I just came across an article about a cycling desk (never knew that such a thing existed). This past year, I gave up a traditional desk for a standing desk and have been pretty happy with the results, but getting in some extra miles during the work day is very, very intriguing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cycling desk, compared to a standing desk? (The increased activity of cycling over standing is obviously an advantage.) Would I be moving around too much to get work done, or is this a non-issue? What about the posture of sitting on a bike saddle all day? Can the movement of cycling be distracting? How does it compare to a standing desk with a treadmill?

Does anyone have any experience with a cycling desk? And is it possible to be productive while cycling, or is that an unreasonable expectation?

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    Here in Rochester MN there are several people at Mayo Clinic who work at standing desks with treadmills, and I'm told the experience has been good. They're also experimenting with "active" (though less active) desks in some elementary schools, generally having the kids sit on a ball while at their desks. Nov 18, 2011 at 16:15
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    This is a valid question, but I forsee a lot of answers along the lines of "my friend's cousin heard of someone who had one". (That's why I downvoted.) Just a thought, but perhaps you could ask what the potential problems and benefits could be, as opposed to standing desks or treadmill desks? Framing it that way sometimes helps cut out the forum-style chatting. Nov 18, 2011 at 17:18
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    I agree with @NeilFein. The way this is written ("anyone have any experience") will tend to prompt chatty open-ended questions. The second part is fine. Maybe be more specific about your concerns about potential benefits and problems?
    – freiheit
    Nov 18, 2011 at 17:43
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    @Neil - Thanks for the edit, way better than what I would have come up with.
    – Walter
    Nov 20, 2011 at 22:18
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    @Walter: The desk you linked to appears to be simply a table tall enough to allow a bike's handlebar to fit beneath its top. You supply the trainer, and the bike. What makes this a "cycling desk" aside from the name? It is identical to a standing desk, to my way of thinking, and if you have a standing desk, I'm fairly certain you could use it in this way without ordering a new one. Maybe you could try it, and see what the benefits are... I'd certainly be interested in the opinion of someone with first person experience.
    – zenbike
    Nov 23, 2011 at 3:38

3 Answers 3


The basic answer is that there are many studies that link exercise and brain function. A standing desk will get you off your bum, but a treadmil or cycle desk will get your body moving enough to allow your brain to work better.

There is an entire chapter in the book Brain Rules. I have no personal experience with it, but that is the theory.


I have had an under-desk bike for about one month now.

I use it continuously at a low resistance while working. So far I've done between 2-3 hours of cycling each day, though I hope to increase that.

I'm using a Magne Trainer, which is really easy to assemble but costs a bit more than the cheaper models. It's very quiet and I've had zero problems with it sliding around or anything. I did have to raise my desk, using wooden pieces from an old bookcase. I have not raised the desk much. In fact, I only raised it enough so that I could use the trainer the "wrong" way - my feet rest on the cuffs that are supposed to hold your feet, as opposed to the peddles. This makes my feet closer to the ground which means my desk doesn't have to be as high. I don't wear shoes while using it (I work from a home office.

I highly recommend it. I sit in my normal chair. I would not want to sit on a bicycle seat! I had a bit of vertigo the first day (I'm highly prone to motion sickness) but then it went away. My chair wobbles ever so slightly back and forth with the motion, and I imagine that this could be fixed with a better chair, but I really don't mind it. I can definitely concentrate on my work (possibly better than before) while cycling.

I wasn't overweight to begin with but just had about 4 pounds that I felt I wanted to get rid of. I've lost 2 pounds but I'm also being very careful about caloric intake as well - as I tend to gain weight when I exercise.

I hope that helps. Now that I have it, I wouldn't want any other machine.


If the trainer creates excessive vibration/noise, that would make it difficult to be productive. Notice that the rider in the article is on a concrete floor, which won't shift, and should deaden the sound of the trainer. I know that in my home, it's hard to even watch a movie when on the trainer, and when upstairs, the vibrations can be heard clearly from outside.

I would recommend using a quiet trainer, with a tire that interfaces well with the roller, and a stable, noise dampening surface is a must. Surfaces like carpet over chipboard will not work well, Tile on top of thick plywood should be quieter, and concrete is probably best.

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