What is a cycling home trainer? This is a question that should probably be answered straight away. A home trainer is a device in which you put your bike to enable you to simulate cycling, but in the comfort of your own home, garage, shed or if you’re harry potter, the cupboard under the stairs.
Why would you want to simulate cycling?
There are many reasons. You may be training for a specific event and need to go out for set amounts of time every 3 days. But oh no, you glance outside and it appears to be raining, snowing and foggy all on the same day. Oh bother! “Now I can’t train!” well that is no longer a problem, as you can simply put your bike in and ride to your heart’s content.
You may also be trying to loose weight or just exercise in general. You could go to a gym, but gyms are expensive and require you to travel. Then you have everyone else staring at you as you pathetically struggle to lift up the 5 kilo dumbells, fall off the rowing machine and break your back doing the deadlift. Well now you can exercise in your house, without the ogling eyes of others, and you know you can always access it.
The only thing it can’t simulate is riding for leisure, as in going out and exploring the wonderful sunny countryside.
But who cares, because you can simply take out your bike from the home trainer and use it like normal. And for the rest of the 364 days of the year when it’s raining, you can cycle indoors and dream about the next time that strange giant yellow ball in the sky comes out.
Is it as good as road cycling?
There are a few differences.
For one, you are stationary and thus there is no breeze, for this reason I would recommend a fan of some kind to keep you cool with the lack of any air resistance. It can also seem a little bit boring at first as there is nothing to look at. For this reason I invested in some headphones and I can listen to whatever I want to keep me motivated, but you could very easily set it up in front of a TV and have a quick ride watching Dora the explorer or whatever it is you want to watch. Another bonus is that it is virtually impossible to get run over or get into a traffic accident with a pedestrian or motor vehicle. Well, unless you are doing something VERY wrong.
I enjoy cycling and try to go outside whenever I can. But after a certain amount of potholes, pedestrians paying no attention, drivers cutting me off and wind blowing me about, It makes a nice change to know that you can just cycle endlessly until your legs are burning, your bottom is black and blue and your face is redder than a special extra red breed of tomato.
What are the downsides?
Well there is the cost, some home trainers can cost more than the bike you put into them (£400+) but these are the training models for people who cycle competitively. I picked up mine for only 70 quid, which considering the price of some exercise bikes is 150-200 quid, isn’t all that bad. And there is also the difference in that your bike has far more adjust-ability, and so will likely be more comfortable, and that a home trainer is small and can be put away, but an exercise bike is big and takes up room.
Another downside is that you don’t feel as satisfied after doing large distances.
The furthest I have cycled in one sitting on the home trainer is 42 miles (the album I was listening to ended) but all I had to show for it was a big puddle of sweat. But cycling outside I have cycled 65 miles in one sitting (With a few little breathers) and when I got home I had a story to tell about where I had been, and a big puddle of sweat.
Although another upside would be that if you get a puncture 30 miles from home, you either have a long walk ahead of you, or you need to wait for someone to pick you up. But if somehow your tire blows or something goes wrong on a trainer, you have to simply get off the bike and you are home.
So to summarise, Should you get one?
Do you already own a bike and want to exercise or ride when the weather is bad? Then yes, you should.
If not, then simply purchase a bike, think about the benefits of exercise and re-read the previous sentence.