Winter Cycling

What you need to know to be safe and have a blast!

Using a bike regularly is a great way to stay fit and lose some pounds, but many people are put off cycling by the fact that using a bicycle outdoors with lousy weather is not so fun and can even be dangerous. If you are serious about your cycling and don't want the bad weather to break your routine, a great alternative is to buy an indoor bike trainer to be able to use your bike indoors. An indoor bike trainer is a piece of sports equipment that transforms your regular bicycle into an indoor stationary bike.

How Do Indoor Bike Trainers Work

Indoor bike trainers are built to keep the back wheel of your bike from touching the floor while providing varying degrees of resistance, so you can train exactly the same as if you were going up a hill with your bike, only that you can do that while watching TV indoors. When you want to use your bike indoors, you just need to place it into the trainer, attach it, and get on cycling.

Why Use a Trainer Instead of a Stationary Bike?

Bike trainers are much more similar to a real bike than a stationary bicycle, and so they are used for training and not only for exercising. The feeling is much more realistic than on a static bike, and the position is identical to the one you'd use riding the bike outdoors, which has benefits if your goal is to train to use a real bike and not just exercise. They are also usually cheaper than purely static gym equipment because they use your regular bike instead of a static bike, so if you like mixing indoors and outdoors cycling, they can be the most cost-effective option.

Things to Consider When Buying a Trainer

Indoor bike trainers come in many sizes, shapes, and, most importantly, prices from expensive to less expensive and lots of accessories. They also offer different degrees of resistance, and some models can be very noisy. It's essential to choose a bike trainer that can provide the resistance you need without breaking, as some models may crack if you push them too hard. If you can, it's worth bringing your bike with you when choosing a trainer, so you can actually see it in action and confirm that it's suitable.

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Why Use a Stationary Bike Instead of a Bike Trainer

Personally, I have made the decision to go with a stationary bike (Peloton) vs. a traditional bicycle trainer. The apparent difference is that a stationary bike always setup and doesn't require me to takedown every time I want to go outside and ride. It can be ridden year-round in an indoor climate-controlled place no matter the weather and is ready to go in an instant. A traditional bicycle/trainer can provide a more realistic experience but can take 15-30 minutes to set up and get ready - which can be a substantial motivational deterrent.

Today's stationary bikes are super interactive when connected to the internet. With classes, group rides, or just scenic tours, all available with a click is far more motivational, and putting it in the living room where you watch TV is a visual reminder that you "could" be doing something else!
I will post a full review of the Peloton sometime in Janurary after I have a chance to put it thoguh it's paces. However, if you are looking into getting either the Bike or the Tread (financing is scarry easy) use this discount code X6DQT4 and get $100 off ypour purchase!

Turing the Bike Trainer Into a Game

Several websites and apps make indoor training a game. Zwift is a digital destination to ride in for fitness, fun, and adventure. I used it, and it is great to break up the monotony of spinning while watching TV. With many different features, goals, rides, and even the ability to meet up and ride together, you feel like you are on an actual ride!

One of the things that makes this a more polished "game" is the interaction between your laptop, TV, and Mobile device. While the computer is sitting on a stand/dress off the bike – the Mobile Link App on your mobile device gives you power and control over the game and lets you interact with other riders.

How To Use Zwift | Zwift For Beginners
How To Use Zwift | Zwift For Beginners

Chris Sgaraglino

Over the past 37 years of my adult life, I have gained a very diverse portfolio of adventures from which I have been blessed to be a participant. This wealth of experience and knowledge has defined my character, my morals and values, and my healthy respect for people and the great outdoors. It is a true definition of an Outdoorsman!