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indoor bike training boredom?
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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 17, 2014
So I've been having some knee problems (probably patellofemoral syndrome) that has stopped my running cold, and I've gained some weight as a result. PT may be slowly helping the knees, but in the meantime, I'm looking around for another good source of cardio, both to get me through this recovery period, and also as an alternative/backup plan in the future.

A guy I work with is a triathlete and uses an indoor bike trainer and seems to like it, but this is a guy who is willing to do as much as 6 hours of cardio in a day when he is in peak training mode for an Ironman.

My question, then, is: are there MP'ers out there, who are not cyborgs like my co-worker, who are able to sustain a regular indoor bike routine without suffering a fatal overdose of boredom? If so, what do you do? Video spin workouts? Sprint intervals? Just watch TV? These turbo trainers are kind of pricy, so I don't want to buy one and have it just sit in the basement because I can't stand to use it.

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By PTR
From GA
Feb 17, 2014
I rehabbed my ACL injury on one of those old air bikes. It had a book stand on it, and I got a ton of reading done. I wasn't doing any sort of structured work out -- just spinning away. I could do an hour on the bike no problem if I liked what I was reading. TV and radio not as effective for me for some reason.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Feb 17, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
I used to use them a fair amount. They suck no matter how you cut it. I'd rather ride outside in almost any weather rather than use a trainer! All the things you mentioned are good ideas. I'd watch movies, listen to music, or use a workout video. Reading was usually too difficult unless I was riding super easy. Make sure to have a good fan to keep you cool.

Not that I live where the weather is particularly bad, but I'd rather ride fat tires in the snow or ride in temperatures below freezing than use a trainer. I don't generally ride in the rain, especially if it's cold rain, but almost in any other weather, I'd rather suffer outside than use a trainer.

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By Adam Leedy
From Austin, TX
Feb 17, 2014
Optimistic wrote:
So I've been having some knee problems (probably patellofemoral syndrome) that has stopped my running cold, and I've gained some weight as a result. PT may be slowly helping the knees, but in the meantime, I'm looking around for another good source of cardio, both to get me through this recovery period, and also as an alternative/backup plan in the future. A guy I work with is a triathlete and uses an indoor bike trainer and seems to like it, but this is a guy who is willing to do as much as 6 hours of cardio in a day when he is in peak training mode for an Ironman. My question, then, is: are there MP'ers out there, who are not cyborgs like my co-worker, who are able to sustain a regular indoor bike routine without suffering a fatal overdose of boredom? If so, what do you do? Video spin workouts? Sprint intervals? Just watch TV? These turbo trainers are kind of pricy, so I don't want to buy one and have it just sit in the basement because I can't stand to use it.


In addition to climbing, I also race bikes. Road, MTB, and CX.
I also find trainer workouts to be fun. I guess I'm a robot?

To make it fun I highly recommend trainerroad.com and Netflix. Trainerroad gives you metrics to base your workout on and helps you maintain your intervals and such.

Anyway, buy a Turbo off of Craigslist for half of the new cost. Turbo trainers are the hang board of cycling. Thousands of people buy them thinking it is going to make them sick strong but then they never use them.

All of that said, be careful. When I'm cycling hard my climbing falls off in a bad kind of way. I lose all of my power because 200+ miles of cardio in a week eats up all of your energy. It'll also add some weight to your legs, which, as a climber, you don't want.

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By James Sweeney
Feb 17, 2014
Optimistic,

Strap on some XC skis and head up to Minnewaska. All the cardio you can handle with fantastic views thrown in. No impact on your achy knees either.

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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Feb 17, 2014
When I was a bum at Frey
Shameless plug... I have a used cycle ops jet fluid pro I'm selling, it's in great shape!

I race mountain bikes and have never been able to enjoy the trainer. So picked up some xc skis and get a better workout and get to go outside. Win win!

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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Feb 17, 2014
Half Dome
I try to watch some sort of training tutorial online. At least I learn something. Plus they are relatively short 10-30 min. I use one to warm up. One to get the workout. One to cool down. Or something like that.

I have a simple trainer that allow me to put my normal road bike in it. I have a cheap extra rear wheel I use just for the trainer.

It really is boring. I can't imagine being a pro cyclist who lives in a cold climate and has to ride indoors a lot.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 17, 2014
James Sweeney wrote:
Optimistic, Strap on some XC skis and head up to Minnewaska. All the cardio you can handle with fantastic views thrown in. No impact on your achy knees either.


The XC does seem good in principle, and I'd been mulling doing exactly that. But knowing my somewhat lame self, the "activation energy" involved in loading up the XC gear and driving up there and back, which seems like it would easily add an hour to the workout, makes me skeptical that I'd actually do it regularly in practice. The 5-minute setup to bang out a 20 or 30 minute sprint bike workout at home seems really appealing and much more realistically doable, especially on a day that I had to work.

Thanks to everybody for the replies and thoughts...

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By Xam
From Boulder, Co
Feb 17, 2014
I like rollers instead... way less boring cause you fall down if you stop paying attention, dirt cheap on craigslist and more focused on cardio cause you cannot cheat by ramping up the power and slacking on the cadence.

That being said, outside in almost any conditions is way more fun.

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By Jon Rhoderick
Feb 17, 2014
Optimistic wrote:
The XC does seem good in principle, and I'd been mulling doing exactly that. But knowing my somewhat lame self, the "activation energy" involved in loading up the XC gear and driving up there and back, which seems like it would easily add an hour to the workout, makes me skeptical that I'd actually do it regularly in practice. The 5-minute setup to bang out a 20 or 30 minute sprint bike workout at home seems really appealing and much more realistically doable, especially on a day that I had to work. Thanks to everybody for the replies and thoughts...


