January of 2012 was when a new love entered my life: A new bike. Yeah, I’m kind of sentimental about my bikes. I bought this bike to help take my riding up a notch. I wanted to go further and faster and that bike definitely helped me do both.
Winter, however, has slowed me down a bit. I enjoy some cold weather riding but have some limits to as to just how cold I can tolerate. However, thanks to some gadgets, new Christmas presents and experimentation I’ve assembled a pretty decent indoor bike riding/training setup. Since I’m a sharer, what follows is a bit of a look at that that setup looks like.
First, the bike. Can’t do any of this without a bike! Mine is a Pinarello FP1. Aluminum frame, carbon fork (just look at that sexy front fork in the picture!) and carbon rear stays with a Shimano 105 groupo. It may be in the bottom tier of the Pinarello family but I absolutely love this bike. Before I added pedals and bottle cages she weighed just over 17 lbs – far lighter than I need/deserve and I’m OK with that.
OK, that’s the bike, now the indoor trainer. I’m using the Cycleops Mag Trainer and it is working out great. I’ve found a resistance setting that feels quite close to being on the road and some timed rides and their mileage basically bears that out. And, unlike some types of trainers, this one isn’t all that loud either.
I picked up a pretty cheap yoga mat to put under the trainer and bike. Why? Well, it catches sweat. And when you’re doing intervals on an indoor bike trainer you are going to generate some sweat. Not tech but very necessary to save the floor!
Pedaling is all fine but I find it useful to actually measure what I am doing. To that end, the Sigma BC 1609 STS + Cadence takes care of monitoring speed, miles and cadence. This unit works well for indoor work as you can attach the wireless sensors to the rear wheel (the only one spinning on my sort of trainer). The cadence meter is great for interval training too.
Speaking of monitoring, I use a Zephyr Bluetooth heart rate monitor. This is designed to work with my Android phone and seems to have a pretty incredible battery life. I wear this by using the included chest strap and find it comfortable enough to easily ignore.
That leads us to software. I have a couple free apps on my phone that are a big part of my indoor training:
- Endomondo: Tracks my pulse while spinning and helps keep track of useful stats like max HR, avg HR and calories burned (a number I just love to watch).
- Interval Timer AD: I use this to help manage my intervals. It lets me string together a few different interval plans into one big “super-set” of intervals. I tried a bunch of interval apps and this seems to be the best/most flexible one for my purposes.
Speaking of HRM and android apps, I am also a big fan of the Strava application. If you’re a runner or rider you definitely should check this one out. I will be purchasing the pro version this spring to get the full experience once I’m back to full-time outdoors riding.
Now that’s the list of tools. But all the tools in the world can’t change the fact that pedaling indoors is mind-numbingly boring. That’s where Netflix comes in. I don’t know what my long term plans are but right now I’m enjoying the heck out of The Walking Dead series. Once that is caught up I think I’ll finally get around to watching the Firefly series and Serenity. Maybe watch Battlestar Galactica after that? I’m a bit underwhelmed with the movie selection on the Netflix streaming plan but am finding it a great way to catch some TV series that I missed.
I watch Netflix on a laptop and use my Samsung HM6450 stereo Bluetooth headset to listen. I had tried a few rides with corded headset but came distressingly close to pulling the laptop off the table when I wasn’t paying attention! Then I recalled that my Bluetooth headset had stereo headphones and solved that problem. Works great.
And there you have it: my kit for indoor training using my road bike. Not a ton of money involved — and I was rather blessed to get some of these items as gifts at Christmas. Unsolicited gifts even!
Have any tips or suggestions? I’d love to hear them so leave a comment, please!