Tag Archives: trainer rides

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Winter in a bike shop is a great time to visit and learn!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The winter months are the perfect time to visit a bike shop! Other than just enjoying bikes at a time when you may not be riding, there are many benefits to visiting your bike shop during the ‘down’ cooler time of the year. In the slower winter months you can learn more, get better deals and faster service.

See faster turnaround time on repairs at your bike shop

Most shops operate on a “first in / first out” repair schedule. This means during the busy summer months there will be dozens of bicycles ahead of yours in line to be repaired. Those dozens of bikes could equal weeks of waiting before your bike gets fixed. Through the winter months there are fewer bikes in for repair. That means you can expect a really quick turnaround time. Plus, with fewer bikes in the shops to be worked on, each seem to get more attention. That’s not to say your shop won’t do a great job in the summer months. I’m just saying that it is always a good thing when service isn’t rushed and the mechanic has more time.

Bike Shop

Quiet time in the shop is the best time for quality service.

Bike shop discounts and deals!

As fall turns into winter, bicycle brands change over from one model year into the next. Because of that change, the transition becomes a sweet spot for buying a bike. In some cases, you can get last year models for a discounted price and if those aren’t available, the new models are readily available. Along with the new model year shift, many shops also run sales through the winter to maximize store traffic.

Worth more than Discounts

It’s no secret that winter in a bike shop is slow. Why not take advantage of that slow time to talk with both the sales person and mechanics? Need to know more about all the different bike types? Where is the best place to ride your fat bike? How do the new shorts differ from the ones you already have? These individuals in the bike shop can help.

If it’s a question about the service or adjustments to your bike, the mechanics are likely to spend more time with you and not be rushed. Even better, at this time of the year some shops will allow customers to watch and learn as they fix their bike in the winter. Due to the time added to teaching, this is not an opportunity that would be considered or offered through the summer.

Learn more at your bike shops clinics and classes

As many bike shops have evolved from normal retail locations into community cycling centers, most have adopted a strategy of education and involvement. Because shops have far more time in the winter, most schedule their programs during this down time. In the most basic cases, you can enjoy trainer rides at most shops. Typically these rides are a “bring your own trainer” affair, where customers come and ride together.

Bike Shop

Park tool School in full effect.

More ambitious stores are running classes on home bike repair as well. Usually those classes focus on one pat of the bike, like wheels, or derailleurs. Finally, the most forward-thinking shops are doing classes and clinics as well as inviting speakers to come and give presentations. Many riders have questions about subjects like bike packing or fat biking and shops will schedule professionals to come talk about those subjects.

Bike Shop

Minnesota’s Angry Catfish runs a bikepack presentation.

Just to show the love

If for no other reason, stop by the shop and say hello. Depending on how quiet the shop is through the winter, things can get pretty boring for the staff and they would love to share their knowledge. Storage can only be cleaned and re-organized so many times after all the boxed bikes get built. After that, the friendly face of a customer is a welcome sight.

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep your fitness through the winter riding months.

Fun and fitness when winter bike riding is not your thing

by John Brown

Snow, ice and cold are great conditions for Fat Biking, but how do you keep your fitness if fat biking isn’t your thing? Luckily, there are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep you in shape through the winter months.

winter riding

Fun is fat through the winter

Off the bike fitness ideas

Even the smallest efforts help you stay fit. Trying things like taking the stairs rather than elevator, parking on the opposite side of the lot and walking when shopping or taking time in the evening to go for walks around the neighborhood will make a big difference when the riding season comes back around. You can also start putting some time in at the gym. In the past I had a gym membership that I would turn off except for 3 months a year. I enjoyed yoga classes, weight training, treadmills, spin classes, as well as all sorts of other gym related activities.

On the Bike training

Besides fat biking (which is the best winter riding option) you can enjoy your bike through the winter by buying an indoor trainer. An indoor trainer holds your bicycle upright and offers resistance when you pedal, thus turning your bike into a stationary bicycle. Using an Indoor trainer you can ride from the comfort of your own home or in a group setting. In fact, most bike shops have trainer nights in their stores through the winter.

winter riding

Trainer rides are a great way to connect with other riders

If you join a shop’s group trainer ride there is usually a leader. However, riding alone can still be fun. Most people start riding their trainer while watching TV and it’s a great plan at first, but that quickly gets boring. I find it interesting to use trainer specific workouts online. There are plenty of free and for pay versions. Additionally, depending on the trainer you buy, some of those workouts will actually change the resistance through your trainer.

Spin classes

Most gyms offer spin classes. These classes use a stationary bicycle, music, and instructors to guide a class through a one-hour workout. These rides are really fun and offer an intensity that is difficult to achieve riding alone at home.

Winter riding

Spin Class is a fast and fun workout

There are however, a few downsides with spin classes to keep in mind. One issue is that a spin bike won’t fit the same as your own bike. To fix this, many riders will install their own saddle and pedals on a spin bike before each class. The other potential problem is that the classes are not tailored toward your personal goals. The classes are usually high tempo, high effort workouts that might not fit with your training plan.

Fun in the Snow

If you live in a cooler weather climate and snow is reality for months at a time you can enjoy the white stuff and keep your fitness. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and ice skating are amazing ways to get your heart rate up. I love skating on our pond with my boys because one, I’m not good at it, so I get to use new muscles and two, I have to really work hard to keep up with them.

winter riding

Our winter oasis where I fumble through learning to skate

However you find your fitness through the winter, enjoy your time off the bike. The brief time between fall and spring is perfect to strengthen new muscles, work on flexibility, and let your body recover from a full season of cycling. Additionally, time off the bike always makes me more excited to get back on it once the weather clears.