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Indoor Cycling Guide
Cycling Indoors Advice

Cycling Indoors Equipment Basics

Other than carving through corners, there isn’t much you can achieve during an outdoor ride that you can’t also pull off indoors. You can ride for cardiovascular fitness, endurance, strength or do speed intervals all from the comfort of home. You can even "race" on the Web against other riders connected through a computer. It’s just a matter of having the right equipment and setting up each indoor session to be as productive as possible.

Indoor Cycling Tips and Tricks
1 Use a sturdy, but inexpensive smooth tread tire, not a knobby or deep tread tire for riding on trainers and rollers. These devices can be hard on tires, and there’s no need to go through expensive rubber while riding indoors.

2 All trainers create heat as you pedal, so be careful not to touch the resistance units after your ride.

Thankfully, 21st century cycling technology has graduated beyond old school stationary bikes with huge, uncomfortable seats and noisy fan-bladed wheels. There is now a broad range of options to fit virtually any riding style, level of fitness and budget.

Stationary Trainers

The main advantage of stationary trainers is that they allow you to ride your everyday bike indoors without much fuss or setup. Most require no bike disassembly and support the rear wheel by way of a simple, yet secure clamping system. The wheel then rests upon a spinning cylinder that offers resistance in one of three ways:

Adjustable Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic resistance generally provides the least expensive entry into indoor training, yet at very high quality. Resistance is controlled by the amount of separation between two magnets, and can be changed by adjusting the magnet unit. Magnetic resistance is not progressive; meaning that increases in pedaling speed will not increase resistance..

Fluid Resistance

This type of resistance is created by a disk spinning through fluid held within the unit. As the rider’s pedaling speed increases, the amount of resistance does likewise. These progressive properties provide a more realistic riding experience, not unlike wind resistance when riding outdoors.

Inertial Resistance

This new resistance technology is very similar to progressive fluid resistance in most performance aspects, but is smoother and more lively. Progressive fine-tuning is based upon mechanical inertial resistance, which provides the most road-like riding experience.


Rollers are a set of three smooth, rolling drums strung together on a frame by a large band that keeps the front and rear drums spinning at the same rate. Riding rollers is really the most "natural" way of riding indoors because, unlike a stationary trainer, you balance on them just as you would the road. Many people are intimidated by rollers because they are afraid of flying off. However, as with anything, give it some practice and you’ll soon become a natural.

Bike Rollers

Electronic Trainers

These trainers provide electrically-controlled resistance and a virtual riding experience that can make you feel as if you are climbing hills or even racing against another rider. Electronic trainers are typically more expensive than the other types, yet are great for serious fitness riders and racers who must spend a lot of time indoors and need to vary their experience.

Set Up For Success with Indoor Bike Training

Each indoor riding session takes a bit of planning and preparation, but it’s well worth it. Here are the basic steps:

  • Ensure that your bike is securely attached to the training device.

  • Adjust the temperature of the riding area. When riding indoors, use a fan to keep you cool. If weather permits, open a window as well to ventilate the room.

  • Consider indoor training DVDs to get the most out of your workout.

  • If using a Stationary Trainer, use a front wheel block to level your bike for a more comfortable and realistic riding experience.

  • Keep a bottle of water or energy drink on the bike or within easy reach. You still need to hydrate, even when indoors.

  • Keep a towel handy for when you perspire. Salt-laden perspiration can be corrosive over time, so consider covering your handlebars and bike frame. Place a training mat on the floor under your bike to catch perspiration and protect flooring surfaces.

  • Gather any items you may need while riding, and keep them at arms reach: TV remote, phone, radio, baby monitor, etc.

Ride Your Way Through Dullsville

Preventing boredom is a huge factor in the enjoyment of indoor riding. It may be easy to pedal 15-20 minutes, but after that it can be difficult to stay focused. Here are a few tips to keep your legs spinning:

  • Watch your favorite shows on TV. Use commercials to your advantage by increasing effort while they run, then slowing down to a steady pace when the main program starts again.

  • Watch cycling DVDs, listen to music or a podcast, or read using a handlebar-mounted book stand.

  • Train with other riders. There’s nothing like friendly motivation to keep you moving.

Axiom Bike Trainer

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