That said, there are plenty of positive reasons to take your bike indoors, regardless of the weather. Here we look at some of the attractions that may appeal to you – regardless of what type of bike you ride…
Rays MTB – Cleveland, USA
No mud, no greasy tree roots, and no rain. That’s right – you get to use your good bike! But Rays MTB still has lots to offer in the way of thrills. There are plenty of jumps, turns, narrow gaps to aim for, as well as uneven surfaces. In Jeff Walker’s video, you even hear a quick “that’s new…”
So even though this is a very controlled and predictable environment, Rays is regularly being improved, inviting repeat visits. But it’s consistent enough that you can reliably test your skills – and a great way to perfect your tune-up on the conveniently located bike tool stations before heading back outside.
Manchester Velodrome – UK
There are few environments as consistent as a velodrome, and you could convincingly argue that it offers the purest of cycling experiences. No crosswinds or potholes to worry about, no gears, and no handbrakes. Just you on a fixie. UK news institution The Guardian sent a mountain biker to try out track cycling.
Experience days are increasingly popular, and friends of mine who’ve tried track cycling for the first time are always surprised at the speeds they reach with apparently less effort. Even experienced road cyclists can be surprised at what they learn about aerodynamics and sustained effort – another great reason to head indoors…
RampAttak Indoor Skatepark – Brisbane, Australia
Sometimes the weather can be too good – we’re looking at you, Australia. An indoor facility is a great way to avoid the sun and brush up on your BMX skills, but the allure doesn’t end there. Before heading back outside, wooden ramps are more forgiving than concrete structures, so you can really push the envelope with speed and height.
Indoor venues can also offer features that would be less practical in an outdoor facility, such as foam pits, which would be fairly grim in the rain-sodden UK environment. As with all indoor environments, RampAttak invites its visitors to practise their chops before unleashing themselves in the great outdoors.
I’ve never been a fan of training bikes, and Chris Froome once revealed that the worst job he ever had was as a spin class instructor. And even now, I don’t know if this product would tempt me, but I’ve no doubt that it will appeal to someone out there. Behold the Veloporter!
There are plenty of reasons for people to use these machines – recuperation, recovery, warm-down, and so on. So, I suppose it’s for the best that companies are driving innovation that can improve the indoor training experience, and make it more engaging… Watch this (virtual) space!