Exercise Bike Desk?
June 23, 2020 11:41 AM   Subscribe

If you've tried an exercise bike desk, would you recommend one? I imagine it being a little uncomfortable on the butt. Is there a particular one you would recommend? I'm basically too lazy for a standing desk but I'd like to get some movement into my day.
posted by kitcat to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to bike desks, but if you're worried about the seat, there are desk pedals that would allow you to sit in a normal chair and pedal instead.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:58 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]

we impulse-bought a peloton at the start of NYC's quarantine and while i do not think it is a good option for you (despite the existence of some after-market desk-type add ons, and that i may have taken one or two conference calls from the bike where i did not need to contribute much) i CAN suggest that if you find a solution that works other than the seat issue, the padded bike shorts really do help.

agreeing with kevinbelt that you might want to look at lower-intensity/easier to set up options to see how you like it before investing in a more complicated setup.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:32 PM on June 23

Thanks - good info so far. I had no idea there was such a thing as padded shorts! I was just thinking to add - I'd want it to be an upright bike, not a recumbent. Without core (abdominal) engagement I don't really see the point.
posted by kitcat at 1:42 PM on June 23

You're not going to get that much core engagement from a stationary bike unless you're standing on the pedals and even that is going to be minimal. Your core is engaged on a bike because you're trying to keep the bike and yourself upright which is not something you need to do so much on a stationary bike.
posted by brookeb at 4:27 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]

If you didn’t know about padded shorts, an additional piece of useful information that a lot of people don’t realise - you’re supposed to wear them without underwear! The padding cover is made of chamois (do buy the ones with chamois lining) and deliberately soft on the more delicate parts of your body. Wearing underpants renders that feature pointless and just causes chafing. You can also buy sports lube for extra chafing protection, or just use vaseline.
posted by penguin pie at 4:48 PM on June 23

not a recumbent

I don't know desk bikes, but I'm a longtime biker that's new to recumbents. If anything, they engage core muscles much more than uprights since we can't use our static weight for propulsion.
posted by vers at 5:29 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]

I do have a desk bike. Specifically, I have this desk bike (with the built-in desk).

Agreed with the above that it will do nothing for your core. That said, it got me moving all throughout the period that I was working from home. I was able to progress from resistance 5 to resistance 7 within two months of regular use (about 40mins of continuous cycling per session). I was able to type, game and even write (with less than perfect handwriting) while using this. It's not comfortable enough that I'd want to sit on it while not cycling, but it didn't give me a sore butt, so there's that. The effect is mainly on getting your heart rate up (depending on the resistance and the speed at which you pedal), and strengthening your thigh muscles, which in turn can help in improving your other exercises such as squats.

If you're thinking of getting this particular model, though, I'll warn you that although it was super quiet at first, a few months in it started to creak. Really loudly. I just started pedalling backwards on it. After a while the noise went away and now it's quiet again, so.

posted by satoshi at 11:52 PM on June 23

I have this Fitdesk and I’m quite happy with it, but I will say these days (having upgraded to an external monitor and keyboard and mouse) I don’t usually use it for working, usually just as a regular exercise bike I can use while watching TV or playing games on my phone or reading a book or whatever. But I did use it as a desk for a while. I never found the seat made me sore and I also found it was a good height to use as a standing desk as well if I got tired of sitting, I’d just step off it and stand up. As a work desk, I used it more as a way to move slightly throughout the day rather than something that would give me a serious workout—I found it hard to concentrate and type and pedal hard all at once. But I recommend it! Cheap as these things go, sturdy, pretty comfortable. I had one of those little under desk pedalers for a while and gave it away, those don’t do a thing.
posted by music for skeletons at 7:03 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]

Former Real Cyclist (TM) here. Cycling does nothing for the core that I can tell. It's possible that since you can't lean on the desk like a real bike that you'll get some benefit, but more likely you'll just mess with your posture.

If you're not concentrating on actually pedaling, you'll be putting a lot more weight on the bike seat a lot more than someone actually cycling. Bike seats for actual "cycling" can be minimal and unpadded since the stronger you are, you're putting more weight on your legs and not really on your butt. I'd actually get a recumbent because it has an actual seat.

Bike shorts are more for reducing the seams on your normal clothes that otherwise you'll be directly sitting upon and rubbing your skin raw. The "padding" that everyone refers to is not intentional and more of a side-effect of the seamless liner sewn into the short, that also absorbs moisture (and other bodily fluids).
posted by meowzilla at 11:11 AM on June 24

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