Seven reasons to get on the turbo this winter
1 It doesn’t rain indoors
The number-one reason for getting on the turbo-trainer in winter is that it doesn’t rain indoors — or snow, or hail — and you won’t puncture (though bits of your bike may go rusty very unless you keep sweat off them).
Cyclists love to use the weather as an excuse for not getting out there and in many ways it’s a legitimate one. Unlike running, which is far more dynamic, the cyclist’s body is static and subject to significant wind chill, plus we’re out there for that much longer.
Eliminate the weather excuse and get your turbo set up.
2 Train more efficiently
Since the turbo environment is completely controlled — no stopping at the lights, waiting for a club-mate to fix a puncture, freewheeling down a hill — you can do your intervals in exactly the zones you need to be in without interruption, and since you will be targeting specific areas of your fitness, you won’t end up doing hours of junk miles at 15mph.
3 Do an FTP test and watch yourself improve
Finding your functional threshold power (FTP) by doing a 20-minute test on the turbo — basically going as hard as you can for 20 minutes and calculating 95 per cent of your average power over that time — is a great motivator. Since the conditions will be exactly the same the next time you do an FTP test on the turbo, you’ll see exactly how much you’ve improved over the winter.
4 Go virtual racing — anywhere
If you’re still struggling for motivation, smart trainers can turn training into gaming. Ride famous Tour cols or even a virtual Box Hill if that’s what gets you going. A riding simulator software package such as Bkool Simulator offers 500,000 riding sessions. It’s also possible to ride against 100 other users from all over the world, as well as creating, sharing and taking part in leagues, groups and rankings.
5 Be at home for your family
The time you spend out on a Sunday club run, including a cafe stop, can add up to a quarter of the weekend. If you’re on the turbo in the garage you’re still at home and therefore your conscience is clear. In addition, (also see number three) since you’ll be training more efficiently you won’t need to be racking up hundreds of junk miles.
6 Stay safe
We are all aware of the risks that come with sharing the roads with motorists. When the roads are icy or muddy and the light is poor we can feel more vulnerable than usual.
Of course it’s also possible to hit a patch of ice and do plenty of damage to ourselves without a driver in sight. If you make sure you’ve done the quick-release up correctly, you won’t fall off the turbo and you will be able to do all your sessions without worrying about cars.
7 Get all the gadgets
The cyclist’s favourite rule doesn’t have to be restricted to bikes. Why not make the ‘+1’ a smart trainer? If Di2 and hydraulic brakes are drastically reducing your tinkering time, something like the Bkool Smart Pro 2 paired with the Bkool Indoor app is guaranteed to keep you out of mischief.