Work Out Indoors on a Bicycle Trainer: Exercise Tips

Bicycle Year Round for Fitness and Health Goals

Do you know how much weight you gained over the past year? If you are like many adults, you might have put on as much as 10 pounds in a single 12-month period. We all know that a healthy diet and regular exercise are key to maintaining a healthy weight. But what happens when you can't afford a gym membership, get injured, and/or have to work out at home (due to young children or other demands)?

In 2008, I ran my first marathon! The Portland Marathon in Oregon was an amazing experience, and my nearly 40-year old body thought that I could do it again in January. So, I kept on running about 30-40 miles a week throughout October. Then, I got hurt. Next, my hours were cut back at the office. Now what?

A bicycle trainer! That's the answer for me. Generally less expensive than an exercise bike, you can convert a road bike to an indoor experience by mounting it on a trainer. Ride for as long as you would outdoors, but have the flexibility of staying indoors to watch kids or avoid inclement weather.

My Bridgestone mountain bike mounted on a Blackburn TrakStand Trainer
My Bridgestone mountain bike mounted on a Blackburn TrakStand Trainer | Source

Working out on a Bicycle Trainer

Should You Try a Bicycle Trainer?

I will be 100% honest and say that I am not a bicyclist. My workout of choice has always been running. For that matter, I am really not a swimmer, either! My doctor suggested that I use my time off from my foot to do some laps at the local pool. Since it takes 24 laps to go even a quarter mile, I couldn't see myself getting into shape swimming 1/16 of a mile a day...

My injury requires me to stay off my foot for the most part. Originally, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture. But after 3 X-rays and an MRI, we've discovered fluid and swelling in several toe joints. It hurts to walk on the treadmill, but I can ride without pain.

In hopes that I will be running again in a month or so, I opted for a less expensive bicycle trainer. I shopped around for a bit and found a Blackburn TrakStand Trainer at Hutch's Bicycles here in Bend, Oregon. I will say that you may have to find a specialty bike store to purchase a trainer. They did not have them in stock at Target, Wal-Mart or Fred Meyer.

The cost was approximately $160, plus an extra $15 for a "TrakBlock" on which the bicycle's front tire is mounted. The TrakBlock has three different heights, allowing you to increase the intensity of your workout. Because our gym membership cost us $174/month (before we dropped it), this seems like an excellent deal. When you consider the cost of a quality treadmill or other indoor exercise equipment, it only makes sense to use an existing bicycle for your home gym.

My bike on a trainer - front view
My bike on a trainer - front view | Source

Bicycle Trainers are Available in stores and online

My Bicycle Trainer Workouts

Like I said, I am not a bicyclist. I enjoy running, and can do so for anywhere from 1-3 hours. On my trainer, I try to make it at least 30 minutes. Don't let that fool you, however. I am not wimping out!

You can change gears on your bicycle to increase intensity, and you can also change the resistance on your bicycle trainer. I have the resistance at the maximum, but I do not ride at the highest gear! I am using new muscles that don't get attention during my running training, which is difficult, to be sure.

You can watch television, listen to music, and even mount a reader onto your bike so that you can enjoy newspapers or magazines.

I do have to admit that the only thing that is missing is the electronic readout of my treadmill or my Nike wristband.

I'd love to know how far I was riding or how many calories burned. In some ways, I consider this to be a blessing. All I have to focus on now is the time. So, for now, I am riding 35 minutes a day and hope to soon increase it to 45 minutes. Later - maybe even an hour.

So far, the biggest drawback of switching from running to biking is a sore rear! But that would have been the case outdoors, regardless. Plus, I can't help but think that a little bit of pain is good. It reminds me that I am working out my body and (hopefully) getting healthier. And all this riding has me thinking about a new sport this summer..... triathlons!

When I was telling a friend about my new bicycle trainer, she asked if it was difficult to balance on it. My answer is no! But in watching the following video, she must have been thinking about working out on a bicycle roller. It definitely looks more challenging.

Installing a Bicycle Trainer

Get a Bicycle Trainer

Putting together the bicycle trainer was not at all difficult. At least that's what my husband said! I am pretty confident that even I could do it.

So, what are you waiting for? No more excuses about cold weather, expensive clubs, or the cost of indoor gym equipment. For less than $200, you can convert your bicycle for use inside your home or garage, and workout in the comfort of your home.

What do you think? Would you try one?

© 2009 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 47 comments

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

Thanks I am in the process of looking for a machine for indoor workouts and was thinking about a bike as well , this hub is helpful in that search.


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

Stephhicks, thanks for this hub, I would definitely try one. I love bicycle riding but living in the Pacific Northwest does not mean that the weather is always conducive to do so. I only wish that the cost were not so much but then again it is a great deal cheaper than actually purchasing an indoor bicycle. Thanks again. I am actually going to look into one around here.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Bob - that is great! I think you'll enjoy a bicycle trainer, especially if you have a bike. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Triplet Mom - I actually found a few models in researching this hub that were less than $100. My advice to you would be to ask someone at a bike store first about the pros and cons of various models, then you can shop online for a bicycle trainer! All the best, Steph


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

Indoor machines are a real respite for people who cannot find time for gym memberships. With bicycles...the problem is a rear sore (as you said) LOL. I find my treadmill comfortable but whatever it is, all of us should find some way of doing work out confortably.


terenceyap07 profile image

terenceyap07 7 years ago from Singapore

I never knew I could transform a bicycle into an indoor trainer with that contraption. Thanks for the tip, Steph!

