Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
LittleGreyCat
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Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 26 Dec 2019, 11:55am

I had a quick search through and there were a lot of hits about wheels and sweat in relation to turbo trainers, but I didn't hit anything about the why and how often.

Looking online apparently turbo trainers became more popular after Team Sky started using them for warm up and warm down in 2011.

Do people put in long hours over the winter season, or are they just used occasionally during extreme weather?

I struggle with the concept of replacing a 2 hour ride in the open air with 2 hours plugging away on a static bike but winter is a time of reduced riding opportunities.

I also struggle with some of the costs!
From under £100 to over £1k.
Also the concept of having a dedicated bike just for the turbo trainer.
So, please enlighten me! :D

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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Vorpal » 26 Dec 2019, 12:43pm

I used mine the most when the kids were small & Mr. V was doing shift work, so I couldn't get out on my own very much. I would just put a movie on & ride it in various gears until I felt I'd been on a decent ride & deserved some cake & tea ;) Nothing more scientific in than that. I used it once or twice a week, depending upon other activity.

More recently, I have tried doing something more like spinning class, using different gears and speeds in intervals set to music. I think I get a better workout that way, but it requires a little more thought. It's also more boring.

I haven't used my turbo much in the last couple of years because I have been cross country skiing when there is enough snow for it, and using the spinning bikes at work instead of the turbo.

Conditions aren't brilliant for either cycling or skiing at the moment, so I may dig my turbo out again. I guess I will have to decide whether cycling in the cold, getting the turbo out & setting it up, or travelling to ski is the least hassle :lol:

I have a Cycleops mag trainer. It's not as quiet as a fluid one, but it's *much* quieter than the fan flywheel sorts on the low cost end.

I don't have a dedicated bike, but I do have a dedicated wheel. It's the old wheel for my road bike. I don't use my road bike in the winter, anyway.

As for when & why... I start to feel sluggish if I don't get enough exercise. When I start to get that feeling, I do something.

I've started a few weeks ago to use an activity tracker (Google fit). I don't worry too much about the daily goals, but if I go too many days without minimal activity, I try to at least go for a walk or something.
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Graham
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Graham » 27 Dec 2019, 10:42am

I've never used training rollers.
My distant memory was use of an Tunturi exercise bike many years ago. . . . .
- mind-numbingly boring . . . . such that I would read books to (ahem) exercise the mind whilst riding it. Max 40 minutes.
- i'd be stripped down to my underpants ( or less ) to stop overheating. Even then the pool of sweat accumulating on the floor was significant.

- The dripping sweat eventually caused non-trivial rust on the ex-bike itself and a built up condensation in the semi-heated utility room.

** I'm only posting this because I stumbled upon this Sweat Net - to protect the bike on rollers . . . . Best make sure the floor is not damaged by sweat though !!
https://www.argos.co.uk/product/7544174

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keyboardmonkey
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby keyboardmonkey » 27 Dec 2019, 11:02am

A couple of years ago everywhere was discounting the price of the Cycleops Fluid2 kit (including TWO riser blocks, sweat thingy and floor mat). My wife bought me one from Halfords - I assumed the trainer was about to be discontinued or superseded by a smart version or whatever.

I last about 20 mins before blowing up. In reality that’s all I can manage before it gets overwhelming boring anyway. I play a CD with 90s club music on it. I have a spare wheel with a Halfords turbo tyre and part-worn cassette. It takes longer to set up than the time I last on the bike.

Subsequently I have read about HIIT and its benefits. So now I claim it’s what I have been doing instinctively all along :D

Grandad
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Grandad » 27 Dec 2019, 12:15pm

Looking online apparently turbo trainers became more popular after Team Sky started using them for warm up and warm down in 2011


They were around and in use by many riders long before that, used for serious competition training, not just for pre-and post-race warm up/down. The increase in popularity is due to the ways that the rides can be made more interesting, e.g. Zwift https://zwift.com/uk?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shift_eur_gb_cycling_search_zwiftexact_performance_mar19&gclid=CjwKCAiA9JbwBRAAEiwAnWa4Qy6s77Qr99F5OX51FRuKp7ocR83ZBYArdCGpBy-SyFclY63EwnZqTRoC7REQAvD_BwE

In 1998 one of our club members did all his training for a 24 hour race with 5 hour sessions on a turbo.

I bought one around the same time as part of a recovery programme after being hit by a motorist and sustaining ligament damage. Did 3 minutes the first day then 6 and 10 on the next 2, found it mind blowingly boring and went for a short proper ride on day 4. The turbo has been in the back corner of the bike shed ever since :D

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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Vantage » 27 Dec 2019, 12:28pm

I bought a cheap one early this year with the intention of using to beef up my fitness when the weather was too gloomy.
My gawd it's soooooooooooooooooo boring!
It's had maybe 90 mins use in total over 4 or 5 times and then I couldn't take it anymore. Its been folded up and stashed away since way before summer started (did we have summer? I don't remember it). I don't think it's as monotonous as watching paint dry, but it's close.
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softlips
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby softlips » 27 Dec 2019, 12:57pm

I tried one, set it all up and used it a handful of times at most, it’s so boring. I’m lucky I could set it up permanently in a room with a large tv on the wall and fan in front of me but still I ended up selling it.

