Tag Archives: trainer

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 isn’t your thing

by John Brown

Snow, ice, and cold make for excellent conditions for fat biking, but how do you keep in shape when winter bike riding isn’t your thing? Luckily, many fun activities, exercises, drills, and products help keep you in shape through the winter months.

winter riding

Fun is fat through the winter.

Fitness ideas if winter bike riding isn’t your thing

Even the most minor efforts can help you stay fit. Trying things like taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking on the opposite side of the retail center and walk when shopping, or taking time in the evening to walk around the neighborhood will make a big difference until the riding season returns. 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 three months a year. I enjoyed yoga classes, weight training, treadmills, spin classes, and other gym-related activities.

On a bike trainer vs. winter riding

Another winter bike riding option you can enjoy through the winter is 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. When using an Indoor trainer, you can ride from the comfort of your own home or in a group setting. 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 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 course through a one-hour workout. These rides are enjoyable and offer an intensity that is difficult to achieve while 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 bike. Many riders will install their saddle and pedals on a spin bike before each class. The other potential problem is that the courses you can select are not tailored toward your personal goals. The levels are usually high-tempo, high-effort workouts that might not fit your training plan.

Fun in the Snow

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

winter riding

Our winter oasis, where I fumble through learning to skate

However, enjoy your time off the bike if you find your fitness through the winter. The brief time between fall and spring is perfect for strengthening new muscles, working on flexibility, and letting your body recover from a full season of cycling. Additionally, time off the bike always excites me to get back on it once the weather clears.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit and that fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. Starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then to a store manager.  Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
We are now a little over a week away from candies, flowers, and Valentines cards. We are also just a few more weeks away from some prime riding weather. Therefore, we need to turn our collective eyes toward the future and continue our plans for making this year the best riding year ever!

Getting ready for your best riding year ever! Part 2

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

We are now a little over a week away from candies, flowers, and Valentines cards. We are also just a few more weeks away from some prime riding weather. Therefore, we need to turn our collective eyes toward the future and continue our plans for making this year the best riding year ever!

Get your mind ready for your best riding year ever!

It’s been proven countless times – the mind drives the body! Get your body moving by committing your mind to an event. One of the easiest ones you can do anywhere is the 30 Days of Biking Pledge. Simply put, the pledge commits you to ride 30 days in the month of April. Any event that you will commit to will do.

Get your fitness ready for your best riding year ever

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that plan matches with your goal (example: riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Most of us are currently locked in a winter freeze, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year and it’s especially crucial for your training. Any strenuous activity will help your overall fitness for summer cycling.

To help with on-bike fitness there is no better indoor exercise than riding a bike trainer. A trainer turns your bicycle into an indoor stationary bicycle. There are also spin gyms, training centers and bike shops that run classes a few times a week. If you want to kick off your trainers sessions in style, check out my favorite trainer workout.

Fitting riding into your daily routine

How do you fit in time to train? To start, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. If it is too far, drive part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30 minute drive could turn into a 15 minute drive and the rest on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Bicycle commuting in the morning and the evening can buy you an hour of riding while only adding around minutes to your daily schedule.

Find trips to the grocery store a handful of times a week. Trying to ride your bike to the grocery store, rather than drive once a week, can be a quick rode to fitness.

Finally, add a ride to your normal downtime. If you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready for your best riding year ever

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. April 1st is smack dab in the middle of when many people begin to think about riding their bike. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like for you bicycle. Click the (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

Additionally, if you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead. The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun,rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First opportunities

We can begin to expect some nice days over the next few weeks. Take every opportunity to ride on these few late winter gifts. Ride with your kids, ride to the store, or ride once it’s dark if needed, but ride.

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The 10/5s workout is my absolute favorite trainer workout, and some part of me hates it. Read on to learn how you can hate it too!

A blueprint for my favorite and most effective trainer workout!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The 10/5’s workout is my absolute favorite trainer session, but a part of me hates it. I love it for it’s simplicity and efficiency and hate it for its devilish difficulty. Overall this trainer workout starts easy, gets harder and is over within one hour. It also helps to train your body to recover with limited time and is best done on an indoor trainer. The final outcome, when riding outside, will have you smiling more with all the trainer workouts behind you! Read on to learn how you can hate it too.

What you will need for a trainer workout.

Considering this is a workout session, you will definitely need a trainer. The type of trainer isn’t important, but the workout will be a bit easier to execute if you have a trainer that measures power output (watts). If you don’t have a trainer that measures watts, any bike computer that can read off the rear wheel will work. Finally, you want to be able to time your workout, so a clock or stopwatch is helpful.

-Trainer, clock, Power meter of bike computer.

Setup for your trainer session

The setup for this workout comes down to numbers. If you are doing it with a power meter, having a baseline understanding of your average power output is helpful. when working with a bike computer and tracking distance, just take a look at the chart below for some numbers you can use. If you are using distance for the workout, be sure you are comfortable with resetting the trip distance on your cycling computer.  Finally, pick a number (either power or distance) that is about ½ of your average and write it down. Then, if you are using distance, write down the next 9 ascending distances in 1mph increments. If you plan to use power, add 5 watts to each number in an ascending order. As an example, if you start at 7mph (or 940 meters) you will finish at 17mph (2280 meters). For wattage, if you start at 100 watts, you will finish at 145 watts

Starting the workout

Get on your trainer and soft pedal for 10 minutes to warm up. Once warmed up, you can start the workout. To begin, ride at the first number you wrote down for 5 minutes. Then take one minute off. Be sure not to get off the bike, or stop pedaling. This is a one hour ride that works on training your body to recover. Once your one minute recovery is complete, re-set your trip distance on your bike computer (if you are using distance) and start the second number on your list. You goal is to maintain the wattage number or reach the distance totals (if you are using distance) on your list. If you miss one, don’t stop. I have had times where I missed the 8th or 9th goal and still hit the 10th.

What’s next step

With your 10/5’s workout complete, soft pedal for 10 minutes to cool down. Look at how many of your goals you hit/missed and adjust the workout accordingly. As an example, if you missed ½ the goals, look to start at a lower number or pedal softer between each 5 minute piece. I have noticed that if I don’t pedal soft enough between pieces, I will never put my body into recovery, and not be able to complete the workout. Overall, this workout is not something you do every day (it’s probably too high intensity for that), but can be a fun drill to drop into your rotation a few times a month.

The final outcome, you will be smiling a whole lot more when riding outside with a trainer workout regiment behind you.