In an era of multi-use resource management, a bike trainer fits in admirably. When you can pull your bike out of the garage during the storms of winter and attach it to a bicycle trainer in your living room for a healthy workout, you’ve got an exercise machine that’s working for you year-round.
You’re getting free-spirit bike riding in the summer, and an indoor exercise bike in the winter…all from the same bicycle.
Advantages Of Cycling
It’s funny how a person loses perspective as time goes by. I’ve been so deeply immersed in the cycling culture that I was taken back by a scientific paper I read lately.
The paper was laying out the benefits and obstacles of cycling. One of the obstacles brought out in the article was that bike riding is associated with being a kid, not a dignified adult.
The more I think about it, the more I can see that being true. Although I’m on my bike every day (pretty much a cycling nut), I must admit that in our extremely rural area, I look at adults I see riding a bike as fitness freaks or people who can’t afford a car. Shame on me.
Now that I’ve gotten the true confessions aside, let’s get down to some truly beneficial aspects of cycling.
â€¢ Cycling is an excellent way in which to get in the exercise needed for proper weight loss and maintenance.
â€¢ The most important parts of your body (heart and lungs) get a good workout from cycling.
â€¢ Cycling builds lean body mass.
â€¢ Without the pounding on the joints, cycling is allows ‘beat-up’ old runners to keep active.
â€¢ Unlike swimming (which is also ‘shock-free’), cycling doesn’t require getting to a pool, lake, or ocean.
â€¢ This one’s a bit more touchy-feeley…but there’s something exhilarating about riding along fast without a car door between you and the outdoors. It makes my spirit soar.
But What About When It’s Raining Outside?
It’s taken quite a few paragraphs to get back to the original point of this article; the use of an indoor bike trainer. When you attach the rear wheel of your bike to a bike trainer, you’ll have a four-season fitness tool. Bring on the rain, sleet, or snow…it doesn’t matter.
There are basically three categories of bike trainers out there in the world. There are fluid trainers, mag (magnetic) trainers, and wind trainers.
I’ve done Kurt Kinetic Road Machine reviews, writing about the most popular of the fluid trainers. I’ve also written CycleOps Magneto reviews, featuring the latest cutting edge technology in the mag trainer category. Wind trainer reviews are a bit more difficult to expound upon because wind trainers are so simple.
Each type has advantages and disadvantages, some features being more important to different styles of riders.
A Short Section On Advantages And Disadvantages
Fluid trainers are the most ‘realistic’ feeling trainers. That is to say that they feel most like a ride outside. They are also the quietest of the categories, and for those who really want to ‘put the pedal to the metal’…they are able to create nearly limitless resistance. There’s a reason that the pro cyclists choose fluid trainers…they can’t overpower them.
A couple of disadvantages come to mind relating to fluid trainers. They are the most expensive of the three categories, with the Kinetic Road Machine selling for about $300 and the Kinetic Rock and Roll selling for close to $500. Another disadvantage is that previous versions of fluid trainers tended to develop leaks over time, dribbling their silicone fluid all over the living room floor.
Mag trainers are a little bit noisier than fluid trainers, and can’t supply quite the workload that fluid trainers can. That being said, they aren’t noisy enough to make much of a difference to most riders. And most cyclists won’t have enough ‘juice’ in their legs to over-power a quality mag trainer.
One disadvantage with the simpler mag trainers is that the rider has to dismount in order to change the resistance. More complex mag trainers have a lever that attaches to the handlebars so that changes can be done while still riding, and the Kurt Kinetic Magneto changes workload automatically the faster the flywheel spins.
Mag trainers are about $100 dollars cheaper than fluid trainers.
Wind trainers can be pretty noisy. In fact there are tales of riders not being able to hear their favorite TV show while they pedal along…in spite of having driven everyone else out of the house because the TV volume is at full blast.
Wind trainers may be adequate for ‘casual’ riders, but they probably won’t do for serious cyclists because the amount of resistance they can generate is limited.
But these are the least expensive of the three categories. And because of their simplicity, they are the least likely to need repair.
Bike Trainers…Just Do It
So whichever trainer style you would choose, consider getting a bike trainer to extend your ‘fitness year’ from three to four seasons. You’ll have a exercise tool at your disposal to make your bike multi-task like a short-order cook at Denny’s.
No more winter vacations for your bicycle.