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Outdoor bike riders can enjoy the scenery.
Bicycles have been around for roughly 200 years, serving as transportation aids, fitness tools and racing vehicles. The stationary bike is a more recent invention and, because it obviously can't move from point A to point B, is strictly a fitness machine. Both outdoor and indoor bikes can provide good workouts, but a stationary cycling workout can become more intense if your bike's front end can rise, so you're pedaling on an incline.
Ride the Incline
You can use an incline bicycle exactly as you would any other stationary bike. You simply have the additional option of adjusting the incline to increase your workout's intensity. As with a treadmill, you can adjust the incline manually -- look for an вЂњinclineвЂќ button or key on the display panel -- or you may be able to select preprogrammed workouts that adjust the incline automatically. If your bike has an incline lockout system, and you use a preprogrammed workout with the lockout on, the machine will adjust the pedals' resistance according to the programming but won't adjust the incline.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Both types of bicycles can provide efficient calorie-burning workouts, depending on the speed and resistance you face while riding. On a flat surface, a stationary bike burns about 391 calories per 30 minutes for a 155-pound rider, if you work vigorously. If you use an incline, however, you'll burn more calories because you must work harder. That same 155-pound individual will burn 446 calories in 30 minutes on a standard bike outdoors, at 16 to 19 mph.
Ups and Downs
If you're a competitive road cyclist, there's nothing like training outdoors on a standard bicycle. In outdoor workouts you face wind resistance, varying weather, a variety of surfaces plus rises and falls along your route -- hills, for example. While no indoor bike can replicate all these variables, incline bikes probably come the closest because they can mimic hilly terrain. You may even be able to program your bike to replicate the ups and downs of a specific course on which you'll be competing, or to adjust the machine's resistance level to mimic wind resistance. For example, to replicate a 50-yard-long hill with a 10-degree grade, set the bike to rise at a 10-degree incline for 25 yards and then drop at a 10-degree decline for the next 25 yards, before leveling off.
Interval training alternates higher and lower intensities and can burn more calories than longer workouts performed at a steady pace. Perform intervals on a standard bicycle by pedaling harder, shifting to a higher gear or both. For example, set the bike in a gear you can pedal at a 90- to 110-rpm rate, work as hard as you can for 10 seconds and then downshift and pedal with a moderate effort for 20 seconds. Continue the pattern for 10 to 15 minutes. Accomplish the same task on a stationary bike by increasing the resistance. With an incline bike you can also do hill-type intervals. Set the incline at 6 to 8 percent and ride вЂњuphillвЂќ for two to four minutes. Recover by setting the bike to a 6 to 8 percent decline for the same amount of time. Perform a comparable workout with a standard bike by finding an appropriate hill.