Riding outside is dead. Long live riding outside. (CyclingTips Podcast)

I have some issues with their semi-elite roadie-like attitude against indoor cycling.

  • They do a reasonable job addressing the range of the topic.

    • but it is still slanted more towards “inside = bad” than I think is appropriate.
  • They discard the social aspect that is very real and a large reason for the success of Zwift in particular, and the related devices that they are pointing to as growing.

  • They don’t really touch on the aspect of fitness that is driving many inside for more structured work that is intended for use outside.



I don’t think it’s just the drive for fitness that drives people inside… for some its the quest for safe training, when so many out there seem to be anti cyclist


Totally agree with the article, don’t feel it has any elite air about it. But I love going outside to cycle and hike and ski and swim. Doing training inside might be time efficient, but it’s not what I love doing. I don’t think that is elitist.

If I want social it’s not Zwift… it’s going to the gym for a spin class, or to one of several cycling oriented studios in the area. Call me old school but social interaction doesn’t involve a computer or mobile device. :man_shrugging:t3:


I agree on the social aspect.

  1. I think I am on the bubble as one who is older and used to the outside interaction. I grew up without all the social media and probably pay half in and half out of that world in most aspects of my life.

  2. But I spent over a decade doing virtual car racing with live discussions in race, between races and text via forum. We had a massive and well connected community that lead to actual IRL meetings on an annual basis and lifelong friendships in many cases.

    • I see the same happening in Zwift with teams and groups forming digitally, and manifesting with long term relationships in and out of the game. I took the comment from Caley as dismisive (maybe not elite) when the topic of community was mentioned.

    • I realize it is not all encompassing, but it is there in ways many people may not recognize. It may be more aimed at and taken by the younger crowd, but I see plenty of true connections every time I hop on to know there is more actual relationship building than they recognize (even if it is not something they partake).


In the winter our club hosts maybe a dozen rides on Zwift, and we run a separate app for audio. Meh. And a lot of those same people continue logging solo Zwift training rides throughout the year. I get Zwift racing, but the social angle doesn’t seem too mainstream. To be honest if Zwift is what you need to stay fit, then more power to you! I’m perfectly happy with TrainerRoad and my choice of entertainment or education.


This. I literally can’t get in some of the workouts that I want to, even with one of the longest interrupted climbs in the US within a reasonable ride from my house.

Indoor training is pretty much a necessity for me and in no way detracts from my enjoyment to ride outside.


I’ll also add that indoor riding helped me introduce my SO to riding a bike in an environment that she felt comfortable and safe.

Despite what people think, riding a bike outside is intimidating for a lot of people, especially with how judgmental cyclists are and how dangerous drivers are these days. Before I even get started on the lack of cycling infrastructure.


Same here, and I thought it was covered in the article.

“Yes, riding indoors does a good job of providing the exercise component of cycling, and it’s easy to see what it’s become increasingly popular. It helps keep you fit when the weather is crappy or your schedule is too busy to allow for a “real” ride, and by working on your physical conditioning inside, you’re better prepared for when you get to go outside. If all you want is a workout, riding inside is unquestionably the more efficient option. It’s not just about weather; it’s also about time and convenience. Zwift, in particular, has also done an admirably good job of promoting the social aspects of its platform, and dare I say it, safety is probably a component to the rising appeal of indoor cycling as well.”

Source: https://cyclingtips.com/2019/09/jra-with-the-angry-asian-riding-outside-is-dead-long-live-riding-outside/

everyone I’ve spoken with acknowledges that. I feel the same, riding on county highways a mere 5 feet from 50-80mph drivers is not for the faint of heart. Now that I’ve mostly recovered from a really bad thumb sprain, gotta be honest and say going back on the road has me more than a little nervous.

1 Like

This should not be an “either/or” debate. It’s an “and”. The preference/mix undoubtedly varies by person, but whatever a persons preference, it’s better to be riding than sitting on the couch.

I’m lucky to live in a place where there is great, safe, riding most of the year. And I have long sustained climbs for interval rides. So I ride a lot more outside. But indoor is also great for a time efficient, and effective workout.

For sure, I’m happier to have the option to do both than just have outdoor as the only option.


I find it particularly hilarious that the author has these two statements in the same article

" Never have I walked away even slightly disappointed. Until this year, where two themes were clearly dominant. One was e-bikes"

“Riding outside is still ultimately the goal, or at least it should be. And now that I’ve had a few days to ruminate on my time wandering the halls of Eurobike, I can’t help but feel like some portion of the bike industry has given up a little bit on trying to push that message. What everyone in the bike industry should be selling is joy in two-wheeled form, full stop.”