*smiles*


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I don't know if I'll get an indoor bike, stephicks, but I do know I need one. Although I'm not big on exercise, my rehab after a triple bypass in 2004 taught me the value of keeping the legs in motion. I wouldn't mind a gym membership, but it's a hassle just coming and going in all kinds of weather. Walking, or playing golf, is also great, but weather plays a role there, too.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Anjalichugh, yes, my sore rear has kept me off the bicycle so far today. I may get up later in the day though. I can't wait to start using my treadmill again, but this is a nice change of pace. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Terenceyap, I was surprised to learn about bicycle trainers from my next door neighbor. Its an affordable little secret for home workouts - and I'm happy to spread the word!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi William, staying healthy does require that we watch our diet and exercise when possible. The beauty of a bicycle trainer (or any home gym equipement) is that you can avoid the excuses of bad weather to get a workout in. I wish you the best! Steph


Bruce Elkin profile image

Bruce Elkin 7 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

I used to have one of these, and used it all winter, up in the Canadian Rockies. Great, except, it made so much noise that it upset the couple who lived below me in the house we shared. And, then there's the time that I oiled the chain (over-oiled is more accurate) and sprayed oil all over the white wall. Oops! But I loved it! LIke you say, they're easy to set up and you can watch tv or pop in your ear buds and head off for whatever kind of ride you want. I live in an apt now, and most of the time, up here in Victoria, we can ride year round. Which reminds me, I should get my butt out of this chair and go for a ride. Thanks!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hope you feel better soon and can get back to what you love doing. Regarding the sore rear end, have you tried purchasing a larger bicycle seat? That might help.


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Steph,

I, too had a recent injury. I'd like to say that it was a result of my marathon training & running but actually, I fell of my platform shoe and broke my foot! STUPID. It is time to get in shape again and thanks for the hub; good info!

Madison


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Bruce, the folks at the bike shop advised that I get a special training rear wheel that makes much less noise. I haven't done that yet, but fortunately, the only people bothered are my family. :) Hope you enjoyed your bike ride. Victoria is beautiful! Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Peggy - that is a great idea! A larger bicycle seat! My rear always hurts much less when I borrow my husband's bike. Thanks for the tip - Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Ouch Madison! That is a real bummer! I hope your foot heals quickly and you can still find a good way to get some exercise in. Take care, Steph


funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal

I have one Elite Bicycle Trainer but I almost never use it. I guess I miss the wind blowing on my face LOL.

If you keep using that rear tire your family will go crazy with all that noise you´re doing :D . You should try to get a cheap slick tire to use on the trainer and you´ll notice much smoother rides and much less noise ;)

Great hub Steph, I wonder why I never wrote a hub just like this one :p

Wish you a healthy and green 2009! And I also wish that during 2009 you will become a bicyclist too ;)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi funride! I was thinking about you when I put this together yesterday! I am sure you could do a great job on a related hub. And yes - after last week, I am going to get a slick tire to use on the bicycle trainer.

A healthy and green 2009 to you too - now I made you a runner, and you helped make me into a bicyclist! LOL


Kulsum Mehmood profile image

Kulsum Mehmood 7 years ago from Nagpur, India

Hi stephhicks, thank you for this hub. I am a fitness freak and would definitely like to try this out.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Kulsum - I don't think you will be disappointed. Fitness freaks like you and me are always looking for ways to get workouts in, no matter what the weather or circumstances. Thanks for stopping by,

Steph


Matt21418 7 years ago

Another thought to a larger seat would be to purchase a pair of good bicycle shorts, these shorts are designed with a pad in them to help your rear from getting to sore...it will still take a little time to get used to but eventually it will get better...keep up the riding...it is great to cross train and use new muscles...it will make you a stronger runner too.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Matt - thanks! I also found a seat cover with padding at the store yesterday. I agree that this may be a good thing over all!


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

Hi Steph--your energy amazes me:-) Cool idea to convert a road bike to an exercise bike but as I don't have a bike to begin with I think I''ll stick with the recumbant cross trainer at my local gym-- I've resolved to go three times a week this year. So far so good, but then it's only January LOL


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL - thanks Robie! I have to do something!! I rode the bicycle trainer today with my new seat cover and it was so much comfier. I made it to 40 minutes this time, and maybe would have gone longer if my twins didn't keep interrupting me. Great job with the New Year's Resolution. I love recumbant cross trainers too!


hubby7 profile image

hubby7 7 years ago from Chicago

Excellent article! I have never heard anything about bke trainers before. I really enjoy both biking and running. I used to run solely. Years later I added biking to my routine. I found out that I enjoyed them both. Thanks for the tip!

