Are you thinking about moving your cycling indoors this fall? Continuing your cycling indoors will help you maintain your fitness gains, and will also make those occasional rides on nice days more fun. To go along with a trainer this winter (we have some tips on choosing a bicycle trainer), here are a few extra’s for you to consider. These accessories will enhance your riding experience, along with protecting your bike and home from wear and tear while riding indoors.
Video Training Programs are a great incentive and add structure to your indoor riding. Training videos will typically have a focus (climbing, time trials, sprints) and will coach you through a workout of different durations. It is a good idea to have a 2-3 different titles. Like everywhere else, the technology is changing fast, with both DVDs and video downloads (for your smartphone or tablet) now available. Bicycle Garage Indy has the complete Real Rides Series DVD ($34.99 each), and CycleOps trainers include a coupon for a downloadable version of Real Rides (www.realride.tv) with each trainer.
Bike Computers with cadence provide very useful feedback while on a trainer. Riding on a trainer, without the distraction of traffic, is a good opportunity to use cadence (your pedaling RPM), to improve your pedaling style. The Cateye Strada ($49.99) is the best selling wired bicycle computer with cadence. Or you can add a cadence unit that connects to your Bluetooth equipped smart phone, like the Wahoo BlueSC ($59.99). Keep in mind that while on a trainer, you will need to pick up speed from your rear wheel. (If you need help choosing a bicycle computer, see our Bicycle Computer Shopping Tips.
Heart Rate Monitors are another useful tool for indoor training. If you are interested in improving your fitness, the information from a heart rate monitor gives you valuable information on your effort. You can start with a basic unit like the Polar model FT1, starting at $69.99. Or, if you are already using a smartphone cadence unit or fitness app, you can use the Wahoo Tickr ($59.99), and connect to your phone via BlueTooth.
A Wheel Block will keep the handlebars and front wheel in place while your ride. It also levels your bike, since the rear wheel will be lifted about an inch off the ground by the trainer. CycleOps offers a single height Leveling Block ($19.95) or multi-level Climbing Block ($24.99) that allows you to lift the front of your bike for climbing workouts.
Trainer Tires are made to run quieter and wear longer than a standard road tire. This is done using a harder tread compound and more flexible side wall. However, don’t ride these special purpose tires on the road. If you want to use a mountain bike on a trainer, a smooth trainer tire is also much quieter than running an off-road tire. Bicycle Garage Indy has trainer tires from Cycleops and Continental, starting at $34.99.
Trainer Mats are sized to fit under your trainer and bike. The CycleOps Trainer Mat ($69.99) will protect your flooring from sweat, excess lube from your bike, and spilled energy drinks. And depending on the flooring surface, it will hold the the wheel block in place.
Bike Protectors cover the top tube and stem of your bike, and are intended to absorb sweat. The Cycleop Sweat Guard ($24.99) also includes a pocket for the TV tuner or your phone. It mounts without tools, and is machine washable.
You can see our complete selection of trainers and indoor cycles by CycleOps, Wahoo and LeMond at Bicycle Garage Indy & BGI Fitness on the north side (82nd and Dean Road) or Bicycle Garage Indy & BGI Fitness in Greenwood (just west of I65 on County Line Rd.) We also have a limited selection trainers at Bicycle Garage Indy Downtown in the Indy Bike Hub YMCA.