With shorter days and plunging temperatures, outdoor cycling days, at least in Illinois, are numbered. It's the perfect time to consider an indoor training setup to extend your season and bridge the gap to next cycling season.
I’ve ridden a trainer setup for the last 5 years and really enjoy the indoor riding season. I consider it a cycling laboratory where I can experiment with workout types, riding form, cadence speeds, and heart rate zones. My main goal for indoor training is to maintain and improve cycling fitness.
The indoor trainer equipment market has exploded over the last 5 years and now offers a dizzying array of hardware choices and software applications designed to keep riders motivated.
What do I need to get started with indoor training?
Required: Indoor trainer. Trainers are divided into three main categories: direct drive, friction and rollers, ranging in price from $200 - $3500. I use a fluid-based friction trainer ($299 new). It’s certainly not the most high tech but it’s rock solid, smooth, and quiet.
Highly recommended: training software application. The indoor training market includes many cutting edge training apps (Bkool, FulGaz, Kinomap, Road Grand Tours, Rouvy, The Sufferfest, Trainer Road, Zwift) to name a few. Each app has its own spin on indoor riding. Zwift, for instance, is a virtual experience of riding with others while Trainer Road is more individual workout-based. Training apps are the secret sauce to keep cyclists motivated for the indoor season. The days of spinning mindlessly into boredom are long gone. Find the app that best fits your goals.
Nice to have: Heart rate monitor, cooling fan.
My indoor training program began last week. Some benefits of an indoor trainer: it is portable, can be set up or torn down quickly, rides are scheduled when I have time, and no worries about weather or traffic. I find the biggest benefit, by far, is the ability to measure progress towards my goal of improved cycling fitness.
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