Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

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

Postby Vorpal » 29 Dec 2019, 9:33pm

ChrisButch wrote:I've found that the best way to deal with the boredom, without having to spend a fortune on smart machines, zwift etc, is to set up a Kindle in front of the bars (I use a music stand) and read. I worked my way through a good chunk of the lesser-known Trollope novels that way. A couple of chapters just right for an hour on the turbo.

I don't seem to be able to read on the turbo, hence the movies.
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Norman H
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Norman H » 29 Dec 2019, 10:13pm

As I get older I've developed an aversion to cold weather, plus a fear of coming to grief on wet and icy roads. This manifests as a lack of motivation to get out on the bike over the winter months. The turbo helps to maintain fitness over this time but, as others have remarked, it's not the most rewarding occupation.

I have a basic turbo with variable magnetic resistance which I use in combination with a computer with speed, cadence and heart rate sensors. I subscribe to the quality not quantity model and tend to limit use to 3 or 4 twenty minute sessions per week. To relieve the boredom I incorporate sprint intervals and vary both the resistance and gear selection. Around the end of January, as the warmer weather approaches, I try to up the intensity towards daily twenty minute sessions.

About ten years ago I completed a fairly leisurely LEJOG (1200miles over 20 days) based almost entirely on a winter of turbo training as detailed above. The decision to ride LEJOG was taken in late April and we set off about 4 weeks later in the last week of May. I only managed three rides on the road in the last month of preparation. Two were of 24 miles and one was a 48 mile ride.

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

Postby hercule » 29 Dec 2019, 10:21pm

I have used a turbo intermittently over the years with varying degrees of success and perseverance. Mostly it gets used when my legs get itchy and tell me i have to do something. Most of the time that’s meant go out for a run (all weathers, all times of the day/night possible) but latterly I have felt I should be mixing up my exercise a bit and whilst I see cycling primarily as transport and fun, the TT has its place. Typically it gets used in really foul weather, or when I’m on call and may need to make a relatively quick response to get somewhere.

It can be boring but I tend to go for audiobooks or radio plays. Last year I tried out Zwift (didn’t like it unless I turned off the Wi-fi and the other riders disappeared, and it was all a bit cartoon-like) and then Rouvy which I do like, especially their AR (Augmented Reality) rides which now include a few that I’ve done in real life - there’s at least a feeling of going somewhere.

I thought I’d improve the experience by getting a smart trainer to simulate gradient, etc, but for some reason the best I can do is crawl along at a (simulated) 5mph even on the flat, no matter how much work I’m putting in (and I have spent ages repeatedly calibrating it). I’ve gone back to the dumb trainer as a result.

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

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 29 Dec 2019, 11:53pm

Hi,
De Sisti wrote:I bought an emotion set of rollers a few years ago (for a lot less than they cost now and without
the forkstand/power meter stuff)
. It has 3 resistance settings. Dead easy to ride on. Should use
it more though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFQdLLKxiww

That set up looks nifty, luv to give it a go, perhaps a late xmas pressey :)
How is resistance set up?
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

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

Postby horizon » 30 Dec 2019, 12:45am

De Sisti wrote:
horizon wrote:My only question though at the moment is: is there a correlation between people who use turbo trainers/exercise bikes and people who have dish washers?

Why would there be?


The theory is that we are technologising ourselves out of much needed exercise. Work, home and travel become sedentary (computer, car, TV) and leisure activities are introduced to counter the effects of lack of physical exertion. Mankind constantly invents labour saving devices while at the same time having to artificially exercise more. That much I think we agree on, though some people might say that the leisure-type exertion is nicer than the work-type exertion that it replaces.

So if the dish washer is an example of technology replacing physical exertion, then an exercise machine is a possible corollary: a machine that necessitates exertion. Of course, that doesn't mean that people don't take exercise in the fresh air (while the dish washer is washing the dishes), just that there is a need to create the possibility of exercise because work, life and travel don't create enough. IMV the dish washer is very symbolic, but plenty of other examples of labour-saving exist.

In this thread I think we are talking about a more specific type of exercise for more specific reasons so the general principle might not apply. On a shopping channel tonight though, there was a simple home treadmill. That I do wonder about.

Another aspect of the indoor exercise machine is of course that it is indoors and I would say there are arguments to be made for taking exercise out of doors. But this goes hand-in-hand with saying that perhaps we need to change the way we live so that both exercise and the outdoors are part of what we do rather than a separate thing in life.

