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You've got a bike. And, you've got an indoor trainer. You can ride all year, right? Many people don't find it so easy. The problem isn't physical, it's motivational. On the trainer you don't get to enjoy scenery, you don't have the distraction of changing terrain, and it's difficult to set up the head-to-head competition that makes outdoor cycling so exciting.
Get on the bike
Don't let excuses keep you off the bike. Many riders moan about not being able to really ride on their trainer, to go for more than an hour or to get a good workout. We can tell you from long experience that you can do as much intensity and/or volume as you would outdoors just so long as long as you don't convince yourself otherwise ahead of time. And indoor rides like this are quality rides that'll get you fit and make you feel great. All it takes is believing in them and committing to them.
Trainer time is TV time! Watching TV is one of the best ways to make trainer time pass fast. And, we're not talking boring old ad-riddled network TV, though that can have its uses (ride intensely during the show/rest during the ad/repeat). No, we use trainer time to catch up on all those favorites in our TiVo Season's Pass or cycling events caught on our DVR (digital video recorder). You could do the same with your VCR, remember those? These devices ensure that we always have a backlog of programs that we're looking forward to watching and lets us zap the commercials for non-stop entertainment, letting us watch the shows in less time, too. Plus, it's great to be able to do two things we love at the same time: go for a ride and watch our favorite shows.
Reading works, too! This might surprise you but books and magazines are great distractions, too. You can prop them on your handlebars or hold them (photo) and unlike a movie or show that might slow or break for commercials, books will continue to engage you for as long as you want to ride (unless you're a speed reader). Consider starting with some pulp fiction. The light plots are engrossing and won't become too confusing if you miss a word or two due to your exertions. The limitation of reading is that it's hard to do while standing so we've found that it's best done in conjunction with TV. Try standing up every time your show comes back from commercial break and then start reading again at the next commercial break or vice-versa. Use your mute button to silence the TV so you can concentrate on your reading.
Play, don't train. We also know riders who use PlayStations, Xboxes and GameCubes to keep them turning over the pedals for hours on end. The gaming console is hard to hold while riding so this should probably be left to slower, easily paused games.
Try tunes, too. Cranking to your favorite tunes can be a great break from TV or reading. And, up-tempo beats are just the thing to make you maintain your cadence and intensity.
Indoor training is even more fun with friends. It's also motivating to ride with friends. And with indoor trainers, as long as you have a little space (a basement, garage, warehouse, etc.) it's easy for your buds to come over, set-up their trainers and spin with you. If you're on a cycling team, you can do team rides this way. Or, if you share goals with friends like completing an upcoming century, for example, this is a great way to motivate each other and improve your workouts with a little spirited competition and conversation. Or, maybe one of you has a nice new bigscreen TV and the other brings the latest DVD to watch and another the energy bars. Forget pajama parties. Hold trainer parties!
No more excuses! We hope that these suggestions, tips and tricks help you get the most out of your indoor training this season and that the training helps you achieve all your riding and fitness goals. Who knows, you might even take to the nowhere bike with such a passion that you start preferring indoor riding to hitting the road? But, remember, that even if you just hit the trainer when the weather forces you to, every session over 30 minutes is a victory. You've stayed true to your goals and given your muscles the stimulus needed to maintain strength. We look forward to seeing you ride stronger than ever when the weather clears!