A friend and former Euro pro once called it “the most underrated cycling gear ever.”
It’s the humble bicycle trainer, used for cycling indoors.
But the secret is, don’t just ride it in winter, use it year-round for structured, no-nonsense workouts. It’s quick and efficient. I did two good workouts this week, each in less than 45 min.The secret is to ride your trainer year-round for structured, no-nonsense workouts. Click To Tweet
Indoor Cycling for Comprehensive and Year-Round Training
The thing I love about indoor cycling is I can do leg strength easily. I use Bill Edwards’ progressive power training method for developing cycling-specific strength. (Save your gym membership fees and invest in a trainer, much more effective.)
The other big plus for is the ability to climb for as long as you want to, and not be limited by the topography in your area. (When I was racing I used to get on the trainer at lunch and grind away up Alpe d’Huez at least twice a week during my lunch hour. I’d have to fly to France to replicate that.)
Add to that you can do that day or night, wet or dry… and you can do it safely.
And… I’ve got a huge fan next to my bike that I’d say with iced bottles, air conditioning and the blast from my huge fan, keeps me cooler indoors than I’d be on the road. That means I can increase the work load and get in a better workout (similar to using supplemental oxygen).
BTW, I think a lot of people go wrong here. If you don’t keep cool, your power will lower, and you’re not going to get a quality workout. Invest in a good fan, and put your trainer below (or near) an air conditioning vent if possible, and hydrate!
Enjoy the outdoors, but think that’s the only way to get in a killer workout… all the good guys I raced with used trainers year round.
Which is the Best Bicycle Trainer?
There are a number of good trainers, from mag, fluid to electronic or “smart” trainers. (You can explore some the options available in the Cycling Store.)
I have a CompuTrainer, and it’s rock solid. The only thing I don’t like about it is the software and the controller, the trainer itself is bulletproof and will give you decades of hard use. But CompuTrainers are the original smart trainers, now decades old, and it shows.
Wahoo’s Kickr is one of the best, and maybe the best of all. I haven’t ridden every trainer out there, so I can’t say definitively, but it’s as solid as the CompuTrainer in construction, but with state of the art technology and software. It lets you do normal trainer workouts, Erg style workouts based on power, and ride courses and online with Zwift.
It’s compatible with Windows, iOS, Android and more. It connects to just about every app you could wish, WahooFitness, Strava, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Kinomap and ones I’ve never heard of.
Forget the trick wheels, it’s a trainer that will really lift your game.
Check out the stats on Wahoo’s Kickr.