There will never be a replacement for cycling outside, encountering new people, the great British countryside, beautiful winding roads and incredibly challenging routes. There are times however, when a replacement to riding outside is exactly what we want and need, reasons for cycling inside are varied - from small amounts of time for training, right across to wanting to avoid horrible weather, whilst not missing a workout. Cycling indoors is also a way to focus on specific areas of your training, allowing you to improve everything from speed and stamina - to the maximising the number of calories burnt per session.
If you are looking at indoor cycling products for the first time, you will likely be both overwhelmed and impressed by the range of products available - and in this guide, we look at everything a beginner needs to know when looking at training indoors, in the comfort of their own home.
First of all, it’s important to remember that the main aim of cycling indoors is to provide a realistic cycling experience, which could feel like you are outside - with all of the variables and intensity of outdoor cycling. The more you spend on an indoor trainer, the more realistic the experience will be, and it will also be quieter.
Where to Cycle Indoors?
One of the first things to do when considering an indoor cycling setup, is to decide exactly where you want to use your bike indoors. Some riders choose to use this as an opportunity to completely fit out the garage, whilst others just use a room in the home.
It’s best to put down a temporary hard surface when using a trainer and bike indoors - with the heavy equipment and sweat inducing workouts making carpet a poor choice. Cheaper turbo trainers can also be quite noisy at the lower end of the budget range, so it’s best to use a quieter area of the home to begin with.
Turbo Trainer VS Smart Trainer
The main choice for most customers is choosing between a turbo trainer and a smart trainer.
Turbo trainers are the cheaper option out of the two. Turbo trainers work with your bike, in a couple of different ways depending on budget. The cheaper turbo trainers for sale will fit onto the rear axle of a bike, and the tyre will rotate and spin as you cycle. These types of trainer can very quickly wear down bike tyres, so may riders choose to fit a specific turbo trainer tyre. Information on performance can be gained from a power meter fitted to your bike, along with a heart rate monitor/watch.
Smart Trainers provide a much better way of working out, and recording your workouts. These high end turbo trainers will have their own cassette which you attach your chain onto - meaning you do not have to worry about your rear tyre, and instead can enjoy greater stability.
Smart trainers typically come with their own app, or can be used with some of the best known apps such as Zwift. These apps and trainers allow you to enjoy ultra realistic cycling performance, ranging from ascents and descents right across to different types of road surfaces.
Turbo Trainer Accessories
Much in the same way that you purchase accessories and kit to make an outdoor ride easier and more enjoyable, you need to do the same to get the most out of your turbo trainer experience.
The first thing to think about is hydration, so make sure that you have a water bottle to hand to replenish fluids you lose through perspiring. It’s also a good idea to invest in a fan, which prevents you from overheating when cycling indoors.
Trainer mats are also a good idea to protect your floor from the equipment you are using, as well as keeping the area around you easy to clean and mop up. It’s also a good idea to stick a towel on your front handlebars, within easy reach to wipe the sweat from your brow.
Choose a specific workout
Although it’s a softer choice to cycle along whilst watching television - you will get so much more out of a turbo trainer session if you follow a structure and set some targets. HIIT sessions are good, as are 60 minute focused workouts. Apps such as Zwift and smart trainer apps are invaluable here, allowing you to choose a whole host of workouts, which can focus on what you want to focus on.
Have a training plan
Although having a turbo trainer allows you to simply hop on and hop off the turbo trainer as and when you have the time, it’s always good practice to get into a training routine that you can stick to. Balance frequency with time, with four thirty minute sessions a week beating the occasional three hour session.
Smart Trainers & Turbo Trainers
At Westbrook Cycles, we stock and supply an excellent range of turbo trainers and smart trainers, all of which can be ordered online.