Tag Archives: indoor cycling

Cycling’s Secret Weapon

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.

The Incredible Sport Made Possible by the Amazing Machine

As cyclists we’re extremely lucky. Think about it.

A runner… your speeds are “slow” and “slower.” It beats you up, the pounding on ripples through your feet, your knees, your hips, your back.

If you’re a swimmer, okay it doesn’t hurt so much. But it’s painfully slow! You literally have to claw and drag your way through a substance that’s trying to smother you. And your view? It’s a freaking stripe at the bottom of a pool, and a few flashes of feet poolside when you gasp for breath.

Cyclists? We’ve got it made. A simple, amazing machine and we can go places no runner or swimmer could even dream about.

We enjoy incredible variety of speeds and emotions. On the flats we fly, on the hills we grit our teeth and grind, and on the descents we go into an exhilarating virtual freefall.

Now I did a few triathlons years ago, that’s how I got into cycling. And I still run, every day in fact, but IMO nothing beats the simple joy and range of experieces that the amazing machine makes possible.

I think this translates to indoors too. You can run indoors with a treadmill, but those things are huge and expensive. I’m looking for one right now for my wife. The experience is pretty much “thud, thud, thud, thud.”

The incline feature doesn’t simulate hills because although the treadmill tilts upward, the ground (rotating band) is falling downward. It’s much harder to run up a hill in reality, you have to lift your entire body weight up and over the hill, and a treadmill you just have to lift your foot a little higher but your body weight stays exactly where it is.

Swimming indoors? Yeah, for a ton of money you can install an endless pool in your garage, a friend of mine and swimming coach did just that. It’s very expensive, requires a lot of maintenance… and the experience, well let’s just say you’ll be missling that line and those feet.

Cycling indoors these days is an awesome experience, especially with a smart trainer. Sure, it doesn’t match the outdoors, but it’s a long way from grinding away on a trainer staring at a wall, a workout, or cycling video.

Today, with a bullet-proof trainer like Kinetic, you can race online in real time with people from anywhere in the world. You can ride in a group, draft, attack… win sprints and King of the Mountains.

It’s an incredible sport. A simple machine, human-powered, and now technology like Zwift brings that fun and excitement indoors too.

Lucky us.

New Trainer: 1upPOWERbahn

While researching the best indoor cycling trainers for our new cycling gear store, I came across the 1upPOWERbahn from 1UPUSA, makers of the innovative 1upUSA trainer that uses a centrifugal clutch system. The POWERbahn trainer is still in development, and unfortunately it did not reach its fundraising goal on Kickstarter, but here’s a brief overview of what it offers.

What makes the 1upPOWERbahn different?

The makers claim that it realistically mimics the outdoor ride indoors, that it closely simulates the experience of grade and motion changes that you feel on the road. It even simulates momentum, and it does it differently based on the rider’s weight.

  • Simulates grades up to 15 degrees, and downhills to -5 degrees
  • Wireless Ant+  speed, cadence and power
  • Authentic inertia and momentum with no deadspots while pedaling

Learn more about the 1upPOWERbahn.