My advice is.... don't do it.
Been there, done that. Bought bikes, exercise and otherwise. Bought a rowing machine, set of weights, stepper, numerous aerobics videos, endless Lycra gym-wear.
The end result? It's great for the first couple of months or so, then the novelty rapidly wears off and the stuff ends up in the garage, unused.
Instead, buy a pedometer and aim to clock up 10,000 steps a day.
Why not buy a real bike and actually use it as a form of transport?
I did that a few years ago. Now I cycle to the office and back and in an average week clock up about 150 miles on it.
Keeps me fit, it's an excellent means of transport and I'm helping the environment to boot.
You could always buy a 'stationery' bike instead.
Then if you get bored with it, you can simply fold it up and store it in an envelope.
All of that stuff will grow dust, don't waste your time.
If you want home gym equipment, buy a treadmill. I've seen the numbers (don't recall specifics), but most home gym equipment except treadmills goes unused. Conversely something like 40% of treadmills are still being used years later.
Put it in an area that's comfortable and well lit, not some dingy corner. And drop a tv or radio or something in front of it.
We bought our treadmill used years ago. My wife has burned through a set of rollers and the wooden bed of the treadmill, we've replaced all that and she's still using it.
Didn't take with me unfortunately :).
I have a recumbent bike. It's a lot more comfortable than a regular bike. It's easy to read a book/magazine while riding. I don't have any opinions regarding brands, as mine is more than six years old and I bought it from a used sporting goods store.
For some people, a bike that takes you places isn't very practical. I live in Las Vegas, work from home and it gets to 110+ in the summer.
To further trillian's suggestion, you could get a real bike with an indoor spinning attachment. Take the bike out when you want to, and ride inside when you want to. Best of both worlds...more or less.
a high quality elliptical machine is wonderful. Ours is quiet and smooth. You can watch tv or listen to music while you ride. Diamondback, and giant are some quality manufacturers.
I would use a recumbent bike. I like it better as it seems more comfortable.
I think it needs to be a ramped up type thing. I started liftng weights 1 year and a few months ago. About six months into it I added the bike and a few other cardio. things. What complicates my routine is warm weather. I am an AVID frisbee disc golf person. I've been doing it for twenty years. I found, at first, that I could not lift weights and then do a round of frisbee golf. When things got warm this spring I found I am now able to do both and still score a nice game at disc golf.
I found that the only way it works for me is to do it the second I get home. No errands first....period. I lift M-W-F and do cardio T-TH-Sat. It is really tempting to put it off for whatever reason/emergency. I bought my bench and weights a year prior to using them. I tried a few times but alwayus made excuses. One day I just made up my mind and haven't looked back.
It all came down to my beer gut ;).
I am with trillianjedi 110 %. Using a real bike as a main transportation vehicle has many advantages else than keeping you fit. Highly recommended for urban ereas. Exercicing is a necessity, so is commuting. In many cases, it's a perfect match.
Since I pedal less than 30 minutes a day for transportation purposes, and barely during winters, I use a stepper for cardio at work and at home.
One good trick for discipline is to do it watching TV news. This routine makes it less likely the gizmo will turn into a dust collector.
Broadway: To answer your question, I have an indoor stationary bike and I LOVE it!
I have the Greg Lemond Revmaster spinning bike. It's solidly built, it can take some serious abuse, and it's really a great ride.
It doesn't have any bells or whistles - it's not going to tell you your heartrate or anything like that. It's got pedals, and a big strong flywheel, and manual tension adjusters. It's there to ride, and ride HARD ... this is no little "gotta do my thirty minutes on a piece of exercise equipment" bike. It's a serious trip.
I'd recommend taking a spinning class or two at a local health club (most places will let non-members audit a class or two) to see what kind of bike will work best for you. Then go for it.
Any commitment to your health is a GREAT thing to do ... I congratulate you on your decision to get into better shape (we could all stand some more exercise). :) Let us know what you choose.
i go the gym 2-3 times per week and spend 25 min on a cross trainer every time; burns 350 calories
mom wanted to get some excercise done at home, so i asked the gym owner about it. he said buying cheap equipment damages your joints. the xtrainer i use at the gym goes for 7K€ ...
i work at an orthopedic biotec company and the in-house physiotherapists here say its also a waste of time to buy one for in-house use; make it a social event, work it into your daily/weekly schedule ... the only way you will make it last
just wanted to add that a good work out really makes you feel great. cheesy thing to say, but so true
Neither my treadmill nor my elliptical machine get any use any more, but that is cause I opted to join a gym. We simply don't have a good space for equipment. I'm going to sell both pieces of equipment. Unless I'm at a gym, I can't work up the enthusiasm to work out. I do recommend an elliptical machine over a treadmill though. Much better on the joints, IMHO. I run much faster on the elliptical than on a treadmill thereby burning far more calories.
Ideally I want a converted exercise bike which slides halfway under a converted high-level desk, so that instead of cycling to work, I can cycle all day whilst I am at work.
Is nobody producing these yet?
Much to my surprise, apparently they are.
I think the NeoRacer Mini Exercise Bike is just what I've been looking for.
I'm a road bicyclist so I thought buying a stationary bike would just what I needed, no more cold rides on the bike in the middle of the winter.
To tell you the truth a stationary bike is as fun as a grey heavy stone. You will have to rent or buy a lot of good movies to watch while using the thing. Anyway you just keep on watching the clock hoping that a couple of hours have passed so that you can end the total boredom, however you discover that only five minutes passed.
Anyways I gave the bike to my aunt, who used it for uh a couple of weeks until it ended up in her basement.. That's my experience of stationary bikes :)