Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Introduction To Bike Trainer

Hope this is not too late to be shared as many do not know what is the best way to utilise the bicycle trainers. Before I go on, the photo below is a bike trainer (Band/Model : Tacx/Satori)
Tacx Satori rim-drive magnetic trainer
So, you now know that a trainer is an object that holds the rear wheel of a bicycle up, shaped like a tripod (or in this case, a quad-pod). It secure the rear wheel and it has two type of contact between the bike and the trainer; a tire-drive and a rim-drive. 
Minoura RDA850 Rim-Drive. Photo from Wifey uses this
The many different type of trainers
Simply put, a tire-drive has the contact point between the tire and a weighted (usually) solid disc and works on opposing magnetic/eddy current. A rim-drive has contact point that "clamps" on both sides of the rim, lending resistance as the drive is then linked to about the same system as rim-drive.
Tire-drive. Magnetic.
To put things in more simplistic division and sub-division:
1. Rim-drive
2. Tire-drive

Resistance from:
1. Wind (noisiest)
2. Magnetic (adjustable)
3. Fluid (quietest and adjustable)
*Rim-drive resistance do not have fluid drive usually.
Trainer allows couple to workout together, or in this case, me to offer words of encouragement after I am done with my session
There are a few other variation of trainer and the least favourite because it is the hardest to ride on is what the many pros (using it) call the "roller"
Suicidal. Photo from Wikipedia
And you can see why I say "least favourite" and "pros".
Well Grounded
The motivation for a trainer can be summed up with two valid reasons. First it's safety and second the convenient of doing it anytime, anywhere. 
As the sports draw more interest with the general public, more cyclists takes to the road for a workout. This has increased the exposure hours and exposes us to the other road users. With drivers not usually used to see cyclists on the road, and the (some of drivers) lack of logical thinking, accidents and most of the time death, happens. 
Side by side, stationery
Then of course, having a trainer meant you can bring your bike and trainer in some domestic travel and set it up for a workout in the hotel room, or toilet if you are afraid the noise generated will wake the family up. 
Also a a bikestand, perhaps
Being able to train on the bike you will likely to use for racing will also help you to be more confident in riding/sitting on the saddle for longer period of time. If you ride a TT bike, the trainer allows you to slowly get into aero-position safely in the sense you do not need to fret too much compared to when you are on the road. Think of it as "L" license until you are comfortable to be in position. Bike trainer allow you to practice clipping and unclipping your cleat shoes to save embarrassment of falling when you come to a complete stop.

Sharing the pain
Introduction To Training With Trainer
Start with the lowest resistance and at the middle gearing. This is the most neutral setting and provide you a good start on what to come next. Middle gearing in this sense is set at the smaller crank (39 on standard crank and 34 on compact) and put it at the rear cog of 15 teeth. This is also the best gear to be in exiting transition during triathlon.
Next is to be able to spin this gear at constant 90 round per minute or RPM. Sound easy as the gears are light - that is until you first attempt to complete the (first) session for 30minutes.
Speed vs gearing vs cadence
And if you managed to keep at 39x15 (39 crank and 15 teeth rear) at 90rpm for 30mins, congrats! You just finished cycling approximately 15km at 30km/h!
With the above gearing charts as an indicative effort, you can customise how you want to train. Interval, tempo and even long rides can be completed just by adjusting the level of effort (cadence) and gearing (combination). Working on the trainer provide you with possibly stronger legs when you finally takes the bike on the road. Reason is that on trainer, once you stop pedalling, the wheel stops. As opposed to pedalling on the road, you will "coast" provided you are not going uphill. It is said that the effort on trainer is easily 50% more than actual riding. So, if you spent 60mins on the trainer, that is equivalent to cycling 90mins on the road. That is provided you actually keep the cadence and effort while on trainer (because sitting there not pedalling does not equate to training no matter how painful your butt feels).

I will share some of my bike trainer training in the following blog entries. Until then, Good Luck!

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