Maybe what most people want, outside of those of us that already have expensive bikes, is a bike that they can have fun on, which is powered by a battery?

Honestly it just seems like he is out of touch with the actual market. “Joy in two wheeled form” just happens to be battery powered for a lot of people these days across a much broader cross section of the population.


I listened to that podcast, and thought it was relatively fair, although somewhat biased against indoors. I do most of my riding time indoors, largely due to time limitations and indoors being the most effective use of my limited time. This allows me to do the kinds of longer/harder rides outdoors when I get the chance.
What I have lately been noticing as my outdoor time has been more limited is that outdoor rides are much, much better for my mood than indoors. I get a much better fitness benefit from indoors, but the physiological/mood/joy benefit is much higher with outdoor rides for me. Cycling indoors doesn’t directly ‘bring me joy’, but it enables the outdoor rides that do.


Totally agree. They seem to be acknowledging the changes and trends, but somewhat begrudgingly (despite stating the various benefits)… since it isn’t in the traditional sense that they cherish.

Almost like saying “All cycling is good (inside or out) and we love it, but our old way is still better… no matter what.”

The seem to complain about the focus on the new inside and e-bike stuff to a point as though it somehow detracts from their current or potential offerings. We see a big push into these two areas because they are “new” (not unlike the gravel segment expansion) largely because the other traditional aspects of cycling are in a contraction right now.

There is a big push in the industry in these directions, but I don’t see a detraction in the traditional cycling products as a result. Maybe that will happen over time, but we are at relatively minor and incremental changes in bike tech over the last decade or so. We see more steps into electronic device integration, but by and large, the bikes we have now are moderate improvements year over year. These new indoor and e-bike options are really “new” in the overall sense of the product cycle.

We should be welcoming any and all attention in the general direction of cycling. They did hint at the potential conversion of non-cyclists into cycling via these two channels. But it was a partial admission and not something of a focus, like I think it could and probably should be from them and the cycling industry.

Couple that with the extension of cycling life by older riders (which was covered via the e-bike side) and we see a longer duration of people consuming cycling products and living a cycling lifestyle (even if it is battery assisted or from our homes).

This article and podcast were far more open from an inside cycling and training view than the terrible podcast from FastTalk last year. But these still had a hint of disdain for the change in focus to my eyes and ears.


IDK, he briefly mentioned e-bikes as one of two themes of Eurobike, and then never mentioned it again. So it is not at odds with the rest of the article, which pits Peloton/Fitness against TraditionalBrands/Specs. And he thinks TraditionalBrands might do better by focusing the message on why we ride inside (to kick ass when riding outside!). Thats what I read.

At the risk of starting ad hominem, I think James Huang is getting worse and worse with this sort of curmudgeon-esque opinion. The podcast specifically was rife with it.

I don’t understand how he can claim in the same podcast that brands like Peloton are eating into the market share, while simultaneously pointing out that these very same people wouldn’t be interested in riding outside anyway.

People on e-bikes means more feet on pedals. People indoors means more feet on pedals. I don’t care what it is, we just want bikes of any sort normalised and being enjoyed.

I find it interesting that in articles over the years, James Huang has lamented the fact that him turning away from more “serious” cycling and towards riding for fun means that he’s become an outsider in the cycling community. He then proceeds to do the exact same thing to those who choose to ride indoors for whatever reason.

I’m enjoying the CT podcast less and less recently because of how group-think it all is. You know what everyone’s opinions are going to be before pressing play and no-one seems to really challenge themselves.


In fairness to CT, they’re not really a “fitness” cycling media outlet. They’re more about the tech, racing, and recently “culture” content. Been a while since I’ve seen a performance oriented training article.

I think they were fairly even handed but did feel they’re missing the point on the social aspect. I lived in FTC for years and the Boulder group ride and cycling scene is huge. Now living in upstate NY in a town of 200 people, my social cycling and competitive options are limited to say the least.

I’m currently hooked on Zwift because I get to ride with people that can destroy me on the bike (not many in my neck of the woods) and I’ve gotten to know a lot of the racers I compete against regularly.

While I was initially dismissive of Zwift as a platform and wanted nothing to do with e-racing in general, I now truly enjoy it. The racing is super challenging, the community is very welcoming, and it’s just plain easy. No entry fees, no travel, no wasted time.

I now look forward to some Zwift races as much as my weekend ride outside. And as a disclaimer, I’m not a tech/gamer type of guy. Live in a 200 year old house, wood heat, minimal gadgets, minimal bike stuff, no TV…


I watched the podcast only, so I’m not sure if the article provided more info. But putting aside their anti-indoor bias, their analysis is unimpressive. Several massive trends and their implications they miss and/or don’t fully appreciate:

  • Training indoors for the purpose of improving fitness leading to greater enjoyment outdoors. They mention Fullgaz, TR, Sufferfest, but do they discuss its purpose and implications. Maybe this leads to fewer hours than previously outdoors, but greater enjoyment of the sport leading to purchasing better outdoor cycling equipment. Tons of examples, but my 2019 S-Works Tarmac, Evade II helmet, etc. are my own recent examples. These would not have happened had I not seen such gains from indoor training, the decision to race, and subsequent equipment purchases.
  • Transfer from gym memberships to Peloton membership also leading to purchasing some biking equipment (e.g. biking shoes). [my wife is this example]. And later leading to more/faster outdoor riding and purchase of better outdoor cycling gear. [an east coast friend is an example of this]
  • New opportunity to compete: Indoors, clearly it’s Zwift, and in really big #s (and to a lesser extent on the Peloton leaderboards). Outdoor racing (road racing) is struggling with some of that void is being filled by Strava segments. And many Zwift users are taking their competitive skills to the Strava segments and vice versa. The implications are similar to indoor training above.

I think a lot of the articles and discussions that dismiss indoor training/riding miss on this important aspect. I began concentrated structured training and more indoor riding IN ORDER TO enjoy my outside rides even more. My time has become more and more limited and it’s far easier for me to get a 1-hour structure ride in before or after work than to go get a good ride in outdoors. Especially in northern europe where the sun begins to set around 5 PM in the late fall and it’s cold and rainy. As my outdoor rides got less and less, I became less fit, and then my outdoor rides were less enjoyable as I suffered at distance and on climbs. Now with 3 indoor rides a week and then a couple of outdoor rides on the weekends, I’m far stronger and am having so much more fun outside. Long, hard sportives are now doable with minimal outside riding, I’ve been able to just get up and go climb in the Alps without a big deal. So I welcome as much advancement indoors as we can get.

And go e-bikes! I’m glad that it’s getting more people on the road, extending the life of cyclists, and giving confidence to people who were afraid to go more than 4 miles on their own.


That’s a very good and correct statement shared by many Clubs in Australia


I don’t think this is fair. He was saying that there were 2 significant segments at the show - indoor bikes and e-bikes. Indoor bikes aren’t bikes that spark joy in 2 wheeled form. E-bikes do, and that podcast has repeatedly said how much fun e-bikes are. I believe James and Caley own and ride e-bikes.

In general, I think the “cycling industry” vs Peloton thing is really interesting. I don’t think there’s some giant crossover where people who start out on Peloton are going to become road cyclists (or indeed utility cyclists), in the same way that hasn’t happened with spin classes at the gym. So I don’t really understand why the “traditional cycling industry” (which seems to be 30 year old bike manufacturing brands) would have any attention for Peleton, just like they haven’t been bothered by spin bikes in every gym in the world. I guess it’s that they see the market for bicycles getting smaller (at least in the wealthy west), and so they are looking for other markets where they can make significant money. If they are diverting focus from making a better bike to making a gym bike, because they think that’s where the profit is, it’s understandable from a business perspective, but a bit rubbish from a cyclist perspective.

1 Like

Haven’t read the articles, but listened to the podcast before this thread. I actually thought it was more balanced than this thread makes out, and their main issue was about eurobike being dominated by indoors/ ebikes. But they even addressed that saying that the companies do their own launches.

I’d guess (without knowing) they’re a different demographic to the whole indoor scene, so don’t really get it. Caley too free and single, the others out the other side of the work/ life/ young children balancing act that certainly got me into training inside more (then I found the added benefits). They can get outside consistently, even their jobs allow/ require it!

Even though it is available now for android, I haven’t been inclined to try zwift. I want to train indoors, and socialise on outdoor rides in the real world. I get enough online interaction on forums like this, facebook (showing my age there) etc.

I do think TrainerRoad does suffer from being a “rival” podcast in terms of recognition. Particularly the velonews one’s.

I found the ebike discussion interesting too. I’m too far to fully commute by bike (well not really, but back to the family life/ time pressures). An ebike may open up the possibility if I can work out how to make it training rather than just riding. And the security of the bike it once I got to work. Albeit they are limited here in Ireland to 25kph rather than 28mph.