Indoor bike trainers, not just for winter anymore!

Time-saving training

There comes a time in a triathlete’s life when reality comes crashing down. This usually manifests itself as jobs, family, community, and other interests. The pool already steals away extra time in travel, changing and showering, just to get in the workout. Running is not too bad, since you can leave from your front door most days. But, trying to fit in the biking too becomes difficult. Time spent on the bike is what shapes a good biker considering half of the race is the bike leg.

Many riders find it hard to find a way to squeeze in that hour here and there on the bike. Another trip to the gym for a spin class or loading the bike in the o ride somewhere can kill the workout all together. Not to mention the fact that some people have to ride during the dark hours of the day. This is where indoor training can turn things completely around for many people.

Finally, being able to crawl out of bed before the kids wake up, your boss starts breathing down your neck and be half asleep on your bike in your PJ’s within 15 minutes is a possibility. How about mid day nap time riding for those tri moms? And of course the tri family’s definition of movie night always involves at least one parent on the trainer! Seriously, a good quality bike trainer can dramatically increase a person’s access to training time. This holds true all year long because commitments don’t disappear in the warmer months. Although, if I had one wish…

You can crawl out of bed before the kids wake up or get a fresh start before your boss starts breathing down your neck. Being half asleep on your bike in your PJs is a possibility. How about a mid-day naptime ride for your tri moms? And of course, the tri family’s definition of movie night always involves at least one parent on the indoor trainer. Seriously, a good quality bike trainer can dramatically increase a person’s access to training time. This holds true all year long because commitments don’t disappear in the winter. Although, had one wish …

Effective training

Trying to make the most of the time you do spend bike training can be tricky. Sometimes, when the weather goes bad, getting the right bike workout in can be frustrating. Cars can get in the way, the terrain can become too hilly or too flat, or riding buddies may be going way too slow. This is where being in a more controlled environment can be a huge asset.

Most pros will do their most important hard training workouts with on an indoor trainer for this very reason. Even though 99% of the triathletes are age groupers, time is just as valuable, if not even more important. When you finally have time to get in that hard day, this is typically the only window of opportunity you have..

Investing in a trainer can make sure that the right workout gets done at the right time and in the right way. You may go as hard or as easy as you want for as long or as short as you want. Want hills? Want flat? It’s all up to you. Not to mention the weather is always just right and a good movie is just a remote away. Come on, who wouldn’t want to do a hard day while watching Miracle, Remember the Titans, Tour De France footage or Triathlon race videos? There are also many good chick flicks for those long easy rides. Just bring the Kleenex box!

Playing it safe

The most dangerous of all three triathlon sports is without a doubt the biking. There are many risks one takes when going outside on the roads. Every year I know someone who has been hit by a car while training. And every year I hear of someone local who has not survived one of these crashes. In addition, there are the countless crashes that occur while training and racing that only involves poor bike handling. This doesn’t mean that we all should sit inside when a great training ride presents itself in great weather with friends, but riding inside is not going to injure a person. I prefer to stack the odds in my favor as much as possible.

The right trainer for the right price

In order to most thoroughly enjoy your indoor trainer experience, you need the right trainer. The right trainer will be quiet enough to watch movies, give you the most road-like feel, have the capability to handle hard and fast workouts, simulate hills and allow the rider to coast and stand up. A great trainer will also have power readout capabilities and be reliable over the long term. The expensive variety that fits these criteria (except coasting) with a lot of other bells and whistles is the computrainer. But, with the almost $2,000 price tag, most people can’t or won’t buy it.

The best affordable alternative for about $300 ($50 extra for the optional power unit) is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. This is the trainer used by USA Cycling and many pro riders. It’s everything you need for the right price. It also has an added benefit of actually helping bikers smooth out their peddle stroke and being slightly harder than the road itself. After a winter on this puppy, the flat road feels like a downhill. Not to mention that hard days on it really help out the old bike split in a race. The other bonus is that the company stands behind their product and has done a great job building a very solid, long lasting and durable unit.

For those that are looking for easy ways to add in more bike time, get just the ride they need, stay safe and not break the bank, then the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is calling your name. It most assuredly will provide many years of great riding!

Debbie Perry-USA Triathlon certified coach, Strength Trainer, Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor (CSNA) and three-time All-American Triathlete.