A stationary exercise bike is often the first part of a home gym. It’ll often end up in a room that’s not a dedicated gym room. That means it often ends up in a room that has carpet. But is that OK to do? Here’s what you need to know.
Of course you can put a stationary bike on carpet but it does cause a few problems. Those problems are;
- Bike lifespan
- Carpet lifespan
Some of those problems can be made worse by soft high carpet. Just putting a rubber mat under the exercise bike prevents all of these problems.
Below you can find why those things are a problem in detail and what you can do to prevent them. Need a rubber mat? Click here to find the best options.
Problems with putting a stationary bike on carpet
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t put a stationary bike on carpet;
- Bike lifespan
- Carpet lifespan
The lifespan of the bike can be negatively affected by putting it on carpet. Why is that? It’s because carpet tends to release dust and fibers. Dust and dirt gets into the moving parts and the electronics and cause premature wear.
It messes with moving parts like and gets into the parts that move around like the chain and pedals. These things move constantly when you’re using a bike. Over time this buildup means the parts don’t move smoothly anymore. This means the pedals don’t move as easily and smoothly and can wear out the bearings over time.
The next potential problem is stability. When you’re working hard, your weight can shift from side to side quite a bit. If the surface the exercise bike is put on is soft and has some ‘give’, it can make things feel unstable. Every time you shift your weight to one side, that side will sink a little bit so the whole bike will kind of wobble. This can give an insecure feeling.
It also takes energy away from the work you put into moving the pedals. If the bike moves away a little bit, that bit of movement doesn’t go into the pedals. For a single stroke that doesn’t matter that much. But over thousands, it certainly starts adding up.
The degree to which this happens depends on your specific carpet. Of course a softer, high pile carpet is going to have bigger instability than harder, shorter carpets.
The last problem but not the smallest is the hygiene problems that can arise.
Working out makes you sweat. That sweat will partly be absorbed by the clothes you’re wearing and maybe you keep a towel nearby to wipe off any sweat that won’t be caught by your clothes.
However, there is always a part that won’t be caught by anything. If you’re working hard, you don’t always have time to wipe every drop and you’ll sweat at such a rate that you’d be using your towel more than moving your legs.
That sweat will end up on the bike and on the floor. If you put the exercise bike on carpet, that carpet will be more than willing to absorb that sweat. But that’s where the problem starts. The carpet isn’t going to look, feel and smell very good.
Sweat will degrade the carpet over time and leave it looking pretty sad. The liquid and things in the sweat will also create a really hospitable environment for bacteria and other nasty things to grow. This can lead to bad smells and mold which could ultimately to health problems.
I already mentioned that putting an exercise bike on carpet can degrade carpet quicker than it should. Sweat is one part of the reason why carpet degrades quicker but the feet of the stationary bike are another.
Think of what happens when you put something heavy on carpet for a long time. You’ll have imprints of the feet in the carpet. A heavy cabinet or sofa doesn’t move much. An exercise bike will be a bit lighter but, if used regularly, move back and forth quite a bit. That means a lot of rubbing of the rubber feet on carpet. This will wear through the carpet at some point.
Not all carpet is created equal. The factors mentioned above can be better or worse depending on the type of carpet the bike is on.
Really thick high pile carped is going to be much worse for all the things mentioned above than a thinner, short carpet.
How can you put a stationary bike on carpet?
So there are some issues with putting an exercise bike on carpet. But what can you do if you still want to do it.
There are scenarios where you just don’t want to bother with a separate room or ugly rubber mat in your room. It doesn’t look good and if you’ve got limited space it’s difficult to keep it out of sight.
So what can you do to keep your stationary exercise bike on carpet and keep it in good shape? Here are a few things you can do. The first one is the best solution but you can combine all the different solutions for the best results.
You might not like the look of a rubber mat in your room but it is by far the best solution that solves all of the problems mentioned above.
- Prevents a lot of dust from getting from the carpet to the bike
- Catches sweat and is easy to clean
- Protects the carpet
- Provides a stable surface
There are rubber mats available that do look a bit better than the standard ones. The Rubber Cal Elephant Bark floor mats (amazon link) are super sturdy and are available in different patterns and colors that look much better than the basic black mats.
Get a cover
The first thing you can do is simple. Get a cover that fits over the bike. Just put it on there after your workout and it’ll prevent a lot of dust from falling on it.
Many manufacturers will have a cover available that fits your specific model of exercise bike specifically. However, not all bike have something like that.
If you can’t find anything for your bike, you can try to find one that’s for a scooter. That won’t be as good a fit but it will certainly fit your bike.
Ultimately, anything that covers the bike and doesn’t put a lot of dust on it in the process will help a lot. Besides keeping dust out, a cover also protect the bike from other things that can damage it like UV light or just bumping into it.
Whether you go for a rubber mat or not, if the room the bike is in has carpet, it’s a good idea to regularly vacuum.
It removes dust and dirt from the room so it doesn’t get into the moving parts and electronics. Besides that, it’s not very healthy to work out in a dusty room anyways. It’s probably enough to just vacuum the area around the stationary bike at the same frequency as the rest of your house. If you notice a little too much dust, do it a bit more often.
Wipe down the bike
Another way of keeping dust away from your machine is by wiping down the bike after every workout. You should do this to remove sweat anyways.
If you leave the sweat on the bike it can cause problems like corrosion but sweat will also stick to it easier.
Since the biggest problem is possible increased wear and tear on your machine, it makes sense to be really diligent with the maintenance.
Vacuuming and wiping down the bike already prevents a lot of dust of ever getting into places it shouldn’t. If your stationary bike is in a really dusty place, lubricating the pedals and chain more often helps a lot in increasing the lifespan of your bike.
How bad is it really?
How bad is putting your bike on carpet really? There are some problems but how big are those problems for the average person?
In my opinion, most of the problems are actually pretty minor. The dust and dirt problem will take some time off the lifespan of the bike. How much? That’s very difficult to say. And with proper maintenance and cleaning, the extra wear is likely to be pretty limited.
If you’re on a low pile carpet, the stability problem is going to be pretty limited. After a while the feet of the bike will settle in and the loss of energy will be very minor. On thick carpet it’s a bit more of a problem.
The biggest problems are the damage to the carpet and the hygiene. Carpet is expensive and you don’t want to replace it every year or even more often. If you use the exercise bike every day and you sweat in the same spot every day, you can be sure it becomes a problem pretty quickly.