The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
LittleGreyCat
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Joined: 7 Aug 2013, 8:31pm

The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby LittleGreyCat » 1 Jan 2021, 7:29pm

My bike miles are even lower than usual because of lockdown preventing group rides, plus the general miserable cold/wet weather.

One obvious solution would be to get a turbo trainer.
However this would only be good if I was motivated to use it.
Which made me wonder about general motivation. Mine and others.

If I was motivated to exercise every day there are things like Yoga and weights, or just sit ups and press ups.
However I don't do these which suggests lack of motivation.
I do walk nearly every day, but not to the extent where it would dramatically improve my fitness.

Asking those with a turbo trainer for a general view.
How often do you use it?
For how long?
Why?
That is, do you do it instead of cycling, as well as cycling?
Do you only do it in the winter when you can't cycle.
In summer (spring, autumn, winter) do you cycle nearly every day?

Is the turbo trainer a last resort to enable you to keep up the usual mileage you ride during better weather and longer days?
Is it something you bought to get fit to go cycling in the future?
Are you just a Zwift bunny?

Finally, does anyone look remotely like the Zwift (and other products) riders in the TV ads?
Complete with the big screen TV or tablet etc.

keyboardmonkey
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Joined: 1 Dec 2009, 5:05pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby keyboardmonkey » 1 Jan 2021, 9:08pm

I have a ‘dumb’ trainer - a CycleOps Fluid 2.

I’ll leave the positives until the end, but here is a list of the negative factors that, for me, make it tiresome to use...

Set up time: I have a spare wheel with a cassette and turbo tyre; swap wheel; drag out turbo (and level it), sweat towel thingy, front wheel raiser; 90s dance music CD (and player - wherever that is); regular shorts, vest, gloves, cycling shoes... all for about 20 minutes.

20 minutes not (just) because the whole thing is boring and a chore and generally no fun at all. A major reason why I can’t even drag out the enterprise to last half an hour is that I blow up very quickly.

So I tell myself that I’ve chanced upon a HIIT routine as my legs are wobbly and I feel as though I’ve had a short, sharp shock.

So I’ll keep it - and if these icy conditions linger I may well have a go - but it will always be a last resort.

(Since the beginning of the first lockdown I actually got in quite a few decent rides - including four 100-plus-milers, so the lack of traffic - and being furloughed - meant that 2020 was one of the highest mileage years for me over the last decade; the turbo hasn’t seen any action in that time.)

My tip would be to establish a regime that limits faff and setup time. Good luck.
Last edited by keyboardmonkey on 1 Jan 2021, 9:09pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cyclewala
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Joined: 7 Nov 2019, 11:07am

Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Cyclewala » 1 Jan 2021, 9:08pm

Not turbo trainer, but I used to use a static bike in the gym. Boring as a boring thing could be, but it did more for my upper level fitness than outdoor cycling could ever do.

I use to use it for high intensity interval training, the sort where you go into painland and curse yourself for the self-torture. A minute on-minute off type.

Why did I like this? I could just ramp up the resistance and give it some, without worrying about the road surface or traffic.

I didn't normally use it for steady state cycling. That was dull.

I guess you could use a turbo for similar reasons. Never tried Swift or similar.

Boring_Username
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Joined: 2 Mar 2017, 2:38pm

Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Boring_Username » 1 Jan 2021, 9:13pm

keyboardmonkey wrote:I have a ‘dumb’ trainer - a CycleOps Fluid 2.

I’ll leave the positives until the end, but here is a list of the negative factors that, for me, make it tiresome to use...

Set up time: I have a spare wheel with a cassette and turbo tyre; swap wheel; drag out turbo (and level it), sweat towel thingy, front wheel raiser;


Or - buy a 1990s rigid MTB as a turbo bike for £50 and eliminate all that

Eyebrox
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Location: Ayrshire

Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Eyebrox » 1 Jan 2021, 9:18pm

I bought a trainer two months ago to supplement my cycling. Covid has reduced club rides and the lockdown has limited scope for venturing further afield (new territory encourages me). I doubt I would use it if the weather was better and the nights were lighter. I find it boring. I do 40 mins every evening an hour after dinner. That's 10 miles according to bike computer. I use headphones and listen to a daily radio programme while pedalling. That removes some of the boredom.
One of the benefits is that I am maintaining some level of fitness but I also feel that I have accomplished something after the session. Otherwise I would be sitting in the big chair, drinking tea and watching telly. I try to get out every day on my road bike or mountain bike but the roads can be treacherous. I am happy to know that no matter how icy it gets (the cold is not an issue) I have a fallback regime later that day. I wouldn't continue if I didn't have music or a radio programme to listen to. I suggest you borrow a turbo and try it out over a few nights before making any commitment.

Psamathe
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Psamathe » 1 Jan 2021, 9:27pm

Cyclewala wrote:Not turbo trainer, but I used to use a static bike in the gym. Boring as a boring thing could be, but it did more for my upper level fitness than outdoor cycling could ever do......