Harpsta22
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Harpsta22 » 27 Dec 2019, 1:08pm

I used one to recover from knee surgery. Still have it but not used very often as like others have said it’s mind numbingly boring.

whoof
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby whoof » 27 Dec 2019, 1:53pm

I used to use one from the mid 1990s for interval training. 15 minutes warm up 6 intervals something like 3 minutes (very) hard with 1 minutes recovery inbetween followed by 10 minutes cool down, total of about 50 minutes. Everything set up in advance; bike ready to go, fan, bottle chilled in the fridge and music. I absolutely hated it, hence having to set up in advance or I would find an excuse not to do it but made for great fitness which made all the difference when racing.
I never used a turbo trainer to replace 'normal' riding but I did know someone who would spend four hours riding in his garage on a Sunday rather than go out in the rain. .
I never had a special bike I used my winter training bike but I had a specific wheel I used to use. As the resistance comes from the rear wheel they eat tyres. I used to use a wheel that I would put an old tyre on that was worn beyond road use or latterly used a specific Continental turbo trainer tyre.

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Paulatic
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Paulatic » 27 Dec 2019, 3:20pm

It’s one of those things that sounds great and might improve your cycling. :)
I bought one back in the nineties and I think I used it three times. It’s come in useful for setting a bike up on. It’s also useful for those times in the winter and you think you should be doing more exercise. You can then unearth it from the corner and set a bike up on it and within 5 minutes you remember why it was in the corner and you promptly go for a walk. Thankfully I’m passed that stage now and cut out the setting up and go directly for the walk.
I probably never used it correctly as I never sweated it’s too damn cold in the shed :x
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Syd
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Syd » 27 Dec 2019, 3:47pm

I used my smart turbo very regularly over winter until I moved to where I live now.

I have a very good gym almost on my doorstep where I can now exercise then have a nice recovery beer

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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby hamster » 27 Dec 2019, 3:48pm

Vantage wrote:I bought a cheap one early this year with the intention of using to beef up my fitness when the weather was too gloomy.
My gawd it's soooooooooooooooooo boring!
It's had maybe 90 mins use in total over 4 or 5 times and then I couldn't take it anymore. Its been folded up and stashed away since way before summer started (did we have summer? I don't remember it). I don't think it's as monotonous as watching paint dry, but it's close.


+1.
Bought one when I lived in the tropics: riding in 32C and 98% humidity was a challenge without reward. Hated it.
On returning to the UK I rapidly discovered that I preferred riding in the dark and wet in the winter to the turbo.

Sold it and never regretted it. DIfferent strokes for different folks.

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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Steve » 27 Dec 2019, 4:21pm

Don't have a turbo, but rather a spinning machine like those in gyms. No gears, just variable resistance. 20 mins on that with a few mins cooling down at the end is plenty for me, I'd say equivalent to an hour on the road as there's no freewheeling, and you can really crank up the resistance to the point where you have to get out of the saddle, just like climbing a steep hill. For the winter days when I can't get or don't want outdoor exercise.

Brucey
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Brucey » 27 Dec 2019, 5:46pm

BITD I used rollers in preference to turbo trainers because turbos were more boring and (it seemed to me, for various reasons) more likely to mess the bike up. With rollers you have to keep concentrating because unless you do, you fall off them. I think it keeps your bike handling skills alive and may even improve them. It is still pretty boring though; you have to be a bit of a meathead to do it regularly, and a complete meathead to do yourself justice, fitness-wise, this way.

However, now there is technology of course; one of my chums is well into his sportives and so forth, and as an antidote to winter weather he has invested in a modern trainer connected to Zwift. This allows you to do 'group rides' and have structured interval training sessions. It works for him, to the extent that (excluding the commute) he has rarely ridden his bike on the roads in the last few months. The better structuring to his riding has seen him doing more, better, intervals and the result is about +50W FTP which is certainly not to be sniffed at.

His machine is quite fancy but he tells me that you only need a basic turbo trainer to start with. However proper trainers (with electronically controlled resistance) and the zwift subscription both cost a fair bit, and I'm sure it doesn't work equally well for everyone.

What price fitness though?

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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby fastpedaller » 27 Dec 2019, 6:46pm

I've been using mine recently as the roads are muddy, gritty and wet and frequented by the 'got to get the Christmas shop done driver'. Just 45 mins twice a week metaphorically going up hill and down dale and sprinting for the occasional village sign :lol: . Mine is just a cheapo magnetic adjustable turbo which I've mounted my track iron on. I've found it more useful than a ride in the cold, although to be honest it's still very cold in my garage, so I've only one layer less than if riding in the countryside! It takes about 10 minutes to 'get to operating temperature', but with the MP3 in my pocket the headphones are held in place by my hat :D and it's a useful exercise. interestingly using this regime my hamstrings have lengthened noticeably - I guess it's the fast spin (maybe 140rpm) sections which I'd be less likely to do if on the road. One benefit (maybe?) of the turbo is the facility to just end the ride if you feel a bit grotty, and at least you don't get rained on.