hubby7


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Hubby! I really have never enjoyed riding bikes for exercise, but I am telling you that with my new bicycle trainer (and an injury), I am liking it more and more! Look into the trainers and maybe you can add them to your exercise routine! Best, Steph


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut

Excellent idea Steph! I'm so glad you found a way to work out while your running injury heals. I didn't know this was an option and it looks pretty easy. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Amy - I am very happy that I can work out too. My foot/toes still hurt fairly often, though the pain is subsiding. I'm not sure I'll be able to run for at least another month. By then, I may actually be a cyclist. ;)

Steph


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 7 years ago from london

Dear Steph. This is an excellent sports hub as usual. You are such a versatile athlete and this is such a good and practical idea.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you! I am glad that I've found another way to work out while my running injury heals. After a few weeks, I am actually enjoying the bicycle trainer! :)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I really like actually cycling - handily getting exercise and where you want to go at the same time!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi LondonGirl, a year ago when my kids were all at the same school, I bicycled to work after dropping them off. It was so wonderful, as we live about 4 miles (a little over 6 km) from our home. I lost a few pounds when I was following this regiment, and hardly noticed that I was working out! It is something many of us can do! Thanks for the great comment!


Jen 7 years ago

I ride outside when the weather is nice but bought a trainer to try to keep my "cycling legs." You can measure distance and time, and many other things by mounting a computer (cateye is the most popular brand) on your bike. They run about $35. Also, the reason bicycle pants are better than a padded seat is that they wick the sweat away from your behind, not as much chaffing, irritation. After riding for awhile you should try the STP in July.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks for the tip Jen! I definitely will look into a cateye for my bicycle trainer. I am enjoying it more and more these days. I think the STP would be great fun. July is perfect cycling weather in the Northwest.


Crazichic4life profile image

Crazichic4life 7 years ago

i never thought of exercising before let alone inside. But to be honest I don't even know how to ride a bike


kabney profile image

kabney 7 years ago from Tulsa

I'm really glad I found your article, I was a runner until November when my leg was broken in a bad car wreck. My doctor says no more running...ever so he suggested biking. I'm thinking about training for Tulsa Tuff, a 100 mile bike race here in Oklahoma. Thanks for the ideas!


mostafa_elgallant profile image

mostafa_elgallant 7 years ago

nice article


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

I'm really into fitness big time as you know lol,so reading this great hub was right down my alley.You also look amazing.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi blondepoet - thank you! Its all I can do right now while my foot continues to heal. Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks so much for the compliment! Cheers to you, Steph


A2JinMI profile image

A2JinMI 7 years ago from Ann Arbor, Michigan

Great blog. Love the videos!


Jellyrug profile image

Jellyrug 7 years ago from AR USA

Keep going, I see it's two weeks later, so your seat should get better. Work has me stuck on a little Island, American Samoa, lots of biting stray dogs, so I cannot cycle the way I normally do and ride a set of bicycle rollers like your one video every morning for 30 - 45 minutes. If you have the right seat and the bike is set up for your dimensions, the sore will go away. One has to just be brave and ride through it. Doing more that 30 minutes on indoor rollers is normally not recommended as it goes beyond the enjoyment stage and eventually it becomes a drag.

I use to cycle competitively since a kid and raced in Italy in 2000. End of the year I will be back in the US main land and hopefully will be able to get enough road time in to get back into competition.

Finally, that trainer you are using is the best, it is safe on the bod and if set up right it works not only the legs, but also arms, back and your abs, plus you get the cardio as a bonus. Keep it up!


Bicycle Tires 6 years ago

I really like actually cycling


kcreery profile image

kcreery 6 years ago from Whistler Canada

I've got the indoor bike trainer. I just have to get it out more often in the winter. Great hub.


CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

Nice hub, How many tires have you gone through on your trainer? I wouldn't personally recommend an MTB tire like you have fitted. Smooth road style tires are much better. If anyone would like any further information regarding indoor cycle trainers this hub will help you

http://hubpages.com/sports/101-ways-how-to-improve...


Jackson Riddle profile image

Jackson Riddle 4 years ago from Melbourne

Hope the Cyclops trainer was a good choice. I personally prefer the Kurt Kinetic as I mentioned in my own hub...http://hubpages.com/health/wind-trainer-reviews...


uncle jed 3 years ago

I have had back issues for years so 12 years ago or so I bougnt a recumbent bike... a road recumbent the kind for the road or bike path. I have 3 recumbents now - a long wheel base, short wheelbase and a recumbent trike. I put my short and long wheelbased recumbents on trainers almost a month ago and love it. The bottom brackets (pedals) are at different heights... the longer bike has a lower set bottom bracket and the shortbike's bracket (pedals) are probably 6 or 8 inches higher. Each bike works me differently. I prefer the long wheelbased bike but every couple of days will jump on the other one for a different ride or "feel". I prefer my bikes on a trainer verses a regular indoor recumbent bike.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Uncle Jed - I prefer riding on a trainer over an indoor bike, too. Great idea to put a recumbent bicycle on a trainer! Makes me want to try the different sizes for a unique ride as well!

Best, Steph

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