Indoor Cycling Programs for Winter Using a Cycle Turbo Trainer

Maintain winter cycle training when it is cold outside using an indoor bike trainer and interval training on a turbo trainer as part of an indoor cycling program.

Cycle fitness can suffer during the winter months when it’s cold outside. Even the best cyclists find it difficult to maintain enthusiasm in extreme conditions, but savvy riders know how to keep fit using an indoor bike trainer.

This article looks at the different types of cycle trainers, key brands, and indoor cycling programs using interval training to maintain winter cycle fitness.

Why Buy a Bike Trainer?

Bike trainers are a cost-effective alternative to buying a stationary indoor training bicycle as riders place an ordinary bike onto a stand with the rear wheel raised off the ground and pedal away.

Cycle trainers can cost as little as $150, and more expensive models offer a wide variety of programs to monitor speed, cadence, and heart rate. Top-of-the-range camp trainers even allow riders to compete against other riders and climb fictional hills on a real-time basis with sophisticated, computerized systems.

Types of Cycle Turbo Trainer

Bicycle trainers fall into three main categories:

  • Magnetic, wind, or fluid cycle trainers – the primary type of cycle trainer where the rear wheel is locked into the stand and resistance is provided via a magnetic unit, air, or a mechanism filled with fluid. No power source is required, and the trainer can be easily transported, making it ideal for pre-race warm-ups or cool-downs using a simple, spinning cycling technique.
  • Computer trainers – sophisticated computerized bike trainers that allow pro cyclists to accurately control power output by monitoring wattage or revs per minute (rpm), all while having fun competing against themselves or others with interactive graphic programs that automatically vary resistance according to the course
  • Roller bicycle trainers – these operate by placing the bike on a stand with rollers without the rear wheel being locked. Far trickier to use than a magnetic bike trainer, they simulate real riding as the bike sways with each pedal stroke, but many models do not offer much resistance.

Bicycle Trainer Brands

With price points ranging from $150 for a primary trainer to over $1700 for a computer trainer, the key brands to consider in the sub $600 bracket are TacxMinouraCycleops, and EliteComputrainer and Wattbike make the top-of-the-range, computerized, state-of-the-art bike trainers and will keep a rider’s attention but are aimed at pro-cyclists due to the high price tag.

Cycling Training Program

Vary indoor workouts on a bike trainer by incorporating interval training 2-3 times per week:

  • After a 10 minute warm-up at around 90 revs per minute (rpm), increase speed to 110 rpm for 45 seconds.
  • Reduce speed back to 90 rpm for approximately 60 seconds until recovered.
  • Increase speed back to 110 rpm and repeat four times, adding 45 seconds on each fast interval until cycling for just over 3.5 minutes at full speed.

Reduce resting time between the intervals to 30 seconds as fitness improves.

Maintain Winter Cycle Fitness

Beat the cold this winter and stay cycling fit by investing in a bike turbo trainer. Whether a low-cost magnetic trainer or a top-end techno option, keen cyclists will relish the thought of getting on the bike to train indoors rather than outdoors in the cold.

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