Many years ago (before I restarted cycling) I joined a gym with the static bikes. It was in winter training for a spring sailing racing series but it was so boring I quickly stopped bothering. Just couldn't motivate myself. And it was a very local gym (minimal travelling) and very cheap (local Council operated).

I would assume there is a mentality thing with them and I'm just "wrong" whereas others seem to really enjoy it. So OP needs to balance cost and risk of it being a white elephant.

Other aspect is OP says low milage because no group rides but I suspect also no "group turbo trainer sessions" so a real ride vs turbo trainer both would be solo activities.

Ian

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Paulatic
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Paulatic » 1 Jan 2021, 9:30pm

LittleGreyCat wrote:I do walk nearly every day, but not to the extent where it would dramatically improve my fitness

Are you sure?
I’ve ended up doing a lot of walking last year averaging around 5 ml a day last month. I head for a hill around three days a week. Usually around 500’ ascent and walk it briskly without stopping. Heart rate rises and leg muscles can burn feeling like a workout.
When I used to try the turbo I could never motivate myself to work hard enough to even break out into a sweat.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

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Cyclewala
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Cyclewala » 1 Jan 2021, 9:32pm

It's true. Certain psychology is needed to use a static bike. For me, it complemented outdoor cycling because it raised my physical threshold enormously.

I could really go into the red, whereas it was difficult finding the right circumstances outside to do the same.

amaferanga
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby amaferanga » 1 Jan 2021, 9:37pm

I've cycled more this year than I have done for several years (since I moved to Greater Manchester and found out how crap the cycling is around here). Almost all on Zwift after buying a smart turbo at the start of lockdown in March.

Many years ago I raced and trained through the winter on a regular fluid trainer. I was motivated to train then and did mostly interval sessions of up to an hour. I'd never "just ride" on a regular turbo, though I used to really enjoy the training.

The game changer with Zwift is that you can just ride - it doesn't need tobe or feel like training. I didn't think I'd take to the social aspect, but it's actually pretty good and can be very motivating. The many group rides are great for just riding. And if you need the competitive aspect then there's plenty of racing (though with all the sand-bagging and folk putting out unreal, pro-level power it's best not to take it too seriously).

Without Zwift I'd have barely cycled since March since I rarely need to commute now.

Mike Sales
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby Mike Sales » 1 Jan 2021, 9:39pm

I once bought a set of rollers. I had the idea that the concentration needed to avert a involuntary dismount might alleviate the boredom. I found that stationary cycling was still too boring for my flighty mind.

amaferanga
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby amaferanga » 1 Jan 2021, 10:02pm

Those claiming its too boring on a turbo trainer should try Zwift.

PH
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby PH » 1 Jan 2021, 10:07pm

I can't do it, I tried several years ago as an aid to recovering from a shoulder operation, but just gave up. Others seem to get on fine, either you'll know which sort of person you are, or there's only one way to find out.
But you don't have to do a lot of cycling to be cycle fit, you just have to structure it, whether that's outside or in. Just sitting on a turbo turning the pedals doesn't do any more than going for a walk, to get some benefit you do have to work at it. The fittest I've ever been was built on an easy commute, a short tough hilly ride once a week, and two gym sessions, HIT and spin. For the last couple of years I've spent at least 15 hours a week on the bike, but it's mostly been riding to get somewhere in no particular hurry and I'm currently at a pretty low level of fitness.

rfryer
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby rfryer » 1 Jan 2021, 10:23pm

amaferanga wrote:Those claiming its too boring on a turbo trainer should try Zwift.

I agree. I'm sure that there are some who can't get on with it, but I think it should scratch the motivational itch for a lot of cyclists. You can race, do group rides, structured training, collect routes, or just ride around; whatever floats your boat.

I have a bike permanently set up on the trainer, with a dedicated Apple TV to run Zwift. That means that I'll choose to use it to get exercise if outside isn't looking attractive, due to rain or (like this week) the potential for ice. I find it possible to do rides of over 3 hours, which I'd never do on a dumb trainer.

drossall
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby drossall » 1 Jan 2021, 11:50pm

amaferanga wrote:I've cycled more this year than I have done for several years (since I moved to Greater Manchester and found out how crap the cycling is around here).

Whereabouts? As an exile down south, there's loads of brilliant riding around Manchester.

drossall
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Re: The psychology behind using a turbo trainer

Postby drossall » 1 Jan 2021, 11:56pm

I've always found that having a purpose helped me to ride. Time trials, club runs, Audaxes, having some place that I wanted to get to (and the chance to cycle). Not that I didn't go out just for the ride, but the purpose always helped.

I was told to exercise more (even as a known cyclist) after bypass surgery in mid-2019. Then lockdown hit, as I was getting into the swing of things, and commuting riding stopped. I'd always had rollers or a dumb trainer available, but never quite used them. But, like others here, I've really got into Zwift. Depending on your inclination, there are badges for completing routes, or training programmes to try, or sportives to enter, or races if you wish (I'm riding time trials weekly, though not at any standard, for an inter-club competition). Same thing really, gives a purpose to riding, so I tend to be on it most days, which fits with the instruction to keep up the regular exercise.

There are alternatives to Zwift, but give one a try. Most of them do a free week or two of trial.