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There aren’t too many things that can put the skids on our determination to get out and ride, but when the Met Office starts issuing warnings for ice, even we masochistic cyclists allow our sense of self-preservation to kick in. Ice is not your friend – really, one slip can be painful at best and lead to a few months off the bike at worst. Fortunately, there are now more ways to keep scratching that itch to ride without risking a painful slide into the kerb. Yep, we’re talking indoor training.
Indoor training has a lot going for it, even more so when it’s miserable outdoors. You get a lot of bang for your buck riding the ‘turbo’ – you’re able to hit specific power levels or perform cadence drills without fear of encountering traffic or red lights. A static trainer allows you to simply lock in your bike’s rear wheel and ride – really, it’s that simple. There are plenty of online training aids to give you a workout that will really make the difference come spring. Some riders prefer to train on a pair of rollers – not only are you spinning your legs but your core muscles and balance skills get a workout too. Ask in store and we’ll give you some tips on what’s best for you.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Indoor training can be a sweaty experience so set yourself up in a well-ventilated space if you can, or even an outdoor shed. We’d also recommend you protect your bike from sweat, shielding your frame when you turn up the heat. A floormat beneath the whole set up protects the floor and also muffles the noise of your sessions – handy if you live in a flat or train in an upstairs room. And don’t worry about where to put your tablet to keep up with the training session or watch a film – the Tacx Tablet Stand puts it front and centre so you can concentrate on the ride.
The ultimate set up
Until a few years ago, the indoor training experience was a fairly solitary, grim one – hours spent staring at the garage wall, where a five-minute effort seemed to feel more like half an hour. There was even a phrase coined to sum it all up: the ‘pain cave’. Thankfully, with the emergence of coaching aids such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and now VirtuGO, the whole game has moved on. With an internet connection and a ‘smart’ trainer, which transmits your riding pace to the computer, you can immerse yourself in an online world, training alone or racing others from all around the world.
Wahoo have taken the indoor cycling experience to a whole new level with their KICKR Climb and Headwind fan. Along with the KICKR Core trainer, this brilliant set up allows you to replicate climbing and descending the toughest mountains without leaving the house. The Climb is a really clever bit of kit that can replicate gradients up to a knee-bending 20% and descents to a rapid -10%. It really adds to the immersive experience offered by the likes of Zwift. No more dull hours on the turbo – this is actually fun. Think Mario Kart meets bike riding and you’re getting close.
The Headwind fan is designed to channel airflow at your body where you need it most, providing a realistic outdoor feel. While you’re climbing the fan keeps you cool, and as you descend, the wind-speed picks up – talk about immersive experience!
We’ve got the whole lot set up ready for a test ride in store. Once you’ve tried it, we promise you’ll look forward to those days when the weatherman utters the phrase ‘ice on untreated surfaces’.