13 Tips to Make Riding Your Bike Trainer Suck Less

If you live in the northern United States or anyplace that experiences a cold winter, you can surely count on spending some time on your indoor trainer or rollers if you want to keep your fitness tuned up and start your bike racing season off before the weather warms up. While this can prove to be a necessary evil for many of us, there are some things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable and less monotonous. Keep in mind that due to the constant pedaling you do on the trainer, the time you put in is generally equal to about 25-30% more time spent outdoors riding. Follow these 14 tips to enjoy your time more, or at least make it suck a little less!

  1. Use a good large fan to move the air around you and help keep your body from overheating. While any fan is better than none, a large fan will not just blow some air on you, but actually replace the air around you keeping it from getting superheated from your workout!
  2. Perform a specific workout instead of just riding for a set amount of time. Using some structure helps to pass the time by breaking things up into shorter intervals and rest periods.
  3. Use a workout DVD, bike race coverage or TV show to help pass the time. This can help take your mind off of the monotony of indoor riding.
  4. Ride with a friend. We all like group rides and this can help push you to ride longer or harder than you might have otherwise.
  5. Have a towel with you to keep the sweat from dripping too much. Because you aren’t moving, your sweat is not evaporating as quickly as when you ride outside.
  6. Make sure you periodically get out of the saddle to relieve the pressure of sitting for longer periods of time. Because there are no hills or intersections when you ride inside, it can be easier to sit longer than you are used to leading to increased discomfort.
  7. Listen to your favorite podcasts while riding the trainer and watching TV. You may find this more interesting than listening to what you’re watching on TV.
  8. Try to ride someplace cooler or drop the temperature before you start riding. Your body heat will warm a small room quickly and even a large room will warm up over an hour+ of riding.
  9. Don’t forget to eat and drink during your ride if you are riding longer than an hour.
  10. Do two-a-days to break up the total time but still accomplish your target volume. You can make one of the rides an interval workout and the other an easier pace.
  11. Get off the bike every 15 minutes and perform some core strength workouts to break up the time and add some upper body strength to your routine.
  12. Use wrist and head sweatbands to help control sweating.
  13. Suck it up and ride outside when you can to give yourself a mental break from indoor training.
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