a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Using an Indoor Bike Trainer
Using an Indoor Bike Trainer

Using an Indoor Bike Trainer

Using an Indoor Bike Trainer

This is not just simply a person that instructs or yells at you about cycling while you are standing inside. This is a meaningful tool that really helps extend your cycling season.

Riding outside on the open road is always best, but sometimes the weather or your personal schedule make it impossible to ride safely. Using an indoor trainer can help you on days when it is snowing sideways or the sun sets before you get home from work. 

  • Save
Riding on a cold, rainy day!

Benefits of Using an Indoor Bike Trainer

You can ride in bad weather!

Although I am not a huge fan of using a bike trainer, it does come in handy when I want to get a winter ride but there is a blizzard out there. Even in extreme weather, like a wind or an ice storm, I can still get a ride in. 

You can ride in the dark!

Additionally, if you live in the north like me, there are a few months during the year, when the sun sets before you even have time to get out on the road. For a week-night ride from November through March, a bike trainer is the only option for me if I want to ride. For safety reasons, I don’t ride after dark and neither should you.

You can ride car free!

Finally, if you are new to riding and not comfortable riding solo, a bike trainer can be a great option when you can’t find a riding partner. When I first started riding, I was nervous out on the road alone. When I didn’t have a riding partner, I spent a lot of time on my bike trainer. Now I only use my indoor bike trainer a few times a year, when the weather just won’t cooperate. 

Types of Indoor Bike Trainers

If you are looking for a trainer, there are so many options. I personally have a cheap resistance trainer that I bought on Amazon when I first started cycling in 2016. Depending on the type of trainer you choose, they will range in price.

$ = Less Expensive

$$ = More Expensive

Resistance Trainers ($)

A resistance trainer is easy to use and doesn’t take up much space. For mine, you simply take out the back skewer and replace it with the skewer from the trainer. Then you set the entire bike into the trainer and lock it in place. It takes about 2 minutes to set up.

Resistance Bike Trainer
  • Save
My Resistance Trainer

Rollers ($)

Some of my cycling friends use rollers. I have no experience using rollers, but I hear that they are good for adding the feeling of balance from outdoor cycling that is missing on other bike trainers. My cycling friend usually sets up her rollers in a doorway to help with balance as she begins. Price wise, rollers are about the same as a basic resistance trainer. However, the set up is even easier since you just set your bike on top and go.

Smart Trainers ($$)

Finally, there are smart trainers. These are more like exercise bikes that can control the resistance for you. Instead of using your back wheel, you move your chain to the cog set on the trainer. Smart trainers can be connected to training Apps like Zwift, BKool, or Rouvy. If you like racing other riders or following an instructor, this might be the best option for you. However it is also the most expensive. Smart trainers generally run 2-to-4 times higher in price and most virtual cycling apps usually require a subscription. Additionally, a smart trainer takes more time to set up, so really consider how often you will use it before making the investment.

There is a lot to consider when choosing which indoor bike trainer to get. I recommend an investment that matches your commitment to riding in the off season. If you are really into indoor riding, you might consider getting an exercise bike ($$$) like a Peloton or a Kaiser.

Workout Ideas for an Indoor Bike Trainer

Intervals and Music

When I am riding on the bike trainer, I do a series of intervals. I set the interval timer on my phone, turn on some music, and just ride. When the bell rings once, I pedal hard. When it rings twice, I pedal easy. Throughout the 60 minute workout, I change up the intervals, with varying speed and/or resistance.

Adjust the resistance when doing intervals on a trainer
  • Save
Adjust the Resistance (simulating uphill riding)

Musicals and Movies

When I am looking for something more entertaining, I ride to musicals like “The Greatest Showman” or “La La Land.” I turn on the movie and use the movie like interval training. When the characters are talking, I pedal easy. When they are singing, I pedal hard. This makes for a fun and easy workout that I don’t even have to think about. 

Apps and Group Rides

Finally, if you are into races or organized virtual rides, you can subscribe to apps like Zwift, Rouvy, or Wahoo that connect to your smart trainer to ride with others. I do not have experience with these, but there are many on the market and lots of tips out there for using your low budget resistance (dumb) trainer to join as well. 

Spin Classes at the Gym

I personally haven’t invested much into indoor trainers because I would prefer to ride outside. If I can’t ride outdoors, I try to find a spin class at a local gym. The YMCA near me offers a Tri-Class once a week throughout the winter and many spin classes. As a community member, I can pay per class rather than getting a membership. Classes are a great alternative, if you just can’t stand riding indoors like me. 

Riding on my indoor bike trainer
  • Save

Hope the was helpful when considering an indoor bike trainer! Follow for more route descriptions, bike talk, and bike maintenance! ~KiteBikeVan

  • Save

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap