Cycling: Indoor Bike Training
Living where I do in Canada the Winter months are not conducive to training outdoors on a bicycle. This is largely true for all of Canada and the Central and Northern United States as well. A few years ago I discovered the benefits of indoor bike training and have been getting progressively more serious in my efforts. This article serves as an opportunity to share some of what I've learned.
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First and foremost are two ingredients when it comes to indoor cycling. Those being a bicycle and some form of resistance trainer. Trainers can take many forms in terms of how they provide resistance, most commonly trainers can be fluid, magnetic, or wind resistance based. Trainers can be “smart” or “dumb” and vary widely in price.
A smart trainer incorporates some form of power measurement in watts. The watts you produce can then be used to guide and inform your training. Typically someone who wants to train with power will perform an FTP test to determine their Functional Threshold Power. FTP is a measure of the power that you can produce over a 1 hour period. This number can be determined by tests ranging in duration from 8 minutes to the full hour or extrapolated from previous race efforts or by testing in the lab. A fairly common standard is to perform a 20 minute test and take 95% of that number as your FTP.
In addition to a trainer that measures power there are several on bike options for measuring power. These include measurement at the rear hub, cranks, crank spindle, pedals or less commonly at the chain. The chief advantage to an on bike power meter of course is that it is portable for those occasions when you actually take your bike out on the road as nature intended.
Previously I had my trainer set up in a spare bedroom which serves as more of a storage/library room in our house. With the door closed it could get quite humid in this room and my girlfriend was worried that I would damage our books. As a compromise my training space now occupies an unused corner of our living room which is where the majority of these photos were taken. As an added benefit this is further away from our bedroom so probably not quite as noisy. I still wouldn't mind a basement or garage for our next place however!