and navigate through the streets. Of course, not all road bikes will do, as you would need a bike that is right for your size. For this, you have two options. Either you research on the internet about how to measure a bike and compare it with your size, or you could head to the shop and ask anyone there to help you with it.
Then comes the part of budgeting. This is the first bike you don’t want to spend all your savings on this. You also need to know what features you require on a bike and which of them are fine better off. Additionally, it is advised to buy the tools that you would be needing frequently over time. A tire lever, puncture tube, lubricating oil, mini pump, and a multifunctional screwdriver is what you will need to have always ready at home. For any repair and maintenance, it will be annoying as well as expensive to go to your local bike shop to get something fixed. instead, get the tools and learn to do it yourself to save time and money.
Once your bike is all ready to go, it’s time to gear yourself up. You must have seen the spectacular look of a pro cyclist when they’re ready for their competition with their jersey shining in the sun and their gear reflecting their athletic personality. Now you might not look exactly like that but wearing a helmet, pads, jersey, and shorts can get you close enough to that cyclist profile. Since cycles pose a threat of potential injuries, it is essential that you wear the precautionary gear so as to avoid any risk of harming yourself.
Now comes the difficult part of starting cycling and being consistent with it. In a lot of cases, people start something with complete determination and excitement but gradually lose all the motivation and get exhausted, and the dream dies with their energy.
What you can do about it is to start small. Don’t pick on a professional routine and beat yourself up for not being able to follow. Change occurs slowly and soon you’ll be cycling more often than not and would be closer to reaching your goal than ever before. Whether you’re riding to stay fit or rank first in Tour de France, you need to gradually grow with your new hobby.
With this, our detailed discussion of cycling comes to an end. Now it’s up to you to check the apps and equipment mentioned and give cycling as a hobby a shot if you haven’t yet.