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Use a Bicycle Trainer or Roller in the Winter

Winterize Your Ride: Bicycle Trainers and Rollers

Boo, it's too cold or wet to ride your bike outside, you say? So ride it inside. I'm not talking about hitting a spin class or getting the stationary bike out of your grandma's attic. You can ride the same bike you took on the road, bike path, or woodsy trails, in the comfort of your home. All you need is a bicycle trainer or roller to transform your road or mountain bike into a stationary bike.

The one pictured on the left is known as a bicycle trainer. It requires less thinking and balance than the roller, pictured on the right. To work out with the trainer, you attach your back wheel into the mount, which elevates your wheel off the floor. The front wheel is propped up with a plastic block, so you are essentially riding in space.

You'll need to decide what type of resistance you want; fan, fluid, or magnet. Fan trainers tend to be less expensive, but they're also noisier. You can find decently priced magnet trainers, which will provide a smooth, quiet ride. If you want the most lifelike ride and less heat buildup on your tires, go for fluid trainers. Know that some models require that you remove your front wheel, so if you're able to ride inside and outside this Winter, you might not want to deal with constantly removing and attaching your wheel.

Learn how the roller provides a more challenging ride when you read more.

Using a roller offers a much tougher ride because your bike isn't attached to anything forcing you to balance on your own. You just ride on top of three spinning drums, kind of like a treadmill. You really need to pay attention to steering and balancing so you don't fall off the rollers. It's the best choice if you have a road bike, but tends to be pricey.

Cycle trainers and rollers range in price from about $80 to $300, which is cheaper than buying a stationary bike or joining a gym. Plus riding your own bike is more comfortable, and allows you to continue your training if you're planning on racing in the Spring.

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