If you're used to cycling outside, moving your cycling indoors can feel a bit strange at first. The scenery is not as exciting, and you don't get to feel the wind rushing against your face. However, there are ways to make indoor cycling more effective, interesting, and enjoyable.
Bike on stands, not on a stationary bike
Riding a stationary bike is better than nothing. But if you want a feeling that's more similar to the one you get when biking outside, you should instead invest in stands for your normal bike. You can set your bike up on the stands and then ride it indoors, in place. With the seat and handlebar positions identical to those that you use when cycling outside, you will use your muscles in the same way cycling indoors.
Set up a fan
You can get pretty hot quickly when riding inside because there's little airflow. Luckily, this is easy to counteract with a fan. All you need is a cheap box fan. Set it up in front of your bike to mimic the feeling you get when biking outside with a gentle breeze.
Make a routine out of standing and sitting
Outside, there are probably areas where you stand and pedal, and others where you sit and coast. Inside, it's tempting to just ride in one position the whole time, but this limits the number of muscles you work, and it can also make the ride pretty boring. To keep things interesting and get a better workout, make a routine out of sitting and standing. For instance, you can stand for 5 minutes, sit for 5 minutes, ride in a half-seated position for 5 minutes, and then start all over again. Or, you can stand for 2 minutes every 10 minutes.
Put a towel across your handlebars
When you really get moving on the bike inside, you can get pretty sweaty. To keep this sweat from dripping all over the floor or from making your hands slide on the handlebars, put a towel across your handlebars. This will absorb the sweat before it becomes an issue. It will also catch any drips from your water bottle if you sip water while pedaling.
Cycling indoors can take some getting used to. However, if you opt for stands, put a towel across your handlebars, sit and stand, and set up a fan, you will have a great time and get a great workout.
Contact a local fitness trainer to learn more about indoor cycling.