Despite the unseasonably warm start to winter, the trainer season is indeed arriving in force. Your New Year's resolutions loom, yet the days are shortened, and the weather unconscionably cold. The solution? The indoor bike trainer! This allows you to ride your faithful steed year round despite the weather. There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a trainer and setting it up to make it the most pleasant experience possible.
First of all, what kind of trainer do you go with? There is a pretty large array of them. Most all are going to share a few basic features. They have a frame that holds onto the bike by the axle of the rear wheel. This holds the back of the bike slightly off the ground. The tire of the bike will then spin against a roller which in turns moves the "resistance unit." This resistance unit is what gives you a workout and separates the styles of trainers.
The best trainers are referred to as "fluid trainers." Their resistance units are filled with fluid. As you spin the unit you are churning the fluid on the inside. This works on a similar principal to walking in a pool: a slow walk is easy yet a run is near impossible. The harder you pedal the bike the more the trainer resists. This gives the most life-like feel, ability to coast, and operates in near silence. A great trainer that uses this technology is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.
The next best option is a "magnetic trainer." The resistance units in these work by spinning a wheel that has magnets trying to slow it down. Most of these trainers have adjustable magnets so you can make it a little harder or easier. However, this doesn't offer the wide range of resistance like a fluid trainer, and doesn't have the coasting ability or life-like feel of a fluid trainer. The Cycleops Mag Trainer is a perfect example of this, or also the JetBlack Sport Trainer for the more budget oriented choice.
The third option is called a "wind trainer." These operate by spinning a fan to provide resistance. This offers a very small amount of resistance and produces a pretty loud noise. The trickle down technology and pricing of fluid and magnetic trainers have rendered these mainly obsolete.
Now that we've covered the three kinds of trainers, there are a few tricks to setting it up. First and foremost, I'd recommend a fan. When riding outdoors the natural airflow keeps your perspiration at bay. When stationary you won't have this natural airflow. A fan helps minimize the sweat. Keep a towel on your bars to wipe your brow and also your bars. Alternately, there are products made to cover the bike while you ride such as the Cycleops Bike Thong. A trainer mat to go under this setup will help minimize sound to other rooms in the house and also protect your flooring from perspiration. A good example of this is the Kurt Floor Mat. Last but not least, a television, radio, DVD player, or some other form of entertainment can really help pass the miles!
Now all that's left is for you to knock out those New Years resolutions. Let us help! Come on into one of our stores and we can show you everything you need to get started on indoor training. The best part of indoor riding is you can do it all from the comfort of your own home with no monthly gym fees! Happy riding!