Indoor vs outdoor - how do you choose?

I’m sure most of us vastly prefer outdoor to indoor, but recognise that you can be much more specific / effective / efficient with your training indoors.

How do folks go about choosing whether to go outside for a cycle or stay indoors for a TR session?

For me it’s simple.
Good weather = ride outside
Bad weather = ride inside


When in doubt, ride outside. There are many more benefits than just the fitness aspect.



I would always opt for outdoors if the weather’s good. The only workouts I have trouble doing outdoors are threshold (including over/unders) and sweetspot. The terrain around me just didn’t lend itself to those workouts.

If I’ve a SS workout to do I might just swap it for longer Z2 when the weather’s good. For threshold I’ll move it to a different day of the week, where I know the weather might be worse.

Weather, time of the day and time available. If it is wet, icy or dark I stay indoors. If I have an hour or two I usually stay indoors too - given workout time and prep and post shower.

Weather and how lazy I am that day. When the bike is already on the trainer I might still do a workout inside when the weather is good just because it’s convenient and I am lazy.


Weather’s not really a factor where I live. So it becomes about the type of workout and bike location inertia/ laziness (if it’s already on the trainer, it’s more likely to stay there!)

indoor mostly, so i can concentrate on my zone. anything more than 3 hrs better do it outside.

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Outdoors for:

  1. Endurance-paced rides. Yes, riding Z2 indoors is very effective because you never stop pedaling, but outdoors I get the raw volume, e.g. 6+ hours, which never happens indoors.

  2. Outdoor loops/hill repeats that fit into a specific prescription, e.g. 5x5min VO2max.

Indoors for:

  1. Sweet spot intervals. Difficult to find suitable outdoor (local) terrain for say, 3x20min or 3x30min continuous.

  2. Anaerobic repeats, 15-30s on/off. Although doable, it’s a bit weird doing it outdoors.


I only go outside these days for social group rides. If I were to go out alone though, it’s for zone 2 rides only. I like riding indoor majority of the time to be with my cats lol.


Two factors for me - Time and weather.

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Intervals or under 2 hours indoors. Group rides or rides over 3 hours outside. I’m pretty much inside during the week and then decide about the weekends

Agree with this (plus weather). Depends on what workout is firstly…then if suitable for outdoors AND weather decent then outdoors…otherwise indoor

Terrain here is close to perfect - for those that prefer riding outside the only reasons to do a workout inside is due to circumstances like weather or being home with kids.

Time, weather, and style of riding. It takes me 20+ min of riding to get from my house to clear roads without lights/traffic/bunch of stop signs/etc. I’ll Z2 ride outside if it’s more than 2 hours.

Just hard to be the trainer when facing time constraints. I’m drifting further and further away from being excited by racing and just like being in good bike shape, so outside isn’t as important as it once was. Crashing/hit by car/buzzed by drivers/etc is just a lot to worry about now. That for sure plays a factor too.

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Generally only inside if constrained by schedule and work/life circumstances.

Being out in nature and observing and interacting with the world is so much more soul fulfilling to me than being inside. Riding inside gets the workout done, which is satisfying, but lacks any sort of further enrichment. I always feel fantastic after an outdoor ride and happy about whatever I need to do that day.

Sometimes I’ll decide a highly structured workout is better done inside though.

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  1. My 3 structured workouts per week are on the trainer. LV plan.

  2. Endurance rides and skill sessions outdoors.


Time, light v dark, weather and purpose are factors determine my ride. I won’t ride alone much in the dark (unless its a commute). I will ride in the dark and wet if I have company but that scares most folk off anyway. Although touch wood nothing has went majorly wrong on a ride, I also don’t want to be stranded 30mins + cycle from home when I don’t have time.

I do all efforts on the trainer. I really enjoy the specificity and control. Plus I’ve got a great set up now with entertainment and fan etc.

I can get a five hour ride on the trainer during the preschool day significantly more easily than outdoor as I can be on the bike within 10min of drop off and ready to head to pick up within 10min of getting off.

I ride outside if it’s fine weather, and only after my interval session has been completed. It’s all MTB on the trails so it’s also really important and I can get good endurance out of riding fatigued.

I find it easier to mix the two during Build than Base (1.5hr VO2/Threshold session + 2-3hr MTB vs 2-3hr SS + 1-2hr endurance)

Indoor - always. Outdoor - when I have unlimited time during the day and clear mind, free of worries and stress. Due to this criteria I ride outdoor couple times per year :wink: