My indoor trainer set up with green rear trainer tire.

The Ride Inside

I feel like I was braver in the cold weather last year. Maybe that’s because I didn’t have a usable indoor trainer at my disposal.

I bought a used trainer in the summer: a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll model. When I first tried it, there was an almighty squeak emanating from the right-hand end of the rear tire skewer. Fixed that with some grease.

I opted to have an entirely separate rim for my trainer tire, so when I go outside, it’s just a matter of swapping the trainer tire for my outdoor rear tire. At first, when the trainer tire was suggested to me, it seemed like an extravagance, but after two rides with my outdoor tire on the trainer, I saw that my advisor was correct: the trainer would devour my outdoor tire. So, now I swap between indoor and outdoor tires with reasonable ease.

Stats from first ride using the new trainer.

The first few rides on the trainer, I managed to sustain 32 km/hr for one hour. I was astonished how much it took out of me. Everything. A few weeks into riding on the trainer, I pushed past the hour barrier, but only by about nine minutes, racking up about 36 km. It took everything I had to do that.

Also when I started on the trainer, I rode the majority of the time in 4th gear, with occasional drops to 3rd gear. I tried out 5th and 6th gear, but could not ride in either for more than a minute or two. A few weeks into it, I found 5th gear the most comfortable, and pedaled in 6th for greater spans of time. Now, I ride the majority of the time in 6th gear with occasional jumps to 7th gear, which I can maintain for several minutes.

I feel the difference when I go outside, particularly when I’m riding into wind. My legs are stronger and my progress is not really hindered by wind — though I always prefer it at my back!

The inside ride is a different beast.

Pros:

  • No wind!
  • No traffic!
  • No uneven surfaces!
  • Easy proximity to water/bathroom
  • Can listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks

Cons:

  • Static, sterile, no scenery, no variation in road conditions
  • No coasting
  • I don’t stand up on the pedals as often to stretch my legs/back
  • Squeaks and sounds from the trainer break my concentration

Another “pro” for the trainer is that it’s always available. Less than two months in, with 56 indoor rides, I’m verging on 1,800 km indoors. The mileage always shows that every little bit counts. Consistency is the key.

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Matthew St. Amand

Matthew St. Amand

Husband, father, amateur ghost hunter, online-ordained minister and writer. Learn more (but not much more) at www.mattst.biz