I just want to say again that all the machines that make up modern life have their use and purpose in lots of situations: I'm making a general point. That indoor treadmill might be a godsend to a convalescing person at home. I also suspect that the person with the indoor tubo-trainer is also the person getting lots of exercse at other times and out of doors. Machines have their place - the hard bit is knowing where to draw the line and make intelligent statements about how we live. I have to say I have found this whole thread really illuminating.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Dec 2019, 11:05am

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Of course you can just spin if you want, but as said the resistance is 360 degrees so its not like any bike ride, you can easily get lured into a false sense of euphoria.............for five minutes at least :lol:


I'm struggling to understand the statement above..... I appreciate the resistance is constant unless the controls are altered. On the road the resistance is also constant if the gradient and wind conditions stay the same. It does feel 'different' in some way though - can someone give an explanation?

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

Postby Brucey » 30 Dec 2019, 12:05pm

it feels different because the inertia of the 'system' is different.

On the road you have the linear inertia of the bike plus rider, plus the rotating inertia of the spinning wheels.

On the trainer you have the wheels and the rotating inertia of the trainer itself (or rollers).

This means that the way the pedal accelerates beneath your foot changes between high and low speeds on the road and of course is very different on a home trainer vs any real riding. Riding a home trainer is often most like riding up a steep climb on the road. The closest thing to high speed road riding is probably when using heavy rollers.

Additionally there are issues to do with balance on the bike. Riding a turbo is quite a lot like riding a tricycle; the machine won't tilt beneath you in the same way as a bicycle does when ridden normally. IME if you habitually wrestle with the handlebars when riding, you are quite likely to break a bike when it is bolted to a home trainer, because it is seeing a whole load of stresses that it normally wouldn't.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Postby Vorpal » 30 Dec 2019, 12:06pm

horizon wrote:The theory is that we are technologising ourselves out of much needed exercise...
So if the dish washer is an example of technology replacing physical exertion, then an exercise machine is a possible corollary: a machine that necessitates exertion. Of course, that doesn't mean that people don't take exercise in the fresh air (while the dish washer is washing the dishes), just that there is a need to create the possibility of exercise because work, life and travel don't create enough. IMV the dish washer is very symbolic, but plenty of other examples of labour-saving exist...

Another aspect of the indoor exercise machine is of course that it is indoors and I would say there are arguments to be made for taking exercise out of doors. But this goes hand-in-hand with saying that perhaps we need to change the way we live so that both exercise and the outdoors are part of what we do rather than a separate thing in life.

I guess this could turn in a long side discussion, but I generally agree that it is better to have exercise and outdoors as a part of everyday life. And I have, for the most part done that. I'd rather be outdoors than in for very many things, and I generally do so. I walk or cycle or use public transport for most of my travel needs. For example, last night, Mini V stayed overnight with friend who lives a little more than a mile away. There is a nice mixed (part traffic calmed residential street & part motor traffic free cycle/foot path) route to walk, so we did. When I was coming back, I took a longer route and walked along the river. That probably added a 1/2 mile to my return route.

Dishwashing, however, is not exercise. It may burn a few more calories than loading & unloading the dishwasher, but it's not much different to sitting or standing at a desk. Furthermore, while habits with both approaches to washing up vary considerably, several studies have shown that using a machine uses less water, energy, and washing up liquid/powder than doing it by hand, as long as the dishwasher is relatively full, and you scrape (not rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

It is true that work, life, and travel don't create many opportunities for exercise, but the biggest contributor is the motor car. Getting rid of it, or at least enabling more people to walk and cycle and making it much more difficult to use the car for short journeys, fixes much of the problem.

We aren't technologising us out or exercise. We are technologising ourselves longer lives. 100 years ago, when many more people worked on farms and in factories because we lacked automation for many things, also died at an average age of 50 years old. Not only because of disease and war, and the lack of an NHS, but also because physical labour wrecked their bodies. Farming, mining, construction, and factory work killed many workers both directly and indirectly.

If exercise machines are the price we pay for improving that, I'm all for it.

