Indoor cycling will never fully replace riding outdoors, but the experience of riding inside keeps getting better and better thanks to ongoing improvements to and the spread of smart trainers. Here are six reasons why you should give virtual bike training a try.

Reason #1: Share the Experience

Indoor training doesn’t have to be a lonely experience any more. With a smart trainer, you can virtually ride your bike with friends from all over the world. Participate in group rides or workouts, or even compete in virtual races. Having company may give you just the motivation you need to stay committed to your fitness goals.

Reason #2: Ride Like the Pros

Sure you’ve watched the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia on television, but have you ever wondered what it’s like to ride Alpe d’Huez or the Gavia? With smart trainers, you can download famous climbs, world championship courses or other classic race routes and then virtually ride them. Many smart trainers will automatically adjust to mimic different gradients and sometimes even route surfaces. It’s a great way to get a better feel for what the pros experience in some of the most iconic races.

Reason #3: Preview Your Upcoming Race Courses

Don’t limit yourself to just downloading and riding famous routes. You can virtually ride on most any route if you have its GPX file. Why not train, for example, on the simulated course on which you plan to compete at the national championships this summer? With a smart trainer, you can do just that, and it’ll be excellent preparation physically and mentally for what you’ll experience come race day.

Reason #4: Train by the Numbers

Smart trainers can give you real time feedback such as your power output, thus enabling you to perform sophisticated workouts per exact power levels prescribed by your coach or your favorite coaching app. You can even switch your smart trainer into ERG mode, and it will automatically adjust resistance so you can stick to those power numbers. You can your smart trainer to keep you more accountable in your workouts and make your training time more effective. 

Reason #5: Be More Efficient

Only have a short amount of time to train? No problem – when you’re riding a smart trainer, you pick exactly how long and how hard you want to ride. Kitting up for a smart indoor training session is fast and easy, and you can start and end your session any time, so you’ll never have to worry about being late to get home because you got lost, had a mechanical or underestimated how long your ride would really take. 

Reason #6: Mix it Up

Do you struggle to come up with your own workouts or get bored with doing the same ones over and over again? You can connect your smart trainer to a variety of platforms to get access to entire libraries of different workouts. Never do the same workout twice, and your indoor training will stay more interesting for longer.

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