Who wants to ride indoors? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of a bike? Before making trainer rides part of my routine, I considered the very notion of indoor spins as sacrilege. Bikes are about feeling the wind in your hair, the speed, the freedom to see what lies over that hill or around the bend.
I didn't want to admit it, but soon I discovered, trainers can also provide freedom. Sometimes you want to get the blood flowing and on your own schedule. Trainers give you the freedom to ride when you want to, day-or-night, for as long or as little as you want. Often by the time I've suited up to tackle the elements, navigated through traffic to get to my favorite stretch of road or trail, an hour has gone by and I don't have all day to ride. Enter indoor trainer sessions, you can spend quality time spinning, not stopping at lights or mixing with traffic. You can put your head down and spin for as long as you want. Coupled with your favorite show or movie and it can be great way to get a workout or just unwind after sitting all day.
Stationary Fluid Trainer
There are two types of trainers we'd recommend. First a stationary model that applies resistance to your rear wheel. These clamp on your rear skewer and hold your bike upright. We like the fluid models because of their realistic road feel and resistance. Fluid models are also quieter than magnetic or wind trainers.
Variations on this style, such as Kinectic's Rock and Roll, allow you to move the bike in a natural side-to-side motion when standing on the pedals. This is great for higher intensity efforts or times when you want to stand up and stretch the legs.
Kinetic offers power data with the optional inRIDE bluetooth sensor. This includes free software for more structured workouts. You can access other workout plans through programs like Trainerroad or Zwift.
The original trainer, 3 drums and belt, rollers have been around for over a century. Simply pedal and the drums will roll underneath you, while the rotational force of your wheel keeps you upright.
Rollers require a bit of practice, as you need to develop a fluid spin to keep you upright. This makes rollers challenging and fun, you can't zone out as easily because you are working to stay balanced.
Our favorite rollers are the legendary Krietler Rollers, made for over 40 years in Grand Junction, CO. As they'll proudly let you know, Kreitler rollers are made of "aluminum drums turned on a CNC lathe with near perfect concentricity," and feature "Instrument quality shield bearings for the smoothest, quietest ride available on rollers." All Kreitlers come with a lifetime warranty, are lightweight and are easy to fold up to store.
Track riders use rollers religiously to develop their form and the ability to ride a ridiculously high cadence. For first timers we recommend setting your rollers up in a door frame or next to a wall or high counter so you can put your hand out to balance.
Outside there's always some visual stimulation to keep you going, it helps to have something to look at indoors as well. Here's some of our favorite bike related films to watch. What do you like to watch on the trainer? Let us know in the comments.
Slaying The Badger (Netflix and Amazon)
Strength in Numbers (Netflix)