Why you should try outdoor cycling

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<p><span style="font-weight: 400">I know you’d all prefer to ride indoors, but I’m here to tell you about the benefits of a less obviously appealing riding discipline: outdoor cycling.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Outdoor cycling is much like <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/fitness-and-training/beginners-guide-to-indoor-training-all-you-need-to-get-started/">the indoor experience we all know and love</a>. You work hard, build up a sweat and get a great workout in the company of like-minded individuals*.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">But it’s also so much more. Indoor cycling may be the purist’s version of the sport and the one that’s more spiritually rewarding, but if you’re prepared to relax your moral stance, outdoor cycling is almost as enjoyable.</span></p>
<p><em>[*Please don’t ride with like-minded individuals if your local laws currently prohibit doing so for reasons of social distancing. Do your bit, and hopefully life will eventually return to something resembling normal. <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/features/covid-19-cycling/">See here for our latest guidance on cycling and coronavirus</a>.]</em></p>
<section class="highlight "><div class="highlight__content editor-content">
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<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/features/best-kickstand-doesnt-exist-yet/">Why every bike should have a kickstand</a></li>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/features/shimano-crank-failure/">Understanding an unusual Shimano crankset failure</a></li>
<li><a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/features/why-watch-esports/">Why virtual bike racing utterly fails as a spectator sport</a></li>
</ul>
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</section><h2>Going for your first outdoor bike ride</h2>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">On a practical level, outdoor riding does require some extra kit. You can leave <a href="https://www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/best-smart-trainer/">your smart trainer</a> and iPad at home (don’t forget to put a rear wheel on your bike. Doing so is a mistake you’ll only make two or three times), but you will need extra clothing. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">I also recommend that you wear a helmet because the outside world is hard and unyielding for the most part, unlike your spare room or garage.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">To be clear, this is actual physical clothing I’m talking out, which you’ll have to put on your body. It’s not as simple as selecting items from a menu.</span></p>
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https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-Tuscany-shade-bd7ae2c.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1110%2C740 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-Tuscany-shade-bd7ae2c.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1667%2C1111 3x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-440030 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–aspect no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-Tuscany-shade-bd7ae2c.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Riding on a dusty road" title="Riding on a dusty road"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
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<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Riding outside brings fresh challenges, and it’s not for everyone.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Matthew Loveridge</i></span>
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<p><span style="font-weight: 400">The actual experience of outdoor riding will feel quite alien at first. Airflow generated by your movement will do a pretty good job of simulating the effect of a fan, but you won’t be able to control it directly – it’s dependent on your speed and the weather conditions.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">On the subject of weather, I’m afraid it’s bad news. Sometimes the conditions won’t be perfect and you’ll have to adjust your outfit to suit. Remember, you </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400">must</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400"> bring all the kit you need for your ride in advance; you can’t just pause the ride and switch things up.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Rider-to-rider communication is straightforward during outdoor rides, you simply speak and the sound is automatically transmitted through the air to those nearby. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">The downside of this is that your fellow riders need to be at roughly the same location as you for the system to function.</span></p>
<h2>The benefits of outdoor cycling</h2>
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data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=90&amp;resize=407%2C271, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=815%2C543 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=1223%2C815 3x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=1631%2C1087 4x" type="image/webp"><source media="(min-width: 768px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=407%2C271, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=815%2C543 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1223%2C815 3x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1631%2C1087 4x" type="image/jpeg"><source media="(min-width: 590px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=90&amp;resize=555%2C370, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=1110%2C740 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?webp=true&amp;quality=45&amp;resize=1667%2C1111 3x" type="image/webp"><source media="(min-width: 590px)" data-srcset="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=555%2C370, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1110%2C740 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1667%2C1111 3x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-440026 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–aspect no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2020/04/Jenny-harbour-recrop-848d3a0.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Cool lady with two bikes" title="Cool lady with two bikes"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
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<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> The outside world is almost as exhilarating as the inside one.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Matthew Loveridge</i></span>
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<p><span style="font-weight: 400">If all of that sounds like a lot of effort, don’t let that you put you off – riding outdoors is a truly immersive experience. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Three-dimensional visuals are delivered straight to your eyeballs and the soundscape is incredible. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Bike-specific effects combine seamlessly with ambient noises from nature and traffic, although you’ll have to supply your own music if you need it.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">The physical sensations of riding outdoors will shock you with their immediacy, with features such as gradient (where the front of the bike raises and lowers to simulate terrain) and wind included as standard.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">You’ll know exactly when you’re climbing a tough hill and you’ll experience the respite of actual coasting during descents. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">It’s really important that you remember to brake because a moving bicycle has real kinetic energy that needs to be dissipated. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Braking is pretty simple, just pull backwards on the large levers in front of your shifters. Again, this is something you’ll only forget a few times.</span></p>
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https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Force-AXS-vs-Ultegra-Di2-H2H-4-620a850.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1110%2C740 2x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Force-AXS-vs-Ultegra-Di2-H2H-4-620a850.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=1667%2C1111 3x, https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Force-AXS-vs-Ultegra-Di2-H2H-4-620a850.jpg?quality=45&amp;resize=2222%2C1481 4x" type="image/jpeg"><img class="wp-image-418358 align size-landscape_thumbnail image-handler__image image-handler__image–aspect no-wrap js-lazyload" data-src="https://images.immediate.co.uk/production/volatile/sites/21/2019/12/Force-AXS-vs-Ultegra-Di2-H2H-4-620a850.jpg?quality=90&amp;resize=620%2C413" width="620" height="413" alt="Side view of Shimano R8070 levers" title="Shimano R8070 levers"></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></source></picture>
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<div class="caption-hold">
<figcaption class="wp-caption-text"><span class="caption-copy"><i class="icon-arrow icon-camera-circle"></i> Those big levers aren’t just there to protect the shift buttons on your Di2-equipped indoor bike.</span></figcaption><span class="im-image-caption"> <i>Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media</i></span>
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<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Likewise, steering is not an optional upgrade, it’s all part of the fun and an advanced skill that’s great to have in your armoury.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">Outdoor cycling isn’t for everyone, I get that. However, we embrace all forms of riding at </span><span style="font-weight: 400">BikeRadar</span><span style="font-weight: 400">, no matter how niche, and I really think it’s worth giving it a go even if it’s only as a way to mix up your regular diet of indoor group rides and races.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400">If this article inspires you to try outdoor cycling, let us know how you got on in the comments below!</span></p>
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