This wont come as a surprise to anyone but if you are into the science of sport and health you may find this article really interesting.
You have a safe period of about four days with no large detraining consequences. After that the detraining effect hits surprisingly fast.
What it says in a nutshell is after 3-4 days of no cycling your body starts to change. The efficiency of your heart and lungs fall slightly and leave it any longer and you will start to notice a significant drop in your fitness level and ability to recover.
Changes really begin to occur after one week out of the saddle and result in fitness losses. Aerobic capabilities drop off by about 5 percent. Your blood volume can be reduced by five to twelve percent. This means a decrease in the amount of blood your heart can pump in terms of the amount of blood pumped per beat and total blood volume per minute. Your muscles also begin to lose elasticity.
Twice a week has always been that minimum magic number of “times to get out and ride” and we have all noticed the how things change if you have a week or 2 off..
If you’re forced to abandon your normal cycling routine for more than two weeks, attempt an abridged cycling schedule, even if it’s one ride per week, rather than stopping altogether. If you don’t have time for a good ride, you can break it up into several shorter rides. One option is to do two or three short sessions a week of high-intensity interval training. One-minute sprints of cycling, alternating with one-minute rests for a total of 10 minutes. Research shows that this can be a good way to maintain aerobic fitness, without significant detraining effects.
So get up and get out at least twice a week or every 3 days and keep yourself in tip top condition…