Adventure: In Circles

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So, I got a trainer. I’ve been a cyclist, on and off, since high school but this is the first trainer I’ve ever had. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I thought riding it would be boring. But in two days I’ve learned a lot. I love this thing. Obviously, very different from external riding but an incredible addition to my life. Let me explain.

First off, this isn’t my bike. The bike belongs to my wife. A basic, aluminum GT road bike. Basic components. A 51cm so a bit small for Uncle Danno but with a few adjustments it’s been fine, and frankly, I could turn this into a good roadie bike with little effort and I would be perfectly happy with it. (It was free by the way.)

The trainer is an entirely different…..thing. I ride for an hour. At the twenty-minute mark, I burst like a water balloon, sweat POURING out of me which is very different from winter/spring cycling in New Mexico where you might hit snow, hail, forty mph wind, dust storms, etc. which is all good and fun but I’ve returned from thirty-mile rides dry as can be. So the trainer sweat is a godsend. (Especially with Lyme.) There is an enormous puddle on the mat when I’m finished.

I do a high-cadence spin for ten minutes then I shift to the large front sprocket, stand and hammer for sixty seconds. Then I shift back and repeat for the entire hour. Remember, I’m at 7000 feet, so at the end of the minute intervals, I’m cooked.

Next, the focus is different. When I ride on the road I NEVER ride with headphones. Way too dangerous. I saw a friend nearly get killed last summer because he was riding with headphones. I am alert, active and totally attune to my specific environment when I’m on the road. Doing so has saved my life numerous times. But on the trainer, I listen to Spanish language podcasts for the entire hour. Seven hours a week of Spanish in my brain. That has to be good.

I’ve also found, already, the trainer is wonderful for fine tuning my technique. Fine tuning that stand/sit combination, fine tune the full use of the clipless pedals and fine tuning my riding position. When I’m on the road I’m like a pilot checking his instrument panel nonstop. Again, totally fun and if I had to choose I would always choose cycling outside, but the indoor/outdoor combination is dam near perfect.

Finally, I feel bad cycling outside at the moment. I really do. I have the luxury of doing this and a lot of folks don’t. I ride very early in the morning but I still feel like this is a privilege and not a right. I have friends trapped in high-density environments who simply can’t get outside like this. Let alone ride for an hour without breaking the proximity rules. My hope, that this last point becomes mute in the shortest amount of time possible.

Comments 8

  1. next step. i’m getting you on rollers. 😉

    i’m dragging the trainer outside today so i can work on my tan. i may actually get out tomorrow. weather is so nice and the traffic is almost non-existent. it’s a combo that will be short lived. I really wish i could be in the dirt though.

    1. Post

      I need to get out on the road. I might just stay in my area. Again, feels kinda bad while others are still at risk. Loving the trainer, but still want to dabble with yours at some point.

    2. Post

      Within four rides I felt a huge difference. So odd. I just got off the damn thing. Like a lake under it when I’m done. And, listening to Radio Ambulante. hilarious story about the president of Ecuador getting into Twitter fights.

    3. well, it makes you focus on your pedal stroke. really forces you into circles and smooths everything out. if you pedal squares on a trainer, it’ll feel blocky. rollers really accentuate that.

      also, you need a fan and at least one bottle per hour.

    4. Post

      Bottle of what? I wear my kit, a long sleeve thermal and a vest and that is IN the house. I’m soaked but warm…

  2. From what I can see from my small window on the world, Seattle folks are doing pretty well with balancing the need for fresh air with safety. Of course that all depends heavily on whether you think people should be out at all. In my neighborhood people are doing these odd but important social distancing dances. I’ve gotten judgy, though. I still see small groups of people walking closely together, and runners are getting on my nerves. I’ve had a few whoosh right by me. And runners spit. Sometimes big ol’ loogies. As with most things 1) I’m a hypocrite and 2) can’t take what I write too seriously.

    Wow, that was a tangent. The trainer looks fun. I almost got one years ago – spent a lot of time researching and then gave up. Is the one you got low maintenance, easy to set up?

    Also, as someone in a mid density city, I’d say don’t feel guilty about getting out. Anyone who follows you knows you’re not rubbing it in our faces – for me it’s a nice reminder that this will eventually pass, sort of.

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      Good data. I think I could ride here and not see another rider. Even during normal times, it can be incredibly quiet here. Trainer took about 20mins to set up. Instructions were horrible and for another device but if I can do it you can easily. I see crowded trailheads here with groups of people clustered and it bugs me as well.

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