My friend was just talking about miming or visualizing the cruxes of your routes while you get an aerobic workout, flexes your head at the same time.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 17, 2014
Xam wrote:
I like rollers instead... way less boring cause you fall down if you stop paying attention, dirt cheap on craigslist and more focused on cardio cause you cannot cheat by ramping up the power and slacking on the cadence. That being said, outside in almost any conditions is way more fun.


No argument on the outside fun!

Inexperienced rider here, could you explain what you mean about the cheating? What makes that cheating?

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 17, 2014
Jon Rhoderick wrote:
My friend was just talking about miming or visualizing the cruxes of your routes while you get an aerobic workout, flexes your head at the same time.


Definitely thinking about climbing is a huge help in keeping me entertained when I'm doing cardio. Hard for me to imagine getting psyched to exercise without something tangible like climbing as a reason for doing it. Hats off to people who can go to a fitness club and just work out for the sake of being fitter as an end in itself...doubt I could or would.

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By MC Poopypants
Feb 17, 2014
Dropping a deuce
Life is never boring but some people choose to be bored. The concept of boredom entails an inability to use up present moments in a personally fulfilling way. Boredom is a choice; something you visit upon yourself, and it is another of those self-defeating items that you can eliminate from your life. - Wayne Dyer

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By Xam
From Boulder, Co
Feb 17, 2014
Optimistic wrote:
No argument on the outside fun! Inexperienced rider here, could you explain what you mean about the cheating? What makes that cheating?


On a trainer you can just turn up the resistance and push harder on the pedals to make it more about the muscular system and less about the cardiovascular system. This happens naturally during a session as you get tired. On rollers, if you do that you will fall over...they force you to have an even pressure, high cadence and tend not to build excess muscle.

That being said, rollers have a bit of a learning curve that if you are new to cycling training you probably don't want to deal with.

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By Russ Keane
Feb 18, 2014
Where's Waldo?
At my indoor climbing gym, they have a stationary bike. I do a mile in between each boulder route. That way I am balancing my workout, and not just climbing like a fiend. I find that if you can focus yourself on the bike (and let go of all thoughts) you can get a good mental workout as well.

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Feb 18, 2014
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim
rollers + a movie

When you first start set the rollers up in a doorway. They're not that difficult to learn and they will improve your bike handling skills.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 18, 2014
Russ Keane wrote:
At my indoor climbing gym, they have a stationary bike. I do a mile in between each boulder route. That way I am balancing my workout, and not just climbing like a fiend. I find that if you can focus yourself on the bike (and let go of all thoughts) you can get a good mental workout as well.


That's a cool idea...I guess I'd picture it more as the bouldering being a reward to yourself for doing the cardio.

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By MRock
Feb 18, 2014
Split shin after 5.9+ R lead
I had patellofemerlloorwhatever too. Lots of low speed high cadence spinning helped me through it, now I have no knee pains even on 6 hours flights or 4 hour car rides. Clipless pedals work wonders for keeping your knees in the right place, also don't be scared to jack that seat up until your hips are almost rocking, anything shorter and you'll bugger your knees even worse.
I do bike delivery year round, so I have no reason to be riding on a trainer durin winter.

However, my mom does spin for almost the whole winter and she has become a much better cyclist. The main motivator for her is spinning with her friends in a little class they have. She says she gets real bored spinning alone

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By redlude97
Feb 18, 2014
If your goal is to just lose weight with a trainer and minimize time and boredom, interval training is the way to go. My workouts on the trainer are usually no more than 45 mins. 10min warmup, then either 1min@100% followed by 4-5mins recover, or 2 mins@80%-3mins recovery, or 3 mins@70%-3mins recovery or something along those lines, then 5-10 mins warmdown followed by stretching times a week

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Feb 18, 2014
redlude97 wrote:
If your goal is to just lose weight with a trainer and minimize time and boredom, interval training is the way to go. My workouts on the trainer are usually no more than 45 mins. 10min warmup, then either 1min@100% followed by 4-5mins recover, or 2 mins@80%-3mins recovery, or 3 mins@70%-3mins recovery or something along those lines, then 5-10 mins warmdown followed by stretching times a week


Yeah, I was thinking intervals for sure, hard to be bored when you're trying really hard.

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By DanielRich
Feb 18, 2014
I noticed up above some people recommend trainer road and I haven't tried that but I have heard good things.

sufferfest.com has amazing cycling videos that rock my world. Those videos really deliver fitness results, although when just starting they might be a little intense.

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Feb 18, 2014
Artist Tears P3
Sufferfest for sure. Great value for money and challenging for anyone.

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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Feb 18, 2014
Dreamweaver
Can't you just spend the time fantasizing about your tight shirt and shorts that will match the color scheme of your bike.

Either that are trying to consider which unrelated to bicycling company logos you want to be plastered across your jersey - I prefer a brewery or some obscure technology company.

That's what I usually think about.

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By Greg D
From Here
Feb 19, 2014
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
You do realize the statement "indoor bike training boredom" is triple redundant.

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By Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Feb 19, 2014
I do both rollers and a trainer, depends on workout. If I HAVE to ride inside the so be it. A few ideas as mentioned, get on a plan... That actually helps a lot. It gives you focus and goals. Netflix is your friend... And an ipad, plus some great speakers. I've done up to five hours when need be on, a trainer, guess I'm a robot too. Not my preference, but necessary sometimes when training.

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By tim naylor
Feb 19, 2014
+1 to greg. the most interesting thing about indoor bike training is thinking of ways to make it more engaging.

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