As we talked about in the last post, there are some people who ride outdoors all year long…and then there are the rest of us. If you want to keep riding once winter sets in, then you either need to move somewhere with warmer weather or ride inside.

  1. Choose Your Ride – If you choose not to relocate, you have several options for indoor cycling. You can ride a stationary bicycle, a spin bike, or your own bike on a trainer. If you belong to gym, you probably have access to either a stationary or a spin bike, and many gyms also offer spin classes. But if you don’t want to invest in a gym membership or purchase a stationary bike yourself, then you should buy a trainer.
  2. Photo courtesy of Pamela Carls

  3. What’s A Trainer? A trainer is basically a treadmill for your bike; it’s a stand that lets you pedal your bike without actually moving. The stand attaches to the rear hub, the rear wheel moves against a roller (allowing you to remain in a single spot) and there’s an adjustable resistance mechanism (either a fan, a magnet, or fluid) which simulates the feel of outdoor riding.
  4. Why A Trainer? All indoor riding has a fitness benefit, but for cycling, the trainer has some unique advantages over other stationary bikes. With many models available for under $100, a trainer is the most cost effective way to ride inside. And because you’re riding your own bike on the trainer, you don’t have to change your riding position or adjust to a different saddle. You can also work on becoming a stronger rider on that particular bike, which is the one you’ll be riding outside come spring anyway.
  5. Make It Social – Another great thing about riding the trainer is that you can do your ride at home – you can roll out of bed in the morning and get an hour of riding in before work. If you like the social aspect of cycling, you can have a trainer party with your friends – invite them over with their bikes and trainers and ride together (as long as you have enough space to line up next to or facing each other).
  6. Photo courtesy of Ben Lawson

  7. Go To Your Favorite Local Bike Shop – Some bike shops also offer trainer-riding sessions in the winter in lieu of group rides. These sessions are BYOT, but if you don’t want to buy a trainer, you can often rent them from the shop.
  8. Go With A Folder – If you use your Montague folding bike with the trainer, you also have one of the most easily storable exercise set-ups ever. You can attach the trainer to your Montague, as you would to any other bicycle, and do your ride. When you’re done, take the bike off, fold it up, and put it in the closet, along with the trainer. It’s a great indoor exercise option even for the smallest apartment.

Whether you’re a recreational rider looking to keep up your fitness level or a serious racer training in the off-season, the trainer lets you keep on riding all year long.

Do you ever ride the trainer? Do you find it substantially different than outdoor riding? Ever had a trainer party or attended a trainer session at a bike shop? Do you have a trainer you love? Do you prefer it to other forms of indoor cycling?

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