Unique and Fun Cycling Workouts

Every year or so, I like to do a big multi-day bike ride. Lots of miles and lots of elevation. And every year I think… I should have started training sooner. But let’s be honest, long cycling workouts are tough to schedule (if you don’t like riding alone like me), take the time out for (if you’re slow like me), and can be hard to get proper elevation training (if you don’t have a car that can take you to the mountains like me).

What do you do to get some unique workouts in that can work on your endurance and strength all at once?

What Unique Cycling Workout do I do?

Over the years, I’ve mastered the art of getting in a few more miles each week without completely disrupting my day, and finding ways to hill train without tons of hills. Now, I want to be clear, none of these will ever fully replace a full day of riding outside or real cycling workouts like hill repeats… but they are a lot more fun and supplement your overall training! If you seeking a way to up your cycling game, here are some creative ways to train that will prepare you for your next big ride!

Weight Training with My Dog

Over the years of riding, I’ve had riding buddies come and go. I’ve joined group rides, but we all know that finding someone at or near your pace can be tough depending on your level. One buddy who will always ride at the same pace as you? The dog in a backpack!

When I take my dog on ride, I have an automatic friend to chat with, entertainment from passersby marveling at the dog in the backpack, and a 20lb weight on my back to increase my strength training. Of course, there are limits to this training. We can only ride about an hour at a time before needing a break, but in the summer I ride around with him a couple times a week bopping around the city and we’ll also do 20-30 mile training rides together on the weekends. It’s great motivation for me to get out for a ride, and when I bring my camera or GoPro, we make a whole event out of it!

Cycling Workouts That are Just Riding to a Fun Activity

When I’m trying to fit a few extra miles into my day, I’ll bike to my destination (and/or home). I know this sounds the same as commuting, but I actually mean that you should take it a step further. Here’s the thing… I’m not a great self-starter when it comes to training. I need some accountability. I may not always get up and just ride 20 miles solo… but I will ride 20 miles solo to a pool, or to a party, or to the family event. It’s a longer trip that I may have never done that day. You have to be ok with being a little sweaty or just bring a change of clothes, but it’s a little quicker than riding, showering, and commuting there separately. I recently rode 10 miles each way to have lunch with a friend.

The other option to take it a step further, is to find something really cool to ride to that makes an event out it. Sometimes it’s a beer garden that’s far away (so that my dog can come too) or it’s biking the Bourbon Trail to a tasting in Kentucky!

Side note here too. Commuting everywhere is also great training for multi-day rides. You will still want to train longer days in the saddle, but it is an excellent way to get used to sitting on your saddle every day.

Resistance Training with Trailers

There will never be a perfect replacement for simply going outside and riding hills. I wish there were… but there isn’t. However, I like to think that trailers are great resistance training to prepare you for hills. These cycling workouts are fun because they can include a riding buddy, music, or be a fun way to get out! You can start small with a pet or kid in a trailer on a bike path, and move your way up to pulling my camping trailer (people ask how much it weighs… I usually say I don’t want to know). This can also be simulated with bike camping gear, but it won’t create the same resistance as something dragging off the back of the bike. And don’t be fooled by the picture below, there are plenty of small to medium hills on the way to the camp ground once we leave the bike path!

Pulling a trailer up even the smallest incline will make the next hill without resistance feel soooooooooo easy!

Training with Zwift

People have a lot of opinions about indoor training, especially in summer, but I found it helpful to put on one of the massive climbs and just crank “uphill” for a few hours with no relief. Knowing that none of my outdoor climbs will ever last that long is great for my mental and physical game. And don’t be fooled by my Zwift being in metric (that’s just to level up faster).

Type 2 Fun Training – The Dog and a Trailer

Finally, if you really want to take your training to the next level, you can combine any of these workouts, like me who takes my dog and camping trailer at the same time because how else would my puppy get to come camping with me?

I take great pride in the looks of disbelief that I get from friends when I tell them. Then other times people want to join us! It is just a way more entertaining way to ride, and everyone is so curious about my setup that they typically give me more space and grace on the road!

Start Having More Fun Training Today

Whether you are looking to shakeup your cycling workouts or train for a big event, have fun making any of these activities your own! The more you use your bike the more it becomes a habit versus a chore! And if you need more inspiration, check out this additional list of fun things to do on your bike!

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