Lastly, as for using turbo trainers, spinning bikes, etc. there are all sort of reasons for doing so, and if someone doesn't feel safe combining transport with exercise (e.g. walking or cycling when it's dark & icy and the infrastructure is motor-centric) has less to with technology in general than it has to with the specific technology of the motor car and what it has done to our cultures.
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby Mick F » 30 Dec 2019, 12:08pm

fastpedaller wrote:......... I appreciate the resistance is constant unless the controls are altered. On the road the resistance is also constant if the gradient and wind conditions stay the same. It does feel 'different' in some way though - can someone give an explanation?
Momentum.
Stop pedalling, and you carry on moving.

Stop pedalling on a turbo or on rollers, and you stop.
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Dec 2019, 12:40pm

Mick F wrote:
fastpedaller wrote:......... I appreciate the resistance is constant unless the controls are altered. On the road the resistance is also constant if the gradient and wind conditions stay the same. It does feel 'different' in some way though - can someone give an explanation?
Momentum.
Stop pedalling, and you carry on moving.

Stop pedalling on a turbo or on rollers, and you stop.


That's something I'd overlooked :lol: But whilst pedalling is continued, is there a difference? (c/f riding on road). I'm using a track iron with fixed gear, so is any difference 'minimised'. All theory of course, and I think it goes without saying that riding the turbo or rollers is more beneficial than sitting on the sofa

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

Postby thelawnet » 30 Dec 2019, 1:36pm

hamster wrote:
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.


Last winter I did quite some riding in the dark and cold in England. This year I am slightly less keen. I went out yesterday in shorts and a woolly hat and didn't sweat a drop (ok maybe just a little tiny bit).

When in the tropics 32C is bad because you need to drink about a litre every half an hour just to keep going. After a while I find that night time in the dark and rain at ~23C is better. Only trouble is that I've heard things about cars being robbed after dark in certain parts, so it doesn't seem a good idea to go further than the next town (6 miles or so).

I don't have any air con in my tropical house, so a turbo would be completely useless to me. I have tried things like badminton in that condition and the sweating is much worse without the wind.

I have two dogs now, so quite often I will just take them for a walk (again, mostly after dark as the weather is better)
Last edited by thelawnet on 30 Dec 2019, 2:12pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Mick F » 30 Dec 2019, 1:46pm

Another difference between a real ride and a ride on a trainer, is that on the road, you pedal "normally" and the bike travels along smoothly by dint of momentum.
On a trainer, the pedalling action is more pulse-like .............. and in order to have a smooth ride, you need to pedal all the way round by pulling through the bottom dead spot and pushing through the top dead spot. Damed hard work IME to keep it like that.
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Re: Turbo trainers - how much use do you get?

Postby horizon » 30 Dec 2019, 2:01pm

Vorpal wrote:
We aren't technologising us out of exercise. We are technologising ourselves longer lives.


I think we are doing both.

Lastly, as for using turbo trainers, spinning bikes, etc. there are all sort of reasons for doing so, and if someone doesn't feel safe combining transport with exercise (e.g. walking or cycling when it's dark & icy and the infrastructure is motor-centric) has less to with technology in general than it has to with the specific technology of the motor car and what it has done to our cultures


Yes, which is the point I tried to make in my post. But it is also the same reason given for using a car: when it comes down to specifics, it is justified. And yet you say yourself that it is a cultural problem. I would say that a dishwasher, a tubo-trainer and a treadmill (and of course the car) are all symbolic of a technological culture that is driving a deficiency in physical exertion and exercise. And yet in probably all cases, their specific use is sensible, probably greener and beneficial. And yet the societal problem of lack of exercise remains. It's a conundrum that I am pointing out rather than damnation of certain people and their machines.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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

Postby fastpedaller » 30 Dec 2019, 3:34pm

Mick F wrote:Another difference between a real ride and a ride on a trainer, is that on the road, you pedal "normally" and the bike travels along smoothly by dint of momentum.
On a trainer, the pedalling action is more pulse-like .............. and in order to have a smooth ride, you need to pedal all the way round by pulling through the bottom dead spot and pushing through the top dead spot. Damed hard work IME to keep it like that.

Does that make it better (from a training point of view)

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

Postby Mick F » 30 Dec 2019, 3:39pm

It makes it harder work!
I have rollers, and I can stand it for 15 or 20 minutes as it's tiring. Three or four slots like that, and that's enough.

It's like riding uphill constantly, and as I'm on rollers, I need to keep the speed up to stay on! :lol:
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