July 12, 2016

Winter Cycling Tips – Trainer Time

For the second in our series of winter cycling tips, I thought I’d give a few ideas on what I do to help get through those dreaded trainer sessions.




1. Precaffinate

Ergos (especially early morning pre-work ones) are always hard to find motivation for, so go for the guaranteed pick me up of a double shot of whatever your favourite caffeine source is . Caffeine is also helps with performance (both legal and safe) and its effectiveness doesn’t decrease with use, so it makes those ergos that little bit easier.

2. Choose your tunes

The boys have quickly found out this year that I insist on playing electronic “bangers” whenever I can, and I certainly refuse to get on the ergo without them. Music is important as it can help distract from the pain and discomfort (or boredom) which come with ergos. If you choose the wrong tune then it may go down tempo towards the end of the effort which results in some pretty poor results.

3. Don’t just pedal

This would have to be the first mistake of the beginner. If there are no efforts, then there is nothing to break up the monotony of pedaling. Those who think “spinning” whilst watching the TV will work generally only end up expending marginally more calories than they would sitting on the couch.

4. Get the temperature right

This is probably an obvious one, and more relevant to summer where it can get way too hot. On the trainer there is no air flow, so there is no convective cooling, so you will get hot even when it’s only 5 degrees.

5. Get a good trainer

You can still get a good session done on a cheaper trainer. But when you are hurting and the wheel slips on the roller, or the resistance isn’t steady it can be enough to push you over the “I’ve had enough line”. We find that direct drive trainers are the way to go – our picks are the Lemond Revolution, Elite Turbo Muin or if you can afford one, the Wahoo Kikr.


6. Remove distraction

Sometimes a blank wall makes for a better ergo. The more things going on around you, means your mind is more likely to wander and this can destroy the quality of your ergo set.

7. Get event ready

Working towards a goal? Then target your efforts to that. If it’s a time trial consider wearing your TT helmet. You’ll look like a dork, but there is no point wearing a TT helmet if you can’t hold the head position and there is no better place to practice. I’ve even heard stories of people doing ergos in the bathroom with the shower running to prepare for racing in the humidity of SE Asia.

8. Go Virtual

Programs like Zwift have completely changed the ergo experience, but more on this soon!


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