Winter in Europe and North America is arriving and as bad weather and darkness sets in, what better way to keep fit than riding indoors? To help readers I’ve decided to review every indoor / turbo trainer on the market.
It didn’t take me long to reach a conclusion. They are all crap. Yes, every single indoor trainer is rubbish. They have to be: by definition they prevent you from riding.
Why do you ride?
Perhaps you like to escape daily life? You could be someone who likes to race others, to see rivals crack on a climb or to pass them in a sprint. Maybe it’s for the feeling of speed as you carve though some hairpins. Perhaps it’s for the social side, the ride to a café with some friends?
Thanks to the indoor trainer you lose all of this. There’s no contact with nature when you retreat indoors. It’s a solo activity, you never go beyond your spare room, garage or balcony.
An indoor trainer offers almost no joyful moments. I even find the pedalling motion is different and artificial, partly because the flywheel doesn’t replicate the feeling and also thanks to the way the bike is anchored to ensure no lateral movement happens. Some in the road cycling world have been laughing these hipsters:
…only road cyclists are prone to indoor riding too, this time with their bike locked into an A-frame. At least the guys in the video above are actually moving, catching some wind in the hair.
In defence of the turbo
Now before you leave enraged comments I know that these turbo trainers can have their uses. Those who work long hours find them invaluable and in places where the weather is very bad then you can keep up some fitness, especially using them for more intense work. You can also use them for quasi-lab tests at home.
But if the sun was shining and you had time to ride, would you ride a stationary bike?