Bike Trainer for Bad Weather

One of my big challenges with working out, training, and staying in somewhat decent shape with my bicycling has been ‘bad’ weather. In truth, I’m a fair-weather rider. I don’t like riding with two much wind, in the rain, when it is too hot or too cold. And my hot and cold are sort of wimpy: I don’t like riding when it’s 90 degrees or above or 60 degrees or below. I needed a way to work out inside, but with COVID I had dropped my membership to the local gym, which I wasn’t all that keen on anyway.

Plus, since I got my new e-bike (see previous e-bike post), I had an extra bike: my old Felt road bike. It is a great bike. 18+ years old, but still in top condition. I mainly used it around town here on short rides of 2-3 miles. I had a nice little trailer hooked to it for shopping. I don’t really have room for all three of my bikes in my shop. So, what to do? Back to the bike trainer now…

Ah Ha! I could get what is called a bike trainer. My eldest daughter had commented to me when I had discussed my dilemma with her, “Dad, you can get a bike trainer and use you old Felt on it.” My solution light bulb went off in my head, and off I went to learn about bike trainers. I didn’t know anything about them.

The bike trainer strategy fits in well my eco-mantra: reduce, repair, repurpose, rot, etc. It allows me to repurpose my old Felt as a dedicated bike trainer. Easy enough to take down and put back on the road if I should so desire. Gets it out of my shop and into the dinning room, which I hardly ever use as such any more. (You can see my sewing center over there in the corner.)

After some investigating, reading, and consulting with my local REI bike consultant, Ben (again, see previous e-bike post), I spent what I thought was an exorbitant amount of money ($300, ouch) for a Saris entry level trainer. Brought it home, set it up, tried it out. Not impressed. It was adequate for cardio, but was the same old resistance, like you were riding on an easy flat road. It was really boring. I boxed it up and took it back.

More consulting, more reading, etc. I swallowed hard, bit the bullet, and decided on an upgrade to the Saris M2 Smart model ($500, double ouch!). I have to admit, I love it! Here is my old felt set up on it:

The M2 links to my iPhone via bluetooth. There are several apps you can download that simulate actual rides. I’m trying out the Rouvy app right now. It is really cool. Rouvy runs off your Internet. Took my first ride the other day. What a workout! Up and down hills. Only lasted 20 minutes. I’ve got a long way to go.

The trainer works by changing the resistance your tire turns against: harder for uphills, less for flat parts, and easy for downhills. Just like a real ride. Plus, the video on your iPhone shows other riders. They were all whizzing by me! Boo.