Thursday, February 4, 2010

Riding In Place

Well here I am deep into the indoor season. With the outside temperatures in the 20’s and streets that never seem dry, I have put on the trainer tire and hooked up the bike to the trainer.

My plan is to ride inside until the first full week of April. Then I start outside again.

The trainer is a fluid trainer with the ability to vary the resistance. I tried a mag trainer, but the fluid trainer seems like a more consistent resistance and it is much quieter. The mag one I had borrowed could be heard all through the house.

I have set up in the basement, in my workshop. The term workshop is probably a misnomer since I do little work in it other than working out. In addition to my winter biking station, there is also a treadmill and a universal weight station. With all this workout equipment and the usual assortment of basement storage, it is pretty crowded.

I have placed a fan in front of the bike and an old portable television hookup with an inexpensive DVD player. I recently purchased off e-bay a complete season of the original Star Trek series on DVD. I know, it is kind of hokey and the special effects are comical by today’s standards, but the stories are actually pretty good and of course they are nostalgic for me.

I have been riding 6 days a week since the year began. I try to ride a 60-70 minutes a day four days a week and lift weights and ride for 30-40 minutes a day twice a week. This gives me about 120 miles a week on the trainer according to my cycle computer.

I really thought I would dread the months of training indoors – the monotony of riding without going anywhere. The truth is that I kind of like it. There are a number of reasons:

1. I don’t have to worry about the weather. I don’t have to plan for rain or cold or how to dress. I just put on my shorts and hop on the bike.

2. I can plan my work out exactly. If I want to go a certain mileage or time I can. I don’t have to worry about routes and if I have enough time to fit in another loop. If I am feeling good I can go longer and if I am not I can stop without worrying how far I am from home.

3. I don’t crash. If you read my previous posts, you will see that this of some importance to me.

4. I can do other things at the same time. I can listen to podcasts, watch television or a DVD, all while riding. Far from being boring, it is both a good work out and entertainment I look forward to.

While all this is good, I do miss being outside. There is no way to really simulate the effort of climbing hills or the terrifying rush of the descent. There is something about covering ground, even if it is ground you have covered many times before.

And after all, moving is what bikes were meant for – it just seems right.