But for a few exceptions, indoor cyclists should simulate the hand positions that an outdoor cyclist utilizes. Those exceptions would be the very aggressive riding positions of elite cyclists and triathletes utilized during competitions, reserved for athletes with many years of skills, fitness, flexibility and of course, the tens of thousands of dollars to pay for fine-tuned, custom fitted bicycles. For the rest of us mere mortal cyclists, where you put your hands outdoors is where you want to put them idoors. Many decades (one might even say over a century) of research has gone into determining the optimal riding positions and measurements for cyclists; positions that take into consideration comfort, injury potential, optimal transfer of forces to the drive train and performance enhancement. (Note that aerodynamic is not a consideration indoors). Indoor cycling instructors and enthusiasts should respect the knowledge that is provided from the cycling world, even (or especially) if you or your students do not ride bicycles outside.
Therefore, before we discuss where you should put your hands when riding indoors, let’s look at what a cyclist does. Your comfortable riding position outdoors begins with the first day you buy your bicycle.