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Hazardous pastimes high risk cycling

Indoor cycling, during the last 20 years, has become more an of organized activity than when the concept of an indoor bicycle became prominent. Indoor cycling has become a serious form of exercise and is used within various sporting arenas such as cycling itself, football, rugby and athletics.

Indoor cycling is known for it's intense preparation focussing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity sprints (especially for race days) and recovery. However, is it more of an extreme sport than the outdoor form if we consider, for example, the mountainous stages of the Tour de France?

Of course, that would be where experienced riders would be able to compete, however, for beginners the idea of endurance and high intensity sprints would be quite daunting.

There are now indoor cycling centres throughout the UK that now aim to provide an enjoyable but competitive experience complete with preparation but also variation in exercises ranging from mountain biking to BMX bike riding that provide stimulation and suitable preparation for outdoor challenges that lay ahead.

We spoke to the leading indoor cycling centre in the UK, the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, to learn if popularity in the sport has remained the same and what the challenges are within the sport.

SRB: Have you found that people use the National Cycling Centre as preparation for bigger cycling challenges outdoors?

NCC: These riders would probably use our Wattbike High Intensity Training as preparation for Sportives, rather than Velodrome track time, which would be more specific to honing bike-handling skills.

SRB: Why would people choose to cycle at the National Cycling Centre over something that could be considered more challenging outdoors?

NCC: We are the busiest Velodrome in the World, and our track is used 14 hours a day 7 days a week, so for a beginner it would be a challenge, but we also have had World Downhill Champions ride here as part of their cross training, and what comes more white knuckle than that!

SRB: How popular have you found cycling to be amongst beginners? Have you found it to be more popular since the successes of the 2012 Olympics, for example?

NCC: The post-Olympic rush indeed started after Beijing and subsequently didn't let up until London when the little remaining capacity we had was filled up.

SRB: How would you describe the experience of cycling at the National Cycling Centre compared to outdoor experiences?

NCC: It's difficult to compare a 30kms downhill descent off of the Ventoux to an hour on Manchester Velodrome but we have a big customer base that come back time and time again! They do appreciate following in the wheel tracks of Olympic and World Champions, sometimes straight after GB Cycling Team have been training!

Thanks to Bob Barber, Velodrome Cycling Manager at the National Cycling Centre, Manchester for taking time to talk to us.

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