I love my bicycles: the sexy beast, the pretty girly bike.
I love the places they take me: edges of continents, tops of mountains, banks of rivers… Sometimes all in the same day.

Why on earth would I ride inside?

For starters, riding in a climate controlled environment keeps me safe from the elements, and it allows me to ride hard on a day (or night) when it might not be safe for me to train outdoors.

I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.

True, to a point. Alas, sometimes the bad gear – tires, brakes, windshield wipers – is on the car that hits you. I’ll ride in the dark and the rain to finish an event. I don’t need to do that to train.

Also false. You can dress to stay warm in the heat, but good luck dressing to stay cool when the temperature heads north of 90 degrees. Ask the pros who suffered through day 2 at the Amgen Tour of California this year. And if you live somewhere the air quality is suspect? It’s hard to simultaneously wear a gas mask and a helmet.

A cycling class also facilitates interval training. Even if you live somewhere with perfectly protected cycle tracks, other people are out there, not to mention the wildlife. On a stationary bike, you can go hard for precisely the number of seconds you need to, at the perfectly calibrated resistance. No slamming on the brakes for a red light, or a stoned skateboarder, or a frightened squirrel. Sure, you could do a lot of this on a stationary bike at home, but having an instructor like Graham LaBass motivating you, selecting the tunes, giving tips on form? Having others in class singing along with you, challenging your power outlet on the Torqboard at Flywheel? It makes a huge difference in the quality of the workout.

But I really ride inside because it’s fun to do all the things it’s not safe to do outside: working the upper body (okay, choreography at show tune cycling), listening to very loud music (and singing along is welcome at show tune cycling), riding with my eyes closed and focusing on form.

I am a better cyclist when I ride outside because I ride inside.