Some time ago I concluded that cycling might not be as frequent an activity as I had originally envisaged. The main point of buying the bike, and all the bits and pieces that went with it, was to provide a source of exercise, a way to lose weight and get a bit fitter. But I am not that dedicated to the cause that I want to cycle in rain, strong winds or in heavy traffic if it can be avoided.
So to provide a substitute for when I didn’t fancy “proper” cycling my wife and I acquired an exercise bike. It is a Body Sculpture SmartBike BC2910. I knew, and still know, very little about exercise bikes except that they can be very expensive. This was the least expensive that I had come across a few months ago (it may have been on special offer, I cannot remember) and we bought it. It more than meets our needs. It has an adjuster with eight settings to control the resistance of the pedals and while you are busy pedalling it will measure time, distance, speed, calories burnt and pulse rate. I didn’t expect so many features and I don’t know how accurate they are but they certainly add interest.
As for using the exercise bike, it is unfair to compare it directly with proper cycling, even with fairly gentle leisure cycling. On the exercise bike all you have to do is pedal. In return it will certainly improve the strength and stamina of the muscles involved in pedalling. You can increase the challenge by using higher pedal resistance settings or having longer exercise sessions and it is probably beneficial to be puffing and perspiring a bit towards the end of a session.
Even so, real cycling seems to call for a lot more exertion, much of which may be hardly noticed at the time. I think this is probably true even though you may not be pedalling all of the time. Just think how many muscles are at work and how many thousands of adjustments they are making while you are (almost subconsciously) controlling your balance, steering and reactions to changes in road and traffic conditions.
The exercise bike was certainly a worthwhile purchase. Actually, if we had more space (and if I could have justified the expense) I would have liked a combined exercise bike and rowing machine – but I digress. The only disadvantage of using the exercise bike is that it can be very boring, unless there is something worth watching on TV while pedaling (which would be unusual so far as I am comcerned). So I have produced a solution, as shown in the second picture, which enables me to read a book while pedalling, or use the laptop for reading, playing